Zumba popular in Mahomet

The Mahomet Park and Recreation Department has taken the party outside with their current Zumba in the Park programming.

While their Zumba program has been held in the Mahomet-Seymour High School fieldhouse or the Mahomet Community Building, schedule conflicts forced the department to think outside of the box. They decided to use the pavilion at Barber Park during July.

“The facility is kind of perfect,” said new Zumba instructor Kristina Robinson. “Of course it’s hot and there are bugs, but it’s covered and we get a view of the pretty sunset. Most people sit in their office all day longing for the sunshine. So this is something fun to try.”

Robinson took over the Zumba program when the former instructor moved to Michigan with her husband. While Robinson took other Zumba courses throughout her twenties, she fell in love with it through the MPRD program in January.

“Once I started, I thought there is no other way to work out,” said Robinson, who danced in high school and taught dance in college. “I’m glad other people can find other ways, but this is my way.”

She traveled to Chicago to become a certified Zumba instructor. Robinson is also certified in Zumba Gold. During training, Robinson trained on basic steps, choreography and music. Zumba also sends monthly music and routine tips.

The former instructor also left Robinson with choreographed routines and music when she left. The two also use Facetime as a tool to make-up workouts together.

“She had built a following, so I wanted to keep her following happy,” she said.

Robinson started teaching through the MPRD in July.

Zumba is dance fitness to international music designed for participants ages 16 and up. Although calorie counting is not part of the program, participants who wear a calorie counting watch say they burn about 600 calories during the hour long workout.

“It’s a vigorous workout,” she said. “It’s something everyone can make work for them.”

Robinson offers modifications for knee and ankle injuries during the routine. While participants are expected to keep moving for the hour, Robinson allows them to work at their own pace, even if they are just moving their arms, legs or just marching in place.

Participants get a complete body workout through constant dancing or targeted sequences such as calf raises, obliques or toning of the arms. Robinson said each week she can tell she’s worked out a different muscle.

“In our training, we learn that Zumba is meant to be a party,” she said. “You’re supposed to forget you’re working out. That’s why it’s different. That’s why people like it.”

Zumba Gold is the same format as Zumba, but with less high-impact moves. Robinson said Zumba Gold is for people who are just getting back into workouts again, have had an injury or may need modified workouts. Zumba Gold can be completed from a sitting position.

With the availability of the community building or the fieldhouse, Robinson plans to continue Zumba workouts through August. She’d like to take the once-a-week program to twice a week, while adding Zumba Gold to the program availability.

“There are a lot of people who think I’d like to try it, but there’s no way I can keep up or I’m not coordinated,” Robinson said. “You don’t have to be coordinated to do it.”

Robinson hopes to continue to build her certification through Zumba. She could get certified in Zumba Sentao, which is an intense workout with squats, kicks and jumps. But Zumbini, a parent and child class for kids 0 to 3 years really interests her. She could also become certified in a children’s program, Zumba Atomic.

Registration for August Zumba classes through MPRD will be available on the MPRD website soon.

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