Jackie Broussard, creator of fitBody with Jackie is the epitome of positivity, empowerment and splendor. How do I know? I had the opportunity to sit in on her Zumba fitness class, and what I observed and heard was inspirational, to anyone looking for a creative fitness experience.
Zumba is an aerobic exercise that typically combines latin style music and dance into a 60 minute workout, burning up to 500 calories per session. “It’s the ‘non-gym persons’ class,” explains Broussard, “The cool thing about Zumba is that it appeals to such a wide range of people. You can get an awesome workout without feeling like you’re working out.”
Broussard incorporates salsa, African and bhangra rhythms into each class, playing a variety of tunes like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and”All About that Bass”, by Meghan Trainor. A class participant commented on the musical selection, saying, “There’s nothing like being able to move your body to the expression of music, and in Jackie’s class, we’re exposed to a worldwide variety of music and dance styles.”
People of all ages, sizes, fitness levels and dance abilities can partake in a Zumba fitness class, even men. “Men tend to be the minority in Zumba, but not because they aren’t welcomed with open arms. I don’t discriminate, and I love diversity in class,” shares Broussard.
Like other aerobic exercise, Zumba has a number of health benefits, such as increase in stamina and heart strength and reduced fatigue, anxiety and reduced health risks, including obesity and heart disease. In addition to tighter abdominal muscles, participants report feeling uninhibited and having a clearer mind. A class participant shares, “I feel oppressed and miserable when I step inside a gym. Same goes for running. This is the only thing I do, that I crave.”
“There are so many evenings where I feel like I can’t do it,” says another classmate, “When I come in here, in just one second, I feel like a different person.”
For optimal results, Broussard suggests that consistency and a diet that reflects your health goals are key. She encourages using a variety of fitness activities, to get the most out of your routine, yoga and weight training in particular. “Both are excellent choices, to help prevent injury and counteract the loss of range of motion and muscle mass we experience as we get older,” says Broussard.
Broussard is a Certified Zumba® Fitness Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine and Certified Nutrition Specialist, American Academy of Sports Dietitians and Nutritionists. Like many others, she fell into fitness. After being laid off from a job as an international business systems analyst, Broussard decided to do, full-time, what seemed like a natural fit for her—help people feel good about themselves and live healthier, through fitness and nutrition. Check out Zumba with Jackie on Monday and Thursday evenings, as well as Saturday mornings, at Studio 1924 in Oakland, California.