How Zumba Has Improved This AU Fitness Instructor's Life

By day, Ayla Gurbuz is an SPA junior studying political science and environmental studies. By night, she's a Zumba instructor extraordinaire, leading AU students in upbeat, fun-filled fitness classes with Latin and international rhythms. Get to know more about how Ayla got her start teaching Zumba and how it's changed her life for the better!

Her Campus American University: How did you get started teaching Zumba? And how long have you been teaching?

Ayla Gurbuz: I had been talking about teaching for years. I love Zumba and have been attending classes for 6 years now. A friend of mine encouraged me to talk to my zumba instructor on how to become an instructor myself, and I received so much encouragement from friends and family that I decided to get the certification! I have been teaching Zumba now since July.

HCAU: What do you like about Zumba?

AG: I did Zumba with my mom and grandma for years and I always felt confident and happy when in class. It's an hour to yourself where your focusing on fitness and fun, so I always looked forward to going.  It’s a wonderful community and you feel like you’re with a big group of friends while you’re there.

HCAU: What was the training like? 

AG: The training was a one day course that I took from 7 am to 5 pm on a Sunday. I had signed up online only a week before. I learned 4 core rhythms that make Zumba what it is- Cumbia, Reggaeton, Merengue, and Salsa. ​The training also taught you the basic regimen of a Zumba routine, the importance of a warm-up and cool down, and leadership skills on how to teach a good class.

HCAU: Did you ever feel intimidated or self-conscious during training?

AG: Honestly, yes! I was intimidated during the training and wondered how I would ever feel confident enough to teach someone the dances that I was learning.

HCAU: How do you think Zumba has changed you?

AG: ​Zumba has made me more confident in my public speaking abilities, has given me fantastic leadership skills, but has also just made me more confident in myself. I feel so proud of myself that I got the certification and that I can confidently get in front of a group of people now and scream and dance! I never thought I would be able to do something like that. I still get butterflies before class, but I absolutely love it. It has also made me more confident in terms of my fitness abilities. I feel more fit and more toned.

HCAU: What’s some advice you have for people who are too afraid to be caught dancing in public?

AG: It can be scary! But it’s important to remember that everyone who comes to Zumba class comes for the same reason: to get a good work out and have fun! It doesn’t matter if you are the best dancer in the world or a complete beginner, Zumba will encourage you to forget your worries and have an hour to yourself and a group of friends to party and have fun. If you’re nervous that people are judging you on your dancing skills in class- don’t worry! Everyone is learning the steps at the same pace as you. Who cares what they think? Don’t be hesitant to come try it out for the first time. Zumba is welcoming and open to beginners!

HCAU: What are some health benefits of Zumba? 

AG: It's a great way to get your heart pumping and to tone your muscles. It’s a combination of dancing, aerobics, strength and toning. I try to incorporate a toning routine in all of my classes. In addition to getting more fit, there are mental health benefits too. During the hectic school year it is important to carve time out of your day for health and wellness.

HCAU: Do you have any unique additions  you bring to your class?

AG: ​I like to make people feel like they’re getting a great workout. I always try to incorporate classic artists like Selena into my class and make sure to have lots of Latin influence, but I also like to make sure I have a hip-hop song or two.

HCAU: And, finally, when do you teach?

AG: Mondays and Thursdays 8:30-9:30pm in Cassell!


(Photo Credits: cover, all photos in article belong to Ayla Gurbuz)