Madison Gifford: Bryant Zumba Instructor

HC: How did you start teaching Zumba?

MG: I started going to Zumba classes at my local YMCA when I was 14. I really enjoyed it and I happened to catch on pretty quickly. The instructor of the class made a comment to me one day telling me that she thought I would make a great instructor and that I should consider getting certified. About a year later I got my certification and I’ve been instructing ever since.


HC: What was the certification process like?

MG: The certification process is an 8 hour class. In the class an instructor teaches you 4 core Zumba moves (usually Latin based) that you can use in any combination in any song. Then the instructor will teach you a Zumba routine and you are expected to commit it to memory and perform it on your own. You are then split into groups and given a song that you must choreograph a routine to and preform. By the end of the 8 hours if you have met the instructor’s standards, you will receive your certification.


HC: What’s your favorite routine?

MG: This is an extremely hard question to answer because I have so many, but I would have to say my routine to Work It by Missy Elliot. It’s my favorite because I love seeing the smile on everyone’s face when it comes on in my class. It’s also one of those routines that is super catchy and easy to follow, so my students tell me they find themselves doing it in their rooms or at a party or something like that. I’ve even seen people doing it at the townhouses before. That really made me smile!


HC: How do you come up with your routines?

MG: My routines come from a lot of places. I get a lot of ideas off of YouTube, a lot from my friend Amy whose been my biggest inspiration since I started, and some of them I come up with at random times like in my room or while I’m driving, sometimes even in the shower. I don’t really have a set way of choreographing them, I usually just make it up to the beat as I go while making sure that it is repetitive enough for my class to follow.


HC: What else do you do to work out?

 MG: I wish I could say I am an avid gym goer but that’s something I’ve always struggled with. Zumba has been so great for me because it’s a form of working out that I actually enjoy, whereas going to the gym and running on a treadmill or lifting weights is not nearly as fun. My goal this year at school is to develop a solid gym schedule outside of Zumba so that I can really focus on being in the best shape I can possibly be in. I hope to do a lot of ab and leg work while leaving the cardio aspect for Zumba. With the help of my super motivated suitemates I think it should be doable.



HC: What’s your fav healthy food and your fav cheat meal?

MG: My fav healthy food is steamed artichokes. They’re especially delicious dipped in a lemon-butter sauce.  I swear I could sit down and eat them all day. Unfortunately I can’t make them at school so I’ve had to turn to steamed veggie medleys for my vegetable fix instead. My favorite cheat meal is probably anything that involves mashed potatoes or homemade mac n cheese. I am an absolute sucker for those.


HC: When is your class?

MG: For the fall semester my class is on Wednesday’s from 4 to 5 and Thursday’s from 3:30 to 4:30. On the Wellness Center schedule it is called Movin’ with Mads. I call it this because to call it Zumba, 75% of the music has to be Latin, I prefer to dance to pop and hip-hop music instead. It takes place in the studio in the wellness center. Even if you have to come late or skip out early for class I encourage people to still come dance, you can pop in and out as you please. There is no dance experience required and it is an absolute blast. I will give you a hardcore workout that you never imagined you would have fun doing.