Wednesday, September 22, 2010



We can't even work out these days without being inundated by brands.  And I'm not talking about shoes and t-shirts with the swoosh, here.  I'm saying the actual workout is a brand.  

"Zumba", as you may or may not know is essentially a high impact aerobics class based on African, Middle Eastern and Latin rhythms.  There's a lot of wiggling. The workout concept was invented by some greedy business-minded aerobics instructor who happened to forget his regular music one day and was forced to improvise.  (Yes, I read the history section on the main site.  Sue me.) 

He trademarked the name and the concept (read: the wiggling), got himself a cool little logo and he he was off and running. He started selling it on infomercials and it ballooned from there.  

I think of all the Zumba instructors I see as mini franchise holders.  In a 10-mile radius of my zip code, the website listed 83 of them. They have to go to "Zumba Academy" to be qualified to lead a class, naturally.  I later discovered that there is an online network that provides music, choreography, and promotional materials that instructors are strongly encouraged to join at a cost of $30 a month (and you have to pay for six months up front.) They have to wear at least one official piece of clothing (and those cute pants, even on sale, are not cheap).  They have to renew their certificate annually, at a price, I've no doubt.   The early registration for the basic training costs $225; if you wait until the last minute it's $285.  There are 118 instructor trainings in the US between now and the end of the year.  You do the math.  

And that's just the trainings.  

The website has a store, naturally and Oh! the stuff one can buy!  Music! Shoes! Stretchy pants! Shirts! Flip flops (which are essential when you're working out)!  Bracelets!  Hair clips! A Magazine!

Don't get me wrong.  I love the actual workout; it's all I'm doing these days.  But these kinds of movements generally hit a crescendo.  It'll be hip for another few years, and then it will likely fall out of favor for some other NEW! YOU HAVE TO TRY RIGHT NOW workout. 

Like Turbo Kick.  Also a brand.  -> 

By the way, that's Traci up there.  On my personal Zumba Gestapo Scale of 1 to 10 with "1" being a regular agent and "10" being Hitler, she ranks an 8.15.  


Maren said...

I don't disagree with your point that it's a racket, but some of your info is incorrect and makes it sound even worse than it is.

We don't have to pay for 6 months of ZIN upfront. Paying the $30 a month, which gives you the choreo DVDs bi-monthly and music CDs monthly, exempts you from having to take another course when your license expires the next year... you remain licensed as long as you are a ZIN member.

We aren't required to wear official clothing.

Aynatt said...

I should have emailed you before firing this one off, Maren. Thanks for the clarification.

As for the clothing, that was an assumption on my part. I've never been to a class where the instructor wasn't wearing the garments, so...

Maren said...

As penance, you must attend one of my classes and rate me on your personal Zumba Gestapo scale.

Aynatt said...

Literally lawled. It's a date.