Dance Workout: Making A Move Of It

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Dance Workout: Making A Move Of It

For Zumba trainer Jed Latabe, the fitness and dance exercise is not just a job. it changed his life

By Mary Paulose

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Published: Thu 28 Jan 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 Nov 2017, 9:47 PM

Every achievement starts with a story, and Jed Latabe's moved us. literally. One of the UAE's best known Zumba instructors, the 29-year-old Jed Latabe, has one too - a life story that took him from fat to fit, thanks to this globally popular fitness-dance-aerobics workout form.

Jed also marked the beginning of the year with the Zumba Festival Dubai 2016 on January 23, the biggest ever such event held in the region, and one that got its visitors to move their bodies, detox, de-stress, and hopefully transform into healthier, fitter persons, as many would have taken a resolution this year.
"There's nothing like a community gathered together to take a break and have fun," Jed says. "And what a way to start the new year!" Eighty Zumba instructors from all over the UAE performed at the event, along with other fun crowd-pulling activities like stilt walkers, drum beaters, colour fights, and much more.

Zumba itself has caught on in popularity as both a dance and fun workout form in the last few years. "Zumba fitness is a Latin-inspired cardio-dance workout that uses music and choreographed steps to create a fitness party atmosphere," explains Jed, who hails from the Philippines. "While many of the routines featured in Zumba are Latin American-inspired, they can also incorporate anything from jazz to African beats, country, hip hop and pop music."
Since it was "created" in the mid-90s by Alberto "Beto" Perez, Zumba has been tried by at least 10 million people in more than a 100 countries, according to Over the years, this cardio-centric fitness form has evolved into several variations, incorporating workouts for children (Zumbatomic), classes in water (Aqua Zumba), resistance training classes (Zumba Toning) and circuit classes (Zumba in the Circuit). You name it. it's gotten the whole world Zumbaing.
But back to Jed's story. Once upon a time, Jedross Latabe, a nurse by profession, was chronically over-weight. "I was actually obese and weighed 128 kgs at one point! Can you imagine that? (We certainly can't, not from looking at his photos now!) At that time, I could never dream of becoming what I am now. My life seemed doomed, and I was stressed out with myself and my work," recalls Jed. This was back in 201___.
Then came the wake up call, after which he channelled his passion for dance - yes, even though he was fat - and joined Zumba classes. Not only did he love it, but Jed started losing weight, a whole 45 kgs in one year, and reached the next level by becoming a Zumba instructor. "That's why Zumba changed my life in more ways that one. Putting humility aside, I can claim I'm a success story, not just physically, which is more noticeable, but also mentally. I never imagined myself so fit and in shape before Zumba came along it."
Goes without saying, he now loves Zumba, embraces it, and lives it on a daily basis.
From his experience, Jed also has valuable Zumba advice to give. "Based on my knowledge as an instructor, people who really want to shed pounds and do cardio should try out Zumba, because a huge part of choosing a weight loss regimen is picking something you will love to continue and enjoy doing. Zumba thus appeals to people because it has a dancing aspect, which makes it fun, unlike a boring, strenuous gym workout which can get repetitive.
"I'm a living testimony to it. Zumba is one of the highest energy workouts I've tried, and it's the most fun too. Most of the time, it doesn't really feel like you're working out at all - you just get caught up in the fun, the music and the moves. Before you know it, a whole heart-pumping hour has passed! If you like a good sweat, you'll love Zumba," says Jed.
Jed is today a certified Zumba Sentao (high intensity), Zumba Kids, and Zumba Step Training instructor. "The best part of Zumba is that you connect with people, and it enables me to travel to other countries just to do Zumba events and tours." According to him, Zumba is not so much a workout as it's a life-affirming choice. "People always want to find ways to stay healthy and feel good about themselves, and Zumba has proven itself for many years now, growing into not just a very active and vibrant form of exercise, but also a healthy community of people who aren't just fit but also dynamic."
Jed believes he is a better person today because of what he does - Zumba. It thrills him to see the personal growth that his students achieve through simple fun. "Many come to reap the benefits of the physical aspects of Zumba, but instead they have recovered from problems, gained confidence, healed and felt whole because of it." 

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