BURNHAM - Zumba Fitness - described by its official website as a "Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party" - has become quite popular since its inception in 1999. And now, two licensed Zumba instructors Terri Whitsel and Angie Fetters, both of Lewistown, have combined their freelance classes into a new fitness center located in the Greater Lewistown Plaza in Burnham.
The idea for TAZ Fitness (short for Terri, Angie and Zumba) came into being after both women had been working as freelance Zumba instructors in places like the Lewistown Armory and at various community churches. Whitesel said the constant scramble by class attendees to find out "when's the next class, where's the next class, what time is this," was very confusing. That ultimately led the two women to combine their efforts and open the fitness center.
"We thought 'Wouldn't it be great if we just had one spot?' Have a set schedule, (and) everyone knew where to go and when to go," Whitesel said.
To that end, Whitesel said the center is dedicated to the many aspects of Zumba Fitness, with future plans to include additional activities, such as kickboxing and pilates.
"Through these energetic dance classes, one of the goals of TAZ is to take the stigma out of that 10-ton word - exercise," Whitesel said. "We approach our classes like they are a dance party. Our members are losing weight, improving their health and having a blast during class."
So far, Whitsel and Fetters run the center jointly, but say they're looking to add several more instructors in the future.
IF YOU GO
r What: TAZ Fitness
r Where: 224 S. Logan Blvd., Burnham
r When: Zumba Classes: 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9:15 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and 9 a.m. Saturday
The two women said they believe their advantage, in terms of offering an alternative to a machine-and-treadmill fitness center, is in reading what it is that a regular person wants from getting to an exercise class three days a week.
"We do pride ourselves in talking to our customers, (and) concentrating on the new people," Whitesel said. "Everyone else who's been in the class, we don't need to teach them those moves - they already know. So we can actually take the time and teach."
With its focus on the mindsets of those trying to exercise more frequently, the owners said the overarching goal of the center is to make clients feel like they're comfortable and having a good time. Fetters said the social aspect of the classes helps add to the sense that clients are part of a family.
"It's as much of a part as the actual calorie burn. It just helps increase your mood, because you're interacting with other people," Fetters said.
The owners also have plans to phase in new types of classes in the next few months, such as Zumba Gold, for seniors and other clients who may have limited mobility, and Zumbatomic, for children ages 5 to 12.
"Once people start, it becomes very addictive, and so people crave to go to it," Fetters said. "Because it's something that's healthy for them, but it's actually a healthy addiction and how many people actually have healthy addictions?"
The center is located at 224 S. Logan Blvd. in Burnham, just three doors down from the Weis Market. Zumba classes are held 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9:15 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; and 9 a.m. on Saturday.
For more information, call 953-9426 or go online to www.tazfitness.com.