Gym-Hater To Fitness Instructor At Age 21

“I had always been overweight. In 4th grade, I was a size 16 and weighed over 150 pounds. I was constantly bullied and made fun of all the way through high school. I figured I’d change in college, but by my senior year I topped the scale at 170 pounds. I was not happy.

My university offers a free fitness week every semester and I forced myself to participate. I thought I’d give Zumba fitness a shot since I always loved to dance (but usually alone, in my bedroom, with the music turned up!). 20 minutes into the class, I felt like I was going to die, but I was smiling from ear to ear. It was exhilarating. I wanted to go to class every single day and started begging my friends to come with me. The song that sealed the deal for me was Shakira’s ‘Waka Waka’, a personal favorite.

I went to my first class on Monday, January 11, 2011. I went back that week on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday. In that Wednesday class, I decided that this had to be part of my life, forever. I felt like my soul connected with something beyond anything I could have ever imagined. And it’s crazy for me to say because, before that first week, you couldn’t have paid me a large sum of money to walk into a gym! But on June 4, 2011, I became a licensed Zumba Instructor. ME. A fitness instructor at only 21 years old!

People still comment on what a different person I am since I discovered the Zumba program. I FEEL different. I’m just happier. I love what it has done for me, what it can do for others, and the incredible impact it has on the world. I can’t believe I found out that fitness could actually be FUN. I’m not quite sure how I got here, honestly, but I love my life.”

LeeAnn Wilcox, 26, licensed Zumba®, Zumba® Gold and Aqua Zumba® Instructor; discovered the class during free fitness week at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana

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