“My name is Josephine Simonet, I’m a Zumba fitness instructor in Nairobi and I have been teaching Zumba fitness for 6 years now.”
I am 36 years old and I was born in the coastal region in Taita- where I grew up and also went to school.
I left for Nairobi in 1999 to start college and continue my studies, and got a job at a mining company. I met my husband a geologist in the company and got married in 2000. I have 2 boys aged 15 and 7 years.
When my second born was born, I gained a lot of weight. I was initially 60kgs and my weight ballooned to 85kgs. I started exercising going to the gym and walking.
Then I discovered Zumba when I was on one of my trips in Europe. I loved it! Zumba fitness is a latin cardio dance fitness. Its all about losing yourself into music , you get carried away by the music and dancing you don’t see yourself working out, but in that process you lose weight, keep fit and have fun.
When I came back home, I found there was a lady teaching Zumba from America and I joined her classes. It worked for me because it was fun and energetic and you don’t feel like you are working out. I started losing weight and getting into shape. I then become inspired to become an instructor and start my own business as a Zumba Instructor.
I was the first instructor to be licensed under Zumba, for Kenya. I started teaching my classes and continuing to losing weight while making a living. I got certifications from America and Europe and I’m certified to teach both low impact and high impact Zumba fitness.
I teach Zumba specialities like, ZUMBA TONING and ZUMBA SENTAO, to help strengthen and build lean muscles. Zumba Sentao involves using chair choreographed routines to help tone and strengthen muscles. ZUMBATOMIC for kids, Zumba Gold designed for beginners and people on wheelchair.
I have been a Zin or a Zumba instructor network member since 2009. This is mandatory for every qualified instructor to be able to get teaching materials and continuous education from Zumba Fitness.
When I started my fitness journey, I encountered several challenges including the fact that I had to travel frequently for my work to different countries, and at the same time trying to balance with motherhood. Also, traveling is hard because you don’t cook for yourself and you end up eating a lot of junk and also not exercising and skipping your workouts.
Another thing is pressure from friends who put you down saying you are o.k and don’t need to lose anything.
Women and Fitness in Kenya
Personally, I have a come a long way with my fitness journey and I have met a lot of women helping many of them get into shape. I think women in Kenya are now conscious of their health and fitness, and they are consciously working towards attaining good health and improving their level of fitness.
Fitness and weight loss have become common topic online thus a lot of women are lucky to get information through peers.
When I started losing weight, I was not so keen on portion control and choosing the right foods with the right nutrients. Slowly I came to learn through the internet, and reading a lot about food and health. I learned a lot about food that make you fat and that can cause a lot of trouble with your health so I started eliminating and choosing to eat right.
I started with portion control and eliminating junk food such as pizzas, cakes, fries etc. Then i learned to eat when hungry, and not all the time. Nowadays I don’t take wheat products, dairy, and red meat. I prefer gluten free products; I use almond milk, coconut milk, coconut oil, olive oil instead of cooking fat.
To women trying to lose weight I would advise them to try and drop the wheat products, such as bread and eat more roots, like sweet potato for breakfast and to avoid carbs at night and eat a bit earlier in the evening.
Fitness business for me came as a result of me wanting to lose weight. I discovered I loved Fitness and decided to let other women experience what I’m getting from fitness. The feel good endorphins, the fitness, the mental health are benefits I tremendously enjoy. I decided to venture into fitness because I was passionate about it.
Other Fitness Programs I organize include personal training, strength training and, kickboxing depending on the needs of the client.
My personal Fitness regimen include teaching 2 classes of Zumba fitness a day . Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I do strength training with my coach. I work on my legs, biceps, etc. On Tuesdays and Thursdays I do kick boxing with my coach. On Saturday, I play soccer, and do my stretches.
To mums struggling with Fitness I would like to encourage you to find time for exercise- it is important and it can be done.
You just need to push yourself and go for it. A lot of women exercise even while breastfeeding. Don’t make excuses.
1 hour is enough per day for you to do something. I’m very sure that one can get an hour of fitness a day. There are home workouts DVDS for use at home as well. Walking can be done while pushing the baby in a pram or when the baby is asleep.
To get in touch with me:
Find me on Facebook: zumbanajossy
Call: 0717409743 or visit my website www.zumbanajossy.com for more info.