Monday, April 16, 2012

LA Fitness - Zumba Fail

I have been going to Zumba classes for about a year now, as a groupd of friends and I bought a Groupon and LivingSocial deal for two different Zumba studios. I'm not an expert in this Latin-inspired Jazzercise aerobics dance form, but I can tell if an instructor is good or not. 


Since my coupons all expired and I decided to start back up with going to the gym more frequently, I was excited to learn that the LA Fitness location I go to in Midtown Atlanta offered Zumba classes three nights a week. I observed one of the Tuesday night classes a few weeks ago and noticed that there was this awesome instructor named Reginald. He had a huge following and the class was always packed (with about 50 people), and everyone looked like they were getting a great workout and also having fun. I was sold!


About a month ago, my gym buddy and I decided we wanted to try his Zumba class. We showed up early on a Thursday night, figuring that the class wouldn't be as packed later in the week. However, we were confused when there were only about 10 other people waiting for the class to start. After waiting 10 minutes past the class' start time, we started to get antsy. I turned to a girl that was standing next to me and asked if she knew what was going on. She said that Reginald had quit the week prior and it was apparent that the substitute instructor wasn't going to show up. Apparently, Reginald asked for a raise and LA Fitness wouldn't comply. Even though I didn't get a chance to take his class, I saw that he had brought in people from all over the Metro Atlanta area, who came just for him. In fact, the girl I was talking to came from Buford, GA, which is about 45 minutes north of the Midtown location. You would think that LA Fitness would have tried to at least negotiate with him considering how he helped bring in members from near and far.


After waiting 15 minutes with no sign of an instructor, the dozen or so of us paraded to the front desk to complain. Of course the person working the desk had nothing to do with group fitness, but said that he would pass our complaints on to the morning manager. After cooling down from being stood up by the so-called sub, my workout buddy and I decided to wait to try the Zumba class once a permanent instructor was assigned. 


Two weeks ago, when we saw there was an instructor assigned to Tuesday nights, we decided to give it a shot. My gym buddy had never done Zumba before and of course I talked it up about how much fun it is and that it's a great workout. We got to the class early, as we expected there to be a large crowd. I noticed there was only about 20 people in the class, but we didn't think anything of it since it was Spring Break. The instructor showed up 5 minutes late, which already pissed me off, but I told myself to just stick it out and give her a chance. In hindsight, we should have left right then and there. 


The instructor ended up being a woman who I had randomly talked to before a flag football game. She taught a class on Monday nights at the gym next to the flag football fields. I ran in one night to use their facilities before our game and saw she was wearing Zumba gear. Being the talkative person I am, I asked if she was the instructor. She not only went on to tell me that she was the instructor, but she told me how she brought Zumba to Atlanta and trains all of the other instructors. I was intrigued so I took her information and then went back to my football game. I called one of my Zumba buddies who bought the Groupons with me and told her about this new place and asked if she wanted to try one of the woman's classes with me. When I told her the woman's name, Janet, my friend immediately got animated and yelled out, "She is THE worst instructor in Atlanta!" She then went on to tell me how she had tried her class and that it was so slow and boring and wasn't even really Zumba, but more like an old school Jazzercise class. I trusted this friend and never tried out Janet's class, until now... 


You see, once the woman started talking, she gave the same schpeal - "I'm Janet and I'll be your Zumba instructor. I have been doing Zumba for X years and I am the one who brought Zumba to Atlanta." I was immediately disappointed. I turned to my workout buddy and warned her that this wasn't going to be a real Zumba class. However, we decided to give her a chance and see for ourselves if she was decent. She was by far the WORST Zumba instructor I had ever taken a class with. She was slow, boring, and to be honest, she can't really dance. At one point in the class, my workout buddy turned to me and said, "I feel like I'm at the Copacabana." I can honestly say that this was the first "Zumba" class (and I'm using the term loosely since it really couldn't be classified as Zumba) that I took where I didn't even break a sweat. 
DO NOT take Zumba with this instructor!
LA Fitness, you really have failed! You went from having possibly the best Zumba instructor in the city, to hiring, in my opinion, one of the worst. The class attendance speaks for itself. The only good move you made is hiring her to teach only one day a week and not all three. You will never see me or my gym buddy in that class again, and we certainly won't be recommending it to anyone. You get two big thumbs down for this bad decision!

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