Like a good horror movie, a good exercise regimen shocks the body out of its lethargy, which is why so many personal trainers chase their clients on treadmills while brandishing anacondas. Get in less terrified shape with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get 10 Zumba group classes at Zumba Fit 4 Life in Durham (a $50 value). Classes are held at the Kenneth E. Harrell Gymnasium on Thursday at 7 p.m., and at the Learning Tots Academy of RTP on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (starting September 3).
Erica Dixon, an experienced personal trainer and group fitness instructor, shepherds students of all skill levels through Zumba, a popular fitness regimen that fuses aerobics with dance. During Zumba classes, hips ebb and flow to the beat of popular Latin rhythms such as merengue, salsa, and samba. Dixon makes a point to pay special attention to newcomers and keeps more seasoned students enthralled by elaborating on advanced moves. To prevent bodies from becoming as bored as tenured Macarena scholars, Dixon adds some of her other favorite two-stepping styles to the mix, including African dance, hip-hop, reggae, and belly dance. Zumba Fit 4 Life recommends dancers bring a towel, a water bottle, and a pair of functional, non-factory-refurbished feet.
Erica Dixon recognizes that not everyone is a professional dancer, including herself. During her Zumba classes, she motivates students to break a sweat with aerobic choreography that dancers of all levels can catch on to quickly, leaving the pro moves to the tiny ballerinas trapped in jewelry boxes. In addition to Latin styles such as salsa, merengue, and samba, she infuses routines with moves from some of her favorite styles, including hip-hop, African dance, and belly dance.
Erica's passion for helping others get a handle on their health is inspired by her own life. Though she'd always been active, when she started working near a fast-food restaurant before her senior year of high school, she packed on 25 pounds. Despite knowing that if she didn't get fit she was at risk for developing type 2 diabetes—like her father did—she continued to gain weight until she saw him injecting insulin into his stomach. Terrified by the thought of having to use needles, she became dedicated to new habits: eating fruits and vegetables, walking laps around the track, and counting calories. She left college 10 sizes smaller than when she enrolled.
To continue pursuing fitness, Erica convinced a local gym manager to give her a membership in exchange for cleaning treadmills for three hours a week. She reveled in the fit-centric atmosphere and realized she wanted to make helping others get into shape her career, so she signed up to be a Military Recreation intern in Sicily. When she returned home, she earned six gold medals at the USA Jump Rope Nationals and helmed her own fitness center for two years. She's now the proud owner of e-Fit4Life, LLC, where she inspires students to shimmy off pounds in her five weekly Zumba classes. She also serves as a Zumba choreography specialist, traveling as far as Hawaii to train instructors and teach both Zumba and Afro-Caribbean master classes.