We’ve all been there. The class is full, the first merengue starts and your Zumba instructor is on. She’s smiling, dancing and has way more energy than anyone—even on their best day. So how does she (and every other Zumba teacher) do it? What do they eat to give them all that pep? You know we had to ask!
What do Zumba instructors eat for all that energy?
When it comes to Zumba, having plenty of energy is key to a successful class. An instructor that keeps the party going with the right music and positive energy is necessary to get everyone moving and grooving—even those back row folks. To do that, many instructors rely on a pre-class snack to give them that jolt of energy.
Jane Bremmer, a certified instructor with more than five years of experience, says that choosing snacks that provide her not only with pep but real, lasting energy is key. For energy that lasts, she recommends protein. “I’ll try to eat protein and fruit; a hard-boiled egg and a piece of fruit, a cheese stick and an apple, almonds and grapes,” she explains. This combo of a bit of natural sugar from those fruits and protein provides that extra oomph instructors need to push through those salsas and cumbias. (Psst… you can check out our favorite protein-packed snacks here.)
This sentiment is echoed by plenty of other instructors as well, like Emily Solati who has been teaching for 18 months. She recommends nuts and seeds to maintain energy levels all day long. And Bobbie McCain, a three-year Zumba veteran, says that she reaches for a banana and yogurt before class. If she’s on the go, McCain says that she blends together spinach and fresh fruit for a smoothie—a snack that will fill her with nutrients without bogging her down for dancing.
Need smoothie ideas to rev yourself up before class? We’ve got you covered.
What about after class?
Solati explains that an easy way to make sure her meals are healthy is to fill half her plate with fruits and veggies at every meal. That simple visual guide ensures that every breakfast, lunch and dinner provides tons of powerful vitamins and nutrients. As for the veggies themselves, Solati doesn’t shy away from a single one. “We eat all the colors of the rainbow at my house,” she says. You can eat all the colors of the rainbow, too, with these produce-powered recipes.
The real secret for a healthy, energetic lifestyle, though, according to Solati, is to move away from a diet mindset to a fueling mindset. With a diet mindset, people often think of restrictions and eating less, but Solati explains that when you think of food as fuel to power your day, you don’t need to be in that restrictive headspace. “I don’t ever limit myself,” she says.
Bremmer doesn’t limit herself either. She says she still enjoys great comfort foods, but instead goes for healthier options. “My husband makes a fabulous veggie lasagna,” she says. And when she’s craving something fresh, salads filled with protein and fresh fruit—we’ve got plenty of recipes!—are always satisfying.
When it comes to food, just like in Zumba, it’s OK to freestyle once in a while! Every instructor has their favorite indulgences. McCain says she loves to snack on anything salty. “I love chips and pretzels,” she says. Bremmer says she loves a Dairy Queen ice cream cone dipped in chocolate (who doesn’t?).
As for Solati, she says, “I eat bread, potatoes, carbs, cake.” Her favorite indulgence, though, M&M’s in the microwave “when they’re melty on the inside and still crunchy outside.” That’s some snack freestyling any chocolate-lover can get behind!