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Role MOdels: Kelly Bullard ZES


We loved our Strong by Zumba training. You knew that! So, imagine how excited we are to get you some insider info on what it takes to be Strong by Zumba ZES (Zumba Education Specialist) or a great Strong by Zumba teacher or student straight from Kelly herself! Thanks again, Kelly, for the interview, especially in the middle of a travel schedule so packed we don’t know how you’re still sane. Read on for more, plus her fave move in the class and some good reminders for staying healthy on the road.

Mode Fitness: What got you into Zumba and how did that evolve into your job?

Kelly Bullard: I have a Masters degree in Exercise and Sports Science and over 20 years in the fitness industry as a fitness instructor. For years I danced and was a cheerleader, and later coached competitive dance and cheer teams, and am still a choreographer today.

Zumba began for me in 2007 as I attended a Zumba Basic 1 training in Chicago so I could bring Zumba into the high school physical education curriculum for the high school I was teaching at, at that time. I utilize my experiences from both dance and fitness every day for in what I do. Although I finished 9 years as a high school Physical Education teacher, and taught college-level courses at a university, I will forever be an educator. Currently I am a Zumba Education Specialist (ZES) and present Instructor trainings for Zumba Fitness, as well as other fitness-based workshops across the globe.

What’s your own fitness regime like?

I make time to attend other classes regularly, and I train myself on my own time (kettlebell training, weights, yoga, etc). A balance of a healthy diet, proper body training, and good sleep at night keeps me pushing through the busy weeks.

What’s in your gym bag?

I keep my heart rate monitor (ready to toss on for a measurement of a good cardio class or workout), a protein bar (in case of some immediate re-fueling), my old ipod (always have a back up music source on hand if needed), and an extra pair of cross-trainer shoes that I can dance in, fitness in, or do Strong by Zumba in!

What’s your best tip for new Strong by Zumba teachers?

KNOW your music!! KNOW your moves!! Practicing is the BEST way to learn the music and the moves together. Also, I suggest that new Strong by Zumba instructors should go to their studio and practice teaching the ENTIRE class WITH the microphone on verbalizing the cues and doing the workout. There is a big difference between an instructor who just knows choreo/music and an instructor who can actually TEACH the choreo/music TO a group of people successfully. In addition, a nSBZ instructor should know their participants... and offer appropriate switchouts (the term SBZ uses for modifications) as needed.

What’s your favorite Strong by Zumba move?

It’s a tossup between the 2 skaters with the squat jump combo in Quadrant 2... or the straight up BURPEES!! I love them both!

What’s your best advice for Zumba and fitness teachers?

KEEP that PASSION!!! Skills are nothing, and knowledge is nothing. UNLESS if there is PASSION involved to share that knowledge and skills with others. Students in our classes feed off that passion and the energy we give off! If we are excited about something... they will feel it too! Regardless of the format, teach your classes from your heart. Share that passion, and your students will feel the love, inspiration, and motivation!!

Coming from Kelly, we can attest that she absolutely lives what she's saying here. She makes every minute educational and so much FUN that you want to do well just to enjoy it more! It's also a good reminder that if you aren't getting that high when you work out, it's probably time to find another class or teacher or check out some streaming options. If you are lucky enought to live in Wisconsin, check out her class schedule here. If not, she's probably coming soon to lead a training near you!

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