The Merengue Soul

Word to all the Tanya Beardsley fans out there. You gotta join her fan group where is is alive and active and responding to all of us. It’s awesome! Get in the game ladies!

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{January 26, 2012}   Teaching Zumba Toning

Hey all! Hope you’ve all had a happy new year. So far it’s going great. I’ve been teaching the Zumba Toning program for a little more than a year now and it really is an effective, fat burning gift for your body.   I have to give credit to the Amazing Amanda Grant ZES, out of Ontario/Canada who you probably know of from ZIN 30.   She’s a great dancer, energetic, and has a great Zumba booty!  From my personal experience, it was really when I began to lose more inches on my body. Since teaching it and without changing my eating habits I lost an extra 10 lbs and have kept it off.  I’ll tell ya…getting rid of those bye-bye arms can really be a challenge, but it’s really worth adding Zumba Toning to your workout regime if your body has gotten used to regular Zumba classes and you’ve run out of other instructors to try.   Zumba Toning is what your body needs to get it out of its plateau phase.

What’s great about teaching Zumba Toning is that each instructor has their own style and way of interpreting the rhythm and also to translate it into an effective way to use up to 5lb weights with it (not more).  For instructors who follow the Zumba DVD’s to the T, you’ll find that it’s at a slower pace and with some plyometric surprises in between.   For me I’ll take regular Zumba ZIN volumes and choose songs that I can apply to a Zumba Toning format. This is more fun because I’ll always have a variety of songs to use so my participants don’t get bored…hopefully.

So while teaching this program this question still remains…. How can I make this workout even more effective so that we’re engaging all muscle groups in an effective way. Here are some ideas so far:

Arms: Movements can be done at tempo of the song, but try to include movements that can be half tempo as well for added resistance.  Some movements include:

  • Merengue arms to work, biceps, triceps so that your body is shaped like a lower cased T
  • Arm Movement Idea: Open and close arms in a NW/SE, and a NE/SW formation to target accessory muscles in the arms and shoulder and upper back
  • Arm Movement Idea: Arms at chest level and move them in stirring motion to target accessory muscles in the arms and chest and upper back
  • General movements: tricep curls, bicep curls, side bicep curls, chest presses, shoulder presses. But those are movements that target mostly your major muscle groups instead of your accessory muscle groups.


  • Quads: Back lunge but with your leg crossed behind the opposite leg instead of lunging it directly behind you. Targets major and secondary muscle groups.  Alternate them to the beat of a salsa song at tempo or half tempo.
  • Inner Thigh and outer:  To a slow salsa, have most of your weight on one leg, and the other leg will cross as far over in front of that leg, then tap out to the side, and then cross it behind that leg and repeat several reps and switch to the other side.  To target the outer thigh, instead of tapping out to the side, lift your leg and then back down to cross behind you for several reps.
  • Cross Squats: Squat down as far as you can with weights in your hand, and to the beat of a song, take the weight in your right hand and place it in front of your left leg. Then come back up, and then back down again to place the weight in your left hand down in front of your right leg. Repeat this sequence and pick them back up.


  • Now this is where I will need your help. I still haven’t found an effective standing ab exercise that will have your feeling it the next day.
  •   I am open to ideas from all you fitness professionals out there to share it with my class.

Plyometric Movements:

  • I’m so intrigued to find out how we can incorporate challenging moves to better target the abdominal muscles and core strength to burn fat like a mean ..but cute zumba fighting machine!!

Don’t forget to checkout the Zumba clothing , especially those cargo pants which are currently on sale at

To reach me…email me at

Farida Dancer:  So first question is when did you know you wanted “dance” to be a part of your full time career?

Tanya Beardsley:  Ummm…when did I know?  I think that kind of happened on accident.  I just know that dancing, for me, was always like the first form of communication for me. I’ve danced my whole life….I tried different things u know…but um words just kind a messed it up. Like I feel I’m super emotional and super passionate and dance kind of um allowed me to have an outlet…to let it out…instead of bottle it up.  I just kind a randomly like I heard about it but I was a competitive dancer u know and I was doing that professionally…yeah I was teaching dance and that was a whole different world. People told me about Zumba, and I googled it, and went to one of the first trainings u know and uh……….. 10 years later u know, it just like…it’s just important to….u know…expression man….empower people it’s important.
Farida Dancer: Yeah you totally have that ability naturally. Yeah and I just wanna know when did you realize a natural ability to motivate people because not everybody can do that? J

Tanya Beardsley:  No I didn’t and I think it just kind a happened through honesty…believe it or not. Most of us, like I was saying this morning …joking that I was having issues n’ stuff but we’re taught even in dance to keep it all in…don’t let it shake u ….u have to be a certain way…not to be verbal about your feelings. Yeah honesty man…because I think everybody holds it in…I think they’re not honest about how they feel and their insecurities n’ stuff like that…and I decided u know what…I’m never going to be able to connect with people if I have a constant front up…whether you like it or not…as long as I’m myself and I’m honest then I’m gonna be able to sleep at night.  Like it’s too much of a fasod that people try to put out or try to be something that they’re not and I think through going through everything that I deal with just as a human being and being open about it…have been able to connect with people…and maybe inspire them to open up about their stuff too.

Farida Dancer: Did you ever have issues with public speaking before or ….

Tanya Beardsley:  Yeah it always scared me.

Farida Dancer: Really????

Tanya Beardsley:  Yeah Always…like reports in school n’ stuff…

Farida Dancer: Yeah??

Tanya Beardsley: Yeah are you serious? I got sick n’ everything…..

Farida Dancer: What got you over that like what did you do to break that?

Tanya Beardsley: Being Honest. 

Farida Dancer: Yeah

Tanya Beardsley:  And having my certain material like you know …having that material that we teach with but fully believing in that material and being able to express it in different ways is what got me over it but um I’m always nervous before everything I do. And that’s why with teaching you can warm up to people like through the movement and then it’s easier to speak to them once you’ve already connected in that element. And yeah but none of this happened until I started to learn to try to accept myself man and not try to change it…yeah a life long process but. And plus I feed off of people like you who tell me that you actually feel it and you know that’s important.

Farida Dancer: YeahJ

Tanya Beardsley: Yeah (Tearing up a bit) Now you got me going’ dude…

Farida Dancer:  Cool! Noooooo!

Tanya Beardsley: Smiling and laughing

Farida Dancer:  You use the strong phrase “Keep your ego at the door” – What works for you to make sure that you yourself follow that?

Tanya Beardsley: Because I know nothing lasts forever and we may be in this position now to be trainers, to be in videos and to be able to do what we can do. And that’s what it is, and it is that we are able to do what we can now and we should try to live in the now.   When we get caught up in ‘ego’, it deludes everything man and it makes you insensitive to what’s really going on because you’re always putting up that front. But like I was saying today there is always going to be people better than you and if you have such a huge ego it hurts worse when someone walks into the room and they totally kick your butt.  But everyone has their niche man and everyone is beautiful and amazing in their own different way. They may not be a great dancer but maybe they are an amazing artist in another way like a great mom or dad u know.  When ego sets in that is when things start to crumble. Unfortunately a lot of the chaos in the world today stems from ego.

Farida Dancer: So you recognize those consequences and that’s what keeps you…

Tanya Beardsley : Yeah J And also I hate egos cause I came from …like first I was in Miami and I was trying to fit in there doing my Zumba thing and I’m not that Miami type. I’m not this beautiful Latin Goddess….like I just think that Latin women are beautiful and I tried to be that….

Farida Dancer: Really? You tried to be that??

Tanya Beardsley: yeah I tried to fit that mould for a long time…and that why that process got difficult for me…and that’s why evolving…coz I feel like…..

Farida Dancer: Was that why you were dressing kind of more like feminine, like you know and now you go with a hip hop look now?

Tanya Beardsley: Yeah I’m a lot more comfortable in baggy clothes

Farida Dancer: Yeah! J You totally work the baggy clothes J

Tanya Beardsley: You know I feel I don’t have to take my clothes off to be sexy. I don’t think women should feel like they have to do that….and we don’t have to do that because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You know like I said…we are evolving….we are what we choose to be confident…we have to be mindful about that…u know.   And ego and all that u know I just didn’t ….it’s energy! Everything is energy! You know when you’re in the room with the most arrogant people it’s just not a good feeling! They say perfection is an illusion dude.

Farida Dancer: Yeah…that’s true…Buzz kill….

Tanya Beardsley:  Yeah you shouldn’t have to look a certain way, if you have to go through the whole prep…the hair…the makeup….you know everything….to walk about and feel good about yourself.  It starts from within.  I think in that confidence…that’s what projects.  Coz you know you can meet physically beautiful people but they’re just ugly…like their personality and their energy is ugly. And then again you can see average people and they have a beautiful soul and light that u know makes something extra special. Did I even answer your question???

Farida Dancer: Yeahhh! It did!! Totally wow!

Tanya Beardsley: I’m just going off on you over here dude! (Laughing)

Farida Dancer: J That’s awesome!

Farida Dancer:   If you had three wishes for your life in particular, what would they be?

Tanya Beardsley: Oh Boy…….

Farida Dancer: Let’s start with the first J

Tanya Beardsley: Oh Jeez….. Feel like the tears are gonna come………Three wishes?

I think the first one would be for my family to be healthy, happy and balanced. Um ……………and safe.   And another would be happy, healthy, balanced and safe for myself and okay with myself even when all this stops. These are kind a not wishes for material things but u know that comes and goes. You’re born alone and you die alone and you don’t have all your material stuff with you. Yeah it would be for my family and loved ones to be okay. And I think another one not to be selfish but I’d want me to be okay man, and quiet the voices n’ stuff.  And we talked about evolving and being okay when I move into the different phases of my life with no regrets.  That’s a big thing…I don’t want to have any regrets.  And I know it’s important to me is to tell people like my mom and dad …I tell them I love them everyday…it doesn’t matter where I am in the world, I have to text them or call them to tell them I love them because you never know what tomorrow…u never know…u know what I’m saying…that scares me. It’s important to be verbal about that kind of stuff.  And another wish I guess is just……world peace!? (laughing)…I’ve always wanted to say that (laughing) Man I’m gonna think about this later and I’ll be like damn! U know…gimme your email just in case and I’ll be like here are my three wishes J (thinking….)

Farida Dancer: For you…something for you

Tanya Beardsley: We got to learn to give more to ourselves especially as women again…always trying to give to everybody else and we never make ourselves happy. My third wish is that I would love to find the absolute love of my life. For someone to love me in my sweatpants and zit cream, to be a wonderful mother and to have a family from that stem…from that seed of love…that book love…that fairytale stuff….I believe in that. I’m a hopeful romantic. But damn I want that so bad…so bad. So I think that would be number three. The never dying true love soul mate….If that’s out there I want it.

Farida Dancer: Wow, that’s beautiful.

Farida Dancer: What do you enjoy while not working?

Tanya Beardsley: Spending time with my family…when I get a chance to. I like to see live shows. I like to go to concerts. Like Sade…she’s like my favourite artist…amazing. I like good conversation…I like to learn stuff from people…whatever like still appreciate stuff…like

Farida Dancer:  So you’re not really into the party or the club scene?

Tanya Beardsley: No I used to be. I definitely feel like dancing…like salsa dancing, I will do that all night long. But you know I can’t hang like I used to hang. Plus you know I tried to fit into that too for a while and it’s hollow. U know what I’m saying…But here I like to be with people and you’re having a good time and you get the same buzz, but you’re not coming down afterwards…u know…  But you know spending time with my family…I’ve been reading a lot, like you know romantic realism books…go figure…like to learn…good conversation man, music, chill, yea u know I don’t mind silence. Because with everything it’s always so loud, we’re always travelling…music, people and talking so. I’ve learned to be okay just being by myself…it’s downtime I enjoy…and whatever

Farida Dancer: What do you do to stay away from negative emotion…because you know as Cancer’s we can be very emotional…?

Tanya Beardsley:  I’m very internal. But I have to remind myself um again also that I always say that the “doubt kills” man.  Our mind is a powerful machine. The more that we leak poisonous gas into it to feed that machine we create; every individual creates their own reality. We all live within our own reality. But most of that is all turmoil and negativity that we create for ourselves. That’s why we seek perfection in all that we do but that’s why there’s worry all the time.   There’s worry of people being better than you…u know.  There are people that wanna hate you just because they’re jealous. Jealousy sucks man…because it works in the exact opposite way that we want it to.  And I keep coming back to this….honesty….if you’re honest with yourself…and try to be honest with other people and not try to put up that front man…then I think that a lot of negative vibrations get away from you…can’t fight that honesty man.  But u know it can be hard to be honest, because people judge. People judge people every single day. It doesn’t matter what position you’re in.  You can have a guy roll into this room right now in a wheelchair and people will look at him and feel bad for him…u know…it’s like projection. U know…its like how do you know he doesn’t have a happy life even if he’s in a wheelchair.  A lot of life is avoiding other people’s projections.  We all have a blank screen. When he comes into the room people project what they want to on that. That’s why I say “it’s my screen”…don’t project your negativity on it.

Farida Dancer: What’s your background?

Tanya Beardsley: Italian/English (England).  The Beardsley name is big in England.  Actually a famous painter carries the last name Beardsley and we’re not related. I checked.

Farida Dancer: What’s your astrological sign and your birth month and day?

Tanya Beardsley: Cancer, July 4th

Farida Dancer: Do you have a religious belief?

Tanya Beardsley: No I’m not religious but I am spiritual.

Farida Dancer: So you believe that there is a God.

Tanya Beardsley: Yes.

Reply with your comments of what other questions you think would allow us to get to know this amazing person a little better?

I got one: Are there any dancers that she looks up to?  Who in the Zumba industry does she look up to the most and why?  She identifies her interest in learning. Is there any thing in particular she really wants to learn more about? What do you eat to maintain your sexy and fit 6 pack abs?

P.S. I love you Tanya and you’re beautiful and you have a beautiful soul too.  I hope that with this interview the world can see that too and understand why you are truly an amazing person.  I wish for you and your family to be healthy and safe and for all your dreams in life to come true. If anyone deserves it …it’s you. BFF Farida Dancer from Canada;)

For privacy reasons I won’t mention the name of the medication but it was certainly the kind that gets you to experience a side effect of ‘fatigue’. I was really worried if I would be able to teach a 2 hr class being on these meds and if I would actually be able to pull through.   In the end I did but I never really knew what ‘fatigue’ meant until now.   Basically after every song i have to have a drink of water and take a 20 second breather until we begin again. I’d be huffing and puffing trying to catch my breath a bit.   Certainly did feel way more winded than usual.   But what kept me going is my passion for teaching Zumba fitness classes and wanting to be there.   I had to keep self-talking saying “I want to be here…I want to be here”.   Also what really helped was God’s creation of the most amazing drink called “Coconut water”.  You can get it from the chinese store, or from a hastey market made by ‘Grace’ or some other international name ‘OKo’ er something like that.   That stuff put life in me! It really helped me to pull along and aleviate the lightheadedness and low energy feeling I had.   So what I did was take a 1.5 litre of water and mix a can of coconut water in there and drink that during class.   Apparently Coconut water contains 5 electrolytes compared to gatorade or powerade which contains only 2.

Grace Coconut water – Here’s to the sunshine in you!

but p.s. What’s up with the preservative Sodium Metabusulite ..or something like that???????

{May 13, 2011}   You’ve lost weight!

Hiya all. Basically I’ve been teaching about 8 classes a week, combined with Zumba Toning, Aqua Zumba, and Zumba and it’s starting to show.   Particularly even though I haven’t lost many pounds, which have been about 10 lbs since I started teaching , I have indeed lost fat!  My back no longer has rolls, but just 2 grooves now, one on each side. They don’t look like flaps which i hated but grooves. The muscle tone in my arms and shoulders are more apparent because I have more shape in that area.   When teaching Aqua Zumba I was told by a few members that I lost weight in my midsection as well as my legs and my butt according to them.   I didn’t really notice much in my legs, but my jeans are fitting better than they used to and don’t feel like bursting outta them after finished eating.

I still haven’t gotten down and dirty with my eating habits though. They have improved so I am more satiated by healthy foods, but when I get sugar cravings at night I go for the carbs …oops!

I watched a movie that quoted a prase that got me thinking “How bad do you want this?”  Since i’m still slipping up eating-wise, not bad enough because it’s still chilly out.

Summer is comin and gotta start taking this seriously fast.

After Baby 190lbs May 2004 – April 2008, Pre Zumba: 167 lbs March 2010, Apres Zumba: 162 Lbs Aug 2010, Instructor Status: 160 lbs Oct 2010, Now 150lbs May 2011 – Goal 130lbs or less

Hey there – so one day decided to post my cut up Zumba t’s on ebay to sell off my stock and surprisingly they went like hot cakes.   Got awesome feeback too from those who got theirs already – i.e. superbe, perfect, and can’t remember the rest but here’s my feedback profile under zumbaworkoutscanada username on ebay.

available now on

p.s. kinda sucks for new sellers they’re limited to the quantity of em they can sell. got more but can’t sell em now just on the website above.  also sold on ebay for discount price

I didn’t realize how important Zumba Love is until only recently. When I teach for a class that’s feelin’ me, and I get positive vibes of Zumba love it really fuels my passion for teaching that particular class. I love to feel I can be myself as a Zumba Instructor, a performer and a motivator. I really want to be the one who can invoke what each participant has to offer in a Zumba class so we can all feel good together and leave the class feeling revived and alive. If I don’t feel the Zumba Love I’m looking for; instead of feeling bummed out I’ve now learned to let it go and move on to another class where that love is available for me. I’m very passionate about being a Zumba fitness instructor and I really give it all I got for every class because I’m happy while teaching it as long as the class and me click. And who doesn’t wanna click with others these days? Zumba Hugs n’ Love xox

heyyyy wazaaaaaaa.   So what’s the significance of the title for today’s posting?  It is what it is…i want more power, more energy that will have me bouncing off the walls so I can give all the energy i WANT to have when teaching any format of a Zumba Class.  I work for Wynn fitness and my boss is very pleased and commends me on my energy level.   Also after teaching Zumba Toning just this past friday at Premier Fitness a participant came up to me and told me that she is very impressed by my energy level and that this weeks class was more challenging than last weeks’ class because it had her feeling more tired sooner. Yayyyeee! Now that’s a compliment!  I want them to walk out of my class feelin’ bruk! (translation: pooped out or aka very exhausted)  So when she commended me I thanked her and said “It’s really not enough for me and I want MORE energy.” She replied with a surprised look on her face asking me if i was serious:)) lol! 

Like I said, I want to have the kind of energy that can have me bouncing off the walls from beginning till the end.   With every song I teach too, I want to dance it full out with no feet dragging, and not having any doubt that I’m going to make it till the end of the song. I also don’t want to feel ‘winded out’ at any point.  Now that I think of it..maybe that’s unrealistic because at the same time I want to feel that I’m challenging that I can challenge the class at the same time hopefully.   I’m not in tip top shape either so I feel I have to push myself for my class to feel as though they are giving their bodies a good workout.

I also admire more and more teaching Zumba Toning because of the fitness moves I can encorporate into the class.  I’m trying to add more core muscle action by using plyometric squat jumps, and that move where you look like a speed skater and moves that require you to use your balance to engage your abs and your core.  I like to use fitness moves because they do burn more calories and it’s very important for me to find ways for my participants to use more calories.

I love to dance and I love zumba music so I always make that a part of each of my classes. If I’m going to encorporate fitness moves in a Zumba class I try to make it fun by mixing up the song with some fitness and dance.  You can do merengue with fast arms and legs and burn calories but that’s all you’re doing.   What about doing merengue moves, and encorporating plyometric moves and fitness moves to engage your muscles  and your core for a better balanced work out.  You can do all the cardio in the world…but the body is more attractive IMHO with muscle tone as well.  I may be on the thicker sign but I do have curves from muscle and I feel good about that.  It’s important to me that my participants get a good dance out, a good caloric burn, and that their muscles and core are engaged in the Zumba Classes I teach.   I really want them to feel something the next day and to feel challenged by that hour of doing a Zumba Class.   This year I’m going to get my can fit pro done for FIS so I can excel at being a better Zumba Fitness instructor.  I also need to learn about nutrition so I can take care of my diet …certainly something to be reconned with. Spring is coming and summer most of all and I would love to shed another 15 lbs for summer.   I teach a combination of Zumba fitness classes which total 8 times a week so if i get my nutritional discipline in check, I’ll get there. I really think I should get on that this week…Monday being day one.

Thanx for listening

Zumba Love;)

Heyyyyy sup! lol!

So it’s official, I have a hip hop/latin style of carrying out Zumba Classes. When I look for songs that I’d like to use on a playlist, i’m looking for that particular spicy beat in that song that makes me wanna dance and feel sexy.

Here’s an example with salsa songs:

With songs such as: I love salsa, or la comay…i don’t get that sexy salsa vibe from them so i either use them once and they’re off my playlist and never are seen again.

With songs like: Fuego La jicotea, pegale a los cueros (wow!) ..those are songs that get me goin’ and i’ll be using those as salsa songs for a long while until another spicy salsa song imho comes up.

I’m not so picky with merengue songs because the beats are similar and fun to do.

Also I love how the songs that are suggested to use in Zumba are “fusion songs”. Love those fusion songs. What are they? They are songs that are mixed with 2 rhythems. For example….Salsa/cumbia…or Reggaeton/Bellydance or Bollywood/Reggaeton, or Salsa/Reggaeton…love love love em’! Imho those songs are sexier and more interesting and less boring to dance to.

examples of fusion songs: Zeina, Sacudelo, She’s hot, Halle decale, Pegate

My idol and inspiration Tanya Beardsley also delivers awesome Zumba fitness classes with her hip hop b-girl latin flava zumba style too.   I do my best to keep it real by choosing songs that I can relate to so that to be the best I can be for my zumba classes.   Sadly to say …There are classes who absolutely LOVE me…and then there are those that aren’t so impressed because i’m considered too “hip hoppy”.   I am happy to say that there aren’t many of those thank goodness.  Today is sunday..and tomorrow is Monday and I’m lookin forward to my favorite place to teach monday nights…yes…Wynn fitness;)

I can’t help but be confused sometimes because ive been asked “can you play more latin songs?”  I know when I was taking classes at Goodlife last year I was always lookin’ forward to those salsa songs.  Because of that I make sure to have 3 or at least 2 salsa songs in every class. I can’t do more becuse there’s only one hour eh’ i gotta make room for the rest of my favorites too:))

So i’m hip hoppy…i’m not offended…but one can’t help be bummed out a little for not being able to please everyone.   That’s unrealistic to expect to please everyone.   Oh yeah..I forgot to mention why i was confused about being asked to play more latin music. It’s because 90% of the songs I play are all in spanish!  If what i’m being asked is to deliver a class with pure salsa, merengue and cumbia, and one reggaeton song or two..i can’t right now. But I am keeping an open mind for learning because there is always room for improvement right? 

Just like Tanya says “If there’s 5 that don’t like you…there are 15 others that will”.  That’s my girl..keepin’ it real..and keepin’ us strong! Zumbbaaa!

Heyyyy Zumba Fans! I just got offered an opportunity from Wynn Fitness …u know the one near Dundas and Dixie to offer another Zumba Class yayyyyeee!  They’re also adding another class for another fave instructor of Wynn named Sandra / aka Xandie – Which classes are always full but we do both have different styles.   I was definately intimidated thinking how am I going to really measure up to Xandie who’s been teaching Zumba for years and has really put herself out there entrepreneurily (hmmm is that a word..but u know what i mean eh’).  Well it turns out, they like me on Mondays…yayyeee. It’s by far my favorite place to teach all week! 

We’re still in the process of fine tuning the details but I’m finalizing offering Zumba Toning from 6-7..and then Zumba from 7-8.   I’m currently doing that at Premier in Milton on Tuesdays where Zumba toning and Zumba are 2 45min back to back classes…so an extra 30 min won’t kill me.

So yayyeee I not only get to teach at my favorite place to work but more often! ZUUUMMBAAAAA!

et cetera