Working out in the gym can be so boring. I have two gym memberships on the opposite sides of town. One gym is so peaceful and clean and the other gym is like prison. I unfortunately live closer to the gym that reminds me of prison or what prison looks like on TV. The gym is packed with sweaty guys that stare at you, hog the exercise equipment and make small conversation when you are trying to do your thing! I go to my favorite gym when I have the patience to deal with Houston traffic. If you know anything about Houston traffic you know that it will take all of the Zen out of you. I like to switch it up to keep my sanity. We don’t always have to work out in the gym. Remember we are on a journey and you don’t have to bore yourself by going to the gym every day of your life to stay fit. I decided to try something new! I have taken Zumba and Salsa dance classes and loved them so when I saw an Afrocari dance class I was immediately interested. I asked Brittany the owner of Bee Instyle Hair Studio to go with me to dance class. Brittany is a fabulous hairstylist and gives great advice (see Gym Hair Don’t Care post) and is also an awesome dancer. We had so much fun together at Afrocari dance class (video below). Uchenna Emenaha was our Afrocari dance instructor and we loved her! Uchenna was full of energy and positivity and made the class super enjoyable. I sat down with Uchenna to find out more about her and Afrocari dance. I hope you enjoy!
Tonnisha Deonn Fitness| What inspired you to start Afrocari workout classes?
Uchenna Emenaha| Although Zumba is Latin based as a Zumba instructor we are encourage to add music from different cultures around the world. Having grown up listening to and dancing to Nigerian music I had to incorporate a few songs in my Zumba classes. Doing this was lots of fun and I thought it would be even more fun to do an entire hour of my favorite types of music! I did not see any classes that offered a dance workout out to only African and Caribbean music so I decided to create one myself.
TDF| What is your dance background?
UE| My background is mostly in fitness and health. I have masters in Health Ed and have loved to find different ways to move and be active. I have taken dance fitness classes for years, but it was not until last year that I was courageous enough to peruse it and I am glad I did! Now, whenever I hear a song, I immediately think of what dance choreography would go great to the music.
TDF| How long have you been a dance instructor?
UE| I have been a dance instructor for just over a year. I am certified in Adult and Kids dance fitness classes.
TDF| What are the health benefits of taking Afrocari classes?
UE| People are living more and more sedentary lives because of the convenience of technology and jobs that require people to sit at desk all day. It is no doubt that we must be more active and doing an Afrocari workout is a great way to get in our daily amount of physical activity. The dances incorporate strength training moves to tone and sculpt the body. In addition to toning the cardio in the dances helps to melt fat away. The dances moves are designed for all fitness levels and you do not have to have any background in dance to do Afrocari. Working out should not be hard or boring; it should feel like something we naturally do. Dance is natural and Afrocari is a safe and enjoyable way to get more activity into our lives.
TDF| Are Afrocari classes more effective than other dance classes like Zumba or Salsa?
UE| I love the rhythms and the beats of African and Caribbean music and so do many people all over the world! When choosing a workout it’s important to find something that you love. I love Zumba. I love Salsa. But, I really, really love Afrocari! The difference between Afrocari and others fitness formats is that it incorporates fitness moves to help not just to burn calories, but to also help tone and sculpt the body. Whenever you can do both cardio and strength training in one workout that is definitely more bang for your buck!
TDF| What do you hope your students will take away from Afrocari dance class?
UE| There is an old saying that says, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always”. So my goal is that when people take an Afrocari class they can zone out of their worries and get lost in the energy and excitement of the workout. I hope that it gives my students an opportunity to smile, dance and sing away stress! I want them to be motivated after they leave class and take on whatever challenges they are dealing with, with a renewed mind and more positive outlook.
TDF| How often do you offer Afrocari dance class?
UE| I periodically do in person classes in various studios on the southwest side of Houston, but the majority of my workouts can be found on my YouTube Channel. Afrocari Dance Youtube
To find out where my next in person class will be you can follow me on IG or Twitter @wheredancelives or visit my website www.wheredancelives.com