Beto Perez, creator of the Zumba® Program, is an industry visionary whose instinct for bringing out the joy and passion that come with movement has transformed the fitness experience and helped make the world a healthier place.
Lashaun Dale, Vice President, Group Exercise at 24 Hour Fitness asked Beto to share what moves him.
Lashaun Dale (LD): What are you most passionate about?
Beto Perez (BP): I have always had a passion for teaching and dancing—I used to love watching Grease when I was a child. Zumba was really born when I taught my very first class at the age of 16 in my hometown of Cali, Colombia. And today, Zumba draws out the passion that lives deep within everyone, telling you to break free; a feeling that stays with you long after the Zumba class is over.
LD: What trends in health and fitness inspire you?
BP: Music—I work hard to bring our instructors new rhythms, choreography and a really good mix of music from everywhere. We like to say that you should be able to travel around the world in a one-hour Zumba class!
We’re also launching lots of new technology benefits this year with companies like MyFitnessPal and Jawbone, to make sure Zumba is an integrated feature when it comes to logging your workouts through these technologies. Did you know you can get 80 percent of your daily recommended steps in one Zumba class? That’s 8,000 steps!
LD: How do you stay connected with the participants of your many programs?
BP: I use social media (mainly Instagram, Facebook and Twitter), and I also travel a lot and meet our instructors and students in person. We host nearly 7,000 Zumba instructors every year in Orlando at Zumba Convention, as well as academies and home office connection events all throughout the world.
LD: What’s in your 24? Describe a typical day in your life.
BP: If I am not traveling, I usually wake up around 7:30 a.m. and have a healthy breakfast followed by a couple of hours with my personal trainer. Then I’ll head to the Zumba home office for meetings and studio sessions to work on choreography for our Zumba Instructor Network DVDs, fitness concerts, music videos and more. I have such a passion for music and that is a major responsibility for me at Zumba—I’m constantly producing new music and choreography with artists from around the world.
At night, I teach a Zumba class at my “B2 Studio & Boutique” in downtown Miami. On weekends, I love to go to the beach, ride my motorcycle, go to the movies, and I read a lot of books—biographies and political books, especially.
LD: Your days are so full—how do you achieve work/life balance?
BP: I am fortunate that my job gives me the opportunity to meet and be surrounded by so many incredible people. It balances me hearing their stories and learning from them, and traveling all over the world experiencing new things. I just came back from India and the culture there is just like my culture back in Colombia—full of color, dancing, music and energy.
LD: Your advice to the world?
BP: If you doubt, you die!