Meet Veronica, Our New Fierce Funk Teacher!
I am a native Cali girl, born in the Los Angeles area, and grew up experiencing the best of both worlds, living in San Diego and Lake Tahoe, CA. As a young adult, I moved to Reno, NV to begin a career in Journalism and after 14 years, relocated to Portland with my family during the summer of 2013.
Ironically, for most of my life, fitness was not on my list of priorities, let alone a career aspiration! I do have a creative background in music and the performing arts – however, I have endured a life long struggle with my weight, having weighed 242lbs on my just under 5’3 frame and wearing anywhere from a size 14 at my very smallest to a size 22 at my heaviest. I know what it’s like to be clinically obese, to struggle with an eating disorder and I have personally experienced depression and body acceptance issues. I experienced my first “diet” at the age of 10. As a child, teen and young adult was painfully shy, and felt too awkward and uncoordinated to participate in group sports. I avoided the gym and outdoor activities like the plague. When you have an extreme amount of weight on your frame and you are out of shape, it’s nearly impossible to derive enjoyment from any form of exercise.
Fast forward to age 30. My third child was an infant and on top of that weight, I had experienced 3 C-Sections. Through a medically supervised fast I had dropped 65 lbs but after three kids, I’d gained 20lbs back and was in the worst shape of my life, too tired to keep up with my growing family – and having problems breathing due to the extra weight and the natural course of aging. I noticed something called “Zumba” on my manager’s Outlook Calendar at work. I asked her about what this strange appointment was on her schedule. She invited me to take a class with her “AMAZING” instructor and told me she was hooked. I tried the class and fell head over heels in love. Pretty soon, I was working out four or more times per week. My depression was at bay, my body was tightening, and I decided I wanted to do more – to be healthier. Three months after taking my first class, I signed up for Weight Watchers with a goal of losing just 5% of my body weight. I lost a total of 70lbs on weight watchers, and I’ve maintained my goal weight and a size 4/6 for nearly THREE years!
In October of 2011, when I was 25lbs from my goal weight, I became licensed as a Zumba Instructor, eventually teaching several of their specialty formats. With each new training under my belt, I became passionate about expanding my fitness knowledge and education. My passion for Zumba inspired me to find new ways to connect with my students, to empower them to find and stick with a format they moved THEM. In the fall of 2013, I became AFAA Group Fitness Certified.
Spring of 2014, I learned that Pepper Von, my favorite Zumba Education Specialists and an icon in the fitness industry, was ready to offer certifications for his brand new hip hop and modern street funk inspired fitness format, Fierce FUNk®. I LOVE hip hop – and I LOVE Pepper Von. I immediately signed up and fell in love with this brand new fitness format. I enjoyed this new format – so different from Zumba – that I was compelled to begin teaching the format. Since the format is brand new to the area and I was anxious to teach it, I contacted a local studio and began renting a space so that I could offer the first weekly class offered in the Portland area for this brand new format. My Zumba students flocked to my class to try out the new format and embraced it. Each week we come together, put together a hip-hop building blocks to create a brand new routine, perform for each other with support and love – and we throw away the routine at the end of class and do a brand new one the next week. It’s a blast, inspires my students and it brings all of us together. We laugh, support and build each other up. And we look so cool doing it!
Dance fitness powerfully transformed my life and now I get to pass on the torch and inspire others through music and movement. I am thrilled to be a part of the Pulse PDX crew and I cannot WAIT to share this fun and addictive new fitness format with you!