More the merrier for fitness lover Jennifer
After more than a decade of running a business, new mother Jennifer Ward was looking for a way to connect.
She rebranded marketing company E-media in October. Inspired Limited then moved into Sofia House on Church Street. Ms Ward, who has been teaching Zumba for seven years, said the new home would “combine the creative with the fitness”.
She said: “That’s part of the problem — leaving your office and getting to where you have to go and then getting back. It’s two hours to teach lunchtime class and it takes a lot out of you.”
The idea was put forward by her Zumba partner, Jackie Poole.
The new arrangement would give her a place to teach and work without having to “run around”.
Sharing the space with other instructors would then provide more options and income.
She had dreamt up something similar when her son, Lucas, was born in England two years ago.
“When I was living in the UK, I had the notion of having a fitness studio and a café,” Ms Ward said. “A place that you could do different classes: mummy classes or baby classes or seniors classes and have a café with it.
“Once we found the space we realised the three pieces could fit in one. The notion of having a creative office that you can sit in the café on work and not as a desk and then have classes that people can connect with each other afterwards.
“When you’re dealing with classes for new moms or seniors in the morning, people especially want that connection.”
She started E-media in 2000 but took a break from the company in Sunderland while her partner completed his master’s degree. They’re now back with their 22-month-old son, Lucas, a “budding Zumba instructor”.
When she returned, she had planned to run Island Property News and teach Zumba, but the community had other ideas.
“Once you get back in the seat, people are like, ‘Jen, can you do this, can you do that?’
“We built the team back up. It was time for a change, a refresh. You always need an evolution after 18 years.”
She got into Zumba “by brute force”. The Athletic Club’s Kirsty Oliver was her personal trainer and the first person to teach Zumba on the island. “We all went and got hooked,” she said.
When Ms Oliver left in 2011, she felt her only option was to certify. She trained in Toronto in October and started teaching in November. “I launched my first class during the Rugby Classic — the stupidest idea ever — but it was fun,” she laughed.
She took a break when she moved to England, bringing on Ms Poole to take over her brand of Zumba as well as her niche classes, Zumba Gold, a class geared towards seniors, and Zumba Kids.
Now she’s back to teaching six classes a week. She plans to open the café in due course.
“Because people know I teach Zumba, I don’t want it to appear as if Jen’s opened a Zumba studio,” she clarified.
The space is open to any class and they are calling on new instructors to join the Zumba-heavy schedule.
“I’ve got Zumba Gold, which is so necessary in Bermuda,” she said.
“It’s Zumba, but it’s catered to seniors, people who are pregnant or overweight or have injuries. There’s no twisting, no jumping. It’s still Zumba; it’s still the same music but it’s modified.”
She said you don’t have to be a dancer to take part in the Latin-based dance class. Before Zumba, her dancing was reserved for “in the club”.
She laughed: “You don’t need to be co-ordinated, just don’t fall over. I can shake my booty hardcore for an hour in a Zumba class, but don’t ask me to run. It’s very, very accessible.
“All of our classes are classes that beginners can come to. It’s a very non-intimidating and welcoming, open environment. We have a lot of beginners and people who don’t want the attitude of a gym.”
Above all, she said it’s designed to be fun. Her evening Zumba class was filled with mothers with children under 2. One woman brought her mother. She said that a traditional gym can feel intimidating to some.
Her most popular class is Saturday salsa led by Derek Musson of Clave Dance Bermuda. Sarah Miles teaches Pilates; Mel Dupres teaches yoga.
“They’re both very, very good at modifying for people with injuries or older age groups,” Ms Ward said.
“We had some classes open for Age Concern members and one woman was in her 80s. Mel had her on a chair. The class that Sarah teaches at 11am is completely different to how she is at 6.30pm.
“Caroline [Mulholland, a Bermuda College instructor] teaches regular Zumba and Zumba Gold. It’s perfect for new moms or those who need lower impact. She has a couple of guys who have injuries.”
Annette Lewis teaches Bodyshred, a high-intensity and endurance-based 30-minute workout.
Always looking for new instructors, Ms Ward said anyone is welcome to come in and see what they want to do.
There is no membership fee — those interested can purchase five or ten-class punch cards or drop in for $20.
“If you buy a punch card, there are endless options for what you can have access to. It’s more about creating a facility that people can actually engage with and feel confident that they can accomplish something.”
• Inspired Fitness 436-2023. www.inspired.bm
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