Why I left Zumba

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Kelly

A lot of these photos are from the 80’s so the quality is not great

Hey Hey Friends! Hope you all are well!!

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about why I’m not teaching group fitness right now, so I wanted to explain where I started and what happened.

If you know me, you know my love for exercise. I was a jock in high school, playing volleyball, basketball, softball and track.  I loved being active in sports.  When I went to college in 1985 there was a common saying for new freshmen,  ‘gaining the freshman 15’.  I was determined that would not happen to me.  I had an extra credit I could take to add to my class load so I added a dance exercise class.  I loved it but it was only 2 days a week.  Searching for more intramural classes in college, I was then introduced to ‘aerobics’ as it was called back then.  I took whatever classes were offered as I loved it so much.  Not only did it help me NOT gain the freshmen 15 but it started my ‘Aerobic Instructor’ journey back in 1986.

I mentored with another instructor who taught me the ropes, and let me teach a few songs in her class.  Back in those days there were limited classes so they were packed with 300 people.  I am not kidding!   Check out this old picture and that was only a 1/4 of the class!  I taught on a platform so the participants could see me.

Aerobic class at KSU 1986

During this time, I met 2 other aerobic friends.  Paul and Kelly. They were as passionate about fitness and ‘aerobics’ as I was, so we started choreographing routines, finding the best music, and went all in. They started teaching with me 2x a week to that large group of people.  WE HAD THE BEST TIME!  Week after week we were know as ‘Fran, Kelly, and Paul’.  We became fast friends and well known in the fitness community in Kent.

Paul 1988
kelly and fran ksu 1989
Me – on stage Kelly – to my right 1988

I passed my national AFAA certification in 1992 and continued teaching. After finding a career job and staying in Kent after graduation, I started teaching at 2 different fitness clubs after work.  Kelly and Paul attended those gyms as well and we still kept up with each other co-teaching whenever we could.  Eventually Kelly and Paul moved to the west coast in different cities.

fran aerobics 80's
That hair!! Fran 1992

When we moved to Atlanta in 1999 I decided I was going to be done.  It had been almost 15 years and I just needed a break. We moved, got our house in order quickly,  and jumped into our new jobs. I was loving Atlanta but something was missing… So within 2 weeks I got hired at Australian Body Works (before it was La Fitness) to teach kickboxing as it was the hottest trend at the time.  Kickboxing was so fun!  I got into it due to my martial arts training.  I have a martial arts background which is why kickboxing was easy for me to teach.   Karl was the one that got me into martial arts.  The highest rank I achieved was brown belt.  I cannot tell you what Karl’s rank is because when you get to a high rank such as his, your not supposed to tell…. #seconddegreeblackbelt shh!! Don’t tell him I told you 😂

1992 – Karl testing for his black belt. Fran in the back corner recording. Karl passed with flying colors

I loved teaching! The members in my classes were my motivation and inspiration.  They kept coming back.  They committed to me and I committed to them week after week. Thinking of throwing in the towel again back in 2010, I was introduced to Zumba and was instantly hooked! I just had to get that certification and teach it. Several years later I was introduced to CrossFit and started taking a few classes a week for ‘me’ in addition to teaching my classes. Zumba and CrossFit are polar opposites, but I loved them both!

The reason I stopped …

Last May  I went on a teaching hiatus for 6 weeks due to my kids summer swim team.  I run the swim team with my neighbor Ellen. It was hard to be 2 places at one time so I continued CrossFit several days a week.   When summer swim was over and I was about to go back, I had been taken out of the teaching system due to not teaching and being in-active for 6 weeks and my classes were taken away.  Due to this, I decided to take the rest of the summer off of teaching and concentrated on having  fun with my kiddo’s until they went back to school. I told myself I would go back to teaching again when school starts.  Well, fast forward to today, and I have yet to go back.

I’m not 100% done teaching. I’ve been approached by other gyms, but for now I’m enjoying CrossFit and concentrating on other things like my health business and this blog of which I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge of learning new things.

I certified with AFAA back in 1992 and just certified for life 2 years ago.  This past summer I recertified for another 2 years.  I remember taking that test back in 1992. That’s a long time and something I am not willing to give up just yet.

4 weeks ago I called Zumba corporate and cancelled my Zumba License. It was a hard call to make but since it’s a monthly cost and I wasn’t teaching that format since last May, I cancelled.  Why pay for something I haven’t been doing?  I have not thrown in the towel ‘completely’ on teaching. I have many certifications and can teach just about any format (except CrossFit as that is completely different from group fitness).   You never know what the future may hold #neversaynever

I have many fond memories from when I started ‘Aerobics’.  One of my favorites was from the Fran, Kelly and Paul days.  We were the Aerobic trio at Kent State.  Kelly and I had kept up over the years and stayed friends and Paul and I kept up on Facebook.  Kelly passed away 2 years ago.   Being devastated by the news I reached out to Paul to let him know.  We chatted and reminisced  about our dear friend Kelly and what fun we had back in the day.  The choreographing of routines, picking out music, the matching tights we used to wear as a trio, and spending hours practicing for our classes.

This post is dedicated to my dear friend, Kelly. I’ll never forget you and all the fun times we had together in and outside of the gym at Kent State. I remember your favorite songs by Taylor Dane and Gloria Estefan that we choreographed together. I can still remember the moves and when I hear those songs now, I can’t help but smile and think of you 🙂

So there you have it and I hope it explains what happened.  I do appreciate everyone reaching out about my absence and wanted to explain how I started this fitness journey and where I am today.

Have a great week!

Fran and Kelly 1987



6 thoughts on “Why I left Zumba

  1. As the Paul that you have referred to I can honestly say that it was an honor, privilege and pleasure to have you and our Kelly create and share some of the best memories of my life. What we had, what we did and what we shared was So So Special that I don’t think there has been anything like it since. For whatever reason the three of us coming together was magical and incredible. The music, the choreography and the connection between us and to our classes was awesome. The routine that stood out to me wash the one to Rocket to you by The Jets. I still remember the faces of the students when we the song started. I also remember our faces when we saw the size of our classes grow by what seemed like each hour. Though we came from different backgrounds the willingness and unselfishness of eash of us was the key to unlocking and unleashing our appeal as a team. Because of that appeal we went on to other facilities like Todd’s place and others. I even taught in California when I first moved here. But I can honestly say that whenever I think back to our trio it brings a smile to my face and a tug on my heart. Like you my heart was punctured with the passing of our sweet and dear Kelly. And although I will not see her in real time, like you, she has given me some special and great memories to last a lifetime! Thank you Fran AS ALWAYS LOVE ALWAYS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Paul, you have made me tear up 🙂 Love your kind words. We literally had the best relationship between the 3 of us. I will never forget my time at KSU because of you and Kelly. So many memories and ones I will never ever forget! XXOO!!!!!


      1. Fran, Kelly spoke of you and Paul often in those last months of her life. She loved her time with you. She loved the energy. She loved what was so right about what you were doing and creating. I smile just thinking of the joyfulness she had when she shared these recollections. For these, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for those of us that loved her basked in her energy especially her joyfulness. Is this the journey of fitness and a life filled with this is what one receives? Blessings!


      2. Constance, mine and Kelly’s friendship was such a special one. We loved fitness and worked out quite a bit together. We loved it of which I still do to this day ❤️ we had so many memories which I will cherish forever. Even after college we met up in San Fran. I tagged along on my husband’s biz trip and we made sure we connected. She has a special place in my heart and always will ❤️


  2. Thank you so much for sharing these amazing memories of my sweet cousin Kelly! We miss her dearly, but so thankful she had so many great memories with you and Paul teaching fitness classes! I’ll never forget searching through her photos on FB after her passing and knowing I just had to reach out to you! Thanks again for the beautiful dedication. XOXO


    1. Kristi, I’m so glad you reached out to me during that sad time. Even though we’ve never met I feel like I’ve known you forever ❤️ It is my pleasure to honor your cousin and one of my dearest friends 🥰 love to all of your family.


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