Monday, December 27, 2010

New Year, New You Baby!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! We enjoyed our Christmas this year so very much. This week I just want to take a moment to reflect on the idea of New Year's Resolutions. I think they have really gotten a bad rap over the years. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with using the start of the new year as a time for reflection on the past year, assessment of what worked and didn 't work for you and then a resolution for change. I think the problem comes when we have grandiose expectations of ourselves, beat ourselves up when we can't possibly achieve these unrealistic expectations and then backslide when we fail.
So how to keep that from happening? Make New Year's Goals for yourself. Write them down, we are far more likely to commit to something when we put it in writing. Make your goals SMART. That is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. A SMART goal might be,"I would like to achieve well- being and establish good habits, over the next three months, through a combination of healthier eating, exercising three times a week, and getting 8 hours of sleep a night." Instead of, "I want to be in better shape." Looking at this goal it is specific, (achieving well being through these steps), measurable, (we can keep track of how many times we exercise, how many healthy meals, pounds or inches lost etc.) attainable, (this might be different for everyone, so you pick what is attainable to YOU), realistic (notice my goal wasn't to compete in the Olympics in body-building ;) and timely (I am going to assess my progress at three months and see what I need to change, if anything.)
Wow! What a difference from "I'm going to go to the gym more often" or "I want to get in better shape." In a fairly simple example we created a goal that would work! If you would like help in creating a SMART goal for the New Year please email me directly, I am always happy to help!
Next Two Weeks' Schedule
NO CLASS, Monday, December 27th at All Saints' Episcopal, South Hadley.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010, 5:45pm, New Year's Class! I will take your requests for any songs you want to hear, prizes and giveaways during class and snacks and treats after class!
Monday, January 3, 2011, 6pm, All Saints' Episcopal, South Hadley, starts 6 week session of Strength Training/Pilates, 45 minute class. Please bring a set of free weights and a mat. Sign up for the six weeks at the first class and receive discounted price of $30/session, or $7/drop in. Punch cards are good for this class.
Monday, January 3, 2011, 7pm, All Saints' Episcopal, South Hadley, Zumba, always $5 drop in, one punch on punch card.
Wednesday, January 5, 2011, 5:45pm, All Saints' Episcopal, South Hadley, Zumba, always $5 drop in, one punch on punch card.
I do not have a schedule yet for West Side Dance Center, West Springfield or a community class in Holyoke, but as soon as I do, I will send an email and post to the website. I am looking for an additional site in Holyoke, preferably a 4:00pm time frame at least on Thursdays and possibly Tuesdays as well. If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to email me directly.
I wish every one of you happiness, health and joy in the year to come and thank you for your continued support of me and of Paper City Zumba!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Power of Music

I was getting ready to change my cooldown song from one beautiful song, Hallelujah by Alexandra Burke to Con Te Partiro by Andrea Bocelli. I was listening to Con Te Partiro to see if it would work for my purposes. (it did) My four year old came out to the kitchen, arms crossed, brow furrowed and declared, "I don't like that song."
"Really?" I said, "But it is so beautiful."
"It's sad," she said.
Whoa! She's four, and it's in Italian. But she knew.
And then, my six year old came out to the kitchen and wanted to know what the words to the song meant in English. So we went to Youtube and found a video where we could listen in Italian and read the words in both Italian and English. As I read the words aloud to her, the tears streamed down her face and she wept and wept. Open heart, light heart, beautiful heart.
What is it that moves us so deeply?
Is THIS really the secret to Zumba's success???
And how did the two songs work in class? Using Hallelujah, people openly sang the words. We had one class in a church where the lights in the church came on just as the final crescendo hit! Timing, as they say!
Con Te Partiro, we all sang, welled up and who knows what we thought of?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monday Night's Playlist!

I think I forgot one or two, but this is pretty close!
Hips Don't Lie/Bamboo Fifa Remix- Shakira/Wyclef
Get Up/Levantate- Pitbull
El Marciano- ?
Salsa- Madera Limpia
Boom Boom Mama-Da Family
Los Campeones de la Salsa- Willy Chirino
El Meneaito- Crooked Stilo
Sacudelo- Willy Chirino
Batuka Bum Bum- Grupo Merenguismo
Salsaton- El Rubio Loco
Like a G6- Far East Movement
Hallelujah- Alexandra Burke

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Party in Pink a Success!

Tuesday night's Party in Pink was a huge success thanks to the hard work of Tanya Ryan at Tanya Gets You Fit! 80 people heated up the South Hadley Town Hall and rocked it out to benefit breast cancer research! $560 in donations, three great instructors, what a great event! I was honored to be a part of it. Watch for more collaborations between Tanya and I coming soon!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Party in Pink Zumbathon!

I hope everyone is enjoying this divine weather! It is pure heaven. My good friend and fabulous fellow Zumba instructor, Tanya Ryan, also the owner of Tanya Gets You Fit; personal training and group exercise in Western Massachusetts, is hosting a Party in Pink Zumbathon! I am honored that Tanya has asked me to be a guest instructor at this awesome event.
The PIP Zumbathon is Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 6pm, South Hadley Town Hall, South Hadley, MA! This is a free class, but please feel free to make the suggested $5 donation since proceeds go to Susan G. Komen Cancer Research.
Tanya is a great instructor with an amazing fitness background, she will show us a GREAT time. We will also be joined by Amanda Drew. Please consider lending your support to this amazing event.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What is the best workout you can do?

What is the best workout you can do? The one that you will actually do! In my opinion, this is the key to Zumba's success. Zumba has tapped into the fun factor and has created an exercise program that everyone can benefit from: novice exercisers to highly conditioned individuals. For someone who is just beginning an exercise program, what better way to feel successful than to join a class where "go at your own pace" is the mantra, you will start with the basics! And if you are highly conditioned, we will work together to challenge your cardio endurance and work large muscle groups with holds and pulses! There is truly something for everyone!
I have been thinking a lot about the "best" workout and I truly believe it is the one you will actually do! What does this mean? Consistency! Find something you love to do and keep doing it! Does this mean that you can only Zumba, or run or swim as your only exercise forever? Nope! But that is the topic for the next post!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


So this week I have been thinking a lot about fear. My oldest daughter, Erin, started Kindergarten on Wednesday at a new school. She had been to half day pre-school but this was her first time away all day. Every night she woke up with a bad dream that usually involved a lost lamb. We talked quite a bit about some of the things she could expect from her first day. Still, on the first day, when it came time for me to leave, she cried. I reminded her about all the great things we had talked about: learning to read, making friends, music class, recess, a brand new lunchbox! But did any of that matter? No, because Erin was scared and no amount of talking was going to fix it completely. So, fear of the unknown.
How many of us can relate? How many times have we put off doing something that we know will be good for us out of fear? Fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of looking silly. How many wonderful things have we missed out on?
I think of this often in relation to exercise classes and specifically Zumba because of its dance component. One of the things I hear most often is, "Oh, I can't do that. I don't know how to dance." or "I'll look stupid." or "Everyone will be looking at me." I usually respond that I have no formal dance background. But I love music. And you don't come to a class already knowing how to do everything! What fun would that be? There would be no reason to come back. And finally, you won't look stupid and no one will be looking at you, they will be looking at me!
So wasn't my Erin lucky? She HAD to go to school and by being thrust into that new situation, she had, in her own words, "the best day ever!"
Isn't it time you had your best day ever? Let's conquer that fear together!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Zumba Saves the Day

What do you do when the power goes out in the middle of your Block Party Festival? Well, if you are the creative minds behind c.r.u.s.h. (Citizens for the Revitalization and Urban Success of Holyoke) you call in the Zumba instructors, Nataliya Yuzych and I were happy to oblige!
Luckily, c.r.u.s.h. had a battery powered generator that was able to provide just enough power to play our iPods and keep the party rolling! With everyone from c.r.u.s.h. volunteers, the mayor, and local teenagers participating, it made for lots of fun and a great way to introduce people to Zumba!
If you didn't get a chance to make it to the Great Holyoke Block Party, consider putting it on your schedule for next year. It was truly a community event with diverse music and food; from klezmer to salsa and from El Salvadorean to organic farming, there was something to please everyone.
As well, there was terrific information from Community Watch, local photographers, Vega Yoga and Creative Movement, KPAO (Kennedy Park Arts Outreach), Greater Holyoke YMCA, Nuestas Raices, Friends of the Holyoke Public Library and many more!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Welcome to Paper City Zumba with Kate O'Donnell

The idea for Paper City Zumba came from a good friend. She has lost over 100 lbs and has maintained her weight through a combination of Weight Watchers and home exercise videos. She came to my Zumba class at a local gym and loved it. Zumba spoke to her love of music, performance and voice; she is a classically trained singer with an amazing voice. She wanted more Zumba and the classes offered didn't fit into her schedule, it was hard to justify a gym membership when what she really wanted was more Zumba classes and more flexibility.

I realized that many people fall into this category and for lots of reasons. Busy schedules, busy lives, we all know how that is! And she was not the only person who shared this frustration with me. Thus, Paper City Zumba is taking Zumba out to the community and making it accessible to everyone. What does that mean? Classes are open to all fitness levels, no dance or fitness background required! The price is affordable, $5 drop in per class. What is stopping you?

Two brand new classes beginning 9/13/2010:
Mondays, 7:00pm, All Saints' Episcopal Church, Woodbridge Street, South Hadley, MA, $5
Tuesdays, 5:45pm, All Saints' Episcopal Church, Woodbridge Street, South Hadley, MA, $5

*All classes are 1 hour long, please arrive a few minutes early to sign in. Supportive sneakers, water bottle, small hand towel are recommended.