Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 24th 2014 Contents www.guardian.co.tt
MAGAZINE | 5
By Roslyn Carrington
I HAVE TWO LEFT FEET. If, through some nuclear catastrophe, I were
to grow a third, it would also be left. Which us why I'm a little anxious as
I step onto the floor for Sharon Diaz' Zumba session in the party room
at Movie Towne. I can already imagine myself shuffling "uptown" while
everyone else is heading "downtown".
But she is cheerful and encouraging. "It doesn't matter what you do; just
keep moving," she yells. She's right. Nobody looks at me; nobody cares.
I begin to enjoy it, and after several sweaty minutes of loud, thumping
Latin music and wanton hip-swiveling, I begin to feel like Shakira.
Diaz' Michelle Obama shoulders and upper arms would make a lesser
woman hate her, but her manner is engaging and her energy unlimited.
The smile on her face tells you she is exactly where she wants to be.
Born in the US of Trini parents, she has fond memories of coming to T&T
on holiday. Her uncle is poet, journalist and playwright Lennox Raphael,
and she remembers hanging around his playhouse in Belmont with her
cousins, learning about Trini culture. "We used to throw hard pomeracs
at the wall, trying to crack it. I remember sitting on the beach at Maracas
... I was so afraid of the water!"
She eventually moved "home" in 2004. "Something just kept pulling me
back to Trinidad -- I realised that my purpose was to come here and
change people's lives."
A self-described "people person", she once worked in HR, and has a de-
gree in Communications and Marketing from Penn State University and,
later, Dowling College. But her affinity for people eventually translated
into personal training and fitness. She has all the Zumba licenses, includ-
ing Zumba Toning, Zumba Gold (for older clients), Zumba Kids and Sen-
tao (Zumba with a chair).
As she rolls endlessly around the stage, a human gyroscope, it's hard to
imagine that she is a lifelong asthmatic and has suffered a serious back
injury in the past. "Zumba is very good for cardio-vascular development,
so that has improved. Even though there are tough days, you take your
inhaler and pace yourself." She refuses to "take it easy" as people advise
her to do, to give her back a break. In fact, her injury makes it easier for
her to understand what her clients have been through. "I even say, 'Thank
God I got injured'. It helps me give my clients the best that I can possibly
The class I am in is all female; although Diaz does have males join in from
time to time, she thinks that women are more comfortable dancing to-
gether. "With the different musical genres that Zumba embraces .... like
Dancehall and African dance ... you see more men joining in."
As far as Trini women are concerned, she is seeing us moving away from
a laissez-faire attitude about our bodies to a greater awareness of the
need for better fitness and health. "We used to be comfortable with
people saying, 'Hey, you got fat!'; people are starting to take offense to
that comment. People have become more health conscious, more body
conscious and aware of how what we put in our mouths affects us."
But we still have a long way to go. "Trinis are among the top 10 fattest
people in the world. It's not just what we eat, it's how we eat it: four
carbs in a box with no protein, with all the sauces and the oils, we need
to make a change."
She doesn't only work with clients looking to dance their way to greater
fitness, she is an International Sports Science Association (ISSA) Certi-
fied Personal Trainer who works at Pulse Performance, a local sports
clinic, with post-injury clients, as well as those who seek one-on-one or
group personal training for better fitness and health, and is studying to
be a Fitness Nutrition Specialist to help people get hold of their nutri-
tional needs. Diaz is also a fitness trainer for Fit Camp Caribbean, a reality
show taking place in Trinidad that will be airing soon.
She's married to Michael Diaz, also a Personal Trainer. Together they run
their Zumba business, Studio Z Ltd. Michael also works at Pulse Per-
formance, training post-injury athletes, one-on-one clients, and those
who are into extreme fitness such as P90X.
The couple have a 6-year-old son. How do they work together as a mar-
ried couple without bringing their issues to work? "It's beautiful. I'm ex-
tremely blessed. I always say God made him for me...he rolls his eyes
when I tell people that! Like all couples, we have our differences, but
when it comes to our business, we are able to separate it. We get along
so well; when you're on the same path, nothing can go wrong."
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