Conversations with… Zumba, Latin, Fitness instructor Gueti Ribas

Zumba: more than a fitness craze, the best fun you can have burning calories


Paola Bassanese interviews Margarete “Gueti” Ribas, Zumba instructor



Zumba has taken the world by storm with its easy and fun dance routines that promise to burn up to 800 calories an hour. Invented by Columbian fitness instructor and choreographer Beto Perez in the 1990s, Zumba is getting a cult following in the UK thanks to a highly trained team of certified fitness instructors. Here’s an interview with Brazilian-born Zumba instructor Margarete Ribas who teaches in a number of gyms in London. I first met Margarete a few years ago as I regularly attended her samba classes before she became a Zumba teacher and have since participated in her drop-in Zumba classes in Central London.


1.When did you first find out about Zumba?


I first heard from Zumba® Fitness in 2006, which I believe was when it first arrived to the UK, and in 2007 I attended the Zumba® Fitness Training in London.


2. When did you start teaching Zumba classes?


I started teaching Zumba® classes in 2007. In 2010 I renewed my Zumba® licence to join the Zumba® Instructors – ZIN™, and since then I have been teaching Zumba® Fitness around London, and UK.


3. What are the main fitness benefits of Zumba?


Zumba® is a group fitness class and it should be fun and easy to do, the group dynamic creates a party-like atmosphere. It is a workout using dance steps that are easy to follow, and it is a fantastic workout that targets areas such as core, arms, legs, gluteals, and the most important muscle in your body, the heart. Of course we can not forget it is also a workout for a stressed minds, as it leaves a person with a “feel good sensation”.


Zumba® is a great fat burning workout. Calories burned will differ from person to person depending on their fitness level and also the intensity put into the session. Calories burned during one hour of Zumba® have been estimated to be anywhere from 500 to 850. I personally have had participants wearing a heart monitor and they were thrilled to discover that they burned 494 to 600 calories during a 60 minute class, and a few weeks ago I had one participant that burned 920 cals in only 45 minutes class, he said “Zumba® rocks!”.


4. Tell me a bit more about yourself


I am Brazilian and I have been living in London since 2003. My name is Margarete Ribas but a lot people call me Gueti. It is my artistic name and nickname. I am professional dancer, dance teacher and fitness instructor with many years of experience of teaching people from a range of abilities and age. In 2006 I encountered a significant difficulty, a Hypothyroid condition that resulting in among other things, a noticeable increase in weight (6kg is significant when one is just below 5 feet in height!). Naturally this impacted on my career as a dancer and in turn had a negative effect on my self esteem. In an effort to retain contact with my love of dance I returned to college to undertake studies in contemporary dance and began teaching dance fitness programs to assist in losing the weight. I have succeeded in losing the weight through these dance programs but I continue to explore programs that assist in achieving healthy living.


5. You have met Beto Perez, how is it like to work with him?


Yes, I have met Beto Perez on a few occasions. The first time I met Beto Perez was back in 2007, when I attended my first Zumba® training. Beto himself came to teach the workshop here in London, so all of us that attended this workshop had the pleasure to be taught by him, and also to know a little bit more about him. In 2010 I had the great opportunity to team teach with Beto Perez, when he came to the UK to do the Beto’s Virgin Active Heath Club Tour. He is very kind and very professional.


6. What are your plans for the future?


I have been selected to be a Zumba® Jammer. Zumba® Jammer is someone authorized by Zumba® Fitness, LLC to conduct ZIN Jam™ sessions, which are choreography jam sessions for Zumba® Instructors and ZIN Members only. So, I started my ZIN Jam™ Sessions in July 2011 here in London, and I am touring with theses ZIN ™ Session around the country, into Europe, and hopefully beyond. I am also involved in a series of charity events, master classes, and workshops.


7. What would you say to someone who has never tried Zumba before?


I would say that Zumba® is fun, easy, effective and for everybody. The first class can be seem quite “tricky” but give it 2 to 3 classes and it will make you want to return again and again for the fun, moves, music, and for the workout.


Margarete Ribas’ website is