Tauletha Chaffin leads a Zumba class at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in St. Albans, one of seven classes she teaches each week.
Dance exercise keeps weight off mother of twins
By Rosalie Earle
May 2, 2011
HURRICANE, W.Va. -- At restaurants, Tauletha Chaffin always asks for a to-go box when she places her order. When her meal arrives, she immediately cuts her food in half and places half in the to-go box for lunch the next day.
Portion control and making healthier food choices have helped her lose weight.
However, the main way she lost 105 pounds is through Zumba, the popular dance exercise. The Hurricane woman has told viewers all about it on QVC, where she recently appeared, thanks to Zumba.
"I always struggled with weight my whole life," said Chaffin, the 34-year-old mother of twins.
She gained 105 pounds when she was pregnant with a boy and a girl now 4, and lost 30 to 40 pounds after their delivery.
Chaffin, who's 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighed 240 pounds when she attended her first Zumba class on Aug. 1, 2008.
"I went a regular gym, but I found the elliptical and treadmill so boring. I would count every second I was on them," she said.
Zumba was different. "I always liked to dance, so it was fun for me," she explained. "I feel the music and just go with it. It's like you're out dancing with friends."
She started out in an hourlong class two days a week, and worked up to three classes a week. Chaffin now teaches seven classes a week in the Teays Valley and St. Albans areas.
Tauletha Chaffin says her twins, Max and Addison, 4, love to Zumba with her.
After several months of taking Zumba classes, Chaffin recalled, "One of the women said, "I can't see the instructor, so I watch you.'"
That started her thinking about being an instructor. In February 2009, she took a weekend course to become a certified Zumba teacher.
"I was certified on a Sunday and got a job on Monday," she said. "I didn't expect it that soon."
Meanwhile, Chaffin's husband, Jeff, began running and biking, and now competes in triathlon events.
Like her, Chaffin said her husband had struggled with his weight. "Once he started, being a man, it dropped off him like nothing." He has lost 80 pounds. "We don't even look like the same people," she said.
"It makes it so much easier when your partner is doing it with you. You don't have to make two meals."
Chaffin has started running so they have something to do together, and Jeff Chaffin takes Zumba classes from her. "He came to one class and said, "It was so much fun. It doesn't feel like I am working out.'"
Chaffin has told her story in a Zumba Fitness national informerical for its DVD set, which she also appears in.
Recently, she was paid to appear on the QVC shopping network in Philadelphia. She'll return in late May when the Zumba Fitness DVD will again be the special value of the day. The first time, she met Donnie and Marie Osmond, who were selling their new CD.
For Chaffin, what started out as a fun way to exercise has turned into a small business. Zumba is a copyrighted form of dance exercise that consists of short sets of different routines set to Latin-style music.
Once certified, Chaffin joined the network of Zumba instructors. From the organization, she receives new music every month and new choreography every other month. "It makes it so easy to keep the classes fresh and new and to keep people coming back," she said.
She also gets a discount on the Zumba clothing line that she sells to class members. She rents space to teach her classes, and charges per class. "I sell punch cards that have a little discount. A class may be $4 instead of $5. That way, there's no membership, no signing contracts."
After she was featured in the informercial (which is now showing on CNBC and the TV Guide Channel), she said 100 students turned out for her classes at Potential Plus in the Teays Physical Therapy Center.
Chaffin teaches there at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and at 10 a.m. on Saturdays; at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays at the Quantum Soccer Center in Hurricane; and at 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at St. Marks Episcopal Church in St. Albans.
The Zumba moves have kept Chaffin toned. "It's amazing I can do that without getting down on the floor and doing all those crunches. It's the shimmying and twisting of Zumba, " she believes.
Yet, she confessed, "I still buy extra large [clothing]."
For information on Chaffin's Zumba classes, visit www.zumbawv.com.