New Zumba instructor hopes to inspire positivity

New Zumba instructor at the Marshall Recreation Center, Emily Fankhanel, said Zumba brought her out of her negative body image that caused her to be anorexic for a year.

A sophomore and a communications disorders major, Fankhanel officially took over the group fitness class this fall semester after Jacob Longoria, the previous instructor, finished his studies and left Marshall University.

Fankhanel said she has the same goal as Longoria and that is to make the students feel like they are in a music video instead of just working out.

Growing up, Fankhanel didn’t work out until she joined Hurricane High School’s Show Choir, known as an upper level show choir in the state.

The Show Choir required a lot of fitness training and that introduced her to her love for performing and fitness.

“I love performing so, so much. Man, I really enjoy this and I realize how good it makes me feel,” Fankhanel said.

Growing up with circulation issues, blood sugar issues and stomach issues, she said working out helps her, especially dancing.

Fankhanel said she used to eat less than 500 calories a day, resulting in the visibility of her ribs, however, Zumba brought her out of that because it is such an uplifting environment.

“I’d rather focus on what my body can do than what it looks like, it’s more important to be healthy and happy than to be skinny,” Fankhanel said.

She said she hopes that if anybody is going through the same thing that she wants to be there for them, just like how her instructor had been there for her.

“I guess I can be a good leader among my peers. I know college is tough sometimes but we are all in this together, thus this group stuff we are doing right here,” she said.

Fankhanel said she wants to bring positivity throughout the entire campus and she believes that if one person sparks positivity to another, it will spark like a wild fire.

Junior in business management and marketing, Amanda Nelson, one of the students who comes to Fankhanel’s class every week, said Zumba is a fun way to workout, keeping a variety of different exercises.

“Emily is doing a great job, she is an amazing instructor and I love her dances,” Nelson said.

Finally, Fankhanel said she hopes her students will just be themselves and take home that love, positivity and energy.

Zumba classes are held every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kessyl Lim can be contacted at [email protected].