Zoe Fitness finds ways to make exercise fun

Contributed The ZOE Fitness POUND Posse after a POUND class. Owner Zoe Curtis is pictured in the front row at right.

Everyone knows exercise is important, especially for those whose jobs require spending a lot of time sitting at desks. But for many, the idea of lifting weights or running a treadmill after work is at best, uninspiring. For Zoe Curtis, fitness is fun, and she said she thinks she can convince you that it is too.

Zoe Fitness, located at 3168 State Route 23, in West Oneonta, is a group fitness center that, through many classes, brings movement, music and dance together to get people back into, and keeping up with, exercise.

“I was always into dance and cheerleading. I have many years of cheerleading coaching experience, for Morris High School and Hartwick College, so I have always been drawn to dance and choreography,” says Curtis, owner and instructor at Zoe Fitness. She eventually retired from coaching and began taking group fitness classes for herself. “I tried Zumba, and thought is was a great fit.”

Zumba is an aerobic fitness program featuring movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance and is performed frequently to Latin American dance music, created by Colombian dancer and choreographer Alberto Perez.

Eight years ago, Curtis decided to start her career as a fitness instructor. Over the years, she has taught everything from cardio-kickboxing to Pilates and strength-training. “I started teaching at the Norwich YMCA, and then I began to rent out spaces at the VFW or school gyms to do classes for the community. I found our current location six years ago,” Curtis said.

Now, she does group fitness classes on evenings and weekends in her own space.

Aside from Zumba, their most popular class is called “Pound Rockout Workout."

“Pound is fairly new on the group fitness scene,” according to Curtis. “You use ‘Ripstix’ — specially designed drum sticks to do a cardio-jam session, which focuses on your core but really engages your whole body. You do this while rocking out to music.”

One perk of the job, according to Curtis, is how it lets her get involved in her community.

“I am huge into doing charity fundraisers — we’ve done things at HeadStart, American Cancer Society, Oneonta Boys and Girls Club," she said, "and we are working with Girls on the Run and will be at Oneonta PrideFest this summer.”

Curtis said she enjoys being able to give back to the community.

So why group fitness like Zumba and Pound? Curtis said it is all about stress relief and fun. “One of the reasons I love what I do the most is that group fitness especially what I offer, is great for getting active again," she said. "We make fitness fun, and it’s a great community. It gives you a chance to forget every day stress, be social, and be positive.”

“With these classes, you can get lost in the music, an hour goes by and then you are dripping in sweat," she added. "With Pound, when the music starts, you start banging your sticks, and it’s a huge stress reliever.”

Those who are interested in trying a class are encouraged to. “As a way of celebrating how brave I think you are for trying something new, the first class is free. You just need comfortable shoes and appropriate workout clothes," she said. "All you need is yourself, some water, and a positive attitude.” While class-goers can bring their own equipment like yoga mats, equipment is supplied.

After the first class, walk-ins are $5 per class and seven for $30. “I always want to be affordable,” Curtis said Online fitness, nutrition coaching, and birthday parties and special event instruction is also available.

Those interested in learning more or signing up for a class can visit Fitness with Zoe Curtis on Facebook, or call 518-705-0698.

“Fitness can be intimidating, but this really takes you out of that," she said. "It's fun, and great stress relief.”