Getting in shape can be fun.
Amper Garland aims to prove to Fort Dodgers that fitness can be achieved while having a good time. She is about to open Studio M.O.V.E. in Crossroads Mall featuring the Zumba dance fitness program. Garland said she expects to be in business at this location by mid-May.
"Zumba" is a term created to represent an approach to fitness developed in the 1990s by Beto Perez in his native Colombia that has now become popular not only in the United States, but internationally. The terminology is trademarked by Zumba Fitness LLC based in Hallandale, Fla. Garland became certified by the company in August 2009 to teach its assorted programs. She has been teaching classes since November 2010.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Amper Garland leads a Zumba class recently at in the basement of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Dodge. Garland is opening a studio in the Crossroads Mall. In addition to being certified to teach Zumba, Garland is also a physical therapist.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Mercedes Underwood, center, feels the burn as she participates in a recent Zumba class recently led by Amper Garland, at left.
She said opening a studio at Crossroads Mall will allow her to offer classes at a convenient location and expand her business.
Garland, who in addition to her fitness credentials works professionally as a physical therapist, said her clinical experience has convinced her of the importance of staying in shape. She said the dance workout programs her studio will offer dovetail nicely with her training and experience in the health care world.
"I grew up dancing - both learning and teaching - and have always wondered what this talent was for in the greater scheme of things," Garland said. "Then, I found Zumba, and as a physical therapist and dance enthusiast, it is the perfect blend of my calling to help others effect change in their lives and to live healthier and happier."
Garland said through Studio M.O.V.E. she will be able to help people achieve good health in a way they will enjoy.
"When you are a physical therapist you understand how much movement is very important," she explained. "The saying 'you don't use it, you lose it' is really true. ... I've seen if you don't do that, what can happen. I've seen that compliance with any exercise regimen ... brings about the results that you want. What you put in it is what you get out of it."
The dance fitness programs her studio will feature help address that fundamental problem people often have with workout regimens - sticking with them.
"The Zumba program is a dance fitness party that blends Latin and international rhythms and body energizing moves into an effective fitness program that has revolutionized the way people feel about their workouts and their lives," Garland said. "It's a workout that feels like a party. ... You become so busy you forget you are actually exercising."
It's also program designed to achieve very tangible fitness goals.
"As a physical therapist, I see a lot of movement variations, for arms, legs and torso that one can build on, apart from the fun dance styles you'll be learning to do," Garland said. "It engages a lot of systems in your body - those of muscles and bones, heart and lungs, senses, skin, brain and all the circuits. It really becomes a total body workout."
She stressed that the Zumba approach is appropriate for people of all ages, doesn't require one have any experience with dance and is primarily about fitness not dance. The dance component helps people achieve the long-term commitment to a regimen necessary to achieve the desired results.
Garland said the studio will feature an array of classes, some of which will be particularly appropriate for youngsters. She said beginners are welcome and people of all skill levels will feel comfortable at Studio M.O.V.E.
"You can just jump right in and you work at your own level," Garland said. "That's the good thing about Zumba, you can work at your own pace. You don't have to do what the instructor is doing. They will give you the basic steps. If that gets easy you can make your movements more intense."
The dance fitness regime can be customized to fit each participant's needs and preferences.
"It's for people of all shapes, sizes and ages and gender," Garland said. "We give them the basic steps and they can add their own flavor to it so that they will have fun. ... The main thing is if you are happy when you do something you are likely to stick to it."
Initially, Studio M.O.V.E. will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday as well as part of the day on Saturday. Garland said the roster of classes and days of operation may change as the business evolves.
Meet Amper Garland
Amper Garland grew up in the Philippines. She studied physical therapy at De Salle University, graduating with a bachelor's degree in 1998. She came to Fort Dodge in 2004 to work as a physical therapist.
She is married to Gabriel Garland, who is an information technology specialist. They have three children: Matt, 12; Jeannine, 11; and Lana, 2.
In addition to her professional pursuits Amper Garland has been active in the community. She has participated in Relay for Life 2011, Holy Trinity Parish's Summer Spirit, BLAST After School Program for kids, and Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa.
Contact Terrence Dwyer at (515) 573-2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org