Exercise In Disguise

Those looking to shake it up Zumba style will have the opportunity to dance for a cause when a Zumbathon comes to Jamestown.

Missy Paterniti, a Jamestown resident who won YMCA’s 2012 New Year’s Challenge by losing 84.7 pounds, will host a Zumbathon at the Crystal Ballroom on Saturday, May 4, from 1-4 p.m. Admission is $10.

The event will feature seven instructors, who will each offer unique choreography, music and expertise. Healthy shakes will be available, and a Chinese auction will be held. The event will serve to benefit the YMCA of Jamestown Partners With Youth campaign and Jefferson middle school.

According to Paterniti, the goal of the program is for people to have fun, and to promote health and wellness.

“You can just come in and music will be playing for you to Zumba,” said Paterniti. “You can Zumba for 10 minutes, or the whole three hours if you want. People who think they can’t Zumba will be surprised if they try it out, especially since it’s for a good cause.”

Paterniti, who said she has been overweight her entire life, is smaller than she was in eighth grade thanks to Zumba. At her max weight, Paterniti reached 302 pounds, and has since dropped 10 inches around her waist to reach 207 pounds.

“I look at myself all the time and ask myself whether it’s real – I have to make sure that I am who I still am,” said Paterniti. “Before losing the weight I had been hospitalized several times a year from asthma attacks caused by my obesity.”

Paterniti started doing Zumba in 2011 to lose weight for YMCA’s 2012 New Year’s Challenge, and she also quit smoking and eating fast food. After winning the challenge, she has since kept the weight off with a combination of Zumba, lifting weights and a healthy diet. She is currently taking Zumba classes at the YMCA with instructors such as Sue Gullo and Alana Moore.

“You burn so many calories doing Zumba,” said Paterniti. “I burn more than 600 calories for an hour, and that’s at a medium level. I do it five days a week.”

Paterniti’s weight loss has plateaued at 207 pounds, but now she is working on muscle tone. Yet, she still has a goal of getting below 200 pounds, and even hopes that someday she could reach her ultimate goal of 167 pounds.

“I have a friend who lifts weights, so I’ve been doing that with her,” said Paterniti. “That’s why I can’t lose more weight, because I’m actually turning the fat into muscle now. It’s nice, because it’s toning me, but you can’t see it on the scale.”

Taking Zumba classes has also improved Paterniti’s dance skills, she said. Now, when she goes out for nights on the town with her friends they end up doing Zumba dance routines when a song comes on that they like.

The Crystal Ballroom is located at 110 W. Third St. in Jamestown. For more information call Paterniti at 640-5435.



Anyone of almost any age who has a membership at the YMCA can take a Zumba class. In Paterniti’s class with Moore, the ages of the members ranges from 6 years old to 60.

According to Gullo, a three-year YMCA Zumba instructor, the experience of doing Zumba can best be described as a dance party that has Latin rhythms infused with fitness moves.

“It’s fun, it’s effective and it’s easy to learn – Zumba is exercise in disguise,” said Gullo. “The benefits of doing Zumba are that you can get in shape and increase your wellness. Part of wellness is exercise and physical activity. It’s good because you can get all the components of physical fitness in one hour, and burn between 500-800 calories. It entails cardiovascular fitness, plus body composition, muscle strength, endurance and flexibility improves.”

According to zumba.com, it’s an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party. Fourteen million people of all shapes, sizes and ages take weekly Zumba classes in over 140,000 locations across more than 150 countries.

For more information, call the Jamestown YMCA at 664-2802 or visit jamestownymca.org.