Back to Military Life

Zumba class helps JBLM Soldier shed 35 pounds

Class maintains height and weight standard in a way that gives him a break from more traditional methods of physical training

John Bulley leads a recent Zumba class at the Wilson Sports and Recreation Center on JBLM Lewis North. Bulley credits Zumba for helping him lose 35 pounds. Photos by Scott Hansen/JBLM PAO

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

When it comes to Zumba, the moves come natural to Jacqi Gordon.

The Army spouse of Cuban descent has no problem following instructors of the Latin-dance inspired fitness program. A couple of months ago she invited her husband to join her in a class at one of the fitness centers on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

"He was a little nervous that he might get made fun of or be uncomfortable," Gordon said.

But for him, participation in a dance fitness class dominated by females is easier when a man leads the class.

"There's a guy who knows what he's doing," James Gordon said. "And sometimes he doesn't know what he's doing, which is also comforting."

Leading the Gordons, and about 50 others in a Zumba class at Wilson Sports and Fitness Center on Lewis North Thursday, was John Bulley. The 6-foot-5 Soldier wore a Zumba T-shirt and had the class energized, moving and working up a sweat.

"I'm exactly what you wouldn't expect (in a Zumba instructor)," Bulley said.

While Bulley is a licensed Zumba fitness instructor, he doesn't teach a class on post full-time because of his active duty schedule. But he subs for FMWR instructors who are unable to teach their class.

Bulley was introduced to Zumba when he saw commercial on TV. He suggested it to his wife, Carina, because it looked like something that would be fun for her. Carina enjoyed the class and began participating regularly. John joined her and has been doing Zumba three to four times a week for the last year. He became certified in January.

"I want to get other guys into it," John said. "I want guys to think it's not just a girl thing."

Bulley said he has used every trick in the book to try to convince his male friends and comrades to attend a Zumba class, including telling them the guy to girl ratio is 1 to 50. But dancing in a room full of women can be nerve racking for some. Bulley encourages males to break the stereotype of Zumba being a females-only activity. Bulley's wife even admits it's strange to see her husband not only in a class, but leading it.

"It's very different," Carina said. "I'm very proud. There are very few men that come. Usually they come, they'll look and then they'll go."

Being active in Zumba has helped John lose 35 pounds and maintain his height and weight standard in a fun way that gives him a break from traditional physical training.

When John first participated in Zumba he had a tear in his shoulder. Even with his arm in a sling, he was still able to put in a good workout.

"It's for all shapes, sizes and backgrounds," John said. "Even if you're absolutely uncoordinated and you can't dance to save your life, you can still have fun."

John attends classes at Wilson, Sheridan Sports and Fitness Center and at the McChord Annex Fitness Center. For the latest information on Zumba, and other recreational classes offered, visit

comments powered by Disqus