I started my weight loss journey on January 26th 2010. I weighed 435lbs and could barely walk when I joined 24hr fitness. I started my journey with a trainer and around March I had lost my first 100lbs. Every Monday I walked in to the gym I was surprised by the number of people standing in a line to join in on the evening Zumba class led by the one and only LaTosha Wilson. At first I would just watch this awesome class. My trainer at the time encouraged me to try Zumba. I love dancing but still weighed over 200lbs. I thought there was no way I could do this class and frankly I didn't feel like embarrassing myself. My trainer at the time pushed me to try Zumba telling me LaTosha was one of the best Zumba instructors out there. So I attended my first class in April of 2010. It was the best thing I've ever done! LaTosha showed the class modified movements for those of us that have injuries or disabilities. She was energetic, engaging and captivated every single person in that room. From my very first Zumba class I was hooked. Then in September of 2010 I was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. I had to have surgery, went through chemo and radiation. I was told by my oncologist to stay out of the gym, and I did but depression set in. I was fighting cancer and depression and really needed something to keep me going, so I returned to LaTosha's Zumba class. She lifted my spirits. Just being in the room I felt alive again. Against Dr's orders, not something I normally recommend, I Continued to attend LaTosha's Zumba class and then started attending all her classes. I was fighting stage 4 cancer I was given the diagnosis of terminal and yet Zumba gave me the strength to keep fighting. For the last 4 1/2 years I've fought for my life every day and continue to do so. If it wasn't for LaTosha's Zumba class I would have let depression take over and would have given up a long time ago. Although LaTosha Wilson no longer teaches Zumba at my gym I continue to attend Zumba. Although it's not the same and I miss her class very much, I do thank LaTosha Wilson for being such a big part of my fight. I attribute my still being alive first to God but also to the people God placed in my path that gave me strength, filled me with life and the encouragement to keep fighting. It's now 2015, I'm living with cancer no longer terminal. I now weigh 189lbs continue to attend Zumba, but now also attend many other classes. LaTosha is an amazing instructor. Attending her class opened the door for me to try new things. I'm so grateful to LaTosha for being so encouraging, uplifting, and just all around awesome human being. I am truly blessed to get to know her and have her encouragement all these years.
I have taken Zumba classes all over Portland (and anywhere I travel!) and LaTosha is one of my all-time favorite instructors! She has incredibly energy and always lights up the room, and encourages us all to push ourselves a little harder while still having tons of fun. Her playlists are incredible, her choreography is amazing, and she makes me *sweat* like no other! While I can sometimes leave other Zumba classes feeling like I didn’t get much of a workout, LaTosha feels like a real fitness trainer who gets our hearts pumping and muscles working while still incorporating all of the fun dance elements that I love. She is such a personal inspiration as well, and knowing that she takes her own health and fitness so seriously and has had such great results is really motivating for her students. I recommend LaTosha to all of my friends and feel lucky whenever I get to take her classes!
I had heard about Zumba through some friends and they talked about how much fun it was. They went on and on about being able to have fun dancing and how great the music was. I have a background in dance so all of this was very exciting to me! Even though I grew up in dance, as an adult, wife and mother, it was difficult to find classes that I liked and fit my schedule. But a class was going on at the gym I attended and I decided to jump in and see what all the hype was. The class was packed and I got nervous. I saw this ball of energy who I then realized was the instructor, LaTosha. I got more nervous. I hadn’t done anything like that in YEARS! But then LaTosha introduced herself to the class and asked if there were first timers. I along with a few others raised our hands and she greeted us so genuinely, shared a little about her experience with Zumba and then told us to just have FUN!! After that my nerves turned to excitement and I was ready to go. When that first song came on and I saw LaTosha start moving, it was on!!! My inner Dancer kicked in! As little as she is, especially in a big crowd she can work the room, check on people, motivate, encourage, and make that class the best class ever! My first class with LaTosha was amazing and it sparked my passion for dance again, so I had to know more!
After that class I introduced myself to LaTosha and said “I wanna do this!! How do I do this???” She was so sweet and shared with me the details about Zumba and becoming an instructor and the rest is history! I became an instructor 6 months later and have now been teaching for 5 years!
Thank you so much LaTosha for being a kick ass dancer, motivator, and inspiring me to bring back my own kick ass dancing self! J
You are simply amazing and I love how you dream BIG!
--Melissa Lowery (Director - Black Girl In Suburbia)
Besides being really fun and high energy, LaTosha is very welcoming and genuinely wants everyone in her classes to feel comfortable and have a great time. She provides multiple levels of instruction, so beginners aren't in over their heads, and regulars can still challenge themselves. If you haven't yet taken a class with LaTosha, do it now! Don't miss out on the fun!
--Kyra Bussanich (Owner - Kyra's Bakeshop)
I remember stepping in your class for the first time with trepidation in my heart. I've been to a few class with several different instructors but I didn't really like it, I always felt lost and embarrassed because I didn't know what I was doing and everybody else had the choreo down to pat. I went into that 24 Hour Fitness Group X Room already half defeated. As always I went straight to the last row in the back, which is a major disadvantage to someone short like me, and to make matters worse, the room was jam packed! You came in the room and introduced yourself and promptly asked if there were new people in the class, a handful of us in the back raised our hands and you told us to follow the feet first so everybody is going the right direction. Well hello! I wish I'd known that gem before I went to my very first class and repeatedly ran into the girl next to me. For those who have no experience dancing, it's really hard to compartmentalize the dance steps. How do you move your feet and hands and sway at the same time in tune with the music??? Also you reminded the newbies not to be intimidated if we can't follow the steps right away, or move the way others are moving, the important thing is for us to move and hopefully have fun doing it.
I was surprised when you kept moving around the room instead of just staying in the front, you also made several trips in front of us newbies, and that made me feel included! Like I'm truly part of the class! I've never enjoyed a Zumba class before that. That made me decide to come back, again and again. I practically Zumba-stalked you. Hahaha! From the back row, I slowly inched my way to the front! I never thought of myself as a "dancer" but I feel like one whenever I go to your class! You also cater to different levels of fitness, you would show variations if you're more into fitness or more into dance! My favorite LaTosha quote is, "Be comfortable with the uncomfortable, challenge yourself to be a better version of you!"
I'd like to thank you for making me love Zumba, aside from the weight loss and gaining "dance skills" I'm also very much thankful that I gained a ton of new friends whom I probably wouldn't have met if I hadn't kept coming back to your classes! Thank you so much!!!
I took my first class with LaTosha back in 2010. From day one, the level the integrity, dedication, and positivity LaTosha displayed motivated me to go back every week. She is so patient and kind and had an energy that made exercising/working out so much fun. She's an amazing teacher and mentor, and she does it all with a smile on her face......always. If anyone out there is ever compelled to teach, no matter what level, take classes from her and you'll truly learn much more from her than you would in a classroom. Even to this day, LaTosha is an inspiration in my life. LaTosha, please keep doing what you're doing as you were born to do this. The world needs more "LaToshas"!!!!!!!!
-- Shemika Stevens
The first time I took one of your classes was back in March of 2011! I was brand new to 24 hour fitness and in desperate need of an outlet for stress, anxiety and depression.
I had given birth to my second beautiful son in January of that same year and I struggled with the extra 40 pounds pregnancy left me and I took a chance trying Zumba for the first time. You had me hooked within minutes! Your energy, attitude and knowledge of others in your class was not only inspiring but also motivating. You made sure to recognize that not every person in your class was at the same fitness level and offered alternative moves for those who might find it more comfortable.
After my first class I remember you offering to stay late to chat with the members in your class about anything and everything. I soon realized this was a regular routine for you as I started taking every single Zumba class of yours that I could find within the area.
Latosha, you inspire women because you are a REAL woman. You admitted having problem areas and extra weight- you were never afraid to show us that you were just like us and working to better your own body! You have an individual style and funk that is on a level matched by no one on this earth and the kindest heart that can be felt by just being in the same room. You helped me dance away 40 pounds in a 6 month time frame and gave me the confidence to push myself every day. I will always be your biggest fan and hope to be back in your front row sometime very soon!
LaTosha, before I joined 24 and started taking your Monday Zumba class, I was an overweight (still have more to go, but 1/2 way there!) stay at home mom who was letting herself go, putting herself last, and living mostly for the others in her life. A people pleaser who would not put herself first. After the first few classes I found something and someone who clicked with me. You gave me an opportunity to have fun, let loose a little, and get healthy. Your talk about "let me be your girlfriend " was what I needed in the beginning, and now I have my girls who come with me. I find your class motivating because you talk to us, motivate us, tell us to take it a little further (and I LOVE your music and routines). I think you have heard me say that I tell people I have an appointment on Monday mornings so I hardly ever schedule anything conflicting. This is true! I began to put myself first and make myself the priority. It has been a bumpy road, but your class is my security blanket, my comfort zone, and I knew that I was supported even if you didn't know the nitty gritty. So this, LaTosha, is why I appreciate you and the difference you have made in my life! And the "pardio" is always there for me.
When I first stepped into LaTosha's hip hop class I was always a step behind. The environment was so welcoming and supportive that I learn AND gained confidence. I am now a ballroom dancer training for my first competition.
A few years ago, I will say around 2010 maybe close to 11, I was just in my early stages of dancing. I had joined 24 hour fitness because I wanted to work out and change my life. When I took your classes not only did I dance and got a fitness workout, I also had received wisdom from a great inspirational leader. The more I came to class the more I enjoyed dancing, the environment, and being around the leader leading class. To this day as I teach dance and fitness myself, I think about the motivation you gave me to keep going or to even have fun while teaching.