Zumba instructor is unstoppable after car crash


Two bulging disks and a curve in her neck. That was the official diagnosis from her chiropractor after a car crash on Jan. 30.

Sarah Borges, a junior secondary education major, also doubles as a Zumba instructor in the school’s new fitness center. She was teaching Zumba classes every Monday and Wednesday at 6 p.m. until she got in a serious car accident that stopped her from pursuing her passion for about a month.  

When Borges got into the car accident, she was initially told to stop doing Zumba for two weeks, but upon her return she taught one class and she knew she wasn’t ready. After that, she was told by her chiropractor to stop for another three weeks.

During the three weeks Borges was unable to teach Zumba, she was able to do light exercise on the elliptical and some calisthenics. She also focused on eating right, as she could not complete her usual intense Zumba workouts.

Borges is no stranger to life-altering injuries, although her past serious injury occurred in high school and she hurt her ACLs instead of her neck.

“To me it means a lot more. In high school I tore both my ACLs. It takes a year to recover so the first year I gained a little weight,” Borges said. “The second year I was really down, I couldn’t play softball again, I got really big, I gained about 30 pounds. I was kind of discouraged. I got teased. Kids would hit my crutches.”

After her most recent injury, physical therapy sessions became a part of her new routine, which she attended three times a week for about two hours. While recovering, she would also often have nerve tests and MRIs.

“I told the chiropractor ‘I’m having withdrawals. I can’t do Zumba.’ He was like ‘No, you just have to relax a little bit.’ It was my bad when I told him how I dance, I flip my head around a lot, so he was like ‘Now I don’t trust you with anything you do,’” Borges said.

Currently, Borges holds a Zumba Instructor Membership (ZIM) to have access to Zumba’s official music and choreography, although she said she usually makes up her own choreography.

“I’m a little more hardcore, but I disguise it better,” Borges said. “I try to do it as fun as possible. Even if there’s a squat song I’ll spice it up to where people don’t really know they’re working on it, so it’s like fitness in disguise almost.”

Although the calories burned per class depends on an individual’s fitness level, Borges said that her mom, who also teaches Zumba, once burned up to 800 calories in a class.

Audrey Hoffman, a senior allied health major, has been doing Zumba for about five years and has attended two of Borges’s classes.

“It’s definitely a good workout. It’s better than just running on the treadmill,” Hoffman said.

One thing students enjoy about her classes is her unique Zumba style.

Liza Safro, a sophomore marketing major, has only been to Borges’s class a couple times but really enjoys Borges’s style of dance-focused Zumba versus the other Zumba classes taught throughout the week by other instructors at the gym.

“It’s faster and I feel like you work out more. I like the music because it’s fast and it’s intense and you just move all the time,” Safro said.

She finally came back to teaching classes at the fitness center on Feb. 27 after the three weeks off and was able to get back into her hour long classes filled with international rhythms, including hispanic music.

“It was fun. I had a good time. Afterward I felt great. I felt fine. I felt rejuvenated. I finally got my Zumba fix back,” Borges said.

Jenna Manto can be reached at jenna.manto@spartans.ut.edu

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