Gail Hatch, owner of FitSquadLA, guarantees two things when you try their Zumba classes—one: you will leave smiling; and two: you will leave sweaty! When Gail and her instructors teach a Zumba class, an infectious sense of joy and positive energy permeates throughout the studio. Working out becomes a party with friends you didn’t even know you had!
“Rescued from couch-potato status in May 2008, I barely lasted halfway through my first class and didn’t even own a sports bra. After losing 9 pounds in 5 weeks, I realized that the program really worked for anti-gym girls like me! I began to believe there could be a chance that I didn’t have to buy clothes that had an “x” next to the size. I did what I could to get to the gym. So many nights my boys (then 4 and 8) would play right next to me while I danced. Soon instead of looking forward to my couch time, I was counting the hours ’till class! From a size 18 to size 6 and 55 lbs lighter, I’ve got so much more energy and a sunnier, more positive outlook – something I used to only think was possible with a pizza and 32 oz. Coke!,” recalls Gail of her Zumba experience, “Zumba helped me find my joy and I want to share that with others.”
In 2009, Gail became a licensed Zumba instructor, teaching Zumba classes all over the valley from Sylmar to Burbank, North Hills, even to Woodland Hills. However, plans to find a studio to call ‘home’ was in the works; a space with a warm, happy, kid-friendly environment with stress-free parking, of course. Finally, in 2012, FitSquadLA, a small neighborhood studio, found its home on Reseda Blvd, in Reseda, CA.
Celebrating its eighth-year anniversary, Gail credits an incredible community for the studio’s success. “The community loves Zumba and each other; this includes Zumba instructors who support FitSquadLA events year after year. Personally, I love to dance, and seeing people gather – see their friends after a long day at work or with the kids—to dance and laugh together and leave happy…I can’t ever get tired of seeing that!”
Giving back to the community is a huge part of what makes FitSquadLA unique. Over the years, Gail and her team collaborated with other Zumba instructors to organize Zumbathons, Master classes and fundraisers for City of Hope, Stronger than Cancer, Toys for Tots and several other youth programs in the San Fernando Valley. It’s a way of expressing their gratitude to a community that’s given them a lot.
Newcomers are always welcome to the studio. Remember not to feel intimidated or scared—just be prepared to be greeted by Gail and a group of very friendly individuals. “You will leave in a good mood, and I will remember your name. Oh, and they’re gonna looooove the music,” assures Gail.
For more information on FitSquadLA, check out their website.