Living Her Dream
"Do you brush your teeth every day?" Ivette Moore questions a classroom full of military personnel at the Navy Hospital in Beaufort, typically met with blank stares of "of course". "Well this is how you should feel about fitness. When you are at the point where you feel like something is missing if you do not do some sort of physical activity during the day, then you are right where you should be."
As a Health Promotions Coordinator with the United States Navy, it is Ivette's job (and passion) to educate individuals about the importance of health and fitness by coordinating health fairs, personal and classroom counseling, policy implementation and any other means necessary. "It is great to do something that is not work. I have a passion to help people. I find it an incredible accomplishment to see people who are down about their lives because of something health related, and as I help them improve their health, their entire lives become drastically better."
Not only does Ivette improve lives through her teachings, but she is a true testament to practicing what she preaches. After working a full day at the Naval Hospital every day, Ivette then drives the trek from Beaufort to the south end of Hilton Head, where she lives her second passion of instructing Zumba classes at her fitness studio, Z4 Fitness, which she opened about a year and a half ago. Back in 2007, Ivette discovered Zumba for the first time, and immediately fell in love with this Latin dance phenomenon. She soon became the first Zumba instructor in the Lowcountry, teaching at various gyms throughout Beaufort County, until she finally opened up Z4 in 2011 to offer a variety of Zumba classes for individuals' specific needs. "My reward from Zumba is to see everyone [I instruct] smiling and having fun. New people come in all the time wearing big baggy t-shirts and full of excuses like, 'I'm not a good dancer' or 'I'm just trying this out one time', and after a month of classes their attitude, appearance and confidence have completely changed!"
Another benefit to owning her own studio, is that Ivette and her husband, Doug, have the opportunity to support the community through drives and events, raising funds for cancer awareness, the American Heart Association, Bluffton Self Help and many more. In addition, Doug volunteers by teaching Zumba to members of PEP (Programs for Exceptional People) every week.
"I wouldn't be able to do everything that I do if I didn't have such strong support from my family. I was a single mother of four children for 11 years, and I've never had to feel guilty about doing what I do because my kids have always seen me exercising, and I've always involved them in working out. My daughter is a Zumba instructor as well, the boys are into cross country and swimming, and my other daughter plays soccer and is just starting to get into Zumba, as well. I am also so grateful that Doug is so involved with the studio because we get to share the same passions and spend time together doing what we love. And we do fun things together in our spare time as well, like bike rides, walks, playing volleyball on the beach . but now that I think about it, those are all fitness related too!" Ivette notes, with a giggle.
Ivette Moore is living the life she always dreamed of: healthy, happy and helping others. She is inspirational in her hunger to encourage others to improve their lives, and her thirst to constantly push herself forward. Her advice to others is simple and encouraging: "Do something that you enjoy. Don't do something just because someone is telling you to. Find what makes you who you are because then you will stick to it. Try different things. Always change your workout. Don't feel intimidated by trying something new. Do something you can do with your family and best friends. Don't make excuses."
Family: Husband: Doug; Children: Andrea, Alex, Harrison and Paulina
Reaching for her dreams: Ivette first came to the States from Puerto Rico after college to pursue her dream of receiving her Master's Degree. Held back because she did not know a word of English, Ivette took a job at McDonald's so she could learn the language. After a year she had learned enough to feel confident in applying for jobs in her area of expertise, and three years later she completed her Master's in health education and physiology.
Onto the next dream: Ivette still wants to receive her Ph.D., most likely in Sports Medicine or Physical Therapy.
Thirst for knowledge: Last month Ivette spent four days at a Zumba convention in Orlando, Fl., with over 7,000 other Zumba instructors!