Ryan Grovey currently is a National Trainer for MIXXEDFIT, a popular group fitness program founded by Lori Chung out of her studio Dojo 3 in the greater Washington state area. Want to know more about Ryan Grovey? Read The Interview.
TDR: Ryan, you are living your passion as a National Trainer with MIXXEDFIT. You exude joy for the dance in each video and/or picture you post with trainees and the founder, Lori Chung. No one can miss your enthusiasm for what you do! Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to talk with me. Let us start with some insight into life before MIXXEDFIT. Tell us something about your parents.
RG: My mother, Patricia Yvonne Grovey, and my father Trenedy [“Trent”] Schavaz Grovey graduated from Oklahoma State. They moved to New Mexico after they married. My father, a petroleum engineer, found work in oil there. My mother stayed home for a while but she dreamed of working with children. She worked in banking but later she founded her own non-profit agency which includes four early childhood facilities that serve over 500 low-income children and their families as well.
TDR: What an impressive bio sketch of your parents; we will learn more about them later. For now, let’s move into a discussion of your passion for dance fitness.
As I danced during that demo with the MIXXEDFIT instructor, I was like OMG! This is what I need in my life! The door has opened. This is my new beginning!
RG: I’ll begin with school. In junior high I played basketball and football; I excelled in both. I knew early that academics were it, though. In 10th grade, something changed: I felt like I really wanted to do strictly academics.
TDR: What are “strictly academics”?
RG: I continued to play but I noticed I slowly was walking away from sports. I became involved in student council. I stopped playing sports altogether my senior year because I wanted to be all involved with my class. So, for instance, I was in charge of the senior prom. I worked closely with the principal. Still, I maintained a B average no matter how active I was.
TDR: You have a strong background in sports and academics yet no mention of being a dancer and even taking a dance fitness class during your high school years. When did dance fitness catch your attention?
RG: Well, my mother organized some fitness classes at her facility and I always participated in them with her. I would dance around the house. I wasn’t trained but I loved to dance! My friends would tell me all the time that I was a good dancer. I did teach a hip-hop class to young adults once but dance fitness or dance fitness as an industry … I just was not aware of an industry …
TDR: So, after high school …
RG: I enrolled in New Mexico State University. I don’t know why but during one of my trips home my mother suggested to me to take a Zumba fitness class already happening at her place of business. Let me pause for a moment to say something about my mother: She is my heart. If not for my mother, I would not be where I am today.
TDR: What a lovely homage to your mother …
RG: Thank you. She is my best friend! Well, I was home for Christmas, and I tried the Zumba classes at one of mom’s facilities. I absolutely fell in love with Zumba!
TDR: Zumba is your first intro to dance fitness after the Hip Hop class you taught?
RG: Yes. It was. I borrowed my mom’s Zumba DVD’s, and practiced the routines with my roommates when I returned to college after Christmas break. That summer, I took Zumba the whole time I was home. My mother noticed my moves. “You have a talent!” she said. She told me that I was super good, and encouraged me to become an instructor. I thought she was crazy! But she and I, along with two other staff members, registered for Zumba Instructor training held in Albuquerque. I received my certification June 2009 at the age of 19!
TDR: Did you start teaching right away after your certification in Zumba?
RG: Yes, but it was kind of sad because my father passed away in May 2009—a month before my Zumba certification. He really didn’t get to see my success! He sees it now, though!
TDR: Would he have supported this endeavor?
RG: Sure! Even though his thing was sports, my dad would have supported anything I was passionate about. He was a basketball and track star in high school in Duncan, Oklahoma. He was state champion in track and was all district in basketball and football. He enrolled me in sports camps, and he always encouraged me from the sidelines.
My goal is to change lives. For just one hour, I give my all to my students. You never know what is going on with anyone, and that’s why I teach to make a difference.
TDR: You were brought up by talented and focused parents who for certain inspired your own interests. Your mother is an entrepreneur; your father, was an athlete, an engineer, and an actor. Both parents were political activists—your mother still is politically aware. I am curious about what particular lessons you learned from them.
RG: My parents instilled in my sister and me an appreciation for discipline, practice, and hard work! My father said, “I want to make sure that you are successful”, and he did. My sister is an anesthesiologist. I opened my business at the age of 20. Mom and dad really invested in our futures and made sure to grow our confidence.
TDR: It’s your first class teaching as a Zumba instructor. How did that feel?
RG: I was so nervous!! My girlfriend was there. I was freaking out just from the nerves! That class was a success, though, and it gave me confidence to develop as an instructor and grow my business. I started expanding like crazy! I taught at a nutrition spot on a patio—pretty ghetto but I did it! I taught at all of the gyms in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I co-taught with a cheerleader from Hobbs High. I even taught it to my Kappa Sigma frats. As my reputation grew, people encouraged me to open my own studio, and I did! My grandfather and my mom supported me through everything.
TDR: How did you grow your business?
RG: Word of mouth! People felt I brought so much joy to my dancing; they loved my teaching style. My classes were packed. Before I knew it, I was in high demand in the city of Las Cruces. People told their friends! After a while, I wanted to be more than just a Zumba instructor; I wanted to go higher.
TDR: What is “higher” in the Zumba organization of instructors?
RG: The Zumba Jammer.* I applied in 2011 but I didn’t make it. Everyone was shocked. I was like ‘whatever’ because, really, I felt I needed to push harder. The second round 2013 I made it.
TDR: What contributed to your success the second time around?
RG: Well, it helped that the organization outlined exactly what they wanted to see in the audition. I was glad I made it because the training provided at the Zumba Jammer level helped me in my development as a dance fitness instructor.
TDR: You resigned as a Zumba Jammer in 2014, but in January 2015, you danced right into MIXXEDFIT. What drew you to this particular program?
RG: A Zumba instructor in one of my Jam sessions asked if I would host a MIXXEDFIT demo in Las Cruces. I made it happen. As I danced during that demo with the MIXXEDFIT instructor, I was like OMG! This is what I need in my life! The door has opened. This is my new beginning! I determined right then and there to host a MIXXEDFIT Instructor certification. I also determined that no one else but the CEO Lori Chung was going to do our certification. I personally contacted Lori, and after a lot of convincing she agreed to come.
MIXXEDFIT music uses only American Top 40 music and yesterday’s hits; we are not Asian-, Latin-, African-inspired … and our moves? Our moves are explosive! They are huge and powerful! These are the features of MIXXEDFIT that separate our program from all others.
TDR: How does Lori Chung fuel your enthusiasm for MIXXEDFIT?
RG: She is people inspired! I appreciate her passion, commitment, and hard work for growing MIXXEDFIT. She personally invests in her instructors and her national trainers. She promotes our workshops through the MIXXEDFIT page. The personal development? Outstanding! Many group fitness programs do not offer this kind of attention to its instructors and trainers.
TDR: Your mother saw something in you and encouraged you to become a Zumba instructor. Lori saw something in you, and brought you on board as a MIXXEDFIT National Trainer. What affect does the belief your mother and Lori have on you?
RG: Their belief in me strengthened my own belief in myself. My mother … see … I watched the process she went through to own her early childcare business. Her determination … her discipline—all of her strength let me know I can do it too! As for Lori–Lori respected my talent. She asked me about my own vision … my own desires, and went about seeing how these could be brought about. My career as a dance fitness instructor started in MIXXEDFIT, and I know that was due to Lori personally seeing my performance, energy, and talent during the certification training. People would say to me always “Ryan you should be on those [Zumba Fitness] videos” but I never had that chance. I am in MIXXEDFIT training videos now.
TDR: Was the switch from Zumba to MIXXEDFIT a smooth one?
RG: I think so. Mom had all faith in me, yes, but she advised me to be cautious in my transition from being a Zumba Jammer to becoming a MIXXEDFIT National Trainer. She did see I had more opportunities with MIXXEDFIT that I did not have through Zumba but she understood the business side of things. Everything worked out nicely, really well.
TDR: MIXXEDFIT and Zumba are both dance fitness formats whereby the common denominator is choreographed dance. What are the particular differences?
RG: MIXXEDFIT music uses only American Top 40 music and yesterday’s hits; we are not Asian-, Latin-, African-inspired … and our moves? Our moves are explosive! They are huge and powerful! These are the features of MIXXEDFIT that separate our program from all others.
TDR: How are you using MIXXEDFIT in the community:
RG: My goal is to change lives. For just one hour, I give my all to my students. You never know what is going on with anyone and that’s why I teach to make a difference.
TDR: What are some of your personal goals outside of MIXXEDFIT?
RG: Just to have enough of my own personal wealth where I can be free! I’m in no hurry. Eventually I will have a family with about like eight kids! My mom is like “I want a grandchild!”
But right now, I am living life to the fullest! I am living my dream … I am living Ryan!
To learn more about Ryan, visit him on Facebook and Instagram. For more information on MIXXEDFIT and its mission statement, how to become an instructor, to bring MIXXEDFIT to your city, local events, find a class, and to purchase MIXXEDFIT gear, visit http://www.mixxedfit.com. To meet the founder Lori Chung, visit www.mixxedfit.com/lori-chung.
*A Zumba Jammer (ZJ) … specializes in Zumba choreography and … provide[s] ZIN Members with new choreography routines to integrate into their Zumba classes. (Zumba.com)