As a Fitness Vibe veteran, Marco’s journey with Zumba with Latin Vibes (ZLV) started way back in 2006, and boy what a journey it’s been!
Coming from a Sicilian family, Marco boldly states that their culture is usually based around food, where all they wanted to do was eat, so he claims that’s that is exactly what he did.
As a child he recalls never being concerned about his appearance so never paid attention to the fact that as the years passed, the weight was beginning to soar.
It was at school where Marco claims his nightmare began as he was one of very few individuals from an ethnic background, which in his mind made him feel isolated and pushed out.
In school his interests were more in the arts rather than mainstream subjects so by the age of 14 he was in the school steel band. The problem was he was the only boy in the steel band and the only “overweight kid in the class” giving the school bullies lots to get their teeth into. As Marco pulled further into himself, he sought solace and comfort in food.
“As the years passed, the bullying got worse. My weight went through the roof and by the time I was 16 years old my school uniform was a XXL. Amazingly I was still in denial about the fact that my weight was at an unhealthy level which was putting tremendous strain on my heart and joints.”
So what happened next?… Marco went from one school to another and was used to the fact the he spent his days as in his words “Billy no mates”.
Once he got to University he thought his luck was about to change as he had a love interest. Upon asking this person out she replied “you got to be kidding, I would never be seen dating a fat guy”.
Feeling embarrassed and ashamed that was the start of his commitment to reduce and manage his weight. He worked alongside a personal trainer and gave it his all and the weight began to fall off.
Marco at the age of 20 graduated in the world of wedding and events planning. He invested in his own shop at the age of 21 and gave it blood sweat and tears – things were going well, so he thought. The recession hit and business took a turn. Marco lost everything. On top of it all, he was emotionally, financially, mentally and physically broken.
“Suffering with severe depression my friends wanted to get me out of the house and dragged me out to a Salsa club. However, we got lost and ended up in another Salsa Club in Finchley. Akilé (Latin Vibes) was hosting the evening and was about to teach a class. I asked her if it was ok to watch. She smiled and kindly replied… of course you can, but on one condition; you come back next week and give it a go. So I stayed true to my word and that marked the start of something special.”
Marco rapidly became a very competent dancer and was selected to join the Latin Vibes Performance Team where he was continuously trained by Akilé in many of the Latin dance styles.
“From day one Akilé took me under her wing and saw a potential in me that I did not see. I was encouraged, pushed and respected and my confidence began to soar.” This quiet guy had found his voice (BIG MISTAKE!)
Aged 27 Marco retired from performing on the Salsa circuit and alongside Akilé indulged in the wonderful world of Zumba.
“Still having flashbacks of my past, it took me almost a year to have the confidence to have my own class, which if it wasn,t for Akilé throwing me in the deep end, it would of taken me much longer. I will never forget her turning up in her flip flops, me looking at her with a mixture of horror and confusion on my face.
I asked the question, “you’re getting changed right?”, to which she replied, “no babes, its time for Mama to kick her little duckling out of the nest and watch him fly”.
And that he did. Marco has gone from being a shy 42″ waist to an astonishing 30″ Italian heart throb that we cannot keep quiet even if we tried.
Position: Fitness Vibe Instructor; Date of Birth: 26 July 1981, Star Sign: Leo
Licensed to teach:
Zumba® – Zumba® and Zumba® Toning