It’s rare that you meet someone who wasn’t intentionally trying to lose weight. It’s also rare that anyone who is losing weight finds exercise fun. However, for 63-year-old Joey Speir, those were the exact things that happened to him. In the past few years, Joey has lost at least 85 pounds just by dancing.

When his niece introduced him to Zumba, Joey was instantly hooked. He hadn’t been trying to lose any weight when he joined the class, but he became addicted. After regularly attending Zumba classes at the Monroe County Rec Department, New Providence Church, and finally at FitCo Gym, Joey has gone from approximately 230 lbs. to 145 lbs. He didn’t use any other exercise machines to lose the weight, only did Zumba. Being the only man in his class didn’t even put a pause in his step, and he has a strong bond with the women there.

Since starting Zumba, Joey has fought multiple health issues. Not only has he had a triple bypass, but he has also fought cancer twice. In March, his PSA came back up, meaning the cancer could possibly be back. He goes back to the doctor to find out on June 28. Despite those problems, Joey is healthy. He is running in marathons and is very active. This past weekend he raced in a 5k at Jackson First Baptist Church and won first place for his age division. Zumba has also been a big help on his mental and emotional health. After his partner of 42 years died in their home from a massive heart attack last year, Joey was able to use his Zumba class to help overcome it. While getting past the death is still hard for him, Joey has been able to stay happy with the help of his class, both the women in it and being able to do the exercise himself.

There is a lot of physical activity when it comes to Zumba. Joey said while the regular Zumba dancing class is tough, it’s Zumba Strong that is definitely a struggle. There are a lot of exercises incorporated into Zumba Strong, so there are lots of up and down movements. “You’re on the floor a lot,” Joey laughed. However, no matter how difficult the classes got, Joey never gave it up. “I love it too much,” he said when asked if he ever considered quitting. He considers the Zumba class his second family, and said they are very helpful and supportive, especially his instructor Holly.

“I love my class. They’re my friends; my family. I call them my girlfriends,” he laughed. Joey said that he recommends Zumba for everyone, not just for people who want to lose weight. It can be used as a dance class, an exercise class, or even an option for people who struggle using overbearing gym equipment. Joey said that Zumba classes make working out fun, and that while he may eventually begin using other equipment in the FitCo gym, he is just going to stay with his “second family” for now.

The Zumba class at FitCo gym meets every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and every other Saturday. Memberships to the gym can be purchased through their website or by going to the gym’s building.