Maxine zaps six stone with Zumba

Maxine Wells is half the woman she once  was - after she dropped five dress sizes by taking part in Zumba classes.

Maxine is pictured with Zumba instructor Lorraine Thomas
Maxine is pictured with Zumba instructor Lorraine Thomas

Maxine Wells is half the woman she once  was - after she dropped five dress sizes by taking part in Zumba classes.

The 28-year-old from Brownhills lost six stone in five months and went from a size 20 to a 10 after starting the fitness craze in September.

Classes allow participants to work out to latin-inspired music. Maxine, a dog groomer, decided to lose weight after seeing a photo of herself highlighting her "spare tyre".

Maxine before she started her Zumba classes
Maxine before she started her Zumba classes

Now weighing in at a svelte nine-and-a half stone, she packs in eight hours of Zumba each week to maintain her figure.

It was a unforgiving snap taken by a friend that spurred Maxine on to shed the stones,

"I wasn't even looking at the camera and you could see I had this complete tyre all the way around my waist," she said.

"I looked at that picture and thought 'Oh Lord, what have I done?' The weight had slowly crept on since I got married five years ago, and it just got to the point where a size 18 was too tight."

"I had got comfortable in a routine and just sat on the sofa and ate takeaways and chocolates. I just thought 'right, I need to do something'."

She went to her first Zumba class in September last year at Broad Lane Working Men's Club in Bloxwich.

"I was a bit nervous because I was big, so I was really self conscious," she said. "But when you get there, you realise that there are people there as big as you or bigger."

As the weeks went by, the pounds dropped off — and Maxine could not get enough of her new-found hobby.

"I must admit, I didn't expect the weight to drop off that quick," she said.

"I just kept upping the number of times I went, and now I do every class my instructor does."

Maxine, who lives with her car mechanic husband Jason, 34, in Great Charles Street in Brownhills, attends eight classes a week at venues all around the Black Country — even packing in three in one day.

Although she did not go on a programme diet, her weight loss was also boosted by a simple change of attitude to food.

She halted her regime of four takeaways a week, replacing it with a diet of home-cooked meals, and instead of eating chocolate as a snack started chomping on apples.

Her Zumba teacher Lorraine Thomas, 39, from Wednesfield, testified to the power of the workout.

She said: "It's addictive, that's what everybody says.

"It's nothing like aerobics, it doesn't have the same impact or structures, I think that's what's selling it.

"It's like being a girl again and making up your own dance moves."

The idea of Zumba, dubbed as a way of "partying yourself into shape", was started in Colombia in 2001, after a fitness instructor dashed to teach an aerobics class and forgot his traditional music.

He improvised using his own mix of music from salsa tapes in his backpack, spontaneously creating a form of dance fitness. The idea spread to America and is now practised in 110 countries after arriving in the UK about 12 months ago.

"It has been great," Maxine said.

"It really is something that people of all sizes can do."