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Published May 15, 2013, 11:40 PM

Instructors hope local Xabeat fitness classes will become national craze

FARGO - Daniela Fergen said she was a “spoiled little brat” who had a maid and never had to do any chores as a child living in Brazil.

By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

FARGO - Daniela Fergen said she was a “spoiled little brat” who had a maid and never had to do any chores as a child living in Brazil.

Then she participated in a foreign exchange student program in the United States when she was 16 years old and everything changed. She had to make her own bed, fix her own breakfast, and help her host family with chores like cleaning the floors.

“I saw for the first time what real life was,” she said.

Despite the culture shock, she decided to give up her upper class life in Brazil to move stateside.

“I fell in love with the people. I had a wonderful host family,” Fergen said. “I fell in love with how the United States works.”

Almost two decades later, she’s an entrepreneur in Fargo launching a new fitness brand.

Fergen started a fitness business called Dance-Fit with Kim Brandt three years ago. They started out teaching Zumba classes and then created their own dance-fitness program that provides high-intensity cardio and toning in a party-like atmosphere.

Brandt, 43, of Fargo said her life changed seven years ago when she was asked to do “Dancing with the Albany Stars” while living in Albany, NY.

When she moved back to Fargo, dance helped her through a difficult time in her life, she said.

The women are now branching out and certifying other instructors (or inspirators, as they call them) to teach their new fitness style, called Xabeat.

The pair hopes it will become a nationwide fitness trend, Brandt said.

“It’s really fun,” Brandt said. “We have a lot of people say they don’t like to exercise, but we trick them into exercise. You can burn anywhere from 600 to 1,200 calories depending on the class so you can get a great workout and you don’t even realize you’re working.”

“It’s not about being a dancer,” Fergen said. “It’s about getting out there, moving your body and getting a great workout. People just loved it.”

Brandt and Fergen said it’s rewarding to help other women feel empowered and happy.

“We women tend to spend so much time on doing things for others that we forget about ourselves,” Fergen said. “This is one hour we can spend to feel good about ourselves and realize the beauty we have within.”

Women of any age and fitness ability can participate in the classes, Brandt said.

“We keep it very simple,” she said. “The simpler the better because we want women to feel like they’ve accomplished something. The worst thing in the world is to go into a class and feel frustrated.”

There are now about 20 Xabeat instructors. They have to go through a screening process to be certified because Fergen and Brandt really want instructors who will inspire others, Fergen said.

Classes are currently being held at Health Pros and Courts Plus in Fargo. While they’re focused on women, there are also a few men taking the classes.

Ansley Cameron of Fargo teaches Xabeat at both locations. She was a student before she became an instructor, and said she was hooked after the first class.

She loved the movement and the dance aspect.

“It’s really hard to be crabby and dance at the same time,” she said.

But she was also attracted to the message of empowerment, family and community she got from the classes, she said.

“It’s not just a dance class,” she said. “That’s what made the difference for me and why I wanted to get involved. Every place has just a workout. As a client, I was totally revitalized and energized with positive energy.”

Now that she’s an instructor, Cameron said she is inspired by her students as much as she tries to inspire them.

“Xabeat is for everyone,” she said. “It’s not just for dancers, it’s not just for skinny girls, it’s not just for young girls, it’s not just for girls who need a makeover inside and out.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526