“Ditch the Workout – Join the Party!” is the marketing slogan for Zumba®, and boy is it ever a party – a world wide party! Zumba® now caters to 14 million participants PER WEEK in more than 140,000 locations around the world, and is steadily growing.
Zumba® is a group class that combines high energy Latin-style dance choreography (IE. Salsa, Merengue, Reggae-ton and Flamenco) and aerobic-type movements. It has earned it’s popularity from being a blast! You’ll feel more like you’re partying at a Latin nightclub than doing a workout.
But is Zumba® right for you?
With the help of Veronique Pierre, a certified Zumba® instructor living and working in and around Montreal, Canada I have answered all the standard questions on Zumba® so you can make your own, calculated decision if Zumba® is something you want to give a try.
What kind of results can I expect from Zumba®?
Zumba® improves cardiovascular health, endurance, and weight loss.
It has been found to burn more calories than standard steady-paced cardio like jogging, step aerobics, and power yoga. The reason for such a high calorie burning is it’s interval type style (lots of fluctuation between low and higher intensity movements) It also causes you to continue burning calories after the workout is over. Exercising for prolonged periods at such a high heart rate can increase the strength of your heart.
That being said one must note that the intensity level of the workout will depend on how far you push yourself and get into each movement, so the actual calorie burn will of course depend on you. Veronique adds to not forget that a balanced diet plays a big part in the results you’ll get, and to always get a good balance of cardio, strength training, and flexibility training.
A negative to Zumba® is that every instructor has their own style so you have to check them out and make sure they are a right fit for you. “If you have an instructor who follows the training guidelines, you have a complete workout,” Veronique says. “You should only go with a Zumba® fitness licensed professional. You can always look a name up at the following link: http://www.Zumba.com/en-US/instructor.”
There are different kinds of Zumba® classes available to ensure that Zumba® lovers get a a well-rounded workout. “Through my different classes, my clients, athletes or not, have shared different positive feedbacks as far as results go,” Veronique says. “Through light weights, Zumba®Toning will help sculpt your body and offer you a cardio workout at the same time. Through Aqua Zumba® you get the cardio and the toning through a low-impact program.”
For a full list and description of Zumba® classes CLICK HERE
Do you recommend it for beginners?
If you’re not used to choreographed dance you may have trouble keeping up in the beginning. Not being able to keep up may prevent you from reaching a level of elevated heart rate that is needed to reap the benefits. The key is to try the movements at your own pace until you get the hang of it and to go for it on the moves that you do know. Veronique says that as long as you like music you will be fine. “The most important thing is to move and have fun. The brain eventually catches up with the moves and simply brings your body to do it. A good instructor will introduce steps at a slow pace first and give different intensity levels for more complicated moves.”
What if you’re just not a good dancer?
Some people unfortunately have two-left feet, but you’ll never know unless you try. Veronique says that some people don’t give themselves enough credit. “I always encourage new clients to try it for 3-4 weeks. Then they see the magic of the body and brain happening! I’ve had a client who confined in me once that she never danced in her life. We are talking about a 40 year-old woman who has been afraid to be laughed at on a dance floor. At the end of her third semester she danced all night long at her sister’s wedding, leaving her whole family speechless. If you were to come in my class, you wouldn’t be able to identify her. She just blends with everyone now.” See, so you can learn something too!
Other Zumba® Benefits:
– The fast paced Latin songs make moving quickly feel natural, so losing weight happens with ease.
– Because it’s so much fun to do you’re less likely to quit.
– The dance aspect of Zumba® can help improve balance and coordination.
– The learning and memorizing of the steps is a great mental exercise.
– It’s faced pace will build endurance and increase lung capacity.
Tips to get the most out of your Zumba® workout:
- Ask other people for their opinions on different instructors before you choose one. Look for accredited trainers on the Zumba® site. Don’t simply look at a certificate. After their training, Zumba® instructors have the choice to be part of what we call the ZIN(TM) network to keep informed and receive instructional and choreography videos, news, and updates.. If an instructor decides not to be part of this network, his/her certification is good only for a year, after which they lose their license. If you do not find the name on the Zumba® site report the person to www.stoppartycrashers.com
- Make sure you warm up and cool down.
- Consult a medical professional or exercise professional before joining if you have pre-existing health conditions, or are obese. High intensity aerobic workouts and obesity can be a heart-attack cocktail.
- Workout at your own level. There are people of all fitness levels in Zumba® classes, be honest with yourself about your ability level.
- Wear shoes with good support that allow you to move side to side and slide a bit.
- Let loose and have a good time. This is the only surefire way to burn those calories. Don’t be self-conscious. Everyone is there to get in shape and have fun.
- Fully extend your arms during the arm movements. This will increase calorie burning and engage the arm muscles more.
- Push yourself to move up and down more on the appropriate movements. It will boost the calorie burn and help activate the glute, hips, and leg muscles.
- If you miss a step or can’t keep up jog or march in place until you can get back in. Don’t stop.
Have a question that wasn’t answered? Put it in the comments and Veronique will answer!
Resources: livestrong.com, shape, fitday.com, lifestyle.inquirer.net, caloriesecrets.com, dr.well.com, acefitness