This is usually the response I get after describing to a friend about the fitness class I’ve been taking the past few months.
My gym started offering Zumba (pronounced zoom-buh) in January, and ever since, it has become my Thursday night mix-it-up workout.
To use Wikipedia’s definition, “Zumba is a Latin inspired dance fitness program created by dancer and choreographer Alberto “Beto” Perez in Colombia during the 1990s.” During the 45-minute class, we go through several upbeat songs, a mix of Latin and hip hop, using various combinations of fairly easy steps, all of which get your heart pumping. Every once in a while, the instructor will throw in something new and perhaps a bit tricky to challenge the class, but generally everyone is following along easily by the mid-point of a new song/routine.
The top three things I’ve learned about Zumba:
1. No, you don’t have to have ridiculous Hammer pants, and neon colored clothing to participate. I’ve NEVER seen anyone wearing the “traditional” zumba stuff to a class. Just throw on your regular gym clothes and a solid pair of cross trainers. (I wear Nike “Free” shoes because of the super-flexible sole, and they offer more support than a traditional jazz shoe.)
2. No, you don’t need dance experience, or dance shoes for that matter. A general sense of rhythm and ability to find a beat will certainly help you, but if you’ve never taken a dance class, just stand in the back and you’ll be totally fine. I promise.
3. You will burn tons of calories…but you’ll be too busy concentrating – and then after mastering the steps – shaking your groove thing – to notice! I looked it up once and in 45 mins I burn about 430 calories!
Here’s my bottom-line testament to how great of a workout Zumba is…the room we always have it in is meat locker cold when we first walk in. I literally stand there and rub my arms, shivering, waiting for class to start. Then, by the end of the class, I’m toweling off sweat and my clothes are drenched. It’s awesome.
And no, I’m not a paid endorser of Zumba haha – I’m just a really big fan! Check out the Zumba site for more info and to find a class in your area! Happy dancing!