All You Ever Wanted to Know about Zumba

0SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/8/2013 6:00 AM   :  482 comments   :  137,692 Views

Editor's note: You've been asking about Zumba for a long time, so we are happy to share this guest blog post from one of our favorite bloggers. Gina, otherwise known as The Fitnessista, is not only a HUGE fan of Zumba, but she's a Zumba instructor and former dancer as well. She was happy to write about her favorite form of aerobics for the dailySpark.

Hi, everyone! My name is Gina and I write over at a little blog called The Fitnessista. On my blog, I write about fitness tips, nutrition advice, recipes, workout routines and my daily shenanigans. Determined to experience a negative “freshman 15,” I lost 40 pounds about 8 years ago and have since then become a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. My favorite class to teach, by far, is ZUMBA!

So, you may have heard about Zumba or you might be wondering what the heck it is.

Zumba is a giant party.

In class, you spend the entire time dancing and it’s easy to forget that you’re actually working out, burning a crazy amount of calories and blasting fat.

Zumba:

  • Zumba is an aerobics fitness program that was created primarily by Beto Perez. Zumba originated in Columbia in the 1990s, when Beto forgot a CD for his aerobics class. He used one of his personal CDs (traditional Latin music) and taught a dance-style aerobics class on the spot. Zumba was born! Since then, it has become a crazy booty-shaking world phenomenon, with over 6 million participants taking classes each week (Source). Zumba got its namesake from the buzzing of bees… Zuuuuuumba--it’s Colombian slang for “fast.”
     
  • Zumba is a Latin-style dance class (including salsa, merengue, cha-cha, cumbia, soca and samba), combined with hip hop and reggaeton, as well as international styles of dance like bellydancing, flamenco, Bollywood and African. Most classes should be about 70% Latin dances with 30% for the rest of the other fun stuff.
     
  • Many classes will utilize an interval style of training--combining slower dances with faster upbeat songs and songs dedicated to toning movements (arms, abs, legs).
     
  • The instructor will usually dance in front of the class, while the students follow along. Each song will repeat the same movements, so that it’s easier to pick up.

    What to expect:
  • To have no idea what you’re doing at first. I danced for my entire life and was LOST for the first class. The best thing you can do is pick up the steps where you can, laugh, shake and have fun. It’s one of those things that the more often you go, the easier it gets. Remember, no one is there to judge you. Everyone is at the gym for a common goal and is usually too worried about what they’re doing to think about anyone else. Just have fun!
     
  • Some instructors will go over the movements before each song. Other instructors (like me) will just dance the entire time and yell stuff out to the class. Be ready for either type of teach.
     
  • To burn a LOT of calories. I typically burn 500-600, while some of my students with heart rate monitors have burned upwards of 1,000.
     
  • Wear comfy clothes and shoes, bring water and a towel (for sweat) if you’d like.
     
  • Get ready to become HOOKED! Zumba is an absolute blast--a lot more fun than running on the treadmill or teetering along on the elliptical (in my opinion).

    Want to see what Zumba is really like?

    Here are some videos of my classes: (feel free to dance along!)





    Ready to check out a class?

    Classes in your area can be found at Zumba.com.

    Happy shaking!

    Have you ever taken a Zumba class before? What did you think?


Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
 

NEXT ENTRY >   7 Tests You Should Never Skip

Great Stories from around the Web

Comments

  • 432
    Silver Zumba is done at our winter resort.
    And I would love to try Aqua Zumba! - 5/8/2013   9:30:00 PM
  • 431
    I've been doing Zumba for about 3 years now. At first I didn't really like it, seemed hard to catch on. But I found an instructor I really like and get along with, which seems to be the case for a lot of people because her classes are always full. If you haven't tried don't worry when you do that you can do the moves. Just follow which way the class is moving, like if the moves are going to the right, you don't have to do the steps exact but walk to the right with the rest of the class and so on. For me I worked on getting the foot work down first and then the arms. To try and do both was just over the top for me. - 5/8/2013   1:48:29 PM
  • 430
    I took Zumba classes when I was at an RV park in Arizona the average age in my class would have been 65 or older and I found I could do it better than most of the ladies in class as I have been dancing my entire life, however I know I wouldn't be able to keep up with a class of 40 year olds so I only can do it for 3 months in the winter when I am down south.
    - 5/8/2013   11:55:20 AM
  • 429
    FINDNEWME: There are Zumba DVD's and now even a Zumba Fitness on Wii that you could work out to if you can't get to a class in the country. There are many different DVD sets and I think Zumba is on different game systems too (I'm not sure though but I have the Wii game so I know that exists!). They may not be an exact substitute for a class but any time you get up and get moving will be good for you! :D - 5/8/2013   11:33:56 AM
  • 428
    I've been doing Zumba for years . . . without knowing it. In my own living room with the windows thumping - 5/8/2013   11:21:57 AM
  • 427
    I was not interested in Zumba until last August when I saw a group class at the gym. I told myself "I can do that" and went for it. It was hard at first due to excess pounds, aches and pains, but 32 lbs later, I am still doing Zumba! I just love it so much that now I am a Zumba instructor! As far as the calories burned, I burn between 800 to 1100 calories 1 one hour class consistently. I make sure that I am not just moving, but jumping with arms in the air all the time. That's how I burn more calories. Also depending on how fit you are will determine how many calories you burn. If you are fit, the less calories you burn with each class. So, Zumba away everyone! - 5/8/2013   10:04:29 AM
  • 426
    Zumba is so fun but it's difficult to find classes in the country! I wonder if a DVD is an adequate substitute? I have no rhythm but find Zumba to be fun and exhilarating! - 5/8/2013   9:55:56 AM
  • PAT4PROG
    425
    This gal here has no rythym. However, I have found that Zumba is sooo much fun and it's all about moving your body. No one in the classes ever judge my lack of beat because we're all having too much fun! It's all about moving you body...and yes, I do get just a little better each time. - 5/8/2013   8:53:50 AM
  • PRUITT473
    424
    Zumba is a great workout but I agree with the poster who said that the instructor makes a huge difference. I've been to classes where the instructors were just plain awful and I could not wait until the class was over. Also been to classes where I wish we could go on for another hour! The bottom line is to keep moving even if you don't know the steps. It all counts!! - 5/8/2013   8:37:14 AM
  • 423
    Beware of her supposed calorie burn. I have taken Zumba from several different instrustors and wear a heart rate monitor. I have never burned more than 600 calories in a class.

    However, everyone should try it! It's amazing! Although, what shoes you wear are very important as knee injuries are common in Zumba from the dancing and turning. - 5/8/2013   8:36:37 AM
  • 422
    Love Love Love Zumba, but i have also found the instructor is key into making it an enjoyable experience.... some are much easier to follow than others.... so stick with it and get out there and dance :) its addicting.. :) - 5/8/2013   8:24:27 AM
  • 421
    I have always wanted to try Zumba....I think I'll try a class with a friend of mine this weekend! - 5/8/2013   8:11:11 AM
  • ROBBIEY
    420
    I love Zumba. It is fun and energizing. I go to class once a week and also do Zumba on my Xbox Kinnect. - 5/8/2013   8:04:36 AM
  • DELLMEL
    419
    I am getting ready to start classes. - 5/8/2013   7:56:12 AM
  • 418
    Hate to exercise. LOOOOVE to Zumba! Even my videos at home I do are often zumba, or combination dance/cardioboxing to mix it up a little. It's the best way to exercise! - 5/8/2013   7:49:15 AM
  • 417
    Love it so much!! I'm hoping my gym will offer more Zumba classes soon...I actually think they're working on it! - 5/8/2013   7:32:51 AM
  • 416
    as per my spark name, I am addicted to zumba. I go 4 nights a week. Very popular at our gym. close to 100 people in one of our classes. I have asthma, and the fact that I have the endurance to dance an entire hour and not be out of breath, still amazes me. The transformation in my body has been huge. I am destined to be an instructor some day. - 5/8/2013   7:06:22 AM
  • 415
    I love my Zumba class. My instructor is awesome. There is such a camaraderie among the my Zumba peeps. We really love the hour we spend together. - 5/8/2013   6:42:54 AM
  • JOANSHELLEY
    414
    Zumba is the only exercise I have ever been able to stick with. Three years now, three to four times a week. 70 pounds down and countng. love the party, my peeps there and my instructor!!L - 3/23/2013   8:18:26 AM
  • 413
    I am 100 lbs overweight, and I have been doing Zumba on Saturdays at the Y for several weeks. Even though I am always wheezing at about the 15-minute mark, I look forward to going every week. There are women of all ages and sizes in my class, and even a few men. I never feel bad when I have to march in place through a song or two in order to catch my breath. If you have a class available in your area, don't be intimidated to try it. I am fairly shy but I found the courage to join the class and I didn't regret it. - 3/12/2013   8:51:47 PM
  • LKENDALL1949
    412
    I am 64 and I love my zumba class twice per week. I don't know how I look doing it but I am always in the front row and am always surprised when the hour is up. Just plain fun and a great workout. - 3/10/2013   3:01:30 PM
  • 411
    Looks great but a definate lack of male participants - 3/3/2013   7:39:53 AM
  • COLLENEG
    410
    I received a set of Zumba DVDs for Christmas and I have been alternating between the 20 Minute Express and Tone and Sculpt (working out 3 days and resting 1 day...). I was hooked the first time I tried it. I workout every morning at 5:00 am. I didn't have a scale for the first two weeks (started on Dec. 27th) but since buying a scale I have lost 9 pounds and 2 inches on my waist, hips, thighs and 1 inch on my upper arms. I am setting up a Zumba class at work to begin in the next couple of weeks. I am going to try the Zumba Live DVD today which is 55 minutes instead of 20 wish me luck.... - 2/18/2013   2:43:59 PM
  • HAPPYMENOW58
    409
    Love Zumba!! Fun, fun, fun!! great Blog!!!!!!! - 2/16/2013   7:34:49 PM
  • LUCKYLIL
    408
    I just started Zumba - Friday nite, march 16/12 was my second class. And I am hooked! My knees don't always let me do certain moves and i have to admit i do get tired by the time we are 45 min in but if i slow down or go have a drink of water, then i'm good to go again .But i doubt i'm burning as many calories as this blog says-maybe 500 but not 1000. The thing with Zumba is that you dont' have to be good at it all you have to do is move or shake and enjoy-it totally firms you up in a short time. Love it !!! - 3/19/2012   2:38:35 AM
  • 407
    I must say that I am hooked. I got invited by one of my friends who is a really good dancer. At first, I felt out of sorts and was so embarrassed by myself. But with time, i am learning the moves and can't wait for the day that i will be able to call myself a dancer. - 10/3/2011   12:02:34 PM
  • 406
    I like my Zumba I love that there are different DVDs to do at home and you can work at your pace. Still learning some of the moves but as long as you are moving you are making progress. I have just started using the weights for part of the work outs I still cant use them all the way though - 8/30/2011   3:56:37 PM
  • HOLALOLA
    405
    I love Zumba, I've been doing it for two years. This music makes me want to get up and dance so I'm glad to have someone to show me some moves. I love dancing but I'm not a great dancer so this has actually improved my dance skills and given me confidence to do it in front of other people.

    You don't need to be good at it. Just do what you can and have fun and keep moving. Don't overdo it at first. It gets easier the more you do it.

    I like that there are classes if you like a group and there are DVDs if you prefer to exercise alone or don't have time to get to the gym. The DVDs have 20 min. to 60 min. options and those for toning too so there are choices. - 8/25/2011   2:53:00 PM
  • 404
    I started with the Zumba on WII a couple of months ago..Love it! Now that I'm a little more confident with the dance moves I have bravely started my DVDs...I had never used weights before doing Zumba! What a work out! - 8/25/2011   11:46:12 AM
  • 403
    A response to Kitkat0812, as long as the doctor has cleared you for exercise you can participate. The ones I've been to you can go at your own pace. I think the perception of the larger person is that it is for the skinny mini's but it isn't. Go slow, have a laugh and it doesn't matter if you jiggle a bit coz I still jiggle more than a bit! - 8/25/2011   7:28:44 AM
  • 402
    Hoping for some help.
    I am about 100 lbs overweight. Is it an exercise I can participate in? I didn't really see anyone overweight in the videos.
    Thanks in advance for the help! - 7/7/2011   7:28:40 PM
  • 401
    I'm really late adding to this blog..just my two cents.

    I love Zumba! I attend Zumba class on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. To burn more calories I attend Cardio Kickboxing on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I go to other classes but the 2 listed are my favorite and I refuse to miss a class!! In less than 30 days I lost 10lbs and several inches already!! GREAT BLOG!! - 6/17/2011   10:40:41 AM
  • TASHARPES
    400
    Little late adding to this thread, but I just took my first Zumba class last week, and I'm HOOKED. I plan my weekly workout schedule in advance, and work in every single Zumba class I can. That means that some days, I Zumba in the morning and again at night (today is one of those days). Between Zumba, Body Pump and Step, and Spin class, I'm hoping to drop 40 pounds over the summer. Wish me luck! - 5/10/2011   11:33:23 AM
  • GPHIBCUPCAKE
    399
    I've been obsessed with latin music for years, and so I couldn't believe my luck when I figured out what Zumba was! I found a class in my city and I go once a week. It kicks my butt, but it is a great fix until I can start going salsa dancing again! - 5/5/2011   3:35:40 PM
  • NIECY440
    398
    i HAVE BEEN invited TO GO TO A ZUMBA CLASS BY MY SISTER I WAS AFRAID TO GO TO A GYM BECAUSE IT IS SO HARD TO STAND NEXT TO SOMEONE WHO HAS A WAISTLINE. BUT THIS YEAR I WAS ASKED TO GO AGAIN. AND I MUST ADMIT I HAD A LOT OF FUN. IT WAS MY FIRST TIME.ALTHOUGH MY KNEE REALLY WOULDN'T ALLOW ME TO DO THE JUMPING AND QUICK FEET MOVEMENT, I AM HOOKED I WILL BE ADDING THIS TO MY WORKOUT PLAN. I AM 5'2 AND 186 LBS. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO BEING ABLE TO HANG WITH THE VETERANS. THANKS TO MY SISTER FOR NOT GIVING UP ON ME. - 4/22/2011   9:19:29 PM
  • 397
    Looks fun! - 4/21/2011   10:29:04 PM
  • LINDA1127
    396
    Love Zumba!
    For the lady who was wondering if this was something to do after you lose weight -- don't wait! If you have a good zumba instructor, she'll tell you the important thing is to keep moving and will show modifications for you. You may have to try a couple of different classes to find one you are comfortable with; I've been to classes with 3 different instructors and there was definitely a difference in intensity and the parts of my body that were tired afterward.
    For the people looking for zumba in the fitness tracker - hit "add cardio", then the "browse" tab. From the drop down menu, hit "other exercises" then the "browse" button. Zumba is listed as "Cadio Dancing (including aerobic dance, Zumba, Hip Hop HUSTLE)" . - 4/21/2011   9:32:51 AM
  • 395
    Zumba is a blast! It only costs $5 a class here. Very high energy/lots of laughing/and crazy ca-cawing! It doesn't matter if you're perfect with the moves...just go at your own pace. A lot of people just do their own thing, and they're having so much fun! Its hard not to smile through the whole class. - 4/20/2011   8:39:35 AM
  • 394
    literally the most amazing form of fitness i've every experienced. it has changed not only my body, but my life. the endorphins are unreal and Gina had it so right, it's ADDICTIVE!! i took classes for a bit, then became an instructor, and i can't get enough! - 4/17/2011   9:14:47 PM
  • 393
    It is in the fitness tracker!!! - 4/12/2011   9:06:56 PM
  • 392
    I love Zumba. I take 6 classes a week and am taking my certification class at the end of June. Huzzah! I just recently did a blog with my first Zumba choreography! It's a blast and it's addictive! - 4/12/2011   6:34:37 PM
  • DOCNAMRATA81
    391
    Can I do zumba effectively for wt loss with chronic knee pain?I can do side to side twisting movements and dance in general, but cant do high impact movements like jumping.Does it involve lot of high impact movements? - 4/7/2011   9:04:11 PM
  • 390
    I am the most uncoordinated person, but I am doing Zumba now. It is so much fun and I have some limited moves with a bad knee. Otherwise I enjoy the music and moves. - 3/31/2011   4:04:57 PM
  • 389
    I've been doing Zumba twice a week for about a year now. I absolutely LOVE it. Once in a while my kids will come to class with me. - 3/31/2011   3:54:17 PM
  • EMIM05
    388
    I just did my first zumba class yesterday. It ws a little hard because it was mostly cumbia food work..She said in two weeks they where starting a new routine and I can't wait. It was so fun!!!!

    Just wanted to note that it was started in the country ColOmbia, not columbia like the city :D - 3/31/2011   2:51:49 PM
  • 387
    I LOVE the music! Unfortunately, due to disability, I can't do the steps, but I can hang onto my walker or the back of a chair and do the hip moves! I used to do Country Western line dancing for fun and competition, I sure wish this had been around 20 years ago! - 3/31/2011   1:28:52 PM
  • 386
    I have been doing Zumba for a short while ...and it is a calorie burner !

    It is also now listed in the cardio tracker !! - 3/31/2011   10:52:09 AM
  • 385
    I have found some in my area and hope to try one withing the next week or so! Thanks! I am looking for way to boost and change up my workouts - this should do it! - 3/31/2011   10:50:30 AM
  • 384
    YYYEAH,YYYYEEEEAAAAHHHHAHHHHHHAHHHH
    YEAAAAAHHHHH, tHIS WAS 18 MINUTES OF FLABBYBUTTTAYYY GET THE BEAT AND RHYTMMMM AND I CAN DO THIS. NOT TO MENTION HIP ROLLING CLASSS, I CAN YES I CAN DO THIS, A LITTLE MORE PRACTICE AND SWEAT OU ALL MY WATER FROM EARLY THIS MORNING. NOW I MUST REHYDRATE AND SHOWER. THANKYOU THANKYOU THANK YOU.(:-)!!! ONE TWO THREE TAP ONE TWO TAP ONE TWO THREE TAP NOW FAAAAASSSSSSTER - 3/30/2011   9:07:53 AM
  • 383
    Zumba looks like such a blast! I really want to try a class someday! - 3/26/2011   3:46:55 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Join SparkPeople.com

x Lose 10 Pounds by January 4! Get a FREE Personalized Plan