Zumba Fitness Workout Guide for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know About Zumba Classes
What is Zumba All About?
Zumba Fitness classes are incredible workouts that will tone your body and improve your fitness by leaps and bounds all while invigorating and inspiring your mind and spirit.
Set to hot Latin and international music, you will learn how to move to new rhythms including salsa, merengue, reggaeton, cumbia, samba, bachata, and more. Many instructors also throw in a few hip-hop or pop tracks for fun. You don’t need to know how to dance to get started, but you will definitely leave class with a few new moves under your belt.
Zumba is great for all ages, fitness levels, and genders. Zumba classes tend to be mostly women, but I always encourage guys to go too. It’s a great cardio and toning workout for anyone. And to the single guys out there, I’ll let you in on a little secret: Zumba classes are an excellent way to meet fit, confident girls! Women LOVE guys who dance!
Check out this video of Zumba Fitness creator Beto Perez rocking out with his Zumba friends!
Why Try Zumba?
- Zumba is FUN! Zumba is often referred to as “exercise in disguise,” because you’ll have so much fun in a Zumba class that you’ll hardly realize you’re exercising. The time just flies by; you’re dancing, laughing, and having such a blast that an hour is up before you know what hit you.
- Zumba is EFFECTIVE! While you’re rocking out having a great time, you’re burning a TON of calories. Zumba is cardiorespiratory training combined with repetitive dance moves designed to tone your body. You burn more calories in an hour of intense Zumba than you would on an hour-long run.
- Zumba is EASY-TO-FOLLOW! You don’t need any dance experience to do Zumba. Zumba is all about having fun, so you just keep moving if you miss a step. There is no judgment, as everyone is at their own level, and the atmosphere is friendly and noncompetitive. The more Zumba you do, the easier the steps will become.
- Zumba is GREAT FOR ALL FITNESS LEVELS! In class, you can move more intensely to get a more vigorous workout, or dial it down if you prefer. Many instructors offer advice on how to modify the movements to your fitness level. There are even different types of Zumba classes including those designed for active older adults.
What to Bring to Class
Clothing: Zumba classes are intense, and most keep up the intensity for a whole hour, so you will get sweaty! Wear comfortable, breathable clothing that allows you maximum freedom of movement. Some people will wear baggy hip-hop style clothing, while some people dress like they are going out for a run. Totally up to your own preferences! There is a fun line of Zumba clothing available on www.zumba.com or from many Zumba instructors. Be sure to check out my Zumba clothing tips and recommendations article first.
Shoes: Wear supportive shoes such as running shoes or dance sneakers. Don’t go barefoot; you need lots of ankle and arch support. Zumba Fitness makes colorful, funky Z-Kickz® footwear especially designed for Zumba.
Essential Gear: You will want to bring a water bottle to stay hydrated as well as a small towel or bandanna to mop up sweat. If the facility offers showers, you may want to bring your showering supplies and a fresh change of clothes, because if you’re doing Zumba right, you will be a hot sweaty mess after class!
Read Workout Essentials for Women if you want more detail on key fitness gear to bring to any gym session.
Types of Zumba Classes
Zumba®: Your standard Zumba class, if there can be such a thing. There are differences in intensity, choreography, and style from instructor to instructor. No two classes are quite the same. I have never been to a Zumba class I didn’t enjoy!
Zumba Gold®: The Zumba experience tailored to the needs of the growing baby boomer population. You’ll still dance to the classic Latin and international rhythms of Zumba, but with a lighter intensity level. Zumba Gold is also great for people of any age needing a gentler introduction or re-introduction to the fitness lifestyle.
Zumba Toning®: Most Zumba classes have elements of muscle toning, but Zumba Toning takes it to the next level. Using light, maraca-like weights for a high number of repetitions, you’ll receive both the traditional cardio benefits of Zumba alongside the body-sculpting toning benefits of a strength training class.
Zumba Gold-Toning®: Combines Zumba Gold with Zumba Toning for a strength training/cardio class aimed at the active older adult population. Like Zumba Gold, Zumba Gold-Toning is a great way for beginning exercises of all ages to start working out.
Aqua Zumba®: Zumba in a pool! Aqua Zumba offers the benefits of a regular Zumba class but at a lower impact level for your joints. If you have never tried aqua workouts, you might be surprised to learn that they are very effective and challenging due to the unique physical properties of water. Aqua Zumba makes aqua workouts much more fun!
Zumba Sentao®: The newest addition to the Zumba offering, Sentao makes use of chairs to provide a full-body workout focusing on toning and building strength. You’ll use the chair for dips, squats, lunges, and more. Using this simple piece of equipment makes it possible to provide a unique Zumba experience with more of a strength-training focus.
Zumbatomic®: Zumba for kids! Using kid-friendly music and choreography, the focus of Zumbatomic is on having fun while encouraging kids to be active. In our sedentary, couch-potato culture, we all agree that it’s super important to teach kids about exercise and provide them with fun ways to do so.
How to Find a Zumba Fitness Class Near You
The explosive popularity of Zumba has allowed Zumba Fitness classes become widely available and accessible to people from diverse walks of life. Zumba is offered everywhere from private fitness clubs, to YMCAs, to dance studios, to college campuses, to school gyms, to workplaces, to the private in-home lessons offered by some instructors.
Many fitness facilities such as 24-Hour Fitness, YMCAs, and more may offer Zumba classes free with your membership. Zumba classes offered in dance studios and other locales may charge a drop-in rate which tends to vary based on region. Many instructors offer discounted punchcards which make classes more affordable. Some colleges offer P.E. credit for Zumba classes. What a great way to burn up some elective credits!
To find Zumba classes near you, visit www.zumba.com and click on “find a class.” When you enter your zip code, you will be provided with a list of classes and instructors in your area. Many instructors have websites that provide you with more information about themselves as well as contact information if you have any questions. Zumba instructors tend to be very friendly, helpful, and encouraging individuals, so don’t be afraid to reach out!
The class list on www.zumba.com may not be exhaustive, since instructors must manually enter their classes. Check with local fitness facilities if you don’t find what you’re looking for. There may be more classes available than what is shown online.
I highly encourage you to try a Zumba Fitness class as soon as possible. Whether you’re new to exercising or a confirmed fitness freak, Zumba has something for you.
Beginners will discover a fun, extremely effective inroad to fitness, while veteran exercisers will have a blast shaking up their routine as they discover a new modality to add to (or replace!) their current repertoire.
What are you waiting for? Visit www.zumba.com now to find a class near you. I hope you have a blast at your first class!