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Zumba Fitness Workouts: Lose Weight, Build Strength, and Change Your Life
What is Zumba All About?
Fabulous music, zesty rhythms, smiling faces, sweating bodies, and changing lives…you’ll find all of this and more every day in Zumba classes across the world.
Put simply, Zumba is a high-energy, calorie-blasting, body-sculpting dance workout party that can be described as “exercise in disguise.” You’ll have so much fun in a Zumba class that you will hardly realize what an amazing workout you’re getting at the same time.
Many people associate working out with pain, sacrifice, and boredom, treating exercise as a necessary evil. Not so among those who choose Zumba Fitness. People who take Zumba classes cite their sessions as the highlight of their week.
Beto Perez and the Zumba Story
Zumba creator Alberto “Beto” Perez got his start as a fitness instructor in his native Colombia. One fateful day on the way to teach an aerobics class, he found himself in the middle of a fitness instructor’s nightmare: he had forgotten his music! Being a resourceful guy, he pulled some tapes of his own favorite music out of his backpack, including salsa and merengue, and improvised a class using dance steps. His students had a fabulous time and clamored for more. Thus, Zumba Fitness was born.
Beto brought Zumba into the states when he began teaching his method in Miami. He hooked up with two other Albertos: the entrepreneurs Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghioni. Together, the three Albertos gave the gift of Zumba to the world.
Today, Zumba Fitness classes are held worldwide. Across 150 countries, 14 million people attend a Zumba class at least once a week, and the number is ever-growing. Zumba has even released a Zumba video game on all major gaming platforms, including Wii, PS3, and Xbox.
What is a Zumba Class Like?
Zumba is all about the pure joy of moving to music. You’ll dance to the wonderful rhythms of salsa, merengue, cumbia, reggaeton, bachata, quebradita, samba, hip-hop, and more. If half (or all) of these terms mean nothing to you, not to worry: you learn by doing in Zumba.
Classes may range from just a few people to a room full of a hundred happy folks. The atmosphere is fun and noncompetitive. Zumba is designed to be accessible to people from all backgrounds with all levels of fitness and dance experience. The instructor will show you what to do, and the word “perfection” is strictly off the table.
Everyone is encouraged to move naturally with their own style and at their own level. You may feel you’re kind of stumbling around in your first couple classes (I certainly did), but as the rhythms sink into your body and mind, you will be surprised to learn how coordinated you really are, even if you have never thought of yourself as a dancer.
Most classes are around an hour long. You will move through a series of dances beginning with warm-ups, transitioning to more intense dances, then finally cooling down and stretching. Zumba instructors are taught to take your health and safety very seriously and they design their classes to set you up for success.
Health, Fitness, and Wellness Benefits of Zumba Fitness Workouts
It’s well known that improving your cardiorespiratory health is associated with myriad health benefits, including lowering your chances of developing a chronic disease, and greatly improving your quality of life overall. Zumba classes are structured in such a way that they become interval training. High-intensity cardio songs alternate with slower-tempo songs to help you build cardiorespiratory fitness using the principles behind interval training.
Zumba burns A TON of calories; we’re talking 500 to 1000 in one hour depending on your build and the intensity of your movements. Zumba and proper nutrition: talk about a perfect weight loss plan!
Strengthening and Toning
Zumba moves are designed to contain strengthening and toning aspects. Your muscles will grow more sleek and defined while your bones and joints grow stronger as well.
Zumba is so much fun that it keeps you motivated and interested in working out, lowering the drop-out rate of exercisers. I know many people who are in great shape who say they wouldn’t come to the gym at all if not for Zumba classes.
Zumba, like many cardiorespiratory fitness programs, relieves stress and can help fight depression and anxiety symptoms. The intensity level puts you into the endorphin-release zone, boosting your mood.
Zumba can help you feel more confident and at home in your body. You will become more coordinated as you get in touch with your movement system.
Community and Social Support
The friendly, noncompetitive atmosphere of a Zumba class creates a feeling of community. Classes are a great way to meet likeminded people and make new friends.
Overall Health and Wellness
Cardiorespiratory exercise boosts health and wellness, strengthening the immune system. Since I started doing Zumba, I have stopped getting seasonal bugs. I used to get sick at least four times per year; nowadays I get sick once a year if that.
How Zumba Changes Lives
Perhaps you can relate to my personal Zumba story: I was one of those people who would work out in “boom and bust” cycles; high commitment for a few months, then boredom would set in and I would drop out and return to my old sedentary ways. I had built a good base of muscle through genetics and strength training, but I would get so bored during cardio sessions that I neglected that part of my fitness routine. I had about 15 stubborn pounds that I just couldn’t seem to lose and keep off. This cycle continued for years, through my teens into my mid-20s.
Then, everything changed when I took my first Zumba class. I was absolutely blown away by how much fun I had. The hour flew by and I couldn’t believe I had lived so long without Zumba in my life. I took Zumba classes for a few years throughout Oregon. I was thrilled to watch those pesky pounds melt away and reveal the toned muscles underneath. I felt my life blooming with positive energy in ways I never thought possible. I give Zumba Fitness a lot of credit for that.
I finally got my certification to teach Zumba last year. Now, I teach between three and five Zumba classes per week to anywhere from one to fifty people at a time. I feel so blessed to have Zumba as a part of my life and to be able to share Zumba joy with others.
I no longer struggle to maintain interest in working out. Teaching Zumba or going to Zumba classes is always a highlight of my day. I love the community feeling; friendships and family relationships grow and strengthen in Zumba classes.
I hear stories all the time from students who credit Zumba Fitness with changing their lives: one student lost 75 POUNDS through Zumba and dietary changes. Another believes that Zumba helped her keep symptoms from chemotherapy at bay and even helped her enter remission!
Benefits of Zumba Fitness Workouts: Final Thoughts
If you have already done Zumba, I know I’m preaching to the choir. Use the health, wellness, and fitness benefits described above to convince hesitant friends and family members to come to class with you! If you care about the health, wellness, and fitness of your family and friends, share this article with them on Facebook. Zumba Fitness has room for everyone. The more the merrier!
And if you haven’t tried Zumba yet, do yourself a favor and try out a local Zumba Fitness class today. You have nothing to lose (except those stubborn pounds), and worlds of benefits to gain!
Return to the Zumba Fitness Workout Guide for Beginners