I am on a mission to lose the extra weight and to get fit! So far I have lost over 20 lbs and you can read exactly what I’m doing to drop the weight in my post How I’ve Lost 22 lbs So Far. I promised you that I would write an entire post reviewing Zumba so that you can decide if it might be right for you. I’ve found in my casual discussions with other women that Zumba has a bad rap. Some believe that Zumba requires too much coordination and that the dance moves are too difficult to follow. Others look down on Zumba and don’t consider it a “real” exercise program. While Zumba might not be for everyone, it might just be for you! And you might be missing out on a super fun way to get in shape! I wear a calorie watch when I workout and an hour of Zumba burns between 550-670 calories per workout. It can even burn more than that if you really push yourself. It’s no joke, and I find it incredibly ENJOYABLE. I never thought I’d find exercise enjoyable. 🙂
Just to show you how Zumba has helped transform my body so far, take a look at these pictures of me below. Eek! It’s kind of hard to show you this, but I know how much inspiration I gain from seeing others’ progress so hopefully this will inspire some of you. The before picture was taken in the early fall and the “progress” pic (not yet after!) was taken a few weeks ago. You can see how much back fat I have lost and also some fat on my hips has disappeared. This is so encouraging for me to see! If you are beginning your weight loss journey, I encourage you to take pictures. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like you’re making much progress but a picture speaks volumes.
Do I have to be coordinated to do Zumba?
Zumba does take coordination, but it can be learned quickly! If you like dancing, then you will most likely do great at Zumba. And if you have any kind of dance background and know how to do the grapevine, a jazz square, the salsa, meringue, or if you just know how to shake your bum then you will be well-prepared for your first Zumba class. Zumba classes incorporate Latin and international rhythms as well as hip-hop moves into each interval-training workout. You might feel sloppy during your first Zumba class, but I promise that it gets easier and easier to follow along as you learn the moves.
Not all Zumba classes are created equal.
I take Zumba at our local YMCA and we have at least 6 different Zumba instructors who teach each week. I visited the different classes and found that I liked four of the instructors better than the rest. Some of the instructors give a MUCH higher intensity workout which is what I prefer. Some incorporate more hip hop into the routine and less salsa which is also what I prefer. If you are part of a gym that offers several different Zumba classes, I encourage you to shop around to find which classes work best for you. There is also Zumba Gold which is geared for beginners and senior citizens.
New to a Zumba class? Don’t stand in the back.
So you’re brand new to the class and you don’t want to look dumb in front of all the regulars. Besides, you’re just checking things out to see if this is really going to work for you, and you want to be able to escape out the door unnoticed if you hate it. Your tendency is to hug that back wall. Don’t do it! Pull up your big-girl panties and march yourself to the front of the class. In some of our classes, we rotate rows. After each song, the front row falls to the back and the rest move forward. If this is how they do it in your class, then move up with the rest of your row. Do NOT hang out in the back. Why? For one, because it totally messes up the flow of the rows if they rotate. But most importantly because you learn the moves better the closer you are to the instructor. Proper form will help you get the most out of your workout and learning the moves will help you gain confidence. You will also feel more motivated to push yourself if you are in the front. Get over your self-consciousness and put yourself out there! No one is looking at you anyhow. They are too busy looking at the instructor or themselves to worry about you.
There is a mirror. Accept it!
I have never danced in front of a mirror before. It totally freaked me out during my first class. Seeing yourself bounce around in front of a mirror can be daunting and can add to your self-consciousness. But over the months I’ve learned to use the mirror as a tool to improve my form. The beauty of Zumba is that it is the most diverse hour I spend with other women. My classes are filled with women from varying age groups, ethnicities, sizes and shapes. All of that diverse beauty reflected back is inspiring! Embrace the mirror and embrace where you’re at today in your beauty.
Can’t I just do Zumba at home on my TV?
You can and it’s even a great place to start. But I’ve found that I am much more motivated to stick with working out when I’m working out with other people. I’ve been an “at home” DVD workout girl for years and when comparing the two it’s just not as fun working out by yourself. Zumba feels like a dance party, and while dancing by yourself can be fun it’s typically a LOT more fun when you have other people dancing along with you! If you can afford a gym membership, I have found it to be a worthwhile investment. Also, if you can talk a friend into joining you, all the better! I workout each week with my friend Kathleen who blogs at Grosgrain. It has been such a blessing to have her as a workout buddy! Kathleen and I bought some Zumba attire to celebrate our progress. I think we Zumba better while wearing it :)!
So that’s the skinny on Zumba! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me! I’d love to encourage you on your weight loss journey or hear what exercise program is working for you.