So I finally got around to hitting up a Zumba class, which was a goal of mine towards the end of last year and eventually got bumped to 2012.
However, it featured prominently on my inspiration board for this year, so I bit the bullet and signed up for a 6-week Zumba course at my local community centre.
I’ve been three times now and I love it, so I thought I’d write a quick review for all of you newbies who are wondering whether or not to give it a try or not!
- Pro 1: Zumba is fun.
This seems obvious, but this is the main attraction to Zumba and is ultimately what keeps me coming back.
The energy is upbeat and light-hearted; everyone else who is there is doing it for the same reasons as you, and it’s just a whole bunch of craziness matched to some really high-energy, LOUD music (see Pro #2).
- Pro 2: The music is AWESOME.
It’s true – as with all of my points – that this all depends on your teacher. But in general, Zumba has branded itself as a workout heavily based on music.
Often teachers will use current hits (LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy and I Know It” and Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera’s “Moves Like Jagger” are both songs on my teacher’s regular playlist), but sometimes they’re cheesier Latino or re-done songs that are formulated to speed up the tempo and give it some Latin flair. I love that these songs are cheesy – they break up the seriousness of the class and force you – if you weren’t already – to laugh at yourself.
- Pro 3: Everyone laughs at themselves.
Seriously, even if you’re a regular pro and you’re picking up all the choreography instantly, most teachers will throw a song in there that makes everyone look or seem a bit ridiculous at one point or another. This just equalizes the playing field again and reminds the class that this isn’t a competitive environment to be super judgmental of others or yourself, but more just to have some fun and loosen up a bit!
Plus, if you are really shy and you’re just not picking up the choreography, what I LOVE about this class is that there are some women in the back (and, not in my class, but men often too!) who just do their own thing. They can’t keep up with the choreography so they just do every third or fourth move with the rest of the class and the rest of the time they do their own thing. What does that matter? They’re having fun and, most importantly, they’re MOVING.
The Fitnessista – a Zumba teacher herself – posted this image to her blog the other day and I found it hilarious – and totally true:
- Pro 4: You’ll get a great workout – but you won’t even notice!
The speed of the music contributes to this – no matter how you move, you’ll be moving fast, which ultimately will help you break a sweat.
But while you end every song a bit sweatier than the last, you won’t even have noticed. Between keeping up with the steps, getting into the music and having an awesome time, you won’t even realize your heart rate is elevated.
My teacher throws in a couple of songs that have a Bollywood feel to them, so we use our abs a lot (belly dancing styles!) and our arms are in the air practically the whole time waving scarves. It’s only ever when that song ends and I lower my arms that I realize how much they were aching!
Yep, you’ll be looking like this in no time with those scarf moves…
- Con 1: You gotta keep up!
I don’t mean you have to keep up because as I said before, you can totally just do your own thing at the back of the room.
Instead what I mean is, if you come from a dance background or you’re used to learning steps in a slower, more methodical way, throw that out the window. I’m used to dance where they break the steps down really slowly and then slowly we do them over and over again and eventually speed up.
No chance with Zumba – you go right into it! There’s no explanation or demonstrations, it’s just done in a ‘follow the leader’ type of instruction. However, the dance moves are kept relatively simple (again depending on your teacher) and are repeated over and over again with verse and chorus repetitions, so usually everyone can pick them up, especially by the end of the song.
- Con 2: There will be certain levels of repetition.
This was more a con for me at the end of my second class, because my second class had been almost identical to the first – all the same songs and all the same moves. But in my third class the teacher threw in 3 new songs, which was great.
I do like to see some songs come up again because you’ll feel accomplished when you realize you can pick up the choreography easier the second time around. And with the new songs, the teacher is still shaking things up enough to keep your interest.
Again, this one entirely depends on your teachers, and I also really respect that it takes the teacher a lot of time to choreograph and come up with a new song so I certainly don’t expect them to have brand-new songs every single class. So this one is half a con, half not.
Those are my thoughts on my Zumba experience! Even if you don’t have a class locally, it’s now available on DVDs, games consoles and you can even just follow along to videos posted on YouTube.
Let me know about your experiences with Zumba in the comments!
- Have you ever done Zumba?
- If so, what are some things you found to be pros and cons?
- If not, what’s stopping you?