What is a typical Zumba class like?
Zumba is a one hour fitness class based on the principle of interval training – alternating high intensity and lower intensity exercise which works for both beginners and advanced exercisers. In Zumba, changes in intensity are driven by the different rhythms of the music and the steps – without the negative effects of high impact aerobics. We start with a warm up, then move through 8-10 routines which vary in intensity and style – merengue, salsa, reggaeton, cumbia, quebradita, calypso, even a little bellydancing and hip hop! Zumba blends traditional dance steps with basic fitness moves so everyne can participate – it’s very easy to follow. We finish with standing abdominal work and then a cool down and stretch to bring the heart rate down and relax the muscles.
Prepare to sweat! Zumba will get your heart pumping and increase your endurance – you’ll have more energy and burn fat. The moves will work your core (abs, back and hips) to strengthen and define them. Besides the physical benefits, Zumba is a “feel good” workout – the music is motivating and fun, you’ll leave happy! Some people have told me it reminds them of the music you hear on vacation! It’s a good mental break from our busy lives, as you lose yourself in the music and the movement! Finally, check out the testimonials on www.zumba.com from people who have lost weight or overcome injuries through Zumba. Obviously, results vary by individual and depend on diet and frequency of exercise, but you may be pleasantly surprised by the scale, the mirror, by how much better your clothes fit, and by how much more energy you have!
What do I wear to Zumba?
Wear comfortable clothing appropriate for exercise that allows freedom of movement and preferably fabrics that wick the moisture away from your body (e.g., coolmax or dri-fit). Most importantly, shoes should be comfortable with plenty of cushion and lateral support. You may find that running shoes or cross trainers may have too much tread to allow for side-to-side movement. Lesser-tread althletic shoes such as Puma, Nike, Adidas may be preferable. Dance sneakers such as Bloch (Pat’s personal favourites!) or Capezio are an excellent choice for some people. We do not recommend bare feet or sock-feet for class due to lack of support and safety concerns! We also recommend you bring a towel and water to class.
What if I can’t get the steps right away?
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a professional dancer or have Latin genes to Zumba. The steps are very easy to follow and once you see the basic moves for each rhythm, which repeat often, you’ll catch on. Plus in Zumba we combine these steps with basic fitness or aerobics moves so it’s not complicated choreography. The routines are designed so you can get a good workout even if it is your very first Zumba class. The songs are repeated for 8-10 weeks, so you’ll have plenty of opportunity to practise. We’ve had people worried they are “a complete klutz!” – not true! We tend to be our own worst critics! Everyone is so focussed on getting into the music, no one will even see what you are doing! The most important thing is to just move, have fun and don’t take it too seriously! Focus on the feet first, then the arms/hips, etc. and the rest will follow! I guarantee it gets easier with every class! You can always see me before or after class if you want to review a step in more detail or have questions.
Remember, Zumba was created so that anyone and everyone can do it!
I have a bad back/knees/ankles/elbow, vertigo, etc. Can I still Zumba?
Please let us know if you have an injury or condition that may cause some discomfort! The steps can be modified for your safety. If you have not exercised in a long time, please see your doctor to obtain clearance to start classes. Zumba can be intense, so go at your own pace and listen to your body! Take a break when you need one! You don’t have to keep up with everyone else your first class! Don’t overdo it, we want you to have fun and come back!
Are all Zumba classes the same?
All Zumba classes will contain a mix (roughly 70/30) of latin and international rhythms. Most of the songs we use are recommended by the Zumba network and are chosen by Beto. However, you will find that no two Zumba instructors are exactly alike (by the way, make sure that your instructor is licensed to teach Zumba, not an impostor!) We can choose our own music for the warm ups, cool downs and occasionally throw in a different song or rhythm into the mix – for example, we often use current pop hits for our warm ups and cool downs, be it Pitbull, J Lo, or the latest iTunes chart toppers . We change a couple of songs every few weeks, but the steps and rhythms remain similar, so it’s never boring, and not too difficult. As well, we use the suggested Zumba choreography for some of the routines and mix in our own steps as well, so it’s fun and interesting both for the instructor and the class. We welcome song suggestions from our students anytime so let us know if there’s something you’d like to see!
Can I bring my 70 year old mother and my 17 year old daughter to Zumba too?
Of course! Zumba is for everyone – we welcome all ages, sizes, shapes and abilities! We’ve had three generations from one family in my class at the same time! And guess what, real men can Zumba too!