What is Zumba® Fitness?: Ditch the Workout

Zumba(r) main logo
Zumba(r) main logo | Source

Zumba® fitness is one of the hottest ways to get in shape and have fun. The slogan says it all: Ditch the workout…Join the Party! It was originally created by Alberto “Beto” Perez, but soon grew into a business with the help of two more Albertos—Perlman and Aghion. The Zumba® fitness program is so popular because it offers something much different than Jazzercise and similar fitness programs that incorporate music and getting fit. For one, Zumba® fitness is a brand. This means there is copyrighted music, apparel, games for three consoles, and more. Another distinguishing feature is ZINTM—the Zumba® Instructor Network. Zumba® fitness does not throw its instructors to the wolves. Instead, for a professional fee, instructors, both new and established, received new music and choreography and a whole website chock full of benefits. But let’s keep our focus on what Zumba® fitness is. The official description is: “It’s an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party™ that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health.” (Zumba Fitness, LLC, 2012).

Note Well

Zumba(r) Fitness has made a lot of updates to their programs. For example there is now Step and Zumbatomic(r) is now Zumba(r) Kids and Zumba(r) Kids Jr. So this article will be updated soon.

Basic 1 logo
Basic 1 logo | Source

Zumba® Fitness

The regular or basic Zumba® is the most common. But what most non-Zumba instructors do not know is that there are two types of basic Zumba®: Basic 1 and Basic 2. Basic 1 includes four basic rhythms—merengue, salsa, cumbia, and reggaeton. These are the rhythms that most classes will contain. But here is where things get tricky.

Basic 2 logo
Basic 2 logo | Source

Basic 2 can be a class, but there is no distinction when you go to a class if it is Basic 1 or Basic 2. The difference is really on the instructor’s end. We (instructors) can take additional training(s) to teach classes that will incorporate the rhythms covered in basic 2, which are belly dance, flamenco, tango, and samba. But even this becomes complicated. I have not taken Basic 2, but have learned some belly dance, tango, and samba through the specialty trainings of Zumbatomic® and Zumba Gold®. So, I often include some moves in a song, even if the song is labeled as electroflow, salsaton, axe, et cetera. Of course there are also instructors that know these additional rhythms because of their nationality or ethnicity and need no training at all to officially incorporate them into their choreography.

Gold(r) logo
Gold(r) logo | Source

Zumba Gold®

Zumba Gold® was developed to meet the needs of a big segment of society, Baby Boomers. However, this class is not just for the active older adult. It is also good for those who are just starting to work for the first time, after a long hiatus from fitness, or if they are recuperating from surgery or something similar. All the moves are modified to meet the needs of the active older adult, or the aforementioned. But everything else stays the same: the time frame for a class, the party, and the sweating. As my instructor/trainer for Zumba Gold® told me, “Zumba Gold® does not mean Zumba® old. And this has to be the biggest misconception. When I do my chair rountine (see next paragraph), the participants will say every now and then that they want more and want to do the “stand up version.” So I have done a few demonstrations for those really wanting to see what Zumba Gold® is like. Whenever I do a demonstration, I never hear complaints again!

Within the Zumba Gold® program the instructor can also offer a chair routine. Often instructors offer a free 30 minutes or more of routines modified for use of a chair for participants that may use walkers or cannot stand for long periods of time. This is not to be confused with the newest chair program, Zumba Sentao™. The Zumba Gold® chair routine is all based on the active older adult sitting in the chair and doing modified routines. They still have a party and use the same prompts as my regular Zumba® classes like flags.

Toning logo
Toning logo | Source

Zumba® Toning

Zumba® Toning is an awesome combination of body-sculpting and cardio to burn even more calories and work on strength-training. “Students learn how to use lightweight, maraca-like Toning Sticks to enhance rhythm and tone all their target zones, including arms, abs, glutes and thighs.” (Zumba Fitness, LLC, 2012). I do not teach Zumba® Toning, but have experiences segments of it by taking my sister’s class. I say segments because even though my sister has the certification, she does not do a whole toning class yet. Instead she includes one toning song in her basic class. And let me tell you, even though it is fun, it will kick your butt, literally!

Gold-Toning logo
Gold-Toning logo | Source

Zumba® Gold-Toning

Zumba® Gold-Toning program combines the obvious, Zumba Gold® and Zumba® Toning. This means the participants get the benefit of fun, modified routines tailored for the active older adult and safe and effective strength training. The routines are easy to follow, which is great for those new to Zumba® fitness or either of the programs, Gold® or Toning. “Through dynamic lightweight resistance training and exciting international rhythms, Zumba Gold-Toning classes help participants build muscle strength, increase bone density, and improve mobility, posture and coordination.” (Zumba Fitness, LLC, 2012).

Aqua logo
Aqua logo | Source

Aqua Zumba®

Aqua Zumba® is affectionately called the Zumba®"pool party." Aqua Zumba® gets the participants “Splashing, stretching, twisting, even shouting, laughing, hooting and hollering…during an Aqua Zumba class.” (Zumba Fitness, LLC, 2012). This class combines “the Zumba formula and philosophy with traditional aqua fitness disciplines…into a safe, challenging, water-based workout that’s cardio-conditioning, body-toning, and most of all, exhilarating beyond belief.” (Zumba Fitness, LLC, 2012). Like toning, this is not a class I have taken. However, my sister does have this certification too and will start sessions too. According to her, Angel Turner, this class is harder on the instructor who must maintain a lot of balance and do the movements in slow motion—which feels like regular pace for the participants in the water. No, the instructor is not in the water. Otherwise, it would be hard for the class to see the moves.

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Zumbatomic(r) logo
Zumbatomic(r) logo | Source

Zumbatomic®

Zumbatomic® is a lot of fun. Obviously I am older than 12-years-old. But I do teach Zumbatomic®. Zumbatomic® meets the needs of for kids ages 4-12. There are actually two programs within Zumbatomic®: Lil’ Starz and Big Starz. Ages 4-7 are considered Lil’ Starz. Ages 8-12 are considered Big Starz. Zumbatomic® provides kid-friendly routines to go along with songs based on hip-hop, reggaeton, cumbia, and all the other rhythms. A Zumbatomic® class is high-energy and fun, but is unlike regular classes because the kids get to play a game, take water breaks, and get rewards!

In the circuit logo
In the circuit logo | Source

Zumba® in the Circuit

Zumba® in the Circuit is a program offered at gyms and similar fitness facilities. However, Zumba® in the Circuit is mostly offered at Curves locations because the program was initially developed with the insight of Curves. Unlike other classes, Zumba® in the Circuit is only 30 minutes in length. But there is a reason. A lot is accomplished in that timeframe. It is a combination of circuit training, strength exercises, and Zumba® choreography. These three aspects are done in timed intervals. From what I hear, people have so much fun with the Zumba® choreography segment they do not want to get back on the machines. So, if you are looking to burn a lot of calories while having fun and have a tight schedule, Zumba® in the Circuit is for you.

Sentao(r) logo
Sentao(r) logo | Source

Zumba SentaoTM

This is the newest program offered by Zumba® fitness. Zumba Sentao™ takes the basic principles of the fitness-party and “partners it with explosive, chair-based choreography to strengthen, balance and stabilize your core, and step up your cardio work in a whole new way.” (Zumba Fitness, LLC, 2012). This class will help participants “learn how to use [their] own body weight to enhance muscle strength, improve definition and endurance, and tone [their] physique.” (Zumba Fitness, LLC, 2012). My trainer/instructor, Ali, for Gold® and Zumbatomic® is what is known as a ZES (Zumba Educational Specialist)—a Zumba® instructor that is really, really good and trains all over the world, and conducts classes at Zumba® conferences and the like. I mention all this to say that Ali told us, her little protégés, that Zumba Sentao™ is really hard and especially engages your core and upper body. Trainings are not available to instructors yet, and therefore class offerings are extremely limited.

Warm-Up

Sample Routine

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Comments 12 comments

prospectboy profile image

prospectboy 4 years ago from Texas

Very interesting and well written hub. I learned a lot more about Zumba reading this. I always assumed there was just one version of it, so I'm kinda baffled at all of the different types. I didn't know much about Zumba before reading this, besides what my younger sister has told me. She is away at college and she does some type of Zumba class to keep herself in shape. I'll ask her next time I talk to her which one she does. Great hub, voted up!


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Thanks for visiting again, prospectboy. I know, a lot of people assume all Zumba is the same. I had to try to figure out how to write the article without getting too technical. This led to leaving out a lot of distinctions that I will just put into another article. Make sure you try a Zumba class too and don't leave all the fun to your sister :)


buckleupdorothy profile image

buckleupdorothy 4 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

My gym offers a zumba class, although it doesn't specify what kind. A good friend of mine back in the US is such a convert that she's really made me want to try - I'm a little scared (!) to jump in because a. I'm not a great dancer, and b. I feel like I'd be constantly trying to catch up rather than just having a run jump-around session. What can you recommend for people who are interested, but don't know how to start?


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hello buckleupdorothy. The first thing I want to say is just jump in. Do not worry if you cannot dance well. That is not what Zumba is about. Sure, it's great when you get the moves and the fitness portions down, but guess what? No one ever gets all the moves on the first go round. Not even the instructors. Sometimes a class will like a new song so much or the moves that they ask for the song to be repeated because they are so intent on "getting it down."

I suggest you start with a Zumba Gold class. And you should also shop around for instructors. I know that even though I cover my sister's class along with some other people, participants will tell others, "Oh, well if you are just starting, go on a day that Stephanie is teaching" because they say I am more patient than my sister and will break down things a little more if they want. My sister is INTENSE, but is easy to follow. So it often comes down to preference. We may do about 50% of the same songs, and they are still totally different experiences.

If it makes you feel any better, I often have many students that will 2 step or just twirl in circles the whole time. But they still have a good time and come back for more. But after a few session, they are doing the basic moves. As with anything, it just takes time for some people.

I hope this helped :)


sandrabusby profile image

sandrabusby 4 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

You are my kind of gal, Stephanie. I checked your profile and am in awe of all that you do. As a retired English teacher with a Ph.D., I can relate of many levels and will be following you along to learn and share. By the way, have you discovered BrainGym.com? It, too, is a fantastic movement program for children. Thanks for SHARING.


buckleupdorothy profile image

buckleupdorothy 4 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

Thanks for the encouragement, Stephanie! Unfortunately there's just the one class, so no shopping around - but I will absolutely give it a try.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hi sandrabusby, after looking at your profile I see we have a lot in common. It's funny. People always ask how I fit it all in. And I say, "I don't know." I actually think all my interest can be a curse. Right now I must resist the urge to pass up grading finals and research papers to compose a hub. Then I think, "Oh, wow, maybe I can use that time to start the quilts I promised...and so on.

I have not heard about BrainGym.com but wrote down the site to check later. Thanks for reading. And I can't wait to see more of your writing.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Oh, buckleupdorothy, how sad. Well, I guess the best you can do is as you said, go to the one class that is offered. I need to move to where you are. AS my sister and I say, we are lapped up in my area. There is a facility offering Zumba on like every corner. Good luck and have fun!


ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

An informative hub! You spoke like the expert of Zumba. I have heard of Zumba but did not have the dvd as it's not available in my country. I hope to get them in the nearest future! I like dance-workouts and did them daily at home. The comprehensive list and entertaining videos added more interest to this engaging hub. Well-done!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & Socially Shared.


pedrn44 profile image

pedrn44 4 years ago from New Berlin Wisconsin

Great hub! I never knew there were so many types of Zumba! I gues I would be a candidate for the Gold versions. lol. They offer it in my park district and I have often thought of signing up. You have enticed me to do so. Thanks for all the information. Voted up, etc.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

ishwaryaa22, I am not going to lie. I had to go to zumba.com just to make sure there were no classes offered in India. It is so international that they are selling Zumba merchandise in Europe and not in America. So, I almost did not believe there would be no Zumba near you. But I am so sorry to hear that. For now, I guess you will have to rely on YouTube and buying some DVDs. Bring the party to your house!

I'm glad you enjoyed reading. And thanks for the compliments. Also, thanks for sharing :)


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Woohoo! Another convert. I am so glad you are going to give Zumba a chance. It's all about Zumba love, pedrn44. You have to come back and tell me how you liked it. I can't wait to hear!

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