Zumba is an aerobic workout inspired by Latin dance and music. The routines incorporate a variety of styles including calypso, cumbia, flamenco, mambo, merengue, rumba, and salsa. There's also hip-hop, African, and pop added in.
It was created by Miami based dancer, choreographer, and fitness trainer Alberto "Beto" Perez. As the story is told... at a class he was teaching, after realizing he had forgotten his aerobics music, he ran out to his car and grabed whatever tapes he had. They were traditional Latin salsa and merengue music. He had to wing it, and when his students loved the class he realized there was something to it. And Zumba was born.
Where did the name Zumba come from? In Colombia "zumba" is an onomatopoeic word for the buzzing of a bee...it also means moving fast. Yup, that just about explains a Zumba class. ;)
Even if you think "there's no way there will be a class near me" you may be surprised. I was! When I last checked, there are 104 Classes offered within 25 miles of my town. Who knew?!
Find a Zumba Class in your area.
My Zumba Experience
I first heard of Zumba on a message board. A few moms I post with had mentioned going to classes and I didn't know what it was. I looked it up and knew I had to find a class for me right away. I couldn't believe there was one right in my town. It was actually at the dance studio I have taken adult dance classes in, and my daughter has taken classes in. Since neither of us had been going that year I had no idea that a Zumba class had started in October 2008.
My first class was on Wednesday, December 17th 2008. I knew I was doomed when the teacher asked "Who's here for the first time?" and I was the only one raising my hand. "Have you tried Zumba before?" No. "Have you done aerobics?" No. I quickly add But I've I taken dance. She said "Ok, good."
We all (about 12 of us, of varying ages) took the floor and she pointed to me and had me move up to fill an empty spot in the first row. Eek. At least I had a good view of her so I could see what I was supposed to be doing.
Without any instruction or explanation the music started and I just had to follow along. After the first couple of moves I started to get it. Things were going fine, but I was getting really winded. I hadn't been exercising all that much so my stamina wasn't up to speed yet.
Sometime halfway through the class I noticed my shoe was untied so I bent down to tie it. While I was that close to the ground I was so tempted to just sit down in the middle of the floor where I was. I decided against it. I got up and kept on with the group. When class finished I sat on the bench with my head against the wall. One of the women in the class asked if I needed her to walk me to my car. LOL
After my first class I went to my message board and posted: Tell me it gets easier!
I went back the next week and it was a bit better. At least I didn't have the urge to sit on the floor in the middle of class that day! Someone said they didn't think I'd be back. Oh yes, I said. I'll be here every week.
After class I was sitting on the bench again and I did look a bit ragged. The teacher came over and asked all concerned "Are you ok?" Oh dear, how embarrassing. I'm the youngest in the group! But, in my defense the others had been doing it for at least two months already.
My third week was during school vacation so I brought my daughter. She didn't want to participate so she just watched. I did much better as far as my keeping up the pace without wanting to collapse. Yay me!
Week four was even better.
So I can now answer my own question. Yes it does get easier. So if you try it, and panic after your first day, make yourself go back for the next class. You will be glad you did. It's an excellent workout, and with all that bouncing around for an hour you burn a TON of calories.
Ditch the workout, join the party!
I thought I was the last person to hear about Zumba. It was started in the late '90s and I guess it started getting popular in 2004, but I only found out about it at the end of 2008! Where have I been?
But, then when I tell my friends & family I started taking Zumba classes no one knew what I was talking about. Maybe it's a regional thing. Usually living in the Northeast we're pretty on top of things, but I guess we're late to this party.
So, I started this lens to explain it to others who might not have heard about it.
There's roughly 4 million Zumba enthusiasts and 25,000 instructors in 40 countries around the world. There are a variety of classes offered depending on where you live. Each teacher will have their own style too. If you try one and it's not the right fit for you try going to another instructor.
Zumba (Basic) is for the general exercising population.
Zumba Toning is a sculpting class using weighted sticks (that sound like maracas).
Aqua Zumba is an effective and challenging water-based workout for all ages.
Zumba Gold is for active seniors.
ZumbAtomic is a program for kids aged 4 to 12.
Now that you know about it, and hopefully found a class near you, all that's left is to get your butt there. ;) You don't need to buy anything fancy. You can wear a T Shirt and workout pants, nothing too heavy. A tank top and shorts are good too. You don't need to go out and get special shoes either. I wear regular ol' sneakers. The only thing you have to bring with you is water. Do not go to class without water ...you'll need it!
Zumba Fitness Exhilarate - The Ultimate Experience DVD Set
Set includes seven fitness DVDs, Zumba Toning Sticks, and a program guide.
7. FITNESS CONCERT
Enhanced split-sole arch support.
TPU spin spot for easy turns.
Available in purple, purple multi, blue multi, silver, graphite, and black.
Non marking rubber out-sole.
Leather and mesh upper.
Available in black only.
Beto Perez Instructing a Class
Where do you Zumba?
Zumba Fitness for the Wii - Also Playstation 3, and Xbox 360
There are more than 30 Zumba routines. Belt for your Wii Remote is included.
More Great Zumba Vids
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