If you're unsure of if you should do a Zumba class, check out these reasons why you should add it to your cardio today!
Zumba was my true intro into serious fitness. Yes, I've gone running. Yes, I've picked up weights. But, I never thought it was a lifestyle until I became a Zumba instructor. In the beginning, I didn’t really take Zumba seriously because I thought it was frilly and not actual exercise. This thought especially came to my mind when playing the Wii Zumba game.
When I finally walked into my first Zumba class, I was expecting the same thing…. until my heart was actually pumping and I could literally wring the sweat out of my shirt, forming a puddle on the floor ( don't worry, it was the shower floor. I'm not that gross).
At the time, I was working as a lifeguard and swim instructor and thought about being a Zumba instructor for the sole purpose of doing Aqua Zumba in the pool. Now, since 2012, I do have my Aqua Zumba and Kids' Zumba specialties, but mostly teach regular Zumba classes.
Every Zumba maniac has their own stories or reasons for getting into Zumba, but here are 5 reasons why Zumba rocks to me!
1. Obviously because it's good for keeping in shape…duhhhh
You can burn up to 650 calories per class, which of course is from the fast moving songs and constant dancing. A real Zumba class doesn’t have long breaks. So, if you’re not stopping, you’re getting the full cardio benefit from the class (you know…stronger heart and lungs and whatnot). When you are going from slow songs to quick songs, your body keeps guessing, which, in a way, is mock interval training. This keeps your body burning calories for longer. Because of all this, you sweat like a mutha f***ka, which is of course is a great indicator that you’re doing work… (All you minimal sweat peoples are missing out!)
2. Relieves stress through dance
Most of us sit at a desk all day, staring at a computer, dealing with other people while trying to do the best we can at our job. Then, we go home, deal with our kids, deal with our relationship drama, cook dinner, clean our house, call our parents, and so on and so on... It's all just too much. Even if you’re master of keeping calm and pushing, it’s nice to let loose and be crazy in a Zumba class. All that hip gyration and ‘woop-woops’ really help to let that steam off. The best thing about being a Zumba instructor is hearing, "I looked forward to this class all day." I'm glad that my class can be a highlight to someone's busy day or week and that the class is an outlet for stress relief.
3. Meet and dance with the best people
A Zumba class is an amazing place to meet people and make new friends. In Shanghai, many people are looking for activities to do and ways to meet people. Zumba classes are a great opportunity for this because you're not in a lonely gym using machines by yourself. You're in a room with other people, who may or may not look as silly as you, doing something active, with the potential of laughing and talking about how you "can't move your hips like that" or how much you looovveee a certain song. Plus, in my classes, I have partner dances, so you gotta team up with someone eventually. Shanghai is super international, and I’ve been lucky enough to have met people from every corner of the world. Many of these same people I can say are lifelong friends.
4. Feel Sexy... with permission!
Some of the dance moves in class require you to touch yourself and pop your booty. I think many of us look for permission to be sexy and to enjoy our bodies. Sometimes we think we have to be a certain size or certain weight to do so. We're influenced by outside pictures, videos, celebrities, photoshop and all that and think that we will never, ever look like the people we see in these images. This might be harsh to say but... you won't look like those people when you look in the mirror, because the way you are is great enough!
Your body was made special, even if you have a few extra curves or you don't think you have enough. As long as you're doing what is right for your body and putting the proper nutrients into it, your body is going to look like and be at its best self. I believe that Zumba challenges us to be sexy and enjoy ourselves at any state, which helps to appreciate your beautiful body.
5. Dance without knowing how to dance
I’ve always maintained that Zumba is about movement. So, if you feel that you're not the best dancer, at least you know that you can move. Plus in every Zumba class, the movements repeat with the music. Once you get the core steps, you can go hard and get that extra sweat in. In addition, with the multiple types of styles in a Zumba class you can move differently to different types of music from all over the world. Some people might be better and certain types of dances, while others just resonate with the song that's playing. It's a Zumba "Fitness" class, not a "dance perfectly in step" class. The whole point of the class is to be fit and sweat, so as long as you're moving, it doesn't matter what you're doing.
Zumba has tremendously changed my life. It’s given me so many opportunities to get escape from my normal 9-5 job, meet really cool, interesting people with unique stories, and keep me healthy for a longer time (God willing).
If you’ve always been shy about trying a Zumba class, I really think you should just take a chance and go!
My question for you is: If you attend Zumba on the regular, how did you find the class and what keeps you going back? If you've never been, what's stopping you? Let's talk on instagram!