Let’s face it, the gym can be an intimidating place particularly if you are a newbie. Anytime we are trying out something new it can be uncomfortable. That’s exactly how I felt when I tried out my first Zumba® class 2 months ago. I was nervous, as I am probably one of the world’s worst dancers. What motivated me to try it was I was starting to get bored of my treadmill, stair master, and elliptical cardio sessions. Zumba® classes are so packed I figured I would give it a go. I am so glad I did and If you have not experienced Zumba® before I hope after reading you will be inspired to try!
All Zumba® instructors have different styles and music, but the one consistent thing (as I tried several) is at the beginning of every class each instructor said the same thing, “No Judging in Zumba®, Just Have Fun and Keep Moving.” I have taken a variety of group fitness classes and this is the first I found to be so welcoming not only by instructors but the people attending the class. It truly feels like a community. Many classes that I’ve taken have their cliques of friends who congregate together and save spots next to each other, and some people with ego but not Zumba®. Even at the biggest of gyms, from the moment I walked into the class it delivered the feel and comfort of what you would receive if you were working out at a boutique studio.
The instructor will have choreographed dances to a series of songs that will also incorporate traditional fitness moves. The class is structured similarly to interval training in that one song and dance is high intensity then the next song will allow for active recovery. Anyone of any age or fitness level can participate and it is so much fun you don’t even feel like its a workout. The average person in a Zumba® class can burn up to 500 calories or more depending on the intensity of the class.
As a beginner the hardest part for me is coordinating the hip and arm movements together. After a few classes I have developed more coordination—although I still wouldn’t want to see a video of myself dancing! If you have any doubt on whether this is an effective workout, trust me you are engaging so many muscles in your body some you might not have engaged in awhile. Zumba® is also great for building core strength and increasing flexibility. As someone who did quite a bit of lifting heavy weight, I was surprised at how sore I was the next day after taking a class—it felt like the day after “leg day” and my hips and core were equally sore. At the end of each class I am dripping in sweat and it leaves me feeling uplifted and energized for the rest of the day.
If you live in New Jersey and are looking for a class, check out Mary Massey she is a Zumba instructor at Lifetime Fitness and also offers drop in Zumba classes at multiple locations in NJ. For a list of her class schedule and other training services you can visit her website www.marymassey.com
Whether you’re a beginner or an athlete working out, even the fittest of gym junkies can find themselves in a workout rut from time to time. It is important to always keep your body and mind stimulated and mixing up your workouts. It’s a new year and so many individuals set the resolution to lose weight but often can’t make it stick. The best way to assure that one stays motivated is by finding activities that they enjoy. Zumba could be the thing for you.