The Zumba Make You Crazy (In a Good Way)



The official Zumba web site boldly states, "Ditch the Workout, Join the Party!" and after my experience at Zumba with Natasha, I have to say that I am tempted.

Created in the early 90's by Beto Perez, a Colombian choreographer and dance instructor, Zumba was introduced in the United States in 2001 and has since grown to exponentially.  An estimated 10 million people each week participate in Zumba classes and it is featured at more than 90,000 fitness centers, private studios, and community centers.

My Zumba experience started early Saturday morning, and after arriving late in town I was having a hard time getting myself motivated.  I dragged myself to the 10am class and found myself searching for a parking spot behind Zumba with Natasha's 23rd Ave. location.  After taking a deep breath, I stepped out of my car and began laboriously walking towards the door.

The room was packed.  A diverse crowd of about 20 women and one courageous (or very smart) man was waiting for Natasha, a lean, athletically built woman, to kick off the class.  We wasted no time getting started with a warm-up to the "Cuban Shuffle".  I felt myself starting to crack a smile as we all moved, shook, and stepped in rhythm.

The next thing I knew, I was in the middle of a Zumba rendition of "Jai Ho!" and my Zumba awakening was official.  For the next hour, we took a syncopated journey through the music of the Cha Cha, Salsa, Funk, Hip Hop, and Dance.  Natasha's energy never once ebbed and she moved through the class like a force of nature.  The class participants were no slouches either they followed Natasha's movements with coordination and confidence. 

Although I am an avid exerciser, I was sweating profusely and definitely "feeling the burn."  At one point, we were led through a Zumba Toning sequence that had everybody in the class squatting and jumping to the song, "Apple Bottom Jeans".  The sign outside of the studio advertised, "Burn 1,000 Calories In One Hour!" and I think that I must have come close.  

After a R&B cool down and a rhythmic stretch sequence, the class closed with a theatrical bow and my Zumba experience was complete.  I had "joined the party" and felt the energy, excitement, and empowerment of Zumba.

The Zumba craze, is no accident, and is fueled by participants who don't look like your average gym goer.  An exhilarating hour of Zumba feels nothing like "working out" and its party atmosphere fosters a sense of family and fun that is unique and powerful. 

If you are ready to join the Zumba Party, Natasha's studio is located at 714 NW 23rd Ave Gainesville, Fl.  The first class is always free and additional classes are $8.  A 10 class pass is also available for $60.  No registration or contracts are required.

Sources:

"Beto Perez," "10 million participants each week," and "90,000 fitness centers,..." www.Zumba.com/about

"1000 calories per hour," www.ZumbawithNatasha.com

Zumba Fitness LLC conducts official Zumba instructor certifications, produces exercise DVD's, workout equipment, apparel, and videogames for the X-box 360, Playstation 3, and Nintendo Wii.  To see the entire Zumba catalog, visit www.Zumba.com. 

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About Tony Fed

Tony is the host of the Paleo Magazine Radio podcast, author of "Paleo Grilling: A Modern Caveman's Guide to Cooking with Fire", and Cofounder of Powerful PT, an innovative information resource for Fitness Professionals. He has appeared on numerous local and national television and radio broadcasts and regularly hosts healthy cooking workshops and informational lectures. He is also a full-time Personal Trainer and Wellness Consultant who lives in Jacksonville Florida with his wife Jamie.
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2 comments:

  1. I've seen lots of references to CrossFit lately and accessed their website. However, I can't seem to find any information about workarounds for people with, say, (as in my case) a bum knee and foot. Are there such?

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  2. I'm really enjoying my own experience at a local CrossFit gym, but I can definitely see how someone who has past/current injury or physical limitation would be intimidated by their workouts. My recommendation would be to see a good personal trainer (check for credentials like NSCA CSCS/CPT or ACSM HFS/CPT) and start working on establishing proficiency with basic movement patterns like lunges, squats, deadlifts, twists ("woodchops"), proper gait, overhead pressing, pulling/rowing, pushing(modified push-ups/planks), and baseline cardiovascular fitness. If you have trouble finding someone local, I am available for remote fitness consultation (skype/phone/email) and would be happy to get you started.

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