My New Favorite Workout - Zumba! (Stacia Naquin)

By: Stacia Naquin
By: Stacia Naquin

I hate cardio. I'd rather lift weights. But that might change now that I've tried Zumba. I had SO much fun!!

 

I have a new favorite exercise class... Zumba! And I owe it all to Miss Colorado.

In a previous Fit Club Blog, Melaina Shipwash, Miss Colorado 2010, talked about Zumba as being one of her favorite ways to workout, as she trains for the Miss America pageant. I hadn’t given Zumba much thought. I don’t especially enjoy cardio. I think it’s boring to run on a treadmill or pedal endlessly on an elliptical. But Melaina talked about how much fun Zumba was and how much you sweat. So, based on her recommendation – I decided to give it a try.
So, what is it? The official Zumba website says “the routines feature interval training sessions where fast and slow rhythms and resistance training are combined to tone and sculpt your body while burning fat. Add some Latin flavor and international zest into the mix and you've got a Zumba® class!”
OK – sounds intriguing. But I was EXTREMELY nervous to try it. Here’s why: I went to the Go Red for Women Luncheon last week. Before the luncheon, I watched a Zumba demonstration and saw some of the moves they were doing… woah! I don’t know how to Salsa! How in the world was I going to be able to keep up in an hour-long class?!
Despite my nerves, I showed up to the Zumba at 4:30pm Wednesday at the N. Academy 24-Hour Fitness. Melaina laughed at how nervous I was, reassuring me that it was all about having fun. The instructor echoed those statements as she introduced herself (Maria) and asked if anyone was new to Zumba. I raised my hand… and so did one other person!! Yay!! I wasn’t the lone newbie!! That made me slightly less nervous.
Looking around the class as we prepared to get started, there had to be around 50 people in the class. But there were folks of all ages and even a handful of dudes!  I thought: OK… these folks don’t all look like professional Salsa dancers. Maybe I’ll be ok…
The music started… and so began an hour of the funnest (yes, I said funnest) cardio I have ever done.  Here’s the thing. If you’ve ever thought to yourself – “I’d love to go Salsa dancing sometime, but I don’t know the moves… I’ll look silly… and I wouldn’t even know where to go anyway.” If that sounds like you, then you need to try Zumba.
First off, the music is lively and fun. You can’t help but WANT to move to the beat! The Latin flare to the songs and the mixed-radio tunes were so energizing (which was good, because I was coming off of a 12-hour workday). Then the instructor jumps right in, showing us the moves and just encouraging us to MOVE! And boy did we. There was everything from a box step, to some good hip action, to Salsa, to the running man – that’s right, I said the running man (my best/favorite dance move)!! But through the whole hour, the moves were never overwhelming. It was never too much to keep up with.
I was sweating about five minutes in! But you know what? So was everyone else!! And people were smiling and having a good time too. It was like a salsa dance party with a bunch of friends. It’s FUN. It’s also nice, because there’s no equipment involved. Bring a water bottle and be ready to dance!
Folks, this was the fastest hour of cardio I’ve ever done (and for somebody who hates cardio – that’s saying something). I was smiling. I was having a good time… uh, surely this can’t be exercise! But it was!! I checked my Bodybugg after the class. In that hour, I burned 404 calories. That pushed my calorie-burn for the day to a well-exercised 2800 and I got more than 11,000 steps in for the day as well!! Sweet!!
There are tons of classes locally and there are home DVDs as well. So, if you’re worried about jumping into a brand new kind of exercise in front of a bunch of people – try it at home first. But I definitely encourage you to try a class. There was such a great energy in that room. Visit http://www.zumba.com/us/ for a list of local classes.
Now that I know what Zumba is all about – I’m pumped to go again!! But apparently, I’m going to have to step it up. Melaina has a Bodybugg too – and she burned 440 calories! Guess it’s time to take my Zumba workouts to the next level. Haha So look for me and Melaina at a Zumba class near you!!!
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