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All You Ever Wanted to Know about Zumba

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Editor's note: You've been asking about Zumba for a long time, so we are happy to share this guest blog post from one of our favorite bloggers. Gina, otherwise known as The Fitnessista, is not only a HUGE fan of Zumba, but she's a Zumba instructor and former dancer as well. She was happy to write about her favorite form of aerobics for the dailySpark.

Hi, everyone! My name is Gina and I write over at a little blog called The Fitnessista. On my blog, I write about fitness tips, nutrition advice, recipes, workout routines and my daily shenanigans. Determined to experience a negative “freshman 15,” I lost 40 pounds about 8 years ago and have since then become a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. My favorite class to teach, by far, is ZUMBA!

So, you may have heard about Zumba or you might be wondering what the heck it is.

Zumba is a giant party.

In class, you spend the entire time dancing and it’s easy to forget that you’re actually working out, burning a crazy amount of calories and blasting fat.


  • Zumba is an aerobics fitness program that was created primarily by Beto Perez. Zumba originated in Columbia in the 1990s, when Beto forgot a CD for his aerobics class. He used one of his personal CDs (traditional Latin music) and taught a dance-style aerobics class on the spot. Zumba was born! Since then, it has become a crazy booty-shaking world phenomenon, with over 6 million participants taking classes each week (Source). Zumba got its namesake from the buzzing of bees… Zuuuuuumba--it’s Colombian slang for “fast.”
  • Zumba is a Latin-style dance class (including salsa, merengue, cha-cha, cumbia, soca and samba), combined with hip hop and reggaeton, as well as international styles of dance like bellydancing, flamenco, Bollywood and African. Most classes should be about 70% Latin dances with 30% for the rest of the other fun stuff.
  • Many classes will utilize an interval style of training--combining slower dances with faster upbeat songs and songs dedicated to toning movements (arms, abs, legs).
  • The instructor will usually dance in front of the class, while the students follow along. Each song will repeat the same movements, so that it’s easier to pick up.

    What to expect:
  • To have no idea what you’re doing at first. I danced for my entire life and was LOST for the first class. The best thing you can do is pick up the steps where you can, laugh, shake and have fun. It’s one of those things that the more often you go, the easier it gets. Remember, no one is there to judge you. Everyone is at the gym for a common goal and is usually too worried about what they’re doing to think about anyone else. Just have fun!
  • Some instructors will go over the movements before each song. Other instructors (like me) will just dance the entire time and yell stuff out to the class. Be ready for either type of teach.
  • To burn a LOT of calories. I typically burn 500-600, while some of my students with heart rate monitors have burned upwards of 1,000.
  • Wear comfy clothes and shoes, bring water and a towel (for sweat) if you’d like.
  • Get ready to become HOOKED! Zumba is an absolute blast--a lot more fun than running on the treadmill or teetering along on the elliptical (in my opinion).

    Ready to check out a class?

    Classes in your area can be found at Zumba.com.

    Happy shaking!

    Have you ever taken a Zumba class before? What did you think?

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CECELW 9/30/2020
I had no idea people are still doing Zumba. I thought it was a passing fad Report
SPARKLINGME176 9/30/2020
I was doing Zumba for years, 3 times a week. Helped me reach my goal! Then I leaped too high 1 time & twisted my knee, 2 years later.... I can walk again without pain. I NOW doing Zumba on my DVD's. I do NOT push anything, like leaps, etc. GREAT sweating, I love it so much!!!! IF you've never tried it, just take it slowly & listen to your body, as always, right? Report
DAWNGW 9/30/2020
I awkwardly tried a Zumba class at my gym a few years ago... the writer is correct that your first class you will probably just end up laughing at yourself and do all of the opposite movements as everyone else, haha. BUT... over the pandemic summer 2020, I decided to use YouTube videos to teach me in the privacy of my living room. It truly is FUN! I'm getting better and better at it. I feel like my body is getting more flexible and more coordinated! So much more fun than a treadmill for sure! It also inspires me to learn more dance moves. I really like merengue for example. Report
GO_GAL_GROW 9/30/2020
Zumba is so much fun, get your boogie on and lose weight! Report
ERIN_POSCH 9/30/2020
thanks for sharing Report
LEANJEAN6 9/30/2020
great music Report
Thanks! Report
Beginning classes would be nice - it does fun Report
NEPTUNE1939 9/30/2020
ty Report
BONNIE1552 9/30/2020
Love zumba! Report
AZMOMXTWO 9/30/2020
thank you Report
PIXIEMOMMA 9/30/2020
Love Zumba but lost our teacher hope someone will step up soon Report
FERRETLOVER1 9/30/2020
My sister loves doing Zumba - me, not so much! Report
LIS193 9/30/2020
Fun Report
RCLYKE 9/30/2020
Zumba is great Report
JANIEWWJD 9/30/2020
I love Zumba!!! Report
KOALA_BEAR 6/30/2020
I have never tried Zumba but had knee issues back when Jazzercise was the rage - too much side to side jumping, twisting & turning. I might ck on You Tube for a senior's video to try. The latin beat would be fine but Pitbull & the new rap crap music ppl are not for me. I do like dancing to music & also listen when hula hooping to keep me motivated. Report
:) Report
I have take. Zumba lesson before. It is fast paced. I would like someone to actually teach beginners Zumba classes do you could get the moves down before joining the the ses Report
KHALIA2 2/1/2020
I have taken it before and miss it so much! Haven't taken it since my Curves closed!! Report
PATRICIAAK 1/30/2020
:) Report
@ AnnieMaroo. There are great tutorials on you tube & beginner classes. Bring plenty of water. Low impact and a lot of different exercises. I loveit Report
Took a group class at work and it was no joke. But I love the range of the exercise music and it was so fun I didn’t feel like exercise Report
Love Zumba! Report
Love Zumba!! Report
look s like fun Report
I love dancing, so this might be a good one for me to try. I like that someone mentioned DVDs so I can have a look at what to do before I actually do a class Report
This is good information, SparkFriends and my favorite way to work those calories off. Report
Zumba looks fun. Report
I really miss my zumba class! Report
Zumba is alot of fun...and thats coming from someone who never thought she'd like to try zumba. Report
A great fun workout Report
I fell down....! Report
I love Zumba but the last time I did it, I twisted my knee and now stopped going to the classes. My left knee doesn't bother me at gym doing ST and occasionally when walking, so no more Zumba for me. Report
Reading this article reminded me of how much I miss zumba. My Curves closed and I have not found another place that teaches it. Report
I haven't been to a Zumba class but I have some dvd's and my sister in law is a Zumba instructor. Report
wonderful fun Report
I love Zumba is quite a workout and the music and dance is fun. Report
Looks like great fun! Report
Love Zumba
I do the Zumba Gold DVD which is aimed at older adults but it kicks my butt every time! I love it - I can dance like a dork and no one sees me:) Report
I go every Thursday - it is awesome! Report
I love Zumba! Doesn't feel like a workout. Just fun dancing.
www.zumba-classlocator.com Report
I like the classes where the instructor gives you instructions on how to do the move. If I'm paying for the class, I don't want to just move around because I don't know the moves. That's not "fun", it's frustrating. I can do that at home. I now use my WII to ZUMBA with my WII trainer. I love it! Report
Without Zumba I would not go inside of the gym. I love that class! It is high energy, fun, incredible workout. I love to dance and shake my groove thang so I enjoy all the current, latin, reggae, hip hop, reggaetone music incorporated in Zumba. It's a great sweat and my daughter does it with me so I get to bond with her as well. Double win!! Can't say enough about it! Zumba is awesome! Report
I find Zumba easier to tolerate than an hour of, say, the elliptical machine, but I wish I could say it was fun. True that nearly all participants are women, but they are a range of ages and sizes, and no one is in any position to judge. According to my tracker I burn 400-500 calories per class, and that's keeping up completely with the instructor - I bet I'd like it better if I were buring 1000! Report
I absolutely adore Zumba and my instructor is fantastic. We dance all the current latin music from Pitbull, Ricky Martin and Don Omar and other local musicians. The last class we danced to Rolling Down the River and had a blast. Not latin, but we really had to move! Report
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