I’ve decided to start a series describing the different types of group exercise classes available that I am familiar with or am willing to research. I’ll also be sharing my personal experience either as an instructor or student for each format. Hopefully this will provide some insight for you to either try the class or have a new takeaway if you are a frequent participant to the class.
I chose Zumba Fitness to start with since it is the class I am the most acquainted with.
Straight from Zumba Fitness
Everybody and every body! Each Zumba® class is designed to bring people together to sweat it on.
How It Works
We take the “work” out of workout, by mixing low-intensity and high-intensity moves for an interval-style, calorie-burning dance fitness party. Once the Latin and World rhythms take over, you’ll see why Zumba® Fitness classes are often called exercise in disguise. Super effective? Check. Super fun? Check and check.
A total workout, combining all elements of fitness – cardio, muscle conditioning, balance and flexibility, boosted energy and a serious dose of awesome each time you leave class.”
Breaking it Down
Zumba is not a pre-choreographed format. What this means is that instructors have the freedom to create their own choreography; they are not required to do specific routines. Zumba does provide music and choreography to their instructors but, it is not mandatory to use it. The only guidelines they give their instructors to follow are, to keep their music mostly in the Latin or other World rhythm genres and to have their playlist follow an interval type of pattern.
This free-form format allows instructors to differentiate themselves and make their class unique to them. Every instructor has their own style. Although you may hear the same song in different classes, the moves will be changed, giving you some variation.
This makes Zumba very different from a Les Mills type of class which is pre-choreographed. A Les Mills instructor will still have a unique class because they are an inimitable person but, the moves will be the same for a certain track as any other class you encounter.
There are two sides to this coin; Zumba allows more variety where you can have a different experience every class whereas Les Mills creates more consistent classes in which you have a specific expectation walking into a class. These facts are neither pros or cons, just the difference between formats.
Zumba classes should be an all-inclusive class where you get a great workout dancing to Latin and other World rhythms. Ideally, a brand-new student of any fitness level should be able to walk into a class and follow the dance moves to a basic extent. Expect 30-60 minutes of fun aerobic dance exercise to get your heart rate going to burn calories. If it’s your first time taking a class, check out my post about this.
You may be tempted to take solely Zumba classes because of how fun they are. However, I do not recommend this; doing only cardio takes a toll on the body. If you do not strengthen your muscles to support the impactful movements that come with dancing, you will feel aches and pains from the body trying to compensate. You’ll be overtraining muscles which can lead to injury. Overtraining is exactly what it sounds like: you train a body part over and over again – causing it to become stressed.
So, make sure you mix up your workouts with some Zumba and any other type of strength training.
If you’re interested in taking a class with me, check out my Zumba website to find my teaching schedule.
Now get out there and shake your groove thing!