Zumba: Shake Your Way Out of a Fitness Rut!
am a competitor. I have spent the last year going in and out of contest prep mode to mold my body into that of an NPC Bikini athlete. This requires a considerable amount of time in the gym and being on point with my diet. I usually spend about six days a week in the gym. At a minimum I spend an hour a day there and when in contest prep mode that hour can easily turn into three. I routinely lift weights and do varying intensities of cardio. However, in preparation for my third show this year I decided that a change of pace was necessary. I was not seeing the results from my standard cardio routine and frankly becoming increasingly burned out, so I decided to see what the Zumba craze was all about.
It should be noted that while I do have some dance experience my focus lately has been on muscle growth, not dance. Therefore, I walked into this class feeling like the football player in a ballet class! Once we started to move I realized that my body was no longer in the “dance” shape it had once been. My lack of ability didn’t seem to matter because while not everyone was as talented as our leader, they all seemed to be having a wonderful time, throwing away all inhibition or self-consciousness they might have had and were fully engaged in the class. It was contagious. Soon I found myself doing the same thing. I couldn’t stop smiling.
By the end of class I was wishing we could keep going and realized that I had been so focused on my own workout I did not even notice or care what the rest of the class was doing or what they thought of me! For as much time as I spend in the gym, it has been a long time since I had that much FUN with a cardio class, or workout of any kind. For newbies, this is not a high intensity form of cardio and there are sound progressions and regressions for every level of fitness. You are also able to activate muscle groups, especially the abdominals, which many, including myself, tend to slack on.
I have always said Zumba looked fun but was not for me. After my experience, I can honestly say I have seen the light and am now a regular attendee! Perhaps the most neglected aspect to any fitness program is the enjoyment one can have while doing it. This class certainly encourages individuals to break out of the mold and have some fun while working. So for those who have been afraid to try it or thought it would not serve a purpose in your workout, I encourage you to get in there and get moving! You will be surprised what a little fun can do for your morale and how great it will feel to shake up your workout with a little Latin spice!