This past weekend I went to Zumba for the first time in a long time. I have trouble fitting it into my schedule during the school year, but now that it's summer I can partake more often.
Every time I take a break from Zumba, I forget how hard it is, and the first class back is a rude awakening. This time, I was gasping for breath by the third song. Sweat was literally dripping off me. Usually the next day my back and glutes hurt. (I think I go a little gung-ho!)
It seems like people either love or hate Zumba. I guess it makes sense. If you don't like to dance, then you probably won't like Zumba. Personally, I love to dance! Add loud music and lights and I feel like I'm in an hour long MTV video with 50 of my closest friends!
People often ask me, “Is it really a good workout?” The answer: If you have a good instructor and you give it your all, YES it is an extremely good workout! Zumba, as with any exercise, is a “you get what you give” type of deal. If you put in maximum effort, you are going to be out of breath and you're going to be sore the next day. If you leisurely do the dance moves, well, you should have saved your five bucks.
The good part about Zumba is that you can work at your own level. My maximum effort could be the same as someone else's moderate effort. You gotta do what works for you. Having a good instructor is also key. I've been to Zumba classes where it didn't matter how hard I went at the dance moves- it just wasn't a challenge. A good instructor will have moves that can be altered for many different fitness levels. There's only one instructor I will go to because I know I get an amazing workout every time. I'm sure there are other good instructors in the area, but I'm not taking any chances!
I think another concern about Zumba, and maybe even other group fitness classes is the whole “Are people looking at me??” worry. I don't know about others, but when I'm in Zumba, the only person I look at is the instructor or I would miss something! If someone has the energy to look around and be judgmental about others, then they're not working very hard!
I definitely don't do the moves perfectly. I'm good at the squats, the jumps, the kicks, the lunges... But anything resembling something Beyonce would do, like a shoulder shake or a booty shake, or just anything sexy- I look RIDICULOUS! But I try! Maybe the person behind me is snickering, but oh well, I'm giving it my all!
It would be really cool to be a Zumba instructor. I think I would like it a lot. I have done choreography for musicals for years, I love to motivate people, and I'm used to leading a group- I'm a teacher for goodness sake! But therein lies the problem. I spend my whole day teaching, where I am in charge of my classroom. Then I come home from work and teach piano lessons. Again, I'm in charge. It's hard to turn off that switch! Sometimes it's nice just to be a student in the class and have someone else lead. Zero responsibility.
Maybe when I retire I could make the commitment and become an instructor. But for now, I will just awkwardly shake my booty in the back of the class!
Have you tried Zumba? Do you love it or hate it?