Tuesday, January 17, 2012

ZUMBA! Yourself Into Shape!

Unless you've been living under a rock, there's absolutely NO way you haven't heard of it.  It's probably the biggest workout craze since...well...I don't even know what to compare it to.  I've been meaning to write about this forever, but it's one of those topics that I could go on and on about, so the task of condensing my thoughts is just a bit daunting.

I'm one of those people who goes through health phases.  I'll run every day for a few months, then I'll do home workout videos for a few months, then I'll eat strictly healthy for a while...but all of that gets old after a least for me.  And see the thing is, a healthy lifestyle is about finding what works for you...because it won't be the same for everyone.  For example, I'm not willing to give up all sweets.  Giving up sweets would seriously ruin my quality of life! haha.  On the other hand, I can totally give up breads.  If I never had another roll, biscuit, muffin, etc...I would be just fine.  I'm also not willing to stick to a workout routine that bores me.  And that's where Zumba comes into play!

Beto Perez
Beto Perez is the founder of Zumba.  You can learn all the ins-and-outs of Zumba here, but basically it's easy-to-follow Latin-style "dancing" (I use the term loosely because it still has an aerobics feel to it).  It burns lots of calories, makes you sweat like crazy, but it's STILL FUN!

My first few classes I was a bit skeptical.  Why?  Because I have never been a very good dancer, and I had a little trouble following the steps.  But after a few classes with each instructor, the moves started to come a bit more naturally, and I felt myself exerting more energy...causing me to sweat like crazy!  I found that once you learn the moves a little bit, you can put more "umph" into them and control your own intensity.  And now that I've been doing it for a while, I find that's even a lot easier to pick up on new routines because the rhythms are very similar!  I even have more confidence to get up on the dance floor when I'm out places too. :-D

And, yes, Zumba will help you manage your weight.  Especially if you do it often like I did/do.  But it will also improve your cardio fitness tremendously!  Most classes are 45 minutes to an hour long, which is manageable because the instructors are typically very purposeful about sticking a few lower intensity songs in there to help you catch your breath after higher intensity songs!

Zumba has helped me strengthen my core as well.  Many of the movements in Zumba involve moving or shaking the hips, and you wouldn't believe the core workout there!  haha. And of course, if you want to build even more strength, there's Zumba Toning.

Zumba toning uses the same Latin-style music, rhythms, and moves, but adds light weight with "toning sticks."  The purple sticks on the top are 2.5 lbs. each and the lime green sticks on the bottom are 1.5 lbs each.  Seems extremely light, right?  Wrong.  After using these for an hour, I can promise you that you'll feel like you got your workout! haha.  In fact, Zumba toning is the only class that I have ever taken and seen my body -really- change.  I now have muscles!  Who knew? ;)

So how do you get started?
You can go to and look up class locations and times in your area.  You can even search by facility!  If you live in the Atlanta-area, the best classes I've found are at Urban Active-Buckhead.

However, if you live in the Macon-area, you're in luck.  Those classes are my favorite!  Here are a few you may be interested in.  All of these instructors are absolutely FABULOUS.  There's -at least- one opportunity every day to Zumba in Macon.  These are classes I have personally been to and know for a fact they're awesome.  Most of them are $6.00 or $7.00 per class, if you're not a member of the gym.  It's even cheaper for members.

ZUMBA! with Jasmine Peschel
Mondays at 6:30 p.m.
Wellness Center (Northside Dr., Macon)

ZUMBA! with Stephanie Huff
Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Body Evolution (Spring St., Macon)

ZUMBA!  with Carol Johnson
Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m.
Wellness Center (Northside Dr., Macon)

ZUMBA Toning! with Jasmine Peschel
Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.
Wellness Center (Northside Dr.,  Macon)

ZUMBA! with Stephanie Huff
Thursdays at 6:30 p.m.
Body Evolution (Spring St., Macon)

(instructors vary, but I promise they're all great!)
Fridays at 4:00 p.m.
Wellness Center (Northside Dr., Macon)

ZUMBA! with Jasmine Peschel
Saturdays at 10:00 a.m.
North Macon Park (North Macon Park Dr.)

(instructors vary, but I promise they're all great!)
Sundays at 3:00 p.m.
Wellness Center (Northside Dr., Macon)

Yes, you can get the DVD Zumba workouts, and I was recently given Zumba for the Wii for Christmas (which is so fun!), but I still believe the class setting is the best.  There's just something about a room full of people having fun and keeping you accountable.

I absolutely love Zumba and have no problem sticking to it as a workout routine, even on the laziest of days.  I always feel better after the class than I did before.

If my love of Zumba isn't enough to convince you, try and see for yourself!  I know everyone's different and you may feel completely opposite, but that's totally ok

Until next time... 

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