Dancers in a Zumba class with IFG blog title text overlaid

A Total Zumba Breakdown: Where It Started, Why It’s a Hit, and How You Can Incorporate it Into Your Clients’ Routines

The Columbian merengue. The Caribbean soca. The essence of capoeira and the influence of Bollywood. When you take all of these dancing styles, put them together, and mix them up, what do you get?

Yeah, we know, it sounds like the beginning of a super lame joke—but we’re actually asking a serious question. What do all of these very different, very exciting, and very cardio-esque activities have in common?

They’re all the backbone of the dance craze we’ve come to know and love as Zumba.

You don’t have to be a Zumba-enthusiast to know the term. Whether you’ve taken a class, mocked an online video, or know people who swear by the rhythmic, fat-burning, and fun workout, it’s unlikely that Zumba isn’t a word in your vocabulary. Especially, of course, if you’re a personal trainer.

But just because you know Zumba doesn’t mean you really know Zumba, and that’s exactly our point. If you’re a personal trainer who’s looking for new and exciting ways to get their clients’ heart rates pumping and their bodies moving, Zumba could be just the ticket.

But first, let’s acquaint ourselves with the exercise-style dance class that’s known for its upbeat music, high-intensity, and dance-like-nobody’s-watching attitude.


Zumba: THe Origins

Zumba didn’t just appear on the workout scene suddenly—it’s actually been around for quite some time. Zumba was pretty much a happy accident (even their website claims that) spurred by choreographer Alberto Beto Perez in the early-to-mid 1990s. Beto, an aerobics instructor at the time, was on the way to teach a class when he realized he’d forgotten his music—without time to rush back to retrieve it, he improvised, using merengue and salsa tapes instead. What resulted was a fun, spur of the moment cardio-heavy class that was the perfect mix of dance and exercise. It was an instant hit. 

The rest, as they say, is history. Beto started teaching the classes in Miami in 2001, where he then met up with two other fitness instructors (both ironically named Alberto as well),  and thus, Zumba was born.

Now, it’s impossible to find a gym, studio, or fitness center that doesn’t offer Zumba. We’ll delve into that why right now.


What Makes zumba so dang good

Even if you’re stuck on the whole “I-can’t-imagine-asking-my-clients-to-dance” train (which, hey, we understand), it’s hard to deny the overwhelming benefits Zumba can offer clients. Zumba is about more than just dancing your heart out (which, hey, has its own set of benefits, too). It’s also all about toning up, slimming down, and keeping your clients’ hearts healthy.

Here are a few of the premium Zumba benefits you might not know about:

  • Zumba boosts heart health: This one might seem obvious, but it’s always worth mentioning. Zumba puts the cardio in cardiovascular health, but it also provides both aerobic and anaerobic benefits. Aerobic benefits help you get your heart rate going strong and anaerobic benefits help you maintain a solid cardiovascular respiratory system. So, when it comes to heart health, Zumba is a win-win.
  • Zumba helps you tone: if you have clients who want to tighten and tone their bodies without bulking up, this is a great exercise to suggest. They won’t have to lift weights to find that toned muscle they’re looking for—they can just dance to their heart’s content.

  • Zumba Helps with Coordination: we’re not saying this is the main selling point, but you can bet there are clients out there who wouldn’t mind reaping this benefit. Zumba is all about moving your body parts in all different directions—by repeatedly practicing these types of moves, your clients’ coordination is bound to improve.
  • Zumba is a stress-reliever: you know how endorphins work, right? Of course, you do. When you’re dancing (exercising in general, really), you’re triggering endorphins, which triggers positive feelings throughout the entire body. Further, your clients will be enhancing their overall cognitive function, which can help with stress, too!
  • Zumba helps with weight loss: Listen, if you’re moving around that fast for that long, you’re bound to burn calories. In fact, Zumba can help your clients burn anywhere from 600-1,000 calories in an hour.

how you can incorporate zumba into your personal training repertoire

Of course, just like with every type of exercise, Zumba is going to fit some clients better than it will fit others. As much as we wish for it (because like, that would make your job a lot easier), there’s no one-size-fits-all exercise style for everyone. Zumba can be implemented into most clients’ routines, but if you’re really looking to ensure that Zumba is the right fit for your client, we suggest thinking about adding it to specific client repertoires. For example:

  • The Cardio is Boring Client1 hour of dance fever will have them singing a different tune.
  • The Stress-ball Clienttry to be stressed out about that proposal at work while you’re cha-cha-ing through the gym.
  • The Uncoordinated Clienta few sessions of Zumba will knock the clumsiness out of even the most uncoordinated client.
  • The Lookin’-to-Slim-Down-Client600-1,000 calories per session leaves plenty of wiggle room for your client’s weight-loss goals
  • The Toned-is-What-I-Aim For Clientput the dumbbell down and throw on your dancing shoes, you’re 1 hour of dancing away from toning up.
  • The Busy Bee Clientmulti-tasking is what Zumba was made for. Tone, burn fat, and have fun all at once in one hour!

Of course, there are plenty more client types out there that would greatly benefit from Zumba—the trick is presenting it correctly. At the end of the day, you want your clients to reap the benefits of their exercises while enjoying what they’re doing—if they don’t love it, don’t force it.


so is zumba your next big thing? 

Maybe you read this article and thought, “eh, Zumba, not my thing. Maybe you didn’t even finish this article before you were googling where you can get Zumba certified. Either way, you learned something, right? That’s kind of what we’re all about. Whether or not you incorporate Zumba into your personal training repertoire is entirely up to you (which, is one of the perks of being a personal trainer—you get to decide what makes the most sense for your clients and for your teaching style), you’re better able to form an educated opinion on it. So, the next time a client sits you down and asks, “all right, so, what’s the deal with this Zumba thing?” you’ll have an answer.

If you’re just like us and always itching to keep up with all things personal training—from how to run your business to the latest trends to new exercise fads—then you’ve made it to the right place. Our regularly updated blog is focused on keeping you in-the-know and up-to-date about the personal training world. Keep up with us here!


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