What is Zumba?

The Top Benefits & What to Expect When You Sign Up for a Zumba Fitness Class

Even though it might not seem like it, Zumba is kind of a tough exercise to describe.

We know what you’re thinking, “isn’t it just, like, a bunch of dancing?”

First of all, you’re kind of right, but not exactly. No matter what you think you know about Zumba, we’re here to tell you this—Zumba is so much more than just a bunch of people gathering in a studio to dance their hearts out and get their groove on. Sure, that’s definitely a part of it (and you if you can’t get down with that, Zumba might not be for you), but there’s so much more to a Zumba class than meets the eye.

Like what? That’s exactly what we’re here to break down.

But before we can do that, we have one really important, really tough job to do—define Zumba to answer that age-old question what exactly is Zumba, anyway?

What the Heck is Zumba?

One of the first things you need to understand about Zumba is that the motto is literally “Ditch the workout—Join the party!” And yeah, that might sound like they’re not taking fitness super seriously, but don’t let that marketing ploy fool you—Zumba is actually an incredible workout if you’re doing it right and it can provide an enormous amount of added benefits to your clients.

Still, Zumba is kind of hard to define. Is it a dance party? Is it an actual workout? Is it for losing weight or building muscle? There are a lot of questions surrounding its definition. Further, it’s got a pretty interesting, basically accidental history which makes for a cool story, but also kind of adds to the confusion.

So, we did something unique and came up with our own way to describe Zumba. Here it is in all its glory, our neatly wrapped definition of Zumba (copy and paste this, write this down, file this under important bookmarks, do whatever you need to do to remember this groundbreaking definition).

Zumba, a type of dance fitness that’s been around since the 1990s, is the backbone of the dance fitness craze—it incorporates a variety of Latin-inspired dance moves and music to promote a healthy heart, a healthy dose of aerobic activity, and a fun, exciting way to build and tone muscle, improve cardio, promote flexibility, and decrease stress.

Let’s Talk Zumbenefits

See what we did there? Pretty funny, right?

Whether you laughed or whether you have no sense of humor whatsoever, you get the gist of what we’re about to do—talk about the benefits of Zumba. And when we do this, remember, we’re not just talking about the benefits of taking a Zumba class yourself (although, we’re never going to advise against that). We’re talking about the benefits that teaching a Zumba class will have for your clients’ health, goals, and overall wellness.

So, without further ado, let’s try to cover as many Zumba benefits as possible—and count this as your official warning (because there are quite a few).

  • Zumba promotes heart health
  • Zumba tones and builds muscle
  • Zumba is a great stress reliever
  • Zumba promotes healthy weight loss
  • Zumba improves coordination and flexibility.

And that’s not even the end of it!

What to Expect When You Sign Up for a Zumba Fitness Class

If you’re planning on adding Zumba to your fitness repertoire, you need to do more than just study up, get certified, and learn how to choreograph—you need to actually understand what’s going on in a normal Zumba class.

We’re not advising that you create a carbon copy class that replicates exactly what another Zumba class does—we always encourage you to put your personal, creative spin on things. But, we do think that if someone is signing up for a Zumba class, they’re most likely expecting some of the standard Zumba offerings. Translation? You need to know what you’re doing if you’re planning to offer a badass Zumba class.

So, let’s set up the scenario this way. You’re about to attend your first-ever Zumba class. You open the gym door, you scan the room, you nervously adjust your workout clothes as you take your place near the front of the studio. Now what?

Here are a few things you can most likely expect to experience when you sign up for a Zumba class:

A Nice, Rhythmic Warm-Up

No, you’re not about to go from never ever taking a Zumba class to busting out into an epic salsa choreography. Definitely expect some kind of musical warm-up to get your blood pumping, your heart going, and your dancing mode turned on!

A Very Silly, Sheepish Feeling (At First)

Why? Because there’s no way (unless you have a pretty solid dance background) that you’re going to master the choreography right away. And you know what? No one else is, either. That’s kind of the beauty of it. All you need for this type of class is an open mind and a little flexibility when it comes to feeling silly—we promise you, it’s worth it in the end. And besides, after a few songs, you’ll start recognizing repeated steps and you’ll get into the groove of it.

Tons of New, Exciting Music & Tons of Unique Dancing Styles

People flip out for Zumba because it feels more like a party and less like a workout (we can get behind that). But, how does that happen? How do you get people to forget they’re doing a strenuous activity and totally embrace the fun side of working out? With amazing music and killer dance moves. Expect a ton of new music that you’ve never heard before as well as unique dancing techniques that you’ve likely never tried. This is where the silliness comes into play, but again, we promise it’s totally worth it.

That Much-Sought-After Dance-Like-Nobody’s-Watching Feeling

Oh yeah, if you’re totally feelin’ the vibe and allowing yourself to get into the music and have a blast, you can definitely expect to find this feeling at some point during the class. And you know what? We encourage you to give into it. Who said exercise had to be boring and tedious—get your dang groove on, guys.

A Thorough Cool Down

A cool down is totally necessary after that hour-long dance sesh. What, you think they’re going to just let you party hard and then kill your vibe and send you home? You’ll gradually come down from your dancing high with a rhythmic cool down (which is partly to bring you back from dance planet and partly to bring your heart rate down slowly).

A Total-Body-Workout Feel

Yep. You’re gonna feel this one—especially if it’s your very first Zumba class. Your whole body is going to feel worked in the best way possible (AKA, you’re going to be sore in spots that you didn’t know you could be sore in). Dance fitness is a totally different way to work out, so if it’s your first time, your body’s going to give you a sort of what-the-heck-was-that reaction. Expect a healthy dose of soreness after your first class for sure.

Love our Zumba advice and insight? We thought you might! Subscribe to our regularly updated IFG blog for more posts like these, as well as personal training business tips, tricks, and trends you need to know to step up your game in the fitness industry.

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