Let me guess; you started the year strong — promising to Spin every day and drink your meals until you reached your goal weight. You promptly realized that this was an unrealistic (and unhealthy) pipe dream, and now a few months into 2018 your fitness goals remain a distant dream as your exercise routine has already begun to lag.
You need new motivation. A workout you'll actually maintain because it's so fun you'll actually WANT to work out. Something that's been around for a while, but maybe you forgot about it since Bar Method and SoulCycle started blowing up your Insta feed . . . you need Zumba.
Yessir, that Zumba. The Latin American dance-fitness craze that rose in the early aughts, favors songs by Ricky Martin and Shakira and eventually became popular with celebrities and housewives everywhere. While most of my friends are busy practicing their Warrior II pose or racing the treadmill at Barry's Bootcamp, I'm shaking my tush all over the gym floor to "Despacito" (and dozens of other songs I would never otherwise recognize). Most types of yoga upset my sensitive back and knees and bootcamps make me hate life; but Zumba makes me laugh, woop, and holler while burning up to 600 calories in a one-hour class.
I love Zumba for a variety of reasons, but here are just six of the best ones.
- The dance moves are easy to learn but physically challenging. So even the most uncoordinated among us can pick it up quickly and dive into the routine. That means less time wasted just trying to follow along.
- It makes you drop your ego. Remember that now-overused quote "Dance like nobody's watching"? Turns out, it's great advice. Letting loose without judgment from yourself or others is one of the best things for your mind, body, and soul.
- It takes the work out of working out. You're learning dance moves, listening to superfun upbeat songs and getting amped up by your instructor. At full throttle, my 120-pound self can burn around 500 calories in a one-hour class. Although I sweat like a maniac and feel it in my muscles the next day, I'm rarely ready for class to end.
- The people! It varies by location, but Zumba classes usually draw a diverse crowd across all cultures, ages, and body types. A SoulCycle class full of pretty people is great (seriously, I love SoulCycle too), but I get so much delight from joining the wide cast of characters unabashedly dancing their faces off in Zumba.
- Not all classes are created equal. I cannot stress this one enough. I've been to classes all over New York and Los Angeles and while most are fantastic, some can be totally lame. I find that the most energetic and challenging instructors tend to be those who really feel the music the most. Go figure.
- Way more than cardio. Yes, your heart will be pumping, you'll sweat like crazy, and you'll burn calories out the wazoo. But you're also squatting, lunging, kicking, punching, and hoola-hooping your core, butt, and arms into shape all at the same time.