As you know from previous posts, I was looking for a fitness program that I could do at home that was fun and worked.  That’s when I found Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation System.  I love that sort of dancing but at Zumba classes I found it a little discouraging as I couldn’t keep up as the sessions were so large and so quick (even the so-called beginner classes), so I couldn’t learn the dance steps properly.  But the dance instructors break down all the components slowly and show you ALL the dance moves, so that you can learn at your own pace.  It comes on four DVDs that claim to be “an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party™ that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health,” and this is exactly what I found it to be.

The Benefits of Zumba

  • Lose weight
  • Tone muscles
  • Red hot music and
  • Heaps of fun dancing!

Here’s a brief example of how clearly the dance steps are demonstrated for beginners and how easy it is to pick them up – just replay any moves you have trouble with:

The Program

The basic workout breaks down each move using a 3-step process that works up to the full dance move, and are broken down into easy, medium and hard so they are easy to learn.  They teach over 20 moves on this DVD and it takes about an hour to work through it, but it’s worth it because the steps are explained very clearly and are easy to follow, especially if you “feel” the music first and then work on the steps.

The main workouts are all variations of the basic moves and are related to the various latin dances – samba, meringue, reggaeton, cumbia, mambo and salsa – but it was great to find that there were more styles of dancing other than latin.  There’s an American Mix section with country dancing in it and also some African, belly dance and flamenco thrown in for even more variety.

The program comes with two toning sticks that only weigh about 1lb each, so I tried using heavier exercise weights to accelerate my workout.  However, I found that the fast pace and dancing nature of the workout, made the heavier hand weights difficult to handle so I stopped using them.

The Workouts

I’m fairly fit because I train horses but the instructional workout had me in a sweat within minutes!  The other DVDs are more like live Zumba classes, where there is no instruction and everyone is just dancing more like freestyle.  But it’s easy to pick up what they’re doing.  The main instructor, Beto, is hard to understand at times because he has a very strong accent, but I got sorta used to it after a while, and the girls are easy to understand and follow. Your waist will feel tight after just one work out- the abs section is amazing – and you will probably burn 500-1000 calories per hour.  There are a variety of lengths to the videos so you can pick one that fits your time frame for the day.

Sometimes it seems like you’ve got lost and are on the wrong foot, but it seems to be only an editing glitch and if you just keep in step with the beat of the music, you’ll soon be back in unison with the DVD.

What To Wear

I would suggest that you wear as few clothes as possible, as you quickly break out in a sweat, and make sure they are comfortable and easy to move in. Also, I recommend that you wear hip-hop shoes such as the these to give your feet and ankles as much support as possible.

Excuses? –  “I’m Too Old” – “I Can’t Dance”

NO WAY!  I’m 57 – okay, I don’t look as good as the instructor and I don’t move as fast as the 20-year-olds, but I love it!  I manage to keep up most of the time, and even though I’m somewhat rhythmically challenged, I’ve managed to learn all the dance moves.  With practice, your reflexes improve and one day you find yourself feeling like it’s second nature to dance!