I Zumba

The feeling in your soul is gonna take control
Nothing can hold you back if you really want it*


2 Million People
30 Countries
3,000 Gyms and Dance Studios
In this revolution . . . everybody wins!

Pulsing Latin beats. Shiny, slippery bodies twisting and undulating. Taut abs, rock-hard butts, sinewy arms. Sweat glistening on the gorgeous faces of sexy young dancers. This is not your mother’s Zumba.

It’s not mine, either, really. I work out at the Y, where the Zumba classes are mostly made up of middle-aged women in baggy T-shirts and sweats, eyes glued to the instructor, desperately trying to shake our bon bons in ways our bon bons were simply not meant to shake. But let me tell you, oscilamos la casa!

Zumba’s official site tells us, “At this moment, someone you know is probably taking a Zumba class.” They’re probably right. Everywhere you look, dance studios, fitness centers, and my friend’s basement are showcasing this exciting cardio workout. Zumba is derived from a Colombian word meaning to move fast and have fun. And that’s what we do, muchachas y muchachos.

Is It a Good Workout?

Yes. Unless you just stand there. Like many workouts, Zumba is what you make it. You can exaggerate the moves or keep it low. You will sweat, burn off that stubborn belly fat those commercials are warning you about, and possibly develop lower-back pain if you don’t stretch. But most important: you will have fun.

But I Have Two Left Feet

Doesn’t matter. There’s no wrong way to Zumba. Each song features a different style of dance (merengue, reggaeton, salsa, flamenco, calypso), but the steps are easy and there’s a lot of repetition. The music is so infectious it’s impossible not to move.

Am I Too Old? Too Young? Too Heavy? Too Male?

No, no, no, and never. In my class, we have teenagers, grandmas, and everything in between. A few guys show up from time to time. Hey, the founder of this whole Zumba craze is a guy, so why not?

Will People Laugh At Me?

Probably not. They’ll be too busy having fun and figuring out how to shake their butts while moving in a circle.

If you want to Zumba:
  • Watch a cool video.

  • Find a class. You can do this on Zumba’s site. Classes are much more fun than doing it on your own, but if you’re shy . . .

  • . . . Buy the 4-DVD set and let “Beto” and his sexy girls Zumba their way into your living room. The first DVD, “Zumba Beginners” shows you the moves (18 minutes), the second is a lower-body workout (30 minutes), and the last two have routines (“Advanced” is 40 minutes and “Power”—which also includes a special kids’ workout—is 50 minutes). Check out e-bay before buying from Zumba’s site.

  • Get some good shoes. You’re gonna be spinning, sliding, turning, and twisting, so shoes with a low tread and less traction than you might normally wear are recommended. Do NOT pay attention to Wikipedia’s entry that Zumba is practiced barefoot.

* Today’s lyrics are courtesy of Ricky Martin