Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Zumba classes: will you really lose weight?

After my first taste of Zumba classes back in November I've managed to get to a few classes and I'm really enjoying it.

Check out my initial review here.

But it strikes me that there are particular types of exercise class devotee that you don't necessarily want to be stood next too in class!  So I thought I'd outline all the exercise class types I find at my local Zumba class and leave you to decide which you are, which you think I am, and which you'd rather avoid!

The Exercise Class Bully
There are some people who, whether they know it or not, take up TOO MUCH ROOM.  They are generally tall and strong.  Often very toned, but not slight.  They come to class regularly to the extent that they know every single move; but they don't express any joy in taking part.  Determined is their only expression.  Even in a Zumba class, which is supposed to be a laugh, they are stuck in the fierce, 'pound it out', aerobics class frame of mind.  They are not light on their feet, so it hurts..

a lot..

when they step on yours.

They might lose weight in class, but not the most they could, because they just don't let go and enjoy it.  

The Mechanic
These ladies are slight, petite and annoyingly trendy.  They look like mums, but the sort of mum who is at the gym daily, can run around the garden with her boys playing football and still look good.  They appear cool and calm, and their cut off trousers don't make them look shorter or fatter (like they do me), but rather trendy and youthful.

Once they start exercising they don't let loose and relax, but neither do they pound out the steps.  They seem to do it daintily.  The steps are technically right, but it doesn't look like they'd ever break a sweat doing them.  It's mechanical.  Dancers would refer to it as 'marking'.

The Tryer
These are often older, maybe mid 50s, though not exclusively.  They are not natural movers and can't quite keep up.  You often find yourself nose to nose with them when you turn around and they don't.  You need to keep an eye out for them to ensure you don't tread on them.

But they don't give up.  They are there every week. They meet up with friends at class and enjoy the social aspect.

Again, they don't let themselves go.  Rather they always look slightly worried; as if they are going to be sent to the Headteachers office for doing it wrong.

OTT (Over the top) Show-Off
This is the one that turns up erratically, but picks up the moves quickly and so just has a laugh.  If she goes wrong she just laughs and catches up at the next count of 8.  She throws herself into the moves and has a tendency to use up far too much room, but will keep an eye on the space around her and try not to get in the way.

She's clearly done dance classes before and thinks it means she's an expert, but really she's just not committed enough and should just get out of the way so the rest of us true exercise devotees can get down to serious work.

Ironically she'll probably be the one to burn off the most calories leaping around like a nightclub raver.


Most exercise classes have something in common.  They will only work if you relax, stop worrying about what you may or may not look like and throw yourself into it. 

Remember Phoebe in the US show 'Friends'? Remember how she used to run like a child and just 'let go'?

Remember dancing in nightclubs as an 18 year old?  How much energy did you throw into those moves?  Remember that and recreate it.  It's your time.  Enjoy it.  Then you really will find yourself losing weight.


So what do you think?  Which are you? Which am I? Which would you like to be?


  1. Reckon I am in the 'tryer' category although am only 40! I love Zumba but am totally rubbish at it and spend more time laughing than exercising!

    1. Having fun is what it is all about. Keep laughing! :-)

  2. I hate to admit that the closest one of your descriptions to me is the over the top show off! Although I turn up every week, so I am commited. I'm not really a show off, its more that once it gets going I don't care who looks. I've got a new category of people you don't want to stand next to for you: http://knittymummy.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/annoying-teenagers.html

    1. So so true! We have only a small collection of teenagers in our class and they equally barely seem to move and are tethered together by the wrists; they must be, they huddle so closely!

      Thanks for sharing the post. My advice? Do the class extra vigorously very close to them. A couple of bruises might get them moving. ;-)

  3. One of the major benefits of Zumba is weight loss, Louise. But of course, to achieve amazing results, you have to finish the whole program and always keep determined. Don’t let yourself lose the drive, despite the bullies you’ve mentioned. Plus, you wouldn’t get just what you came there for. It will also improve your cardio-vascular health and body coordination, while allowing the release of feel-good hormones.

    Celia Maciomhair


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