I have had a revelation in the past few weeks…I hate the treadmill. OK, so hate is a strong word, but when I think of a fun workout, the treadmill does NOT come to mind. What does, however, is ZUMBA! Zumba is a fun, dance based cardio workout that uses many Latin forms of dance to get you up and moving.
I first heard about Zumba at a Relay for Life gathering I participated in for work. I saw a demonstration and thought “Wow! That’s for me!” Being as I’m kind of intimidated by group classes, I never went. (I can be a perfectionist so trying new things ALWAYS scares me because I’m afraid I’ll look stupid…even though no one ever looks perfect on their first try.)
My friend, Carolyn, started doing it at her gym though and said she really liked it. I went to visit her one weekend and we went to a Zumba class. I was hooked! I was still scared to do it at my own gym, though eventually I got over those fears and started going every Tuesday night.
After I got pregnant, Zumba became more challenging for me. I would constantly be out of breath and my heart rate would hover around 175 the majority of the time, sometimes getting up in the 190s. It was too much. To my dismay, I stopped going. Even after I lost the baby, I didn’t go back. I’m not really sure why…
Anyhow, I have wanted the Zumba DVDs to have at home for a while so I could get in some form of cardio without having to drag my butt to the gym. They are $60, which isn’t really a lot, but it was more than I wanted to pay at that time. Then I saw Zumba for the Wii! How fun! I ordered it, Just Dance, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 (gotta have fun, right?) when they were Buy 2 Get 1 Free at Best Buy. I just received Zumba in the mail last night so this morning I had to try it!
Basically, you put the controller belt around your hips and make it tight enough so it doesn’t slide around during your workout. Then you choose the program you want to complete, hit start, and dance around like a fool. I completed two programs this morning and I have some pros and cons.
*There is an annoying lady that talks over the music telling you “Keep it up! You’re doing great! Great job!” etc. She doesn’t say anything productive and talks to you even if you aren’t doing anything. The good news is you can turn her off!
*You never really know if you’re doing anything right because they don’t give you any feedback based on your actual movements. The good news is Zumba isn’t about doing things “right” but more about moving your body.
*During the cool down (and actually during the workouts themselves) you’re not sure what they are really doing. You are watching a simulation of a person, not an actual person. She doesn’t talk to you at all so you just have to follow her moves. Since she’s a simulation, she’s not 100% crisp and clear. It wasn’t too hard to follow her, but that’s only because I have done all those cool down moves before. If I was new to working out, I wouldn’t be 100% sure what she was doing.
*The dances are fun and really get your heart rate up. Mine got up in the 170s at some points! They incorporate slower paced music and dances with faster ones to really work your heart rate (which is better for burning calories).
*The time FLEW by! They have a timer on each dance so if you are getting tired, you can look and see “OK, just 2:24 left in this dance!”.
*They have tons of programs to choose from at all different levels. I like that they have a 20 minute program and a 45 minute program for each level (beginner, intermediate, and expert).
*They have a workout calendar included in the game and it tells you which program you should complete on the given day.
All in all, I really liked this game! It was a great way to burn some calories without leaving my house! I am still going to continue to go to the gym for now because I think it is important to incorporate some running and arc trainer, but if I find myself staying at home more often to do my cardio, I might say SEE YA to my gym membership!
Side note: I got Just Dance in addition to Zumba as another game to use to workout. I did about four different dances and, while they may be fun, the game will not be used as a cardio replacement. Some of the dances were better than others, but overall the game just wasn’t what I was looking for. If you want a dancing game that gets your heart rate up, try Dance Central on the XBOX 360 Kinect. It is SO FUN! I’m contemplating getting the Kinect just for this game…
What is your favorite at home workout game/video?