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How Fast Can Zumba Whip You Into Shape?

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
How Fast Can Zumba Whip You Into Shape?
Four women dance in a zumba class. Photo Credit: omgimages/iStock/Getty Images

Zumba exploded onto the workout scene in 1999. Aerobics instructor Beto Perez famously forgot his workout music when teaching a class and instead improvised using the music he had with him -- a combination of salsa and samba. The resulting dance and cardio workout soon gave way to the modern Zumba program. Zumba is offered by thousands of fitness centers and gyms across the United States and can help you get into shape so long as you make the commitment and combine Zumba with other health components.

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The Program

A typical Zumba class lasts 60 minutes. A trained and certified Zumba instructor first leads you through a warmup, which includes both stretching and functional exercises to prepare your muscles and body for the workout. Then, the instructor will lead you through a series of salsa, Latin, hip hop and even Bollywood music. Each song has different high-impact choreography, which is demonstrated at the beginning of the song and repeated throughout the remainder. The class ends with a cool-down period.


An hour of fast ballroom dancing, like the samba, can burn as much as 378 calories for a 150-pound individual. Zumba is an effective cardiovascular workout, so it can help increase your endurance and burn fat. While Zumba alone will not give you a rock-hard body, it can help you get into shape and burn a lot of calories. Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adult get at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day, a Zumba class can certainly you fulfill your daily requirement.

Other Components

Cardiovascular exercise alone will not whip you into shape. Getting fit is a combination of cardio training, muscular strength and healthy diet. If you only do Zumba and ignore muscular strength and your diet, you may see a slight change in your body but not be completely in shape. The CDC suggests adding at least two days of muscle strengthening activities per week along with daily cardio. Additionally, eating a low-fat, low-calorie diet of at least 1,200 to 1,500 calories can help expedite your Zumba progress.

Getting Started

If you think that Zumba sounds like an effective and motivating workout program, you can use the Zumba website to find a class offered near you. Since its instructors are trained through Zumba, they can teach independently or through fitness clubs and gyms. While you may feel shy or uncoordinated during your first class, staying with the program and adding other healthy living components can help you get into shape.

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