I first started exploring the caveats of dance workouts when I signed up for Zumba classes here at Marquette. The 12-12:50 p.m. time slot on Mondays and Wednesdays fit perfectly into my busy schedule, and the facility that it takes place in is conveniently located a few blocks away from my house.
Zumba Fitness LLC (http://www.zumba.com/en-US/about/) describes this special dance workout as:
"an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party.”
…also noting that…
“Since its inception in 2001, the Zumba program has grown to become the world’s largest – and most successful – dance-fitness program”
With other words in the description like “contagious” and “exhilarating” also littered throughout their message, how could I pass it up?
So, when February came around—I signed up.
Friends, let me tell you: This. Class. Is. Glorious. My instructor (Morgan) is incredibly energetic, constantly using her great attitude and quirky sense of humor to pump us up and keep us going. In addition to using some great Latin tunes, Morgan has choreographed some Zumba routines to songs that we’d be more likely to recognize (i.e.: “Bottoms Up”—Trey Songz feat. Nicki Minaj and “Party Rock Anthem”—LMFAO).
For 50 minutes (minus a 2 minute water break in the middle), Morgan leads us in a fast-paced session as we bounce around, swing our hips, throw our arms in the air, and generally gyrate like crazy. If you do it right, it can be a wonderfully intense and sweaty experience. You’ll feel your calves and abs tighten while your hips and shoulders loosen. Lovely!
Of course, this will only happen if you put 100% of your effort into the maneuvers. Like any good workout, MU’s Zumba class is tiring. But, if you give up in the middle or only put half of your effort into the moves, you won’t get anything out of it. I’ve noticed that several of the girls in my class don’t put their full selves into the class. They stand still instead of bouncing, they don’t put any energy into their kicks, punches, or thrusts, and they don’t twist/bend hard/far enough. As a result, they do not get the full Zumba experience. It’s not nearly as effective as they might have imagined it would be.
The only unfortunate parts are that:
- It costs $50 per semester to participate in this class 2x a week. A bit over-priced for students, especially if school work or other obligations prevent you from making it to 100% of the sessions. Zumba at UW-Madison only costs $15 per semester…and that price covers any other fitness class you may want to try as well. Hmm.
- The room is kind of small.
- The speakers in said room are not always up to par. We’ve almost always had one of them blow out at some point or another, and even when they don’t…the sound quality is questionable. You can always hear the beat though, and that’s the most important part.
However, if you can look past those elements, I highly recommend these classes!
As you might assume, staying in shape is a must for competitive figure skaters. In high school, it was easy for me to maintain my ideal body image. Every day after school, my dad would pick me up and cart me to the Pettit. I’d lace up my skates and practice for two hours. On the weekends, I’d skate for 3 or more hours per day.
However, I’m in college now. I have to rely on the bus system to take me where I want to go (unless my wonderfully selfless boyfriend isn’t working and finds himself willing and able to drive me around). Fact is, I have been rendered unable to get on the ice nearly as often as I could in high school. Not only do I face transportation issues, I face time constraints.
But, I’m still a competitor. I still need to stay in shape, even when I’m off the ice. I need to keep my muscles toned, my stamina high, and my flexibility on point. Running, crunches, push-ups, etc. may help, but they simply cannot complete all three tasks.
So, this past semester I started participating in various Dance Workouts. Dance workouts are as similar as I can get to an actual figure skating session. Unlike skating, I can do them on home (or on campus). My blog posts will discuss and critique the variety of methods I’ve been using, from Zumba to the Pussycats Dolls dance workout DVD.