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Zumba for Weight Loss: Is it Effective?

Many people testify that Zumba can aid weight loss. But can it really?

Yes, it can. However, the dance sessions are no magic fix for cutting pounds. It just happens to come in a package that most people don’t hate, which is dancing.

Because people find the classes enjoyable, they keep attending, which gets the job done. The theory behind this weight loss routine is that whatever gets you moving is good. And if it keeps you coming back more, and it’s because you enjoyed it.

If you want to use Zumba to reduce weight, or if you’ve already been trying but haven’t seen the numbers on the scale budge yet, there could be some reasons.

Zumba — a high-energy form of aerobic exercise sparked by Latin dancing — can be a fun way to enhance your physical activity and daily calorie burn.

You’ll need to produce a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you’re spending to lose weight. You can do this by decreasing your daily caloric consumption, boosting your physical activity, or a combination of the two.

You may be able to tear down between 300 and 900 calories during an hour of mid- to high-intensity Zumba. Attending a Zumba Classes two or three times a week, coupled with weekly strength training sessions and a balanced diet, may help you obtain your weight loss goals.

Read on to learn how to include Zumba into a healthy weight loss plan.

What is Zumba?

It is a Latin inspired dance fitness class that regularly lasts between 60-90 minutes. Instructors usually begin with a very short warm-up and then go straight into the dance part. This is where you will be expected to burn calories to the tune of a mixture of Salsa and hip hop music. 

Don’t be scared if you’re not good at dancing. The majority of Zumba classes usually happens in a disco-like environment, with strobe lights and all. Plus, you can take comfort in the law of physics that everyone seems silly when they dance.

If you don’t seem comfortable dancing around in the presence of strangers, you can always try the Wii Zumba Fitness game.

How many calories can you burn with an hour of Zumba?

A research in 2012 observed 19 healthy females, aged 18-22 years old who joined Zumba sessions. And they were able to burn an average of 9.5 calories per minute during a 39-minute class. That calculated up to an average of 369 calories total in about 40 minutes. That was more calories burned than consuming the same amount of time doing step aerobics, kickboxing, or power yoga.

The amount of calories you’ll burn during Zumba depends on several factors, includes:

  • age
  • weight
  • the current level of physical fitness
  • genetics
  • intensity during workout

If you want to boost the number of calories burned during Zumba, increasing the workout’s intensity can help. Wearing a heart rate monitor can help you verify that you are working between 55 and 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

You may also tear more calories and fat by engaging in a Zumba variation class, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) Zumba. Or try a Zumba strength class that incorporates weights.

While a calorie deficit is essential for weight loss, it’s necessary to consume enough calories to keep you energized.

Dropping weight too quickly can be dangerous for your health. To keep your energy up, have a healthy diet full of lean protein, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and fruit.

How many calories do you need?

Unless directed by your doctor, healthy women should never consume less than 1,200 calories per day. And healthy men shouldn’t consume less than 1,500 calories per day.

If you’re tearing extra calories through exercise, aim to consume enough calories. That way, the calories you’re taking in minus the calories you’re burning still equal 1,200 (women) or 1,500 (men) calories or more.

For example, if you burn 300 calories in a Zumba class, aim to consume at least 1,500 calories if you’re a woman and 1,800 calories if you’re a man.

How often should you do Zumba to lose weight?

How often you’ll need to engage in Zumba to lose weight relies on your health and fitness goals. Overall, the American Council on Exercise suggests burning 300 to 400 calories per workout session for a minimum of three days a week.

Also, keep in mind that your body quickly adapts to exercise. Opt to alternate Zumba with other sorts of cardiovascular exercise like jogging, swimming, and power walking.

And on days when you don’t practice Zumba, try to consider strength training. Benefits of strength training may incorporate toning up and losing body fat faster. Keeping your body challenged is essential for continuing to lose weight.

Your diet will also be an essential factor in weight loss. To drop one pound per week, you’re required to consume 500 more calories per day than you take in. A pound of fat is about equal to 3,500 calories, so it’s estimated that you need to burn 3,500 calories to drop a pound, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Try working with a nutritionist on a healthy weight loss plan if you need help figuring out your daily diet.

Tips for weight loss with Zumba

Engaging in Zumba classes implies that you’ll be getting plenty of cardiovascular exercises. To reach your weight loss goals, you’ll also want to eat a healthy diet.

  • Pack your plate each day with whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and oats.
  • Evade empty carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and cookies.
  • Eat lots of lean protein such as chicken, fish, egg whites, and tofu.
  • Add fruits and vegetables to each meal.
  • Eating every three hours or so will help keep your energy boosted. Just make sure that you’re choosing to eat healthy snacks. For example, an apple with nut butter, string cheese, or a Lara or RX bar can help you feel energized without spending a lot of empty calories.

Dropping one to two pounds per week with a well-balanced diet and exercise routine is reflected as a healthy goal.

How to do Zumba

In the past decade, Zumba has grown in popularity around the world. Now, most gyms offer a Zumba class many times a week. You can also find Zumba at your local community center or in any YMCA near you.

If you can’t find any Zumba classes in your area or prefer to do your workout at home, try looking for some online activities. There are many Zumba videos for beginners online and Zumba for weight loss and Zumba full-body toning.

These workouts don’t require a lot of equipment. It only requires lightweight clothing, sneakers, and an optional set of one- or three-pound dumbbells.

Reasons Why You Should Do Zumba for Weight Loss

Zumba doesn’t feel like a workout

Zumba is like a party. It has high energy, pumping music, and packed with fun dance moves. If you like to dance even a small bit, you’ll like Zumba. It’s fun, it’s loud, and you’re going to be digging yourself so much you won’t even know you’re burning calories.

Zumba burns tons of calories

But speaking of calories, you’re going to be blazing a lot of them. Researchers estimated that you could burn as much as 800 calories in one class! You’d have to employ a lot of time on the treadmill to match that. Zumba is essentially a cardio class, but it also includes some strength moves.

You’ll feel sexy

Zumba fuses Latin-style dances like Salsa, merengue, and tango, so fundamentally, you’re going to be moving your hips a lot. And while it may seem a little uncomfortable at first, as soon as you lose your inhibitions, you’ll feel sexy and free. And with your newfound sex appeal, you’ll earn tons of self-confidence.

Zumba isn’t too difficult

Zumba can be intimidating incredibly to newcomers, but it’s a lot easier than it looks. Most Zumba routines include the same moves once you’ve done them a few times, so you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Plus, the more frequently you come, the better you’ll get. 

Many instructors also allow you to transform some of the more challenging moves as well. So it doesn’t matter what fitness level you’re at; you can do Zumba for weight loss and make it work for you.

You’ll make new friends

Zumba is its community, and when you’re all having fun together, you’re wrapped to make a few friends. It’s nice to be friendly with the regulars at any Zumba class. And you’ll also find it fun to see the same people every week and have a good time dancing your asses off together.

It’s a full-body workout

Created as a combination of Salsa and aerobics, there’s no right or wrong way in performing Zumba. As long as you jive to the beat of the music, you’re engaging in the exercise.

And since Zumba requires movement of the whole body, you’ll obtain a full-body workout that doesn’t even feel like a workout.

You’ll build endurance

Since the music played during a Zumba class is pretty much fast-paced, moving to the beat can help develop your endurance.

One research found that after 12 weeks of a Zumba class, participants presented a reduced heart rate and systolic blood pressure. These trends correspond with an improvement in endurance.

You’ll improve cardiovascular fitness

According to the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, individuals who wish to develop their cardiovascular fitness should exercise using any of these parameters:

  • 64 and 94 percent of the participant’s HRmax, a measure of an athlete’s maximum heart rate
  • 40 to 85 percent of the participant’s VO2 max, a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen an athlete can use

According to the same research, all participants of a Zumba session submitted within these HRmax and VO2 max guidelines. They were performing at an average of 79 percent of HRmax and 66 percent of VO2 max. 

This means that Zumba can be an effective workout in increasing aerobic capacity, which measures cardiovascular fitness.

Improved blood pressure

A 2016 study of a group of overweight women who participated in a 12-week Zumba program saw a drop in blood pressure and body weight.

Another 2015 study found a reduction in participants’ blood pressure after a total of just 17 Zumba classes.

It can increase your pain threshold

Want to get tough? Try Zumba! A 2016 study showed that after a 12-week Zumba class, participants had seen a drop in pain severity and discomfort interference.

You can improve your quality of life

An efficient Zumba program gives not only health benefits but also the social benefits of a group workout. People can enjoy an enhanced quality of life with these combined perks.

So, who’s ready to dance? Try a Zumba class at your local gym today.

The problems with Zumba for weight loss

Not all classes are evenly intense

You may be getting much less of a workout than other Zumba participants.

You may have done it a handful of times, and you may find yourself not a massive fan of it, but it’s still an excellent way to break up the monotony of the gym. 

Several instructors (and different gyms) have various class formats, songs, and dances. This leads to altering intensity levels when it comes to energy expenditure.

In short, you can be in some classes where you could break a sweat in an hour and a half and could get your heart rate up. It will feel like a workout, which makes it fun.

By the majority of the times you’ve tried it, however, you’ll find that you haven’t broken a sweat after 90 minutes of dancing.

If you’re trying to drop weight with the dance classes, be mindful of how challenging it is for your fitness level. If the Zumba classes you’re taking don’t get your heart rate up and you don’t feel challenged at the same time, don’t expect to start losing weight. 

It is a great starting place for those fresh to working out. But you may require something more intense as you get more fit, depending on the intensity of the class.

Zumba does NOT burn 1000 calories an hour

Zumba has earned a cult-like following because it’s fun and an exercise at the same time. It can be challenging to find those two things together.

It has such fanatics because of the claims that it does when it comes to weight loss. This is due partly to the supposed sky-high number of calories that it uses. There are hundreds of studies on the web right now discussing how many calories Zumba burns. The typical answer leads people to believe that it uses about 600-1000 calories an hour.

There’s no way Zumba burns 1000 calories an hour! If that were the fact, then weight loss and staying in shape would be so easy!

There’s no strength training component to Zumba

Strength training is essential for many reasons. One, a toned body can burn more calories at rest. It also limits bone density loss, decreases chances of injury, and enhances posture and joint health. 

If you want to use it for dropping extra pounds, make sure to include a strength training component. That way, you will likely see that you lose weight faster.

Zumba can be a fun way to fit in aerobic exercise each week and help you reach your weight loss goals. Fuse Zumba with strength training and a healthy diet for the best results. Just remember to check with your doctor before starting a new fitness method.