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How Fast Can Zumba Whip You Into Shape?

While Zumba, the rhythm-rich, Hip-Hop and Latin dance inspired workout is lots of fun, that’s not why most people are doing it. As with any other fitness activity, the main reason someone is sweating it out is to get in shape while losing (or at least maintaining) body weight.

Zumba can be an effective way to achieve your fitness goals, improve appearance and tone your muscles.

Here’s the rundown of what Zumba is, and how it could get you in shape fast.

Read more: Zumba facts

How Fast Can You See Results?

When most people think about getting in better shape, becoming leaner is usually the first thing that comes to mind.

Zumba is a combination of aerobic moves, dance steps and calisthenic-type movements that work the whole body. By stimulating the large muscle groups and keeping the heart rate in the aerobic training zone; Zumba is a fantastic way to torch calories and only takes between 45 minutes to an hour per class.

Zumba is an intense dance workout which can burn lots of calories for pretty quick results.

According to a study published in the September 2015 Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, women of average weight (about 120 to 170 pounds,) should burn between 350 and 650 calories during a one-hour Zumba class.

That could mean seeing significant results in as little as two weeks.

Although, to burn that many calories, exercisers will need to perform at a high-intensity level throughout the whole class. Of course, the exact number of calories burned will depend on different factors that include weight, body mass index and current fitness level.

If someone is doing Zumba class four times per week and giving it an all-out effort in every class, then they could be burning between 1400 and 2000 extra calories every week. Zumba done with a healthy diet plan could help reduce body weight by one to two pounds weekly while significantly improving aerobic fitness.

Read more: How to Calculate Calories Burned

Zumba and Muscle Conditioning

The Zumba.com FAQs page, explains that Zumba classes feature lots of muscle conditioning moves like bodyweight squats, jumps and lunges. This can easily help add extra muscle to the legs; and muscle, unlike fat, burns calories even at rest. Doing Zumba between two to four times per week should increase leg muscle mass that could raise the resting metabolic rate, how many calories are burned when resting. Zumba will also build attractive, strong legs that make it easier to walk, run and jump in daily life. If you're new to exercise, you might notice some change in just two to three weeks.

Zumba Strong to Reduce Body Fat and Get Fitter

According to a review published in the 2011 issue of the Journal of Obesity, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a time-efficient way to reduce body fat and get in better shape fast (within a month). HIIT workouts consist of brief but intense bursts of exercise with equally short rest periods in between exercises. Zumba offers a non-dance, HIIT version of their popular fitness program called Strong.

Strong is a 45-minute workout that is similar to a fitness boot camp. A Zumba Strong class is split into four parts that are called quadrants:

  • Quadrant one is a warm-up consisting of jumping jacks, leg swings and similar moves
  • Quadrant two uses moves like punches and squats with very little rest between exercises
  • Quadrant three combines movements into sequences like lunges combined with punches
  • Quadrant four will usually be composed of core work like planks and crunches

Doing a Zumba Strong class two to three times per week can bring the fitness benefits of HIIT, put on some calorie burning muscle to raise your metabolic rate and develop better cardiovascular fitness, after only a few weeks.

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About the Author

George W. Citroner is a freelance journalist covering science, medicine, and health.

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