How Hard Is Zumba And Should Men Do It?

Have you tried Zumba before or is some mysterious dance craze aerobics class that is just for women in multi colored spandex outfits?  What I think I know about of Zumba is that is seems like a younger more hip version of "Sweating to the Oldies."  It's also something that spawned a sex scandal / prostitution case back in my home state of Maine.  So if you are not looking for a precursor to hanging out with Richard Simmons and not looking for a prostitute, what is the draw to Zumba and is it something for us men?

Even Zumba promoters know we may be a little reserved about taking a course.

When you think about Zumba®, you imagine people wearing brightly colored cargo pants with hip-shaking skills that could make Beyoncé (and her entire Formation) jealous. But there’s a reason this dance fitness class has such a loyal cult following: It’s totally uninhibited, so dancers of any level are encouraged to leave insecurities at the door and let loose.

Still, being a newbie in any class can be intimidating. So if you want to master a few basic Zumba® moves before you sign up, press play on the video below. You’ll follow along with two licensed Zumba® instructors as they break down (then speed up) three classic moves: the knee lift to arm sweep, grapevine with body wave, and core isolation shoulder pop. Not in the mood for dancing? We highly recommend watching anyway. It’s impossible not to smile while seeing these guys get down! – greatist.com

 

 

I enjoyed watching the guys and who new you could do it in overalls!  The moves seemed similar to the ones I did during my aerobics courses in college and those courses were quite effective.  I remember losing 6 inches around my waist and about 30 lbs.  And yes, I was usually the only guy in the class.

Zumba. Most guys have heard of it, but few know exactly what it is.  It is a dance fitness program, which is the simple way to say it. More accurately, Zumba is the Huffington Post of cardio workouts. It unapologetically aggregates every other cardio dance workout in its path, consuming all. A single Zumba class might include salsa, merengue, cumbia, reggaeton, Arabian rhythms, country, samba, cha-cha-cha, belly dance, bhangra, soca, martial arts, belly dance, hip-hop, world rhythms and, possibly, the “Ickey Shuffle.”    …

While there’s been no outside study of the gender breakdown of those classes, I’m willing to bet about 95 percent of them are female. The women I talked to while reporting this article said that they never or rarely see men in their Zumba classes. A Zumba Fitness spokesperson said the official numbers are 80 percent women and 20 percent men, but at least one Los Angeles studio owner agreed with my 95/5 assessment based on attendance there.    …

The instructor began each song by silently introducing a series of dance steps no American man has ever performed outside of an NFL touchdown celebration. The typical routine went like this: Two-steps-left, kick-pivot, two-steps-right, kick-pivot. We’d repeat those steps a few times. I’d get better at the moves. Got it. Awesome.

But then –wait, what?- the instructor would introduce a whole new sequence. Some women, such as my wife, magically got the dance steps as they happened. Meanwhile, I’m tripping over my feet and saying to myself (or possibly out loud, I can’t quite remember), “What was wrong with the last sequence? I was NAILING IT! Now it’s crossover-right-spin, crossover-left- spin? Why must we always change? Why is no sequence ever good enough? Why can’t we just do the same two steps for the next 45 minutes? Crossover-right-spin, crossover-left- spin is bull crap! Faaaahhhhh!!!!”    …

So, that’s the first main thing I noticed, which I think cuts to the heart of why many men avoid Zumba. I had no idea what I was doing most of the time, knew I looked like an idiot, and every new sequence made me want to punt the MP3 player. Why? Zumba took me out of my element and put me face-to-face with my insecurities.    …

As it turns out, I was suffering from what psychologists call “The Spotlight Effect.” The Spotlight Effect is the tendency to overestimate the extent to which your actions and appearance are noted by others. Most people do this, especially teenagers who walk around high school while looking down at the floor.    …

When I asked Zumba creator “Beto” Perez how to increase male interest in Zumba, he said, “Men just need to get over their insecurities.”    …

My embarrassment and fear were eventually overridden by an even more intense sensation: Exhaustion. In Zumba, the movement is almost non-stop. There are five-second breaks between songs, enough time for a quick towel or a drink of water, but no real rest. The sweat pours quickly and heavily because you’re using every muscle in your body. Perez says that Zumba doesn’t feel like a workout, and he’s right. Zumba feels like a wedding reception where you never leave the dance floor and every song is a line dance choreographed by an ADD-addled bridesmaid.

It took two classes, but I eventually began to lose my inhibitions. I began, to borrow a phrase, to dance like nobody was watching. I stepped, shimmied and shook. I spun and didn’t knock anyone over. I was actually having fun. And I discovered what women worldwide already knew: Zumba is a good workout. You burn about the same number of calories you would on a treadmill, but there are more challenges and a greater variety of muscle movements. As you get better at the moves, you experience more enjoyment from the class – and a sense of achievement.    … – livestrong.com

Donatelli's full article is a good read.  He basically boils it down to men need to get over their embarrassment and if they can do that, they will enjoy a good workout.

Have you tried Zumba? Would you recommend it to others?

Are we gay men more apt to be the only sweaty boys in the class?

 

 

 

What do you think?