Zumba: It’s a dance, it’s a workout

Zumba is an exhilarating, effective and easy-to-follow fitness programme. If you like hot, thumping Latin music, this is just the activity for you.

It is contagious and the dance steps are addictive.

A Zumba class is typically an hour long and includes salsa, mambo, cha cha, meringue, bhangra and samba steps with belly dance moves to top up.

Zumba members forget they are exercising; they feel they are dancing to some hot beats

Bianca Dee is one of the Zumba instructors at the Fusion-Dulwich Centre, a gym in Dulwich, SE London. She explained that the word Zumba is Spanish slang for “to move fast and have fun”.

Bianca continued, “Some say it is the world’s largest and most successful dance-fitness program. More than 12 million people of all shapes, sizes and ages are taking weekly Zumba classes across more than 125 countries.”

One of her members at the Centre, Chew Moi, who started Zumba once a week last June, has now graduated to three times a week because she feels much fitter after joining the Zumba class.

Debbie Lim (centre) and Donna Lim (Right) doing the zumba
A typical class is an hour long and you can lose 500-1000 calories.

Debbie Lim of Fitness Motivators in Michigan who has been teaching Zumba for five years with her twin sister Donna told Citizen Journalist Malaysia over en email interview,”Just make sure that the Zumba Instructor is qualified to teach Group Fitness.

“Anyone can take an 8-hour Zumba workshop and teach that same night. You want a qualified certified group fitness Instructor with a fitness background.”

In addition, a Zumba Instructor is not certified but licensed to teach Zumba.

Debbie added “Remember that, because Zumba Instructors tell the public that they are certified Zumba Instructors and unless they are certified in group fitness for example American Council on Exercise (ACE) or American Fitness Association of America (AFAA), they are only buying the rights to use the Zumba trademark name.

Zumba members dancing to the thumping Latin rhythms.

Zumba started as a ‘happy accident.’ by Alberto Beto Perez who was a dance instructor.

One day ten years ago, he forgot to bring his CDs as he darted off to teach an aerobics class.

He improvised using his own mix of music from salsa and meringue CDS he had in his backpack and the Zumba was born.

From Columbia, Beto went to Miami and it has spread like wild fire.

Beto and his friends made Zumba®  a trademark. They went into DVD production and instructor training and there is now even a Zumba academy.

Zumba enthusiasts all over the world are discovering the joy of dancing and the benefits to their health all at the same time.


Alberto Beto Prez, founder of Zumba

Beto came to Kuala Lumpur in 2008 to start the Zumba Fitness programme in Malaysia.

He, along with fellow fitness trainer Tanya Beardsley gave a series of master classes to other fitness trainers at California Fitness which is currently offering Zumba classes at its four fitness centres in the Klang Valley.

Compared to the US and some European countries, the pick-up in Malaysia is not fast.

Zumba classes are seriously fun, the music is great, the instructors are cool and everybody is busy shaking their bootay.

When you think of exotic rythyms, think of Zumba.

The principle behind Zumba is incredibly simple: get fit, have fun.

Debbie Lim, second left who says "There's a J Lo or Beyonce in everyone of us," with her members doing a combination of salsa, mambo and cumbia.

This year’s Zumba Convention will be held in August  in Orlando, USA.

It is likely to be packed out with 2,000-plus hard-core Zumba nuts having the time of their lives.

Try the Zumba. You could get hooked.

In Malaysia, Fitness First offers Zumba fitness classes, Christine Williams teaches in Ampang. Michelle Koh teaches Zumba in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Sonia Ooi teaches in Puchong. Jamalia Zainal is a licensed instructor in Kuala Lumpur. Pauline Pei Lin is an instructor in Penang.

All photographs have been provided by Donna Lim.

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