It said it right there on the press release. It said: This is not a dance class!
I should have listened.
You see, when you agree to go to a 7 AM Zumba class, you’re thinking, how bad could it be? Zumba, while it requires a decent amount of coordination and an exorbitant amount of hip-swiveling capabilities, isn’t exactly Spartanic. There’s music, you’re dancing; it’s fun.
But that’s normal Zumba. The class I attended is a new offering from the Zumba Fitness brand called Strong by Zumba, which Vida Fitness U Street just added to their group classes schedule on Wednesday mornings. Like the original Zumba, Strong by Zumba puts the music first, so that every move is in time with a soundtrack. But unlike the original Zumba, Strong by Zumba is a high intensity interval training workout that’s quite a bit more like kickboxing than its dance-along sister class.
The Strong by Zumba class started off with music pounding through the speakers as we rolled our shoulders, then moved into a step-touch. A few minutes in, I was keeping up and feeling pretty good about myself. Then the music changed and the instructor announced we’d just made it through the warm up.
For a class that has Zumba in the name, Strong by Zumba had remarkably little dancing to it. What it did have was a lot of punching, kicking, squatting, lunging, jumping, push-ups, burpees, and mountain climbers. It’s broken up into four quadrants, each of which is a choreographed high intensity circuit with a series of moves that repeat, finishing with a core circuit on a mat. And while each of the quadrants involves a different set of rhythmic movements, I found myself in a squat position for a large portion of the class. At one point, we shuffled side to side, squatting, pausing to reach down to tap the floor for a deeper squat. At another point, we ran in place, then jumped our legs apart to duck down into a squat. At yet another point, we moved from jump lunges into—you guessed it—yet more squats.
@shonda1020 takes #MotivationMonday to another level in #SBZclass.?When you match your moves to the beat, you burn more calories, tone faster and increase your stamina! ??How are you getting motivated to workout this week? ? #MondayGoals Instructor: @the1fitrebel #STRONGbyZumba #SBZ #LetItSyncIn #FeelEveryBeat #Stamina
By my estimate, but the end of the hour-long class I’d done approximately three million squats. And while I’d never make it through that many squats standing in a room on my own, the fact that each squat—and lunge and burpee and punch—was choreographed to music made them a little easier to get through.
If you’re interested in giving this new, tougher Zumba class a try, you can test it out on Wednesday mornings at 7 AM at Vida Fitness U Street. Not a Vida member? The gym has $25 day passes available, or you check out other local gyms where the workout is offered on Strong by Zumba’s website.