With lively beats and dance-like aerobic movements, Zumba fitness classes have taken the fitness world by storm.  When you attend a Zumba fitness class, you'll find a blend of Latin dance styles and international movements in a calorie-burning and energizing format. 

Are you a Zumba fitness beginner?  Here are tips to consider before and during your first Zumba class:

  1. Do a YouTube search.  View videos for an idea of what to expect. Observe the tempo and the steps.  Some videos will break down the steps for you, which include salsa, meringue, mambo, and even hip hop.  Keep in mind, however, that the choreography and songs during the actual class will likely be different.  You are viewing these video clips for a general idea of what to expect from Zumba exercise. Here's a sample:

  2. Dress comfortably.  Wear comfortable workout attire that allows for movement.  Fun, bright colored tops and bottoms that will add to the festive atmosphere, but your favorite T-shirt and shorts are fine, too. Good athletic shoes will help to prevent injury.

  3. Bring water.  You will sweat, and to keep properly hydrated, you will likely need to sip water between songs.  Also, sip water before you start your workout.

  4. Stand in the right spot.  The best spot in a class is one where you have a clear view of the instructor during class.  Many newcomers to Zumba fitness classes hang out in the back of the room because they are not sure what to expect or are shy about being new.  Resist that temptation.  It’s harder to see the instructor from the back of the room.  Besides, the instructor is likely to have the class face in different directions during the session.  You will likely be in the "front" at some point during the Zumba class.

  5. Look for movement “patterns.”  If you are a Zumba novice, you might find it helpful to identify patterns in the movements that are repeated.  For example, if you step four steps to the right, you will likely have to step four steps to the left.
  6. Adjust the movements.  Depending on your fitness level, you may want to intensify or simplify the Zumba moves.  For example, instead of jumping you might want to only step through the movements.  Or, you might want to focus only on the footwork or only on the hand movements. 

    When you get the hang of it, you can put it together and increase the intensity of your workout. If you are a Zumba beginner, you might feel winded after a few songs.  If so, listen to your body and dial down the intensity.  Don’t be embarrassed to leave the class to catch your breath. Exercising for even for 15 minutes is better than not getting any exercise at all.

  7. Relax and enjoy.  Don’t worry about perfectly executing the Zumba moves.  The most important thing is to keep moving.  Remember your reason for coming to class is to get a good workout while having fun.  Zumba classes are typically an hour-long.

Once you get the hang of Zumba fitness, check out classes taught by different instructors.  While the basic Zumba exercise format is the same (e.g., an emphasis on Latin music and movement), you will notice differences in the complexity of the choreography, the instructor's cueing, and difficulty of the class.