Ask a group of women what Zumba is and you’ll hear anything from “a crazy, sexy dance cardio workout” to a “fitness cult” to “the thing that changed my life.” To us, Zumba is a super-effective dance-cardio based workout that’s so much fun, it feels more like a party than an exercise class. And these real women with inspiring weight loss stories agree.
There’s a good reason it works: The American Council on Exercise found that the fusion of dance moves from styles like Salsa, Reggaeton, Bollywood, and Mergenue can burn more than 8 calories a minute, similar to a boot camp class, because the high-energy, interval-style choreography uses the entire body to maximize caloric burn. Zumba is no exception. It’s a fitness class for people of all ages and sizes (and no, you don’t have the be the sexy, crop-top wearing women you see on the ads).
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These 6 real women share how Zumba transformed their body (one woman lost 80 pounds!), their outlook, and their lives.
Brenda Rivera, 47, Cedar Park Texas
Pounds Lost: 47
The moment I took my first Zumba class, I was hooked! I went from the back row to the front row and on stage with my instructor for a number or two. I have my days that I still feel like that “fat” girl but when I look in the mirror, when I am done with my class and I am a bucket of sweat—I honestly think—wow I am 47 years old and I can rock it!
Irma Fallon, 71, Gainesville, Florida
Pounds Lost: 25
I’m a super model Zumba Grandma. I do Zumba at least 5 times a week and sometimes even twice a day. I feel great, I can hike further distances, and my blood pressure is back to normal. One of my sons recently sent me a hand designed birthday card on which he wrote, “You made it to another year—it must be the Zumba.” I totally agree—Zumba is my way of life and I look forward to a similar card when I am 92!
Lisa MacDonald, 53, Drummond Island, Michigan
Pounds Lost: 40
Since starting Zumba I’ve lost 40 pounds, lowered my blood pressure, lowered my cholesterol, and increased my stamina. Zumba is such a foreign sounding word that many women are afraid to even investigate it. When they do, they say they can’t dance or that they can’t keep up that kind of pace for an hour. I think those are just convenient excuses. Try it… you’ll love it!
Dezi Bald Eagle, 32, Bunnlevel, North Carolina
Pounds Lost: 50 pounds
I lost the extra weight the healthy way. No weight loss pills or weight loss drinks, all I did was Zumba. Zumba has given me more confidence and has helped me love myself by making a new and healthier me! My marriage has been healthier too, and now my family is into staying fit, especially my children (Zumba instructors in the making).
Vicki Coldren, 31, Jefferson, Maryland
Pounds Lost: 74 pounds (from a size 22 to a size 8!)
Zumba made me realize that I did care about myself and that I was worth the effort to be healthy. It was ok to leave my kids and go exercise. It was ok to take the time for me. I was worth it. Doing Zumba made every part of my life better.
Christina Davis, 35, Knoxville, Tennessee
Pounds Lost: 80 pounds
I used to be a professional at avoiding the camera. But now, thanks to Zumba, not only has my body been changed, but my mind, life, and entire outlook on fitness has improved! I’ve lost almost 80 lbs. and gone from a size 16 (bordering on 18) to wearing 4s and 6s. If I can do it, anyone can.
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