What to Expect When You’re … Going to Zumba

What to Expect When You’re … Going to Zumba


I went to Zumba recently because my gym offers it free and I didn’t exactly know what Zumba was. Looking up any new exercise craze online you’ll basically get the same explanation, something along the lines of “This calorie-torching workout combines dance, martial arts and a little bit of yoga!” To actually find out, I went to a class. Here’s what you can expect.

1. Your teacher will be sensual and you should be too

Most people who teach gym classes are peppy girls with cute highlights and a tight ponytail. Not with Zumba. My teacher had dark, wild curly hair that she wore down, and she shook it ferociously all over the place as she danced. She was of Latin origin (just like Zumba!) and extremely curvaceous yet thin. Prepare to feel stiff and masculine in comparison. Maybe don’t wear blunt soccer shorts. Let a little cleavage out or you’ll feel totally lost.

2. You will need to pretend to feel comfortable dancingĀ 

Zumba requires you to shake your boobs and butt a lot, to do mock drinking moves, and to whip your hair back and forth. You are not going to look as cool as your teacher so settle on not looking snobbily embarrassed/over it like that one girl in the back.

3. You won’t know what the moves are

Zumba moves are surprisingly complex, even though a lot of them involve agressive shaking of body parts. There may not be much instruction either. Just know you’re not going to get the moves down so just hop around and assume your “natural sexuality” will take care of it.

4. There will be adorable old ladies there

In sports bras, shaking what the lord gave them. Be inspired by their confidence.

5. Bring a friend that is more confident than you

If you bring an equally self-conscious friend, you’re just going to giggle at one another the whole time. Bring someone who, as notebooks in shitty gift shops say, “Dances like no one is watching.”

6. The music is less bad than other gym class music

Most of the music is Latin and might have parts where you are supposed to mimic chugging caipirinhas or cheering proudly for Brazil, which is better than a sped-up, techno version of the electric slide, right?

7. You will get a workout

Your abs will hurt from squeezing them as you do your best belly dance and you will burn calories, although “torch” might be an overstatement. If you get into it though, it doesn’t feel like working out at all – cuz it’s fun.

Becky Lang