An early morning 45-minute workout session isn’t Y! Lifestyle’s idea of the perfect way to start the day. But throw in a celeb, some maracas and a super enthusiastic Zumba teacher and we’re sold.
When it comes to Zumba, even the most uncoordinated of the population seems to manage to wiggle its booty more or less in time and the salsa beat brings out Latin hips in the most unlikely of participants. So we were intrigued to try new Zumba Toning, which uses weights (which sound like maracas when you shake them) and a slightly different, slower routine to tone your muscles, bringing the spirit of South America to weight training.
[Related article: Zumba toning moves to try at home]
We joined presenter Zoe Hardman, lusting over her super tanned, toned physic and eye-poppingly bright neon pink Zumba top, for a session with Natasha Masucci, Zumba Toning expert.
The music and atmosphere are typical of Zumba and the weights are fairly light so you’re able to dance about, squat and repeat without feeling weighed down. But you can feel the pull of the extra pounds, particularly on your arm muscles and by the last squat in a routine your legs will be stinging.
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If you like Zumba you’ll definitely like the addition of weights, shaking them like maracas adds to the rhythm and dance-class vibe. The routines are slightly slower to allow you to swing weights around, but still high energy and aerobic, doing a convenient two in one.
Certainly it’s more fun than weightlifting, but if you want to make sure you get the most out of the class, follow these tips from Zumba education specialist Vanessa Morris.• Keep your abdominals engaged throughout the class. It is easy to forget about the abs during a class like this, but by keeping them tight you maintain balance, allowing you to gain maximum benefit from each exercise
• Remember to keep a gentle but secure grip on the toning sticks throughout – avoid squeezing them as this increases the blood pressure. This is all about merging the fluidity of Zumba Fitness with the controlled, measured approach to honing the muscles
• Throughout your workout you have options to progress. Work at your own level – every instructor will provide options.
• Have fun! Zumba Toning is all about having fun, just like the original Zumba Fitness programme. Join the fitness party and enjoy it!
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Find out where your nearest class is, or get yourself some Zumba Toning weights and give it a go at home – Zoe Hardman and Natasha Masucci show us some moves to do to get you started.