Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation
with trainer Beto Perez
You will love it if:
This is a low-impact to moderate-impact, dance-based, cardio program. You will get your heart-rate up and have a little fun without putting stress on your joints. It will also give your abs (especially your obliques) a good workout. Most of the workouts are easy to follow even if you’ve never taken Latin dance lessons, and there is a training video that breaks the moves down for you if you are having trouble following the videos. The instructors are fun and upbeat with enjoyable personalities. The workouts include a variety of different dance moves, and the instructors encourage you to make the moves your own and add your own personal flavor to the moves. You’ll have trouble getting bored with these fun and sassy dance moves!
The moves are easy to modify depending on your fitness level and how hard you want to work. You can make the moves easier by exaggerating the movements less or leaving out the arm motions, or you can make them harder by exaggerating the movements more, going deeper into the movements, or adding your own little flare. Some of the dancers in the video do easier versions of the movements and others do more advanced versions—so it’s easy to get ideas for how to modify the movements in you want to make them easier or harder. The videos are broken up into sections where you focus on one style of dancing for several minutes and then transition to another style. At each transition, there is a short (about 4 second) break with a transition screen that introduces the next style of dance you will be doing. There is music playing during the transitions, but no choreography. I like to keep moving, so I add in my own dance moves, but you could also march or jog in place, towel off, or get some water.
The set includes an instructional video that breaks down the moves for you if you have trouble imitating the dancers. One of the longer workouts also includes an option where you can pause the workout and get a breakdown of the move then return to the workout. This is a great option to use when you are first learning the moves. I personally felt the dance moves were easy enough to follow without the instructions, but I am pretty adept at imitating other people’s movements with good form. I’ve heard criticism that the instructional video does not teach the moves well enough and that the videography switches too quickly to catch onto the moves. So I think that if you have trouble keeping a rhythm or dancing has always seemed difficult for you, the idea of moving your hips naturally with the music might feel confusing and frustrating. The cueing is not always great, but it’s a dance workout; you’re supposed to be dancing, not stressing about whether or not you are doing every move exactly like the dancers. Even the dancers in the video are each doing slight variations of the moves. So move to the music, modify the moves according to your fitness level, and have fun with it!
These videos are meant to be a fun way to workout. No matter how hard you work, these workouts will not get your heart-rate up into the athletic performance and conditioning zones or build a lot of strength in your muscles. But if you aren’t looking to run a marathon or try out for the Olympics, and you just want to keep your body healthy, practice your dancing, and burn a few calories, this might be a great program for you.
None of the videos require equipment. You will need to be able to spin a bit for some of the dance moves, so make sure you have a surface and footwear that allow you to spin. I wear socks on a smooth carpet and it works for me. Others recommend dancing on a hardwood floor with sneakers that have smooth bottoms (ex. special Zumba or hip-hop sneakers, old running sneakers with the tread worn off, or running sneakers with a “slip on dancer” attached to the sole).
Small hand-weights come with the workouts and are meant to be used in the Sculpt & Tone video. However, the hand-weights weigh only about 1 pound, so you can do the video without the weights and get about the same workout. If you want to get a decent toning workout from the Sculpt & Tone video, you will probably need to use weighted hand gloves or 2 – 4 pound hand-weights and 1 – 3 pound ankle weights (whatever you can handle for 45 minutes without sacrificing form).
All of the workouts are done standing up, and you don’t travel that much, so you won’t need much space. You’ll need just enough space to swing your arms back and forth and do some lunges—5 or 6 feet in each direction is enough. Of course, more space would be better. You don’t want to feel constrained or be worried about hitting something while you’re dancing, and the workouts will be a lot more fun if you enough room to invite a family member or friend to join you.
As long as you can stand up and walk around for 45 minutes at a time, you can do this program. The moves are easy to modify, so you can move your body less if you are a beginner or really get your grove on if you are more advanced.
What NOT to Expect
Don’t expect to get much stronger or get a lot of muscle definition with this program. It is designed to be a fun cardio workout, not a toning and strengthening program. Also, this program is light to moderate cardio—it is not a good workout for conditioning or athletic performance. If you are a serious athlete or looking to take your workouts to a more advanced level, this program is not for you.
Also, this program does not include friends to do the workouts with. Part of the fun of Zumba classes is that you are dancing with your friends. Don’t expect the videos to be like the classes; if you use the videos, you will be dancing solo (unless you invite friends over to do the workouts with you). If you enjoy Zumba classes, you should consider what you like about the classes before buying this program. If you like the classes mainly because it is a fun social activity to do with friends, see if you have any friends or family members that would like to do the DVDs with you before you buy the program.
How does Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation compare to other similar programs?
If you love Latin Dancing or Zumba classes, you'll probably enjoy these workouts. It is a really good beginners workout because it is one of the easiest dance workouts out there. However, I've done better Zumba workouts and really preferred the old Zumba VHS tapes that came out in the 90s. (I don't think you can get them on DVD.) If you want a really fun dance video and aren't tied down to the idea of doing Zumba or Latin Dance, you should try Hip Hop Abs. It is a ton of fun and a great program for beginners! Rockin' Body and Hip Hop Abs Ultimate Results are also really fun but more for a late beginner or early intermediate athlete. Rockin' Body is a little old school and a bit cheesy, but I loved it anyway. Hip Hop Abs Ultimate Results is probably the hardest dance workout programs on DVD. The other thing I liked about Hip Hop Abs, Rockin' Body, and Hip Hop Abs Ultimate Results is that they all include really good toning videos to help you get nice toned arms, legs, and abs. Hip Hop Abs and Hip Hop Abs Ultimate Results really focus on working your ab muscles and also include some bonus dance routines that you can learn. They are really challenging and look amazing! Between me and you, I sit at home and practice the routines just to watch myself look cool in the mirror....but I would never bust my moves out in public ;-)
HARDER & MORE TONING
HARDER & MORE AB WORK
Hip Hop Abs Ultimate Results
MORE AB WORK & MORE FUN
Hip Hop Abs