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Zumba Toning: A Latin-Infused Strength and Sweat Session

ZumbaToning585Jenn and I have long been fans of Zumba, even if our hips refuse to cooperate with the beats. But I recently checked out a Zumba class that didn’t make me feel completely dance illiterate: Zumba Toning!

My sister-in-law, who should really send in her own FBG success story (hint, cough), has been hooked on Zumba for about 6 months. She invited me to check out her Zumba Toning class while I was home for the holidays, and I gladly joined in, pregnant belly and all. Jenn’s tried the at-home version, but I was excited to join a live class to get the full experience. The instructor Dawn (and the entire class, actually) was super friendly and welcoming. Her enthusiasm and energy were contagious, and she made sure to go over modifications I might need during the workout, checking in with me often to ensure I wasn’t working too hard. I did take it a bit easy because of some pain I’ve been dealing with, but it was super easy to use her suggestions and work at my level.

While the regular Zumba classes I’ve taken have been heavily cardio and dance focused, Zumba Toning adds in the element of strength training, while also increasing the heart rate. You incorporate 1- or 2.5-pound Zumba toning sticks into the workout, so you get both added resistance and a fun maraca-like shaker sound to accompany the sweat. Being a first-timer, and a pregnant one at that, I decided to take it easy and use the 1-pound sticks. I felt the burn, but I’m sure after getting some classes under my belt, I’d be upping the resistance for an added challenge. As always, the exercises and dance moves are choreographed to go along with the upbeat music, which always keeps you going in these classes.

The class fuses the hip- and booty-shaking that you love in Zumba with toning staples like leg lifts, lunges, squats, bicep curls, and shoulder and tricep work. Your heart rate stays up because of the intermingling of the toning and dance cardio, but because it’s less “dance” than other Zumba classes, I found it easier to catch on to. But to stay true to myself, I did manage to goof up several parts when the arms and the legs get going at once. If you’ve been intimidated by Zumba but are dying to try it, this particular class would be the perfect way to enter the Zumba world sans intimidation and major gyration!

Have you tried Zumba Toning? Do you love those shakers as much as I did? —Erin

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