When the rectangular white box arrived I was a happy chappy, I never get anything in the post and when I do its usually speeding fines or credit card bills. I had a huge cartoon bubble hovering above my head with an image of my tight thighs, bulging biceps and toned abs. Perfect.
Although my stomach rumbled I quickly opened the box like a kid at Christmas, inside was a total body transformation guide. Right I said resolutely, this will be my Bible for the next two weeks; I will eat, sleep and think Zumba. To get me started the guide contained training tips, a stretch guide, a fat loss programme and much more. The pack also contained 4 DVDs and two big green batons that could have been mistaken for a couple of grown-up baby rattles.
The 4 DVDs were enticingly labelled……
- Basics and 20 minute express (20 mins..no sweat..well actually hopefully so!)
- Cardio party (I love a party….party on!)
- Sculpt and tone (my body is a temple, my body is a temple)
- Live! And flat abs (Flat Abs? I want rippling Abs)
The packs not only came in English but also Dutch, Spanish, French and Italian. I quickly chose the English version, languages was never my forte, let’s hope Zumba is!
So let’s get to it….Pre party process included making sure that my flat was empty, I closed all the curtains and dimmed the lights, I wasn’t sure how bad I was going to be at this and I didn’t want any witnesses (however I did phone my Mum and ask her to call and check on me in an hour or 2! I’ve not done that since college)
Basics and 20 minute express
I was wondering how on earth I was going to cope with the quick moves and the fast music but the DVD took me through each step and the basics of them, very slowly. Some might argue too slowly but at least it was thorough, I was confident within minutes. The steps were simplified and really easy to manage. I can now declare I’m an expert in the ‘booty circle’ and the ‘diamond step.’
The DVD started with an introduction to the creator of Zumba which gave it a great personal touch. The presenters went through the routines enough times to get the hang of them. There were also handy hints throughout the DVD such as, ‘the higher your hands, the more calories you burn’ which I considered helpful and informative. I was aware how ridiculous I looked, I hadn’t taken dance lessons since I was 10 years old but I didn’t care, I was enjoying myself.
The steps were introduced which helped associate moves with their name. Marching between steps was encouraged which was a great way to keep moving whilst slowing the heart rate- at some points it was needed!
The 20 minute DVD was broken down into four sets of five minutes and concentrated on different dances which gave the workout variety and kept it interesting.
The cardio party took the workout to another level. There’s an option which enables you to play the workout with or without the rhythm refreshers. I was impressed with the rhythm refresher as it served as a little reminder in case the steps became tricky. There was an option to return to the workout at any time so this did not interfere with the programme. At times the steps got a little too quick for me, so this was helpful and gave me extra confidence that I was doing it correctly. The presenters mentioned the names of the steps as they performed them which helped become familiar with the lingo. There were small breaks in between themes such as Salsa, Cumbia and American Mix (which was my particular favourite). American mix was similar to line dancing and was so good I almost searched for my Dolly Parton wig. The cardio party incorporated all the steps we had learnt in the initial basics video. It was actually motivating to see what I had learned in such a short period of time; educational as well eh? Who’d of thought!
As there were separate sections of the workout new steps were introduced throughout the 3 hours of the DVD so it didn’t feel repetitive in the slightest and it was surprisingly tiring. I always thought these DVDs were the glamorous way to keep fit, the only way you could exercise in the comfort of your own home with a burger in one hand and a dumbbell in the other without getting any funny looks. How wrong was I? Halfway though I felt as if I’d run a marathon. The presenter simplified the movements so it seemed less daunting during the fast paced sections of the workout. He used hypothetical situations such as ‘move like you’re drying yourself with a towel.’ Saying that out loud seems bizarre now but it seemed completely appropriate at the time. The constant hip rolling made it look more complicated than it actually was. The cardio work out was very high energy, you never stop moving so if you’re looking for an easy ride I’d stick with the 20 minute express, or not bother at all.
Sculpt and tone
The sculpt and tone was a medium workout. The toning sticks (maracas, in my book) made the workout different and as they made a sound when moved, they helped to identify if you were moving your arms correctly. They were a great addition and gave some variation to the workout after completing the cardio party.
Evidently I’m enjoying myself:
Become a Zumba instructor
I was intrigued by the ‘become a Zumba instructor’ option but I was a little disappointed when it just directed me to a website. I’m not sure I’m practiced enough to visit that website yet (I’ll stick to www.iwantoneofthose.com instead)
I could definitely feel myself getting fitter in the sense I was less out of breath after only a couple of days of using the DVDs daily. It’s also made me more motivated to do more and sit less – sounds cliché but it’s true. After a week it definitely became easier to move; dance steps almost became second nature. I felt I was becoming fitter although I think it would need to be practiced for longer to get real physical results. At least it was fun, I find going to the gym each day seems to get so boring and tedious. I am now able to move for longer time periods and I’m not out of breathe after walking to the office vending machine (not for chocolate, obviously!) It’s something that I will continue to practice at home and I would even contemplate going to a class to see the difference, especially as I feel I know the moves and the steps that go with them.
The cool down was slow movements, the lights were dimmed and it was actually quite relaxing. Breathing control was encouraged and it was a great end to the workout, it rounded the DVD off fantastically.
Overall I think this is a great product, however to be perfectly honest I thought it was a little cheesy at times (or maybe I’m just miserable in my old age). The bright lights on the set made it look somewhat out-dated but the content of the DVD and the organisation was fantastic, it did the job. I think it would be great to learn with friends as it’s fun, enjoyable and easy. What’s great about the presenters is they are so enthusiastic, it does rub off on you. They constantly encourage you to listen to the music to ensure your rhythm is right, they count you into your steps to ensure your timing is correct, as well as the obligatory ‘very good,’ ‘keep going’ as a motivational attempt. The males in the video didn’t look out of place therefore I think it’s great for both sexes, depending on how open minded your other half is! Overall, I would say this DVD is a great way to have fun and dance away the pounds. It’s a mix between dance and aerobics and I must say, I liked the mix.
So what does Zumba score?
Ease of use: 4/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Best bits: Sculpt and tone
Worst bits: The basics
Would you recommend to a friend?: Yes. I would love to do it with a friend as well.
Click here to buy Zumba from IWOOT