Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Zumba For Beginners: FAQ

Zumba has been the hottest in-thing in Singapore for almost 4 years now. I am sure many of my female readers would have heard of it, or even contemplating to try it since forever. LOL.

Below is my feeble attempt to answer some frequently asked questions I get from my friends & family about Zumba.

Disclaimer: I am not a Zumba expert nor a qualified instructor or the likes. I am just a regular person who was trying to lose weight for her wedding, and accidentally stumbled upon the awesome dancelike sport. I made Zumba a hobby since more than 2 years ago. Zumba is the ONLY hobby I could happily upkeep (I am very fickle when it comes to sticking to a particular activity. I get bored with routines easily, therefore I usually give up on a new hobby after 3 months, and that says a lot about how fun Zumba is, at least for me.) :)

Zumba has changed my life and my lifestyle, in a positive way. I wish the same for you!

Q1. Is Zumba only for people with a dance background?

A1. No, you don't need a dance background to enjoy Zumba. No doubt having a dance background helps you look more together when you are doing it(except no one actually looks at you, unless you are dancing naked); and people with dance background pick up the steps a tad faster, BUT it is not limited to dancers. Zumba is not too difficult to follow. It is perfectly OK if you can't keep up 100% with the instructor or your classmates. Keep moving & enjoy the music! The key is to HAVE FUN like you're partying!

Q2. Is Zumba a dance or a workout? Why are the steps repetitive?

A2. It is a Latin dance inspired exercise routine (it's an exercise routine, not a proper dance performance, hence the repetitive movements) - so it's a mixture of both dance and workout. You know aerobics? Yeah it's something like that, but 10 times the fun, with sexier music!

Q3. I want to try Zumba, but I am scared I don't have the stamina. What should I do?

A3. Two ways to go about this:  1. Just go for a trial class first. If you feel faintish or breathless, take a break and drink water/isotonic drinks. No one will care if you stop, but your newfound Zumba classmates may freak out if you faint, so please know your limits. 2. Start with a Zumba Gold class and if you think you can manage, switch to a regular Zumba class.

Q4. I want to lose weight. How many times do I need to do Zumba?

A4. Have you heard of the saying "Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym"? I get it that you don't mean you want firm abs, but I hope you get my drift. To lose weight, you follow a simple equation below (over a period of time).

Daily total calories intake < Daily total calories expended

If you need to lose weight fast, a sure-fire way is to keep to 1200 calories per day, and do Zumba every day. But  but but...prior to that, your body must have been conditioned to do sports/exercise on a daily basis. If you have been out of condition for a long time, meaning you haven't been doing sports for a while, DO NOT TRY to suddenly do Zumba every day! Daily Zumba applies more for relatively healthy people with a good medical history. Consult your doctor, dietician, fitness trainer if in doubt.
One thing I am sure is this: if you are unwilling to kick off your bad eating habits or you eat MORE after you started Zumba (or any other exercises), you are NOT going to lose any weight. In fact, the latter makes you put on more weight! Surprise surprise.

Q5. I tried Zumba once/a few times, but I couldn't catch up with the dance steps! I felt so out of place, how?

A5. I'm sorry that you felt this way. Guess what? Many of us felt that too! I didn't know what the heck I was doing when I was in my first Zumba class! I only remembered I desperately downed a lot of water after each song. That being said, I encourage you to keep going to Zumba classes, or try different instructors until you find someone whom you can follow and you like. It is important you like your Zumba instructor's moves - only then you can truly enjoy the 1-hour class.

Q6. I didn't lose as much weight/burn as much calories as I wanted to with Zumba, why is that so?

A6. (Pls kindly refer to Q4. for weight-loss queries) If you meant that each time you do Zumba, you burn lesser calories than the advertised '500 calories & above', then there may be a possibility that you are already quite skinny/small-built. Not everyone will burn 500 calories - it pretty much depends on how heavy you are to begin with. If you are big, yet you burn lesser than 500 calories - another possibility is that you have not gone "all out"/"full force" with your movements; or perhaps you are a newbie still trying to figure out your steps. In the case where you are not a newbie (let's say you do Zumba regularly for a year and you watch your diet carefully) and you are still unable to achieve your weight-loss goals due to your two left feet, sadly, I'd then say " Go try something else!"

Q7. I want to try Zumba, but I don't know where to go?

A7. (Frankly speaking, I secretly rolled my eyes when I hear your question. You cannot Google meh??  Unless you don't have internet access lah.)

Okay I shall be kind and tell you more. I personally attend lessons by 1Fiesta. They cover many locations in Singapore, by different instructors. (You really do need internet access to read up more about how 1Fiesta works, and to book your classes online.) My personal favourite instructor is Ms Farah Fakar. I attend her weekly Tuesday lessons at Yio Chu Kang Grassroots Club. Whenever I feel fat or ambitious, I attend more lessons in a week, either with Farah on Sunday evenings at Waterloo Centre or with other 1Fiesta instructors depending on my schedule & convenience.

My workout buddies & I after Farah's class at Yio Chu Kang Grassroots. Farah, the instructor, on the extreme right.
I have tried Zumba with many 1Fiesta instructors and other than Farah, I enjoy Zumba-ing with Sabrina, Gerald, Shannon and Faiz as well. Besides 1Fiesta, I also like Cyndi's Zumba lessons which are held on Wednesday evenings at 8 on Claymore.

Q8. Do I have to wear Zumba clothes to classes, as in those sports wear with the word "Zumba" splashed across it?

A8. You don't have to wear anything you don't want to. I mean, it's not compulsory to purchase the colourful, neon Zumba wear that you see the instructor and the regulars wearing. They wear those because they think the Zumba clothings are nice; they want to look more professional, more Zumbarina-wannabe and honestly, they just want to look like they've got it. Ahem, the "They" includes me. And you know me, I am VAIN. Haha!

For starters, you only need your usual sports wear/ gym attire and your sports shoes. Oh, sidenote: please remember to bring a towel and a filled water bottle. Many of the Zumba venues are dance studios, not gyms. Those non-gym venues do not provide towels or water dispenser. Several locations have F & B places nearby so you can grab your isotonic drinks, mineral water, coconut water(YUMS!) before your class.


Old pic taken  after Cyndi's class. Christmas season in 2013. (Spot where I am!!) 
May your body be fitter and leaner through fun fun Zumba before Christmas hits this year! 
If you're a Zumba fan in Singapore, and have been reading my blog, come say hi to me tomorrow! I will be at the Shape Glow event 2015 at Zouk!


  1. I used to do zumba too, with vehn! I love his classes, it's the best I've tried so far!

    1. Hi Mia! Really? I haven't heard of Vehn, but I will check out! Nice to meet a fellow Zumba lover here! :)

  2. Great post! I tried Zumba – twice. At the end of the day it wasn’t for me, however I was glad I tried it.

  3. The information you have posted is very useful. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing..


Feel free to comment or ask me any question at the box below! Always love to hear from you!