Can Zumba Help Me Lose Weight?

by Rakib Sarwar, RPh on June 10, 2019

In this article, we will talk about Zumba craze! At first glance, this is just another type of training in a series of different aerobic, dance, and fitness programs, but if we take a look under the surface, we will see a big difference between Zumba and all other types of workouts.

Music, simple steps and rhythm are three key elements that make the Zumba program unique and revolutionary in the world of fitness and thus different from the aerobic program. All three elements are not unique per se, but their combination creates a special, new, and dynamic fitness experience!

This popular dance and exercising style will not only help you improve your general physical condition, but also lose weight, coordinate your muscles, and become more cheerful and happier thanks to endorphins. Sounds good? Let’s begin!

What is Zumba?

Zumba is a type of fitness in the form of rhythmic dance that activates all your muscle groups. By practicing Zumba, you will simultaneously shape and firm your legs, buttocks, abdominal muscles, arms, shoulders, back, and chest.

Zumba found its place in all countries around the world, but it originated from Colombia. It immediately gained popularity because of its effective exercising principle that makes it fun and relaxed.

Combining fast and slow Latin-American rhythms with popular music of different genres and using simple and seductive dance steps, this dance and exercise mode reduces subcutaneous fat, strengthens muscle tone, improves movement coordination, and your mood.

At the same time, this is a very tiring and demanding type of exercising and it requires devotion. If you devote yourself to doing it in the right way, you will soon see the positive results of your Zumba for weight loss training (1).

This type of training is good for all age groups regardless of whether you have some previous dance experience or not, what condition your body is in at the moment, and whether you are a man or a woman.

It is important to emphasize that it positively affects the cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory system and reduces subcutaneous fat tissue. This is the fat accumulated right under your skin.

How is that possible? As Zumba combines various types of dance – salsa, reggaeton, cumbia, etc., depending on the instructor, Zumba training can activate all kinds of muscles in your body. It can also include some moves from tango, bachata, belly dancing, hip hop, lambada, rock & roll, twist, and others.

As a result, Zumba is an excellent ally when it comes to weight loss. Let’s learn how Zumba can help you lose weight!

How can Zumba help you lose weight?

Zumba for weight loss is a fun and relaxing way of exercising that will show results in a short period of time. Here are some quick facts about how exactly Zumba affects your weight loss process:

  • You can lose up to 500 calories per session (each day if you practice it that often)
  • This accounts for 3 pounds per month
  • Lose belly fat (1)
  • Lose fat accumulated under your skin
  • Fight your depression
  • Increase your overall physical strength
  • Improve your confidence (1).

Different Zumba Programs

Zumba is a very popular way of physical activity, around the world, especially over the past decade. However, there are many different kinds of Zumba programs.

Zumba Fitness is the most popular of them all. This is what we imply when we say “a Zumba class”.

A more relaxed version is designed for aged people who cannot make extreme moves. These resemble party sessions, without intense cardio efforts. Also, there are programs for women in their menopause and post-menopause (2).

Zumba for muscle toning is a program specially designed to sculpt your body. It also includes cardio training and it activates your thighs, arms, shoulders, abdomen, as well as gluteus.

Did you know that there is also a Zumba workout in the water? It combines movements from the regular Zumba session with swimming. The benefits for your body are amazing!

Many instructors combine Zumba with circuit training. These usually last shorter than the regular Zumba fitness sessions.

Benefits of practicing Zumba

Zumba trainings are amazing because the music prompts you to make rhythmic movements with your body. It enhances your overall stamina, establishes a good and balanced heart rhythm at the same time. Zumba improves your circulation, tightens all muscle groups, especially those in your back region, abdomen and legs. It also improves the coordination of your movements, endurance of your muscle and strengthens the spinal cord.

As a result, a Zumba training contributes to reducing stress because the combination of music, rhythm, and movements triggers positive thoughts and energy.

Also, given that this type of training is extremely dynamic and requires a lot of energy, Zumba is fantastic for burning excess calories. Namely, you can burn up to 450 calories per hour!

Here is a summary of all of the Zumba training benefits:

  • Helps in losing weight
  • Tones your muscles
  • Activates all muscle groups
  • Reduces the amount of subcutaneous fat
  • Reduces the amount of total fat in your body
  • Increases your mobility and flexibility
  • Alleviates the negative effects of stress
  • Increases the excretion of the serotonin hormone (the hormone that improves your mood)
  • Improves your dancing skills
  • Improves your movement coordination and response time
  • Increases your stamina
  • Improves your general physical endurance
  • Helps fight against anxiety
  • Facilitating weight loss in postmenopausal obese women (3).

Apart from the fact that you will, obviously, lose weight if you regularly practice Zumba, the good news is – you will lose weight very quickly. As a matter of fact, you can sculpt your body in the shortest possible time. After all, during the Zumba lessons, you must move your body to the rhythm of the music. This implies including all your muscles.

In order to make some specific movements, such as squats and knitting, certain muscle groups are exposed to multiple operating loads. Therefore, this is not just about mere dancing. There will be enormous work going on inside of your body that is focused on burning fat and bringing your muscles to the desired shape.

Another positive effect of a Zumba session is meeting new friends who enjoy the same activities as you do. You can connect and interact with interesting and funny people. If you love music, you will definitely enjoy group lessons under rhythmic and energetic melodies.

Moreover, Zumba will accelerate your metabolism. Everyone knows that slow metabolism stops your weight loss process. During the muscle building process, you burn a large number of calories. Therefore, Zumba accelerates your metabolism. This means that your body continues to get rid of excess fat even in the idle state.

In addition, Zumba sessions are excellent ways to cope with stress. We know that stress causes hunger and increased appetite, namely, food starvation. This can lead to eating too much food and being overweight in the end. Also, it can be the cause of many illnesses.

During your Zumba training, your brain sends signals to the secretion glands they release huge amounts of endorphins. This instantly improves your mood and enables you to relax and forget about the difficulties you are coping within your life.

Zumba helps you to increase your self-confidence and significantly improve the coordination of your movements. These positive moments will also give you the motivation to continue your healthy and active lifestyle. It will also reinforce your diet regime and these changes are immediately reflected in your mood, physical appearance, and your wellbeing in general.

Age is not the limit

Zumba – an active fitness program for weight loss is an ideal type of training, regardless of gender and age, because it combines many simple and interesting elements and energetic movements. There are also several different programs accommodated for different age groups.

There are lessons specially developed for children, because it is important to build a love for sports and active lifestyle from an early age. Zumba is also a perfect choice for the elderly who want to stay active and in shape (4).

Comparison between Zumba calorie burning and other similar activities

Here is a comparison between Zumba calorie burning and other types of dance, including hip-hop, salsa, ballet, and swing. The comparison is based on one hour of physical activity.


You spend between 370 calories (for people who are lighter than 80 pounds) and 610 calories (for people weighing 80 pounds) during one hour of practicing hip-hop dance.


You spend around 400 calories per one hour of salsa (for a person weighing an average of 64 pounds).


A person dancing ballet for an hour spends between 380 and 450 calories.


Swing will make you burn between 300 and 550 calories in one hour.


If you practice Zumba for an hour, you will spend between 500 and 700 calories, depending on the intensity of your training (5).

How does a Zumba for weight loss session look like?

A Zumba session usually takes 55 minutes. It begins with warming up where basic steps from different dances, such as merengues and salsa are used. Then comes the cardio part during which the instructor will gradually increase the difficulty and tempo of the movements.

You will be doing various combinations of the basic steps and rhythms but in a raised intensity of exercising and you will also move from one type of dance to another. You will most probably combine merengue, salsa, reggaeton, cumbia, and twist. After the cardio part, you will slow down the tempo and relax, cool down, and stretch your muscles once again (5).

Even though a random observer of the Zumba lesson can think that everyone is practicing it with a pre-set choreography, there is no such thing. Where is the catch? There are not too many steps to remember in Zumba. Usually, instructors choose 3 to 5 steps or movements for each song. Then, the song itself runs its rhythm. There are only several steps for each individual melody, depending on the song itself, the refrain, and the instructor.

In conclusion, the atmosphere of a Zumba training is fun even for those who have never dared to practice in a group or have never danced before because they thought that they have no sense for the rhythm. For all of them, this type of exercising breaks down the barriers and helps them lose weight, socialize, and enjoy their bodies.

Entertaining rhythms, simple dance steps, and a cheerful and relaxed atmosphere create a desire for training, being persistent and devoted to Zumba, and practicing it in continuity. These are the key principles behind it and the key features of a Zumba session.

Best practices and tips to be consistent with Zumba weight loss

Here are some tips that will improve your Zumba for weight loss experience.

  • During your Zumba lessons, you should try to have fun and not think about calories. The best way to lose weight is not to think about it all the time.
  • Use your arms to the maximum. Zumba for weight loss is focused on all muscle groups, including your arms. If you have some fat under your arms and some sagging skin, Zumba will help you get rid of it.
  • Make multiple up and down movements. Basically, it’s jumping and squats, that is, everything that is necessary for beautiful legs and firm buttocks and thighs. Bend your knees a little, move up and down and have fun with the process (5).
  • Shake your bottom. Such movements affect the entire lower body, including not only your gluteus muscles, but also your thighs, legs, feet, even the heels.
  • You will have to bring enough water with you to your Zumba training session. Otherwise, your body will suffer from dehydration and excessive fatigue which can easily overwhelm you.
  • Zumba fitness training can be much more interesting if you are doing it in a good and friendly company, let’s say with a good friend.
  • For each training, you have to give your best, be as flexible and as active as you can. Therefore, you must wear clothes that allow maximum mobility.
  • If you have any serious health complications, do not start your Zumba training before consulting with your physician.

Proper nutrition when you are practicing Zumba for weight loss

Starvation is by no means a weight loss solution, experts say. It’s just a temporary solution that poses a great threat to the overall health condition of your body. Besides that, the pounds you lose through starvation will return even faster after such a diet (6).

Inside your body, there is a war between the cells that make up muscles and those that make up fat. The best results are achieved with proper nutrition combined with regular exercising. Therefore, here are five tips related to your diet to keep in mind if you want to lose weight while practicing Zumba. Follow these helpful tips while enjoying your Zumba and lose those pounds!


As soon as you wake up, your body needs food. It needs a source of energy. Regular skipping of your breakfast increases the risk of obesity by 450 percent. If you do not eat, you can slow down your metabolism and you will probably eat lots of calories at the end of the day because you will constantly feel hungry (6).

You should consume 30 to 35 percent of your daily calorie intake needs early in the morning, i.e. during your breakfast. Whole grain bread and healthy fats are excellent breakfast solutions. If you do not have time, you should eat some healthy cereal early, and then eat some quality yogurt and fruit at work.

Do you have a problem with early breakfast? At least drink a glass of milk with 1 percent milk fat, which will give you eight grams of protein plus calcium. Do not forget to have your breakfast before your morning Zumba fitness session!


Muscle growth depends on proteins (6). Each time you eat 10 to 15 grams of protein, you stimulate the protein synthesis process that helps build muscles. When you eat 30 grams of proteins, that period of protein synthesis lasts for about three hours. The most important advice for people who want to lose weight is having proteins for breakfast.


Your goal is to fill your body with as many discouraging nutrients regarding fat accumulation as possible. The best way to do that is to eat fruit, vegetables, and nuts (7).

If you consume fruit at the beginning of your meal, it reduces your total calorie intake by 15 percent. Eating fruits and vegetables will provide you with more omega 3 fatty acids, which will help fight fat in your abdomen zone. Moreover, fiber will help reduce blood sugar oscillations that lead to hunger and food cravings.


Salads provide important nutrients that help you lose weight (6). Best example: folic acid and vitamin B in leafy green vegetables. Folic acid is very important for weight loss. You can lose up to 8.5 times more weight than those who don’t get enough folic acid through their food.

Therefore, you should consume leafy green vegetables as often as you can. In addition to salads, add spinach to your omelet. Use dressing with safflower oil. It contains linoleic acid that can prevent the accumulation of fat.


The proteins and carbohydrates taken just before and after your Zumba exercise session stimulate faster muscle growth and recovery from exercise. Also, this can limit the effects of cortisol, the stress hormone that stimulates your body to store fat(6).

As a result, you burn more fat during your Zumba training and this process continues for the next 24 hours. You should eat carbohydrates and proteins 30 minutes before your Zumba session and consume protein immediately after your training.

The longer you wait for the meal after exercise, the more will your body break the existing muscles and build less new muscles. Consuming natural smoothies is a quick and easy way to take advantage of these benefits.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, Zumba is a great way to lose weight. There are different kinds of Zumba for weight loss activities. Those include the classic Zumba fitness, Zumba toning program, as well as circuit Zumba sessions.

Whichever type you choose, you will definitely enjoy it, lose some weight, tone your muscles, firm your body, and improve your mood.



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