Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dance Fitness Myths Dispelled: The Naked Truth


Credited with extreme weight loss success stories and with adding the fun back into exercise regimens, dance fitness programs such as Zumba®, cardio dance, LesMills SH’BAM and BODYJAM, and yes--even pole dancing have become wildly popular. They’ve made their way into fitness clubs and studios as well as corporate gyms and wellness centers around the globe. 

Along with the large variety of programs comes a wide range of experiences. You may have heard one or more of the following myths. 

Myth: Dance fitness is less of a workout than other cardio classes. 
Truth: This may be the case with some freestyle classes, but licensed dance fitness programs are structured to provide a safe and effective cardio workout that includes multiple modalities of exercise, such as aerobics, plyometrics, and core conditioning. Their developers include exercise science gurus and many programs are tested in fitness facilities before being released. As with any fitness class, the calorie burn is proportional to your effort level. For example, an hour of Zumba® can sizzle upwards of 850 kcal. 

Myth: I don’t have any dance experience. I’ll be lost in the class. 
Truth: Maybe you’ve tried a dance fitness class and found the choreography to be too complex. The best instructors offer pre-demonstrations, verbal and non-verbal cues, and modifications. Our focus is not to prepare you for your So You Think You Can Dance audition, but rather to offer easy-to-follow moves that you can rock out from your very the first class. Oh, and while we’re at it, you also don’t have to be female and under 30 years old. Adult dance fitness programs are designed for men and women of all ages, for all fitness levels, and you will succeed even if you’ve never danced a step in your life.  

Myth: Dance fitness instructors aren’t certified  
Truth: Instructor certification is mandatory for programs that require licensing, such as Zumba®, LesMills BODYJAM, BTS Group Groove, FlirtyGirl Fitness, etc. Many instructors are also certified in group exercise and other fitness programs. I’ve found that my other certs --including personal trainer, yoga, and pilates--have helped me offer a more well-rounded, fitness-focused approach to my dance fitness programs. Some instructors also have prior training in various forms of dance and gymnastics. You can confirm active certification for any Zumba® instructor on Zumba.com.


Myth: You have to wear neon colors and tassels to be part of a Zumba® class. 
Truth: OK, this one’s a softball. You should wear comfortable clothes and footwear as you would to any fitness class. But hey, I’m not discouraging tassels. If you want to sport the threads, check out the online store at Zumba.com. Enter code Vidya10 at checkout and get 10% off. 

So what are you waiting for? Boogie on in to a dance fitness class and shake, shimmy, and twist the calories away. 

And that’s the naked truth.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

It's Better in Groups


As children, our academic curricula itself was only part of the learning equation. The part that really prepared us for life was learning how to learn. 

What’s Your Style? 
The same goes for fitness as it does in academia. Many of us (myself included) enjoy the camaraderie and motivation of group exercise. Personal trainers learn to adapt to each client’s individual style, but how is this applied in group fitness or small group personal training situations when there is more than one style at play? 

In reality, while we may favor one style more strongly than the others, we all leverage a number of different techniques when it comes to learning. The three main ones are: 
-visual (seeing)
- auditory (hearing)
-kinesthetic (doing)

Since each group fitness participant favors a different blend of the three learning styles--for example, some need to see and even try an exercise in order to complete it successfully--instructors and trainers use all three to deliver a safe and effective fitness program. This is the reason you’ll see the instructor demonstrate the moves--and most often do them along with you--as well as call them out (cueing or coaching). Sometimes, the instructor pre-demonstrates certain exercises beforehand and gives kinesthetic learners a chance to perform them slowly before the group routine begins. 

To get the best possible group exercise experience, let your instructor know before hand which learning style you adapt most, and party on. 


Photo Credit: Outklassfitness.com