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25 Sep

Zumba With Bursts: Have Fun, Get Super-Fit

Posted by Bikini Owner

Zumba Crunch Dancing

If you're into Zumba's dance-centric approach to fitness but worried the burn wasn't intense enough — we've got news for you. The iconic brand has upped its already on-point game by incorporating our favorite high-intensity interval training moves — or "bursts" — into super-fun Zumba classes, for a per-session burn of up to 1,000 calories. We talked with Brazil-born Zumba instructor Michele Bastos, a regional group fitness director for Crunch, about the new way to get super-duper fit in no time flat. 

To find a Zumba class with bursts, ask your Zumba instructor — or scout out the your teacher's bio on the Zumba site, which will share that info. 

You're Brazilian, so obviously you're an amazing dancer— 

(Laughs.) I have a BFA in dance, and I'm also a master trainer in Pilates — these are my two passions. But I'm from Salvador, a city in Brazil that birthed many of our styles of dance. At school, I did ballet, modern dance — academic dance! But this is the music we heard when we went to someone's birthday party — this is the music we knew would be playing. It's the music we grew up with. In Brazil, dance is our social way of expressing ourselves. 

So how does it work? 

We take it up a notch with a Zumba class with bursts. We incorporate the high-intensity training concept to Zumba — so basically it's the perfect class for anyone who wants to stay in shape on a tight schedule. It's going to maximize your workout potential because it combines high-intensity interval training concepts with your functional training mode. It's a way to take your workout up a notch without noticing — nobody realizes that all of a sudden you're doing lunges and squats because we've incorporated them into this well-known Zumba model. 

I know this will sound weird, but sometimes I've felt like Zumba looks like too much fun to give me a serious workout. 

I can tell you that's not the case — especially with a Zumba class with bursts. 

So how does it work? 

When we're incoroporating some of those fitness elements into interval training, it's all about proper form and alignment. Sometimes people think you have to move faster to get a better workout, but it's not usually the case. Sometimes increasing speed witll increase intensity, but sometimes decreasing speed will increase intensity. A slow squat requires a whole lot more control. We're doing moves that target large muscle groups, so we're moving bigger. It's going to challenge our core a little bit more.

Can you give me some more ideas of specific moves? 

We do squats, lunges, jumping jacks — we just disguise them to make it more fun. We do tandem leg swings. We travel forward and back, side shuffle, sports run. You can move from low to fast, you can add knees for high-knee runs, or a hop, or a high-knee lift. 

How do you disguise them? 

People say, "Oh, we're doing squats." And we say, "No, we aren't! We're just going down to touch the ground, and then we're going to jump up!" 

And so you're adding this to the normal, cardio-centric Zumba routine. 

Really what we're doing is taking the super-fun program that everybody already loves and adding in a high-intensity element to it. This is going to maximize your workout potential and your caloric expenditure. We tend to forget the heart is a muscle. This makes your heart work harder — it basically strengthens the msucle. When your heart is happy, you're happy. It's such an exhilirating, party vibe, the whole experience. It makes your muscles strong. And when your heart is strong, you are strong.