Zumba with a twist

3 min read
11 Sep 2017
3 min read
873 words
Strong by Zumba® (SBZ), the latest addition to fitness offerings in Nepal, is being referred to by fitness enthusiasts as the class to look out for this year

Strong by Zumba®

The Zumba® Fitness Office recently introduced SBZ as a variant of their uber-successful Zumba method. They’re calling it a revolutionary workout that focuses on training fitness buffs ‘to the beat’, and not by counting reps. Classes are designed and choreographed in such a way that every move—a combination of body-weight exercises, muscle-conditioning cardio and plyometrics—syncs with every single beat of the music being played.

SBZ in Nepal

Prateek Kundial, a Zumba Education specialist, conducted in June an SBZ training for Kathmandu’s certified, licensed Zumba instructors. And currently, the classes are being conducted only at Niraamayae Fitness, Maharajgunj, by Kusum Rai, a ZIN (Zumba Instructor Network) member. In my quest to find out if the hype surrounding SBZ was worth it, I joined Rai’s class on Sunday, and here’s how the class went for me.

SBZ by Kusum Rai

Lesson 1: If you expect your typical Zumba moves, you will be in for a big surprise because it is an absolutely ‘no-dance’ class. “SBZ is totally different compared to Zumba, and we instructors choose music to suit our students’ fitness levels,” says Rai. “There are no Zumba fitness elements such as salsa, hip-hop or Bollywood. Instead, the objective is to push yourself with a total body workout, which is the perfect recipe for HIIT and body conditioning.”

Lesson 2: Nonetheless, it’s still a fitness party. By this, I am referring to the fantastic and original Zumba® music, which gives the class its structure and simultaneously energises the participants to push past their limits without giving up. This is essential since the intensity of high-impact moves builds up as the session progresses.

For instance, as the session hit the half-hour mark, Rai started adding in plyometric moves like the high jump—not the usual jumping jack, but one that requires you to do a total 360, face the back and vice versa. And trust me, that was the last thing I thought I could do after all the burpees and punches. However, as Rai guided us through the beat, it seemed much easier and doable. I managed to power through this section.

FUN FACT: There are other HIIT classes, which also make use of music, but SBZ’s moves are specifically timed to the choreographed classes featuring engineered music. SBZ has also partnered with the ace music-producer Timbaland to produce some unique beats for the programme.

Lesson 3: It makes you feel strong
It’s not like an hour of strength-training class will magically increase your muscle mass, but as I performed movements such as high kicks, squats, burpees and punches, I could actually feel how I was making use of different muscle groups. Moreover, during the second half, I felt really challenged, and had to give myself a self-motivating push to keep on going. What’s better than that to make you feel stronger, right?

EXPERT TIP: Strength- and interval-training help with your weight-loss goals and help you gain lean muscles. “This is one of the many reasons why I recommend SBZ, as having more lean muscles will help you burn more calories, even during your rest period,” says Rai.

Lesson 4: I need to work on my push-ups
The session made me realise that I needed to work on my overall upper-body strength. When Rai pumped things up and made us do push-ups and rhythmic mountain-climbers, I thought my arms would give up on me. So I set my own pace and completed the sequence, with fewer reps than what the music demanded.

EXPERT TIP: “SBZ may not be as tough as a boot camp,” says Rai. “But it is important for clients to be well acquainted with their own fitness levels and to select classes accordingly. If you feel that some music-led moves are too fast or too intense, slow down. Just remember to not stop altogether, and continue powering through the class.”

My verdict

Would I go for another class? Yes! Do I recommend this to others? Absolutely. For those who like high-intensity routines, SBZ can add the fun element to your routine on days when you feel that your classes are too monotonous. As for Zumba lovers, SBZ is a great way to fit in strength-training to complement your usual Zumba cardio sessions. As Rai puts it: “Please try this music-led HIIT out; it will help you push yourself beyond your own limits and reach your fitness goals faster.”