Hello everyone!

In some of my weekly summaries for the Tone It Up Bikini Series, I have talked about my recent love affair with the Zumba Group Exercise Classes at Goodlife Fitness, specifically at the Women’s Only location at Baseline/Woodroffe in Ottawa. I have been going to a class every Saturday morning at this location for about 3 months now!

This Saturday, it was taken up a notch with a Zumba Challenge – nearly 2 hours of non-stop Zumba! No breaks and all cardio. I had so much fun (and produced an obscene amount of sweat) that I realized I wanted to do a review of these classes for you all to help spread the word.

For those of you who have never heard of Zumba, it is a latin-inspired dance-based workout that focuses on getting your heart rate up and having a good time!! It can be really easily modified to suit people of all fitness levels, shapes and sizes.

At the Goodlife location I go to in Ottawa, there are two classes every Saturday run by two AMAZING ladies. When I first started going, I went to the 10am class run by Susana. Susana is young, energetic and a fantastic dancer! She pushes you hard but makes sure you are engaged along the way. Recently I have been starting my days earlier by making it out to the 9am class that is run by Dana. Dana is an absolute ball – she is so fun and focuses on making sure everyone in the class is having a great time. Often, you will find her singing along to the songs and coming down off stage to move around the room with the rest of the class! Having a really good instructor can really make a huge difference in a group fitness class – so much so that it can often be a deal-breaker! I have tried going to Zumba classes at other locations in Ottawa and was really disappointed with the experience because the instructor was not engaged or just “danced” on stage without actually calling out the choreography and teaching. Dana and Susana really make the songs come alive and provide the right type of instruction that allows you to easily pick up the choreography so you can focus on getting the best workout possible.

Both ladies were there to run the Zumba challenge last week and it was so much fun to see them interact with one another. It was obvious that they are good friends and work incredibly well together which helped put everyone in a great mood. By the end of the two hours, I was sweating in places I didn’t even know I had!

What has really drawn me to Zumba is that it is not only an incredible cardio workout, but it is one of the most fun and inspiring types of group exercise that I have ever done. The music is great and the choreography is matched very well. Now I find that when I hear certain songs outside of class, my muscles start to twitch and I want to get up and start doing the moves we do in class! Especially one of the leg tracks to Katy Perry’s Dark Horse – when that comes on, all I want to do now is squat!

I look forward to class each week because it is an hour I get to spend on myself, be goofy and dance out any stress or negativity that I am feeling. The Women’s Only Goodlife location creates a safe space where women of all ages can just groove, without having to worry about what they look like or who is watching. It is kind of like jumping around your room to your favourite song… except you get to do it with a bunch of other people who are jumping crazy just like you!

I was worried that the two-hour Zumba challenge was going to be too intense and I wouldn’t be able to finish – but I did it! In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I am even thinking that I might start to do a “double” each week – staying for both of the morning classes on Saturdays back to back!

Secretly, I also have another fitness goal forming in the back of my mind. You all know I am currently focusing on my summer goals of building up my strength (10 man push-ups!) and losing weight, but I think I might also like to eventually teach a Zumba class one day. This will be a very long-term goal, but watching Dana and Susana has been so inspiring! I want to spread happiness and health like they do to help improve someone’s life.

So – who knows! Maybe one day I might be teaching a Zumba class at a gym near you. 😉 Until that time, though, I highly recommend finding a Zumba class near you and trying it out. Regardless of your current fitness level, I can guarantee that if you love to dance you will have an absolutely AMAZING time!

Have you ever tried Zumba? If so, what did you think? Leave a comment down below and tell me all about it! I would love to hear your stories.

Thanks so much and I will see you all next Wednesday.

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