Ditch the workout, join the party! Read more…

Zumba, the latest Latin-inspired fitness class is taking the world by storm. A dynamic, exciting as well as effective dance exercise, Zumba incorporates Latin and international music and dance movements that not only pump up the jam but also are a substitute for aerobic and cardio exercise.

Brought to life by “Beto” Perez, a Columbian Aerobics Instructor who walked into class in and realized that he had forgotten his aerobics music and whose only option was to grab whatever tapes he had in his car (Latin salsa music). Those improvised moves and dance steps concocted on the spot were born into Zumba, a revolutionary fitness program that became the most popular class at the gym.

In 1999, after his success in Colombia, Beto brought the class to the United States and set a goal to offer Zumba classes all over the world. In 2002 Zumba created an instructor training program. The program was an instant success. Zumba is now available in over 75 countries and instructors all over the world!

Khaleejesque got together with Amani Abbassy, Kuwait’s first Zumba instructor to know more about this fun way to burn those calories and get trim by “Ditching the Workout and Joining the Party” (Zumba’s motto).

Khaleejesque Team: How did you find out about Zumba?
Amani Abbasy: I was looking for a different type of workout because I was bored with the same old regular routine of cardio machines. So my friend took me to a Zumba class and I was hooked. I was instantly attracted to Zumba by the international beats and the unique moves that created a party like atmosphere. It was an adrenaline filled workout that was easy to follow and more importantly it was FUN! The different moves and sounds had my heart pumping and ready for more; that first class really changed my life.
KT: How did you become a Zumba instructor?
AA: I started taking classes in Alexandria, Virginia with my master instructor; who later inspired me to get my certification to teach. I did my first certification in Richmond, VA and my second in College Park, MD.
KT: How did you bring Zumba to Kuwait? And how did people react to it?
AA: When I came to Kuwait no one had heard of Zumba. I started teaching classes at The Palms Hotel Gym and automatically had a great following of dedicated students. Everyone who tried Zumba enjoyed it and kept coming back for more. I had people of all different fitness levels, ages, and nationalities all together in one class. It was amazing to see it evolve and maintain a great fan base who all enjoy Zumba as much as I do.

KT: What makes Zumba so special?
AA: Zumba creates a party-like atmosphere making it unlike any other cardio class. It is "exercise in disguise". Participants have so much fun they do not realize they are working out. It is different from any other class because of its unique steps, moves, and music. Zumba’s passionate and explosive Latin and International music rhythms speak for themselves as they naturally motivate participants during class, which makes them keep on returning!

KT: How many calories can you expect to burn per Zumba session and what are it’s health benefits?
AA: Zumba is great for the mind, body, and soul.  It’s a great way to lose weight, increase strength and co-ordination, and to foster self-esteem and pure happiness. In Zumba you can expect to burn anything from 600+ calories in just ONE hour. Of course it varies from person to person depending on there age, weight, and height. 

KT: Can anyone take part in Zumba?
AA: Zumba is designed for everyone. Participants at any fitness level, any background, or any age can start Zumba right away. There are now Zumba programs that focus on different age groups such as Zumbatomic for kids aged 4-12  and Zumba Gold for senior citizens. However any age group can do Zumba, because everyone goes at their own pace.

KT: What is your future plans when it comes to Zumba? And is it found anywhere in the Gulf apart from Kuwait?
AA: For the past 2 years Zumba has only been offered in Kuwait; but most recently it has been introduced to the United Arab Emirates. My goal is to spread the Zumba love throughout the Gulf and the Middle East. In addition to increasing my clientele base throughout Kuwait. As Zumba creates new programs I will continue to increase my training and fitness knowledge.

Going to the gym to dance and have fun instead of sweat it out on cardio machines and highly complex classes that not only bore us but also make exercise a punishment? Yes, we at Khaleejesque are up for that. Bring on Zumba®! 1,2,3,4, hit it!

For more information on Zumba® check out the official site http://www.zumba.com/ , the Kuwait Zumba® Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=54990857856, or contact AmaniZumba@gmail.com AmaniZumba@gmail.com for the Zumba® classes schedule.

– Khaleejesque

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