Zumba is a fitness programme that is fast becoming a worldwide craze. The fitness programme combines Latin rhythms with cardiovascular exercises to create an aerobics routine that is fun and easy to follow. Participants often comment that it is so much fun that they don't think of it as a workout. There are presently more than 20,000 Zumba trained instructors in 35 countries and millions of Zumba Fitness DVDs have been sold worldwide. Zumba enthusiasts all over the world are discovering the joy of dancing and the benefits to their health all at the same time.
Colombian fitness trainer Beto Perez stumbled upon the concept of Latin inspired fitness in his native country of Colombia in the mid 1990s. He introduced a fitness programme which he called Zumba and which soon became very popular in his class. The word Zumba is Spanish slang for "to move fast and have fun". In 1999 Perez brought the class to the United States where he was approached by Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion to create a global company based on the Zumba fitness philosophy. The three young entrepreneurs then set a goal to offer Zumba classes all over the world. In 2007, Zumba was introduced to Mexico, Japan, China, Britain, Italy and Spain.
The fun workout comprises of approximately 70% Latin dances (eg. cha cha cha, samba, mambo) and 30% of other dances from around the world (eg. flamenco, calypso, hip hop). "We utilize the the principles of fitness interval training and resistance training to maximize caloric output, fat burning and total body burning. It's a way of mixing body sculpting movements and easy-to-follow dance steps" says Perez. "It's fun and addictive. It's wonderful to see so many people having fun while getting fit. I think the terrific Latin rhythms in the programme have taken the 'work' out of "working out" he added.
Perez was here in Kuala Lumpur in March 2008 to help lay down the groundwork for starting the Zumba Fitness programme in Malaysia. He, along with fellow fitness trainer Tanya Beardsley gave a series of master classes to other fitness trainers at California Fitness which is currently offering Zumba classes at its fitness centres. California Fitness presently has 4 fitness centres in the Klang Valley - Menara Standard Chartered, Lot 10 Shopping Centre, Mid Valley Megamall all in Kuala Lumpur and Sunway Pyramid in Petaling Jaya.