How Much Weight To Lose With Zumba In A Month? Does It Work?

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Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

Weight To Lose With Zumba

Fitness has become a national phenomenon. It seems everyone is concerned about their health which includes getting fit or staying fit along with an increased awareness of diet and healthy eating.

The number of overweight and obese people in the world has become a serious problem. According to the CDC[1], US adult obesity is now at 42.4 percent, the first time in history the national rate has passed the 40 percent mark, and further evidence of the country’s obesity crisis. The national adult obesity rate has increased by 26 percent since 2008.

With this crisis upon us, it is no surprise that people are trying to lose weight. So what are some of the most popular ways to lose weight? And more specifically, which ones produce the best results?

Weight Loss with Zumba

How often you will need to participate in a class like Zumba to lose weight depends on your health and fitness goals. In general, the American Council on Exercise recommends burning 300 to 400 calories per workout session a minimum of three days per week for realistic weight loss.

The other important factor during exercise for weight loss is your heart rate. When you work out in your fat-burning heart rate zone, your body taps into fat stores for energy instead of using basic sugars and carbohydrates. Your fat-burning heart rate is at about 70 percent of your maximum heart rate or beats per minute. To determine your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220 then multiply by 70 percent. This will give you how many beats per minute you should achieve during a fat-burning exercise such as Zumba.

In addition to being fun, Zumba can be a way to increase not only your physical activity but also your daily calorie burn. It helps improve cardiovascular fitness, lower cholesterol, and glucose levels, and often melt belly fat quickly.

How Many Calories Do You Burn with an Hour of Zumba?

Depending on your diet and other exercises you do, you may be able to burn between 300 and 900 calories during a one-hour mid-to high-intensity Zumba class as reported in an article published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine. Doing Zumba two or three times a week could significantly increase your calorie burn[2] and help you meet your weight loss goals.

There has been very little scientific research done on weight loss while taking Zumba classes. The following two small studies indicate positive results with Zumba.

The first study[3] conducted in 2014 involved a group of 36 obese females who took 16 hourly Zumba sessions held twice a week over 8 weeks. The exercises comprised a mixture of Meringue, Salsa, Reggaeton, and Bachata with warm-up and cool-down activities. They were low-impact but maintained a vigorous intensity. The results showed statistically significant decreases in all the participant’s weight.

A second study was done in 2012 with 19 healthy female volunteers ages 18 to 22 from the University of Wisconsin. They weighed between 90 and 125 pounds and had a wide range of fitness levels.

It was discovered[4] that they burned an average of 9.5 calories per minute during a 39-minute class. This equates to an average of 369 calories total in 40 minutes or about 600 calories per hour.  

If you take 3 one-hour classes per week, you could burn 1800 calories using the average of 600 calories burned per hour of Zumba. In a month, this could approach 7200 calories. The old rule developed in 1958[5] states that one pound of fat equals about 3500 calories, so you need to burn 3500 calories to lose a pound. Using the above example of 7200 calories per month, you could lose 2 pounds per month doing Zumba.

You must watch your daily diet for this to work. You need to have what is called a calorie deficit which means you are burning more calories than you are consuming. You can do this by reducing your daily caloric intake, increasing your physical activity, or a combination of the two. No matter what type of diet you follow, to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you take in each day.

Popular Exercise Options

Workouts at your local gym are a common approach. However, if you don’t want to be a gym rat, you have other options. Group classes have become very popular over the past few years. This type of workout provides more comradery and support than solo gym workouts. For those who have trouble consistently working out, a class approach can be more successful. Weight loss requires a regular routine with both exercise and diet.

According to Human Kinetics, the top six most popular fitness classes over the last couple of years are:

  • Yoga class
  • Spinning class
  • Pilates class
  • Zumba class
  • Step class
  • HIIT class

One of the most fun exercise classes that have swept the country since its invention is Zumba. It is a high-energy aerobic exercise first developed in Columbia in the 1990s by celebrity fitness trainer Alberto “Beto” Perez. He only had his Latin music with him one day for his aerobics class and so decided to try it as if he were in a club. Soon the class was dancing to Salsa, Rumba, and Merengue. His participants loved it and Zumba was born.

As a cardiovascular exercise, it can also help you lose weight. There are various easy routines and the Latin music can really get you moving. This can not only help you enjoy exercising but can also keep you consistent and coming back for more. According to the company founders at Zumba Fitness, as of 2018 Zumba is practiced in over 180 countries with over 15 million weekly participants.

Weight Loss Results Will Vary

Based on the above information, women in an average weight range of 120-170 pounds are going to burn between 350 and 650 calories in an hour of Zumba if they go at full intensity through the entire class. Men weighing more than this will burn more calories per hour.

There is a wide range in the intensity of Zumba classes depending on the choreography and enthusiasm of the instructor. The more enthusiastic the instructor, the harder participants tend to work and thus more calories are burned. Other factors influencing weight loss include:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Muscle mass
  • Fitness level
  • Genetics
  • Intensity during workout
  • Time of day

It seems the best time to exercise is at 7 in the morning compared to later in the afternoon or evening. You are more energized in the morning and If you exercise on an empty stomach, which is recommended, you will also burn more fat.

Conclusion

The benefits of Zumba classes according to Human Kinetics, in addition to weight loss, include:

  1. strengthening your core
  2. becoming more flexible
  3. boosting heart health
  4. improving coordination 
  5. improving mood
  6. increasing energy

There are also some new Zumba programs that have been recently introduced by the parent company such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) Zumba and Strong by Zumba which incorporates weights. These classes intensify your workout for additional calorie burning and strength training.

Lastly, if you prefer doing Zumba exercise in your home, there are numerous YouTube videos to get you going. Try a short video for beginners, a longer version with all Latin music, or if you want to be alone while exercising, watch an easy mini-session.


+ 5 sources

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  1. CDC (2021). Adult Obesity Facts. [online] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html [Accessed 5 Aug. 2021].
  2. ‌Luettgen, M., Foster, C., Doberstein, S., Mikat, R. and Porcari, J. (2012). Zumba(®): is the “fitness-party” a good workout?. Journal of sports science & medicine, [online] 11(2), pp.357–8. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737860/ [Accessed 5 Aug. 2021].
  3. Micallef, C. (2014). The effectiveness of an 8-week Zumba programme for weight reduction in a group of Maltese overweight and… [online] ResearchGate. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263851061_The_effectiveness_of_an_8-week_Zumba_programme_for_weight_reduction_in_a_group_of_Maltese_overweight_and_obese_women [Accessed 5 Aug. 2021].
  4. ‌Luettgen, M., Foster, C., Doberstein, S., Mikat, R. and Porcari, J. (2012). Zumba(®): is the “fitness-party” a good workout?. Journal of sports science & medicine, [online] 11(2), pp.357–8. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737860/ [Accessed 5 Aug. 2021].
  5. WISHNOFSKY, M. (1958). Caloric Equivalents of Gained or Lost Weight. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, [online] 6(5), pp.542–546. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/13594881/ [Accessed 5 Aug. 2021].

Medically reviewed by:

Sandra Cesca is a freelance healthcare writer with many year’s experiences working in the health industry. She covers allopathic, naturopathic, holistic, and complementary medicine. Sandra is also a cultural photographer and tour guide living her dream in tropical Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Medically reviewed by:

PubMed Central

Database From National Institute Of Health

U.S National Library of Medicine
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