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Zum to the Beat

If you’ve been intrigued by Zumba Fitness which we covered in yesterday, and ready to party yourself into shape, then you’re in for a good time!

To new readers, Zumba is an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health. And Zumba is not a fad either. Since its inception in 2001, Zumba has grown to become the world’s largest – and most successful – dance-fitness programme with more than 12 million people of all shapes, sizes and ages taking weekly Zumba classes in over 110,000 locations across more than 125 countries.

A ‘Fitness Party’ founded by accident

The story goes that Zumba was founded by accident in the mid-‘90s by Alberto “Beto” Perez, a struggling aerobic instructor in Columbia. One day having forgotten his traditional aerobics music, Beto had to improvise his own mix of music from tapes he had in his backpack (salsa and merengue music he grew up with). The ensuing steps focused on letting the music move oneself (instead of counting reps over the music). The movements were so riveting and infectious, that his class loved it, and its fame spread like wildfire – thus a revolutionary new fitness concept was born. Beto soon introduced Zumba into USA, and then into Japan. It was introduced into Malaysia four years ago when Beto hand-picked and trained a number of Zumba instructors.

RITMO ZUM

The good news is in Malaysia, Ritmo Zum, which is derived from Zumba, is being taught at all Celebrity Fitness studios. And one person who wants to ensure that this phenomenal dance-fitness stays that way is Sunny Cheong, 32, who has been teaching this dance-fitness programme at Celebrity Fitness outlets for the past four years. Natural Health gathered more info about this dance-fitness revolution recently at Celebrity Fitness, Mid-Valley outlet.

What makes Ritmo Zum so appealing?

Ritmo Zum is all about ‘fun’. It incorporates a fusion of many Latin-based dance styles like calypso, free-style, merenge, salsa, cha-cha, reggaette, and even belly-dance steps to make it exteremely appealing. We make the steps so easy for anyone to pick-up. It’s open to all age groups. Our youngest student is 18 years old while the oldest is 80 years old.

How is Ritmo Zum different from other Fitness workouts?

I don’t think Ritmo Zum is like any other fitness workout. Workout sounds too boring and repetitious. Ritmo Zum, as I mentioned earlier, is all about fun. It is a high-and low-impact dance and not a high-intensity fitness, like aerobics for example. It is also different from hip-hop, techno, or tribal dance steps. It’s purely Latin based. People who love Latin music would surely love the programme. After two or three weeks of classes, one can easily follow the steps which are repeated for two to three months before we change the tracks and steps. And within this time frame, students are able to see the difference in their fitness level.

Ritmo Zum is all about interval training where we interchange between fast tracks for four to five minutes followed by slow tempo music. Within the steps we also slot in lunges. Mind you, these free-flow movements can burn up to 500 calories for an hour class. That’s almost like burning-off calories through fast aerobics.

How many Ritmo Zum classes are taught in Celebrity Fitness?

We have four fully-trained Ritmo Zum instructors conducting seven Ritmo Zum classes per week here. Each class attracts almost 70 to 80 students with evening classes pulling in more after-office workers to let their hair down and have some fun.

What’s your background and what do you like about teaching Ritmo Zum?

I am a qualified mutimedia designer and have been lecturing in a design college in PJ for the past eight years. I love teaching and used to conduct fitness classes for another fitness centre part time. When I chanced upon Beto and Zumba four years ago, I was hooked, and haven’t stopped since.

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