Review: Zumba Fitness DVD

My latest fitness love affair is Zumba, the hip-wriggling Latin-inspired dance class that seems to be sweeping the world with a swiftness that swine flu would envy.

Alas with my kickboxing schedule I can only make one Zumba class per week, so I'd been stalking these Zumba DVDs for months. I decided not to buy them as my workout DVD collection is out of control… but then I got an email out of the blue from the Zumba PR person asking if I wanted to try them. Maybe they had hidden cameras in my room and caught my longing gaze?

I spent the next SEVEN WEEKS trying to decide whether or not to sell out*. Gareth cackled at the gradual crumbling of my lofty ideals. Finally I caved and said, "DUDE. Surely after 9.5 years of blogging I can get a little something?".

Yes folks, turns out I can be bought for the low price of £39.98 plus postage and packaging – a.k.a. the Zumba Fitness® DVD Kit. It contained:

  • Zumba Fitness® Basics
  • Zumba Fitness® Cardio Party
  • Zumba Fitness® 20-Minute Express
  • Zumba Fitness® Sculpt & Tone
  • Zumba Fitness® Total Body Transformation Guide
  • Two Zumba Fitness® Toning Sticks
  • Zumba Fitness® LIVE! Workout

Zumba Fitness Basic DVD Kit
At first I thought Zumba was a poor man's BodyJam class, but it has grown on me. Most of all because it is very inclusive. There is a genuine feel of "anybody can join this party". In my Saturday class everyone laughs and grins the whole way through. There are people of all shapes and sizes and ages. There is no posing. There is no demand for perfection. In fact there's not even much in the way of instruction – you just kinda bumble along and find your own style and let the music move you.

There is, however, a nerdy part of me that wants to do things correctly. How exactly am I meant to shake my hips? Where are my feet supposed to be? WTF Salsa?

The Zumba Fitness® Basics DVD has quenched that thirst for knowledge. It's an hour long and goes through all the basic Zumba moves, breaking each one down into three stages. You start out basically moving your feet to get the rhythm then they add on the trickier bits. LOVE.

Then you move on to the Zumba Fitness® Cardio Party, an hour long session. If you go to classes you'll recognise all the tunes. The best thing about this DVD is that if you forget how to do a move, there's an option to pause the workout and pop up a little reminder sequence from the Basics DVD. Very handy.

Zumba Fitness® 20-Minute Express is a good cardio workout if you're pressed for time. Zumba Fitness® Sculpt & Tone is great fun – a simple total body strength workout with serious rhythm. I felt like a twit using the Toning Sticks – they're bright green and you shake them like maracas! I just could not get coordinated… doing a bicep curl and shaking my hips at the same time!? But after a few attempts I got the hang of it and now like to shake my butt like I'm in a trashy music video. I can feel my muscles getting a workout when I concentrate and really put my all into it, but I think I could upgrade to some dumbbells in place of the Toning Sticks to get a more intense workout. Then again dumbbells don't make maraca noises!

I didn't really look at the Zumba Fitness® Total Body Transformation Guide beyond a quick flick – it's basically a booklet with a workout plan to help you incorporate all the DVDs. There's a total beginners plan and a more advanced one. There's meal plans and some recipes and has a generally upbeat and not bossy diety tone.

My favourite DVD is probably the Zumba Fitness® LIVE! Workout because it's a live class. The crowd has svelte ladies in little outfits, old ladies, little kid and a few token blokes who seem to be going the wrong way – it captures the all-inclusive, hyper party, bordering on cult-like atmosphere of a real Zumba class. It has the best energy of all the DVDs so I seem to get the most intense workout out of this one.

Requirements: A good pair of trainers. A fluid pair of hips. And not a huge amount of space – you mostly travel side to side movement rather than forward/back so I'm doing it in a patch of living room about three metres wide (let me measure and get back to you!). 

Woman Criticisms:

  • I can see me geting a little bored with the music as it's the same tunes from the class and some of the DVDs have the same tunes as each other. But will live with that for the novelty of being able to do Zumba in my own home.
  • The female instructors are lovely and their instructions are pretty clear. However I cannot stop looking at their abs. Honestly, there is one woman with this gorgeous curly hair and the most amazing stomach and I spend half the workout shouting at the telly "How can you exist? How do you DO that with your hips?". I should hate her but I just want to audition to be her adoring and slightly pathetic sidekick. She's very distracting.

Recommended for:

  • beginners looking for FUN cardio – but you need to be patient while you learn the steps. You have to let go of perfection and just enjoy the music!
  • Zumba veterans – if you want a backup for when you can't get to class and/or you want an encyclopedic knowledge of the steps.
  • anyone who likes to shake their booty!

Overall verdict: A great set of DVDs that I will be using for years to come.

Zumba Fitness® DVDs are available from I received a Zumba Fitness® DVD Kit and was under no obligation to review but decided to do so of my own free will. I received no other compensation. Blah blah blah legal schmegal. This is why I don't sell out too often 🙂

* N.B. This is just my own view – I'm not against giveaways and bloggers getting free stuff! I just personally find the whole process really uncomfortable!

ETA: Here's a USA link for the Zumba DVDs.

35 thoughts on “Review: Zumba Fitness DVD

  1. I started Zumba class last week and am instantly hooked, it’s such a giggle isn’t it? Cannot wait for 7.30 tomorrow to come when I can go again and pretend to be some kind of Beyonce/Shakira/JLo hybrid!

  2. Your dumbbells will make maraca noises if you tape yoghurt containers of rice onto them. Primary school arts and crafts!!

    I want to try this when my pesky ileal whatsit is better. Until then, I’m not supposed to do cardio that involves too much twisting. 🙁

  3. I love the promise of Zumba yet havent tried it yet.
    dvd or class.

    Ive I get me a ticket to you will we Zumba a deux?

  4. I’m curious about Zumba. I first heard about it from a Japanese online friend (remember when they used to be penpals…) and I corrected her English, thinking she meant Rhumba!!! Ooops.

  5. You’re not selling out, had you absolutely loathed them, but then gave them a good review because they were cheap…then you’d be a sell out. Instead, you are just being informative to the masses.

    Free stuff makes the blogosphere go ’round.

    I have to say I seem to be the lone person unfazed by Zumba, my gym doesn’t offer them, nor have I ever seen their infomercials…but now you’ve peaked my interest.

  6. I’m so glad you reviewed as I’ve been thinking about buying these dvds for a while now – since I saw an infomercial for them. I think it’s a shame you can’t buy the dvds one at a time instead of springing out for the whole set at once.

  7. Three (3) people so far on Facebook have told me that zamba is spelled with a U. Even after I told them that zamba is an Argentine folk dance danced to slow music where the man and woman circle each other waving handkerchiefs. That´s how big a craze zumba clearly is in the UK!

  8. Thanks for this. i live somewhere where the Zumba craze will not arrive until 2013, so this is my only option if so inclined. Your review was useful.

  9. I did Zumba. Personally, I found it a bit lame. Give me proper hip hop booty shake any day. (But I did like the “jump jump spanky spanky move, that was heaps fun)

  10. I love Zumba! At my gym we have a class called H2Z, it is Zumba in the warm water therapy pool. It is awesome, and much easier on my knees.

  11. Coming back from work I went in the corner shop. They had some new stock in which was included some Nutella and Go (don’t know if you get them in Scotland, (I am in Spain) its a chocolate spread snack dip thing. The thing after reading your book I could never see nutella without remembering you. In particular I remember the incident when you were young with your friend’s pack lunch, it always makes me feel so sad! I have always wanted to hug that child. Anyway, that made me pass by and see what was happening with your blog. Sounds good about the Zumba classes. I need to do some more exercise. I have actually basically come to the end of my own diet journey (perhaps a few kilos more?), I have some new before and after pics if you want a look. Hope I don’t end up in a herbal chinese miracle tea advert! You left me a couple of comments in my old blog years ago, it was before your book. Anyway, I will be back for a nosey in your blog. I will have a look on youtube at that zumba thingy, take care X

  12. honestly shawna–i think you must be channeling me or something. you mind knocking it off–it’s kinda creepy.

    but seriously, i have an old friend from highschool who has been trying to get me to go zumba with her for a year but our schedules don’t match. THEN this past sunday i catch literally the last 4 minutes and 56 seconds of the information and now your latest post. the zumba gods MUST be trying to tell me something…so–sell out or not, who am I to ignore the “signs”…LOL!

    sunny LBC

  13. Great review on Zumba. I have a couple of friends who enjoy it so much and have invited me to attend. Unfortunately, I do not have a gym membership to their gym. I so appreciated your review. Money is tight and looks like getting some of these dvds is a good option.

    Great post.

  14. Thank you for posting this review. I have been on the fence aoout getting this and now I am sure I will before much longer. I really wanted to know that it was fun enough to keep ones interest and worked to some degree. Thanks again!

  15. Thank you for posting this review. I have been on the fence aoout getting this and now I am sure I will before much longer. I really wanted to know that it was fun enough to keep ones interest and worked to some degree. Thanks again!

  16. I laugh and laugh at Zumba class. There is a song by Pitbull that I love the dance to. But I asked my instructor one day ..”Are we going to do the bulldog?”. She mentions it everytime I’m in class.

  17. I love Zumba, I do it twice a week at the gym. I have wondered if the DVD workout would be any fun or not. For me a lot of the fun is doing the class with a large group of people.

  18. Thanks for your comments groovers! I’ve not been online much so I’m a bit behind. They’re good DVDs but if you can get to a class, the class rocks… gotta agree with julie #21 🙂

  19. I’ve been a little short on cash so decided to do the at home workout. I have a treadmill and elliptical, and also go for a run when the weather is good enough. Out of all these I feel like these DVDs get me sweating the most, and heart beating the fastest. I’ve never been to a class though, so I’m curious as to which is better cardio-wise? I normally do the Cardio Party as my main workout.

  20. @Nicole – I seem to get a wee bit more out of the classes, maybe it's the teachers' enthusiasm or the crazy atmsophere OR i slack off a bit when i'm at home and no one is watching 🙂

  21. I loved Zumba classes but I just don’t do DVDs well. Especially now when it’s temperate and lovely outside. I’ll remember these for winter when I hate everything and can’t leave my house. 🙂

  22. The commercials make it look fun. Of course they continue to show the commercials 24 hours a day and don’t even have any stock available. I placed an order 3 weeks ago with zumbafitness dot com (where they claim there’s a “5-10 day” delay), then last week was told it would be another week or two but I was “at the front of the line” and then found out today it would be another 3 weeks before I would get it (and this is with paying for expedited shipping.) Considering that they flat out lie on their website, there’s no way I’m going to wait another 3 weeks when it probably won’t even come then. Very disappointed, going to try something else.

  23. I loved this Zumba program, but after a few months of daily repetition I got very very bored with the same few dvds and want some more variety. I COULD go to classes which I would prefer but I don’t always have the time to just bus there and do an hr of zumba then come back home and litreally lose like 3 hrs just for an hr of zumba lol. (Yes i cant drive and wud hate to since there’s a insane amt of crazy drivers) Maybe produce more dvds? 🙂

  24. i just bought the dvd system for Zumba last night. got suckered in by an infomercial. didn’t realize you had to pay 60 bucks flat out plus shipping. they made it seem like you could buy it for 3 monthly payments of 19.95. i’m also in a weekly zumba class, but felt like some extra practice at home would help

  25. Thanks for your review. I, too, got suckered in by the infomercial and ordered the set this morning. I’m really, really excited to give it a go!

  26. Loved your post about Zumba. I am new to Zumba and had real reservations about it. I am a runner, and you know us snobby runners 🙂 I knocked Zumba over and over. The upset in weather has kept me from putting my two year old in the stroller and running. I needed something. Yes, I feel like an idiot when I do the dvds, but that is the fun of it. It is so much fun, and you are right, there is no pressure to feel like you need to do the moves perfectly. You make it your own, and as with every workout, you get out of it what you put in. It was the best money I have spent in a long time. I am hooked!

  27. The energy of a class totally makes the difference when it comes to effort levels! 😀 I know I try harder when I’m in class, or even if I’ve got a friend over when I’m working out at home. You get lost in the fun and just put out more energy!

  28. Are you still doing Zumba? Did it change your body shape and how? I’m still on the fence. I’m afraid I’m just addicted to DVDs I never end up doing. I’m a runner also but I feel like I need a balance and some ab work to drop this baby belly I can’t seem to get rid of. Thanks.

  29. I love Zumba so much so that I decided to get get certified to become a group instructor. It has cost me a pretty penny but the idea of dancing possibly everyday for as long as my hips last is very motivating. I have to agree with you though, the music can become a little repetitive so hopefully when I get the hang of instructing a class I can bring in some new music and new dance moves. Country music… I know not very Latin but I go to this country club and the line dances are so much fun!!… I think like most people, I just want to “shake my butt like I’m in a trashy music video”… lol

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