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Month / July, 2014

7 Reasons You Aren’t Losing Weight With Zumba

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image-208-origRight off the bat I would like to declare that I am a fan of Zumba. In fact, I’ve recently begun taking a zumba class here in New York City two times a week after discovering the studio/class during New York Dance Week.

In case you’re not familiar with New York Dance week, it’s a little over a week, and hundreds of dance studios allow folks to check out their classes for free. I actually checked out two zumba classes held at different studios that week and decided on the one I’ve been attending for reasons I’ll cover in just a second.

I had done zumba before through the workout videos where the guy with the accent and the interpreter get on a very nightly colored stage and dance to different genres of music for approximately five minutes each. The videos were pretty cool but it wasn’t something I was crazy about, the way many Zumba devotees praise their method of training.

I just like to switch up my routine, and an hour of the zumba videos did leave me sweating – mission accomplished.

The zumba class that I attend now was completely packed my first day, and every day I’ve attended since then. I’ve also gotten a chance to chat with a few of the women and was surprised that many of them had been doing Zumba faithfully for months!

The problem is, they didn’t have much to show for their hard work. Before you take offense, I obviously understand that just because someone is not a size 2, doesn’t mean they haven’t made any progress. Who knows where they could have been coming from right?

No one understands this more than me. I am specifically talking about women who have been dancing Zumba multiple times a week over a long period of time who complain about not losing any weight – but coming back anyway because class is in their own words, addictive.

Perhaps you can relate?

Zumba is really fun and doing the live classes with a bunch of other folks really creates a sense of community, but what’s the point in paying for a workout program if you aren’t getting the results you want?

 

ZUMBA AND WEIGHT / FAT LOSS

If you put in a search on the internet for zumba and weight loss, you’ll find countless stories from women who have lost weight using Zumba as their only method of exercise. Clearly, it is possible to lose weight with this program. After all, it’s cardio – and cardio burns fat and will assist you in losing weight by allowing you to burn more calories than you ingest.

So the immediate answer to the question of whether you can lose weight with zumba is, yes!

However, that being said there are reasons why someone might find themselves plateauing or even gaining weight from just doing Zumba alone.

 

1. You’re not working hard enough 

I see it all the time in the classes I’ve attended – people with low energy, doing modified steps, taking long bathroom or water breaks, etc. If you’re doing a half-assed job of working out, just know that you’re not burning nearly half as many calories that you think you are.

 

2. The Zumba Teacher Sucks / Lacks Energy

As I mentioned, I tried out two different studios offering zumba. The second class I tried was at the infamous Alvin Ailey dance studio. The class was huge compared to the studio I currently attend, but the instructor was not nearly as motivational or energetic as he could have been. Perhaps it was a long day or something, but the energy of the teacher as well as his/her choreography is going to make a world of difference in the results you can expect.

If the choreography is way too complicated, you’re going to be spending most of your time flubbing steps than actually burning calories. If your teacher is modifying the steps, it’s unlikely that you and your fellow dancers will choose to do the advanced version to push yourself. It all starts at the top!

 

3. The Group / Class Dynamic

Additionally, the overall energy of the class is important to your success. If your class is full of beginners or people who are not very fit, it’s likely your instructor will try and cater to the majority of the participants and do simpler moves. You’re better off finding a more advanced class with folks at a fitness level more in line with yours or higher that will challenge you.

 

4. Over-estimating the Calories Burned

The very first day of class my teacher proclaimed, are you ready to burn 800 calories? My face immediately distorted as I know the amount of effort it takes to burn 800 calories is quite significant. Sure, we burn a lot of calories dancing but not anywhere near 800 in my one hour class that includes a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down.

If you are being told you are burning 800 calories and go home and eat as though you actually are, be prepared to not lose a single pound – and probably even gain a few. Remember, you need a calorie deficit and in order to figure that out you have to be accurate about not only the calories you are eating, but the energy you are burning.

 

5. Your Body Adjusts

Zumba is great and all, but the thing with any workout that we do all the time, your body adjusts. It gets more efficient at doing things you require it to do often (we’re awesome like that). If you are not incorporating other workouts and challenging your body in other ways, or your instructor is not modifying their routines often enough, rest assured that you burn fewer and fewer calories every time.

 

Is this your pre workout meal that you've earned?

Is this your pre workout meal that you’ve earned?

6. You Haven’t Addressed Your Diet

Remember, that diet is key to weight/fat loss (80%), while exercise is only approximately 20%. For some people, intense cardio makes them feel entitled to eat a feast because they’ve earned it. We’re not talking about feasting on protein and vegetables either. If you end each class with a celebratory cheesecake, don’t be shocked if the weight isn’t falling off you. One fast food meal (even from the kiddie menu) alone could wipe out your exercise efforts / calories burned.

You must, must, must address your diet to lose weight. There’s simply no way around it.

 

7. You Might Have Water Retention

You know I love the subject of water retention. In fact, my new book “How to Lose Water Weight –  ” is almost complete and is slated to come out next month. I’m excited for you all to read it, but I digress.

In the book I talk about something called the whoosh affect, also known as dieter’s edema. This is when after a while of cutting calories and working out to create a deficit, the body retains a large amount of water that hides your fat loss. Then, seemingly overnight one day you wake up a few pounds lighter, where you remain until your next whoosh occurs.

The point is that you may actually have lost weight because you’ve been doing everything right, but that weight loss is not visible on the scales because of water retention. There are many ways to get rid of water retention (I give 1 day, one week and two week plans in the book for when you need to shed water weight fast for an upcoming event), but if you’re not in a rush lowering sodium, drinking more water, cutting carbs and eating foods that act as natural diuretics is a good place to start.

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Skinny Doesn’t Equal Weak – Ask Kacy Catanzaro (Ninja Warrior)

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10547491_10152173023625925_4326358908783838735_nWant proof that being skinny and having a thigh gap doesn’t equal being weak, anorexic or unhealthy? I give you Kacy Catanzaro.

Catanzaro is a five foot (5′) tall, 100 pound gymnast, leaving cross fitters, personal trainers, Navy SEALS, and the like in the dust by being one of the first women ever to qualify for the season finals of the obstacle course show, The American Nina.

 

The division 1 gymnast, who won division of the year, displays incredible qualities of strength, body control, stamina and power despite her small frame in the video below.

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You vs your Jeans – How women put on tight jeans Video

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maxresdefaultYikes!

I’m sure the viral video (How women put on tight jeans) making the rounds on the internet has been shared hundreds of times because so many women can relate!

The struggle is very real (especially for my pear shaped ladies) and no amount of vanity sizing, which is the unstated theme of the video, is going to change the fact that you’re not the actual size you might want to be!

Sure, those jeans might say size zero but what do you care if when you see a woman who is a real size zero (wearing a 00) reminds you that you’re only deluding yourself? Do you still feel better about your body?

Look, I’ve been in the position of the woman in the video and I know firsthand that it doesn’t have to be this way! You don’t have to engage in a battle of epic proportions to slip into a pair of pants (only to have the thighs rub out in a few weeks or the back split open when you bend down). Don’t even get me started on the amount of butt cracks I’ve seen on women in my every day observations. It’s shameful and embarrassing! Not even plumbers sport butt cracks anymore and that was their thing.

 

The way I see it is you have one of three options

Option 1: Give in to the fact that you are not willing to do what it takes to lose the weight and buy bigger sized pants that fit. You’ll be doing everyone, including yourself, a favor!

Option 2. Become well versed on the clothing companies that cater to vanity sizing. Buy that size 24 waist jeans but when you’re thumbing through the rack and realize that in order for a size 24 to fit you, new sizes such as 00 and xxs are now options, you won’t be able to kid yourself for long. You also won’t be comforted by the fact that your body/shape is still not where you want it to be at the end of the day.

Option 3. Do something (like join the thousands of women who have bought one of my best selling books – The Thigh Gap Hack or Bye Bye Thunder Thighs) to lose the fat/weight so that you can buy the actual size you are proud to wear, whether that be a 2, 4 or 6, without giving yourself rug burn trying to scoot into your clothes on a daily basis… or buy the smallest vanity size and still feel great about the way your body actually looks in the mirror and to others.

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