Q&A about Zumba® with its creator, Beto Perez - and your chance to win a goodie bag worth £150

To celebrate the release of Zumba® on DVD and digital download, Mumsnetters had a rare opportunity to ask the creative genius behind the Zumba® programme, Beto Perez, their burning fitness questions 

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For those of you that haven't been awake for the last decade heard about the revolutionary exercise craze - this is how the team at Zumba® describe the programme:

"It's fun, effective and best of all? It's made for everyone. People from all around the world have joined the fat-burning dance fitness party and achieved amazing results - and now it's your turn! In the new Zumba® DVD, Beto takes you through the essential moves to get you dancing yourself into shape."

So, take your mind on a trip to South America, unleash your best salsa moves and find out what Beto had to say below...

WIN! A Zumba® goodie bag - worth £150

Improving body confidence and fitness levels

Q: I'm completely unfit. Would doing a Zumba® DVD at home be a sensible starting point or should I try to find a fitness class with a qualified teacher who can correct me when I go wrong? (FluffyNinja)

Beto: You could do either, but maybe get a feel for the steps using the DVD. All Zumba® classes and instructors are very welcoming - but the DVD is a great place to start. We find that many people who take the classes have never exercised in the past; they were afraid or intimidated by the fitness centre setting. The Zumba® programme is exercise in disguise and that's why 15 million people have become fans - taking classes on a weekly basis. Many of them began with our DVDs.

Q: Truthfully, I have never Zumba'd (is that the correct term?). It looks loads of fun but, I'm quite self-conscious with my body and my serious lack of dance skills. Is there different levels of Zumba® for beginners, intermediate, experts? (sealight123)

Beto: Zumba® is for everyone. You'll find people with different abilities in a class but it's not a competition - ever. 

Q: I'd love to do Zumba® but don't have any natural rhythm. Could I still get fit through Zumba® or would it be pointless trying? (Theimpossiblegirl)

Beto: Yes, you most certainly can! It doesn't matter whether you're dancing in time or not - if you're moving, you're doing yourself some good. And for the record, I believe everyone has rhythm!


Can I still do Zumba® if...

Q: I'm looking forward to getting fit again after a hysterectomy. My doctors have told me I will need to wait six weeks before I do any sports or exercise. Will it be fine to start going to classes by then, or should I wait a little longer? (CopperPan)

Beto: I wish you all the best for a speedy recovery but your doctor is the best person to ask about returning to Zumba® 

Q: Is Zumba® safe in pregnancy? (sharond101)

Beto: It certainly can be, but you should check with your doctor.

Q: I'd like to try Zumba®, but as an out of shape asthmatic I am a bit embarrassed about having to stop to catch my breath. How intense are classes, and is it acceptable to pause for a moment during the class then carry on once recovered? (SinisterBumFacedCat)

Beto: The great thing about Zumba® is that no one is judging you and if you need to take a break, take a break. That said, I'd suggest you check with your doctor before starting any cardio exercise, then I'd definitely tell your instructor so they can keep an eye on you. 

Q:  How old would children need to be before starting Zumba®? I have a six-year-old, could she attempt it? (purplepandas)

Beto: Most definitely - I've seen six-year-olds pick it up faster than adults! Kids love copying the instructor and they're really good it.  

How much Zumba® should you do?

Q: How many Zumba®classes would I need to do a week in order to improve my fitness (and lose weight)? (Jinglebells99)

Beto: Everyone's different so it's difficult to give you specific advice - but three classes a week is a great starting point, and it wouldn't do any harm to brush up on your steps with the DVD. It has a breakdown of the steps for beginners but also a high intensity workout called Super Cardio Dance Party - start doing this at home and you'll soon be fitter.

Q: It is good cardio, but how can Zumba® also be a proper workout for the whole body? (Roseformeplease)

Beto: A Zumba® workout is very much a workout for the whole body. Most obviously the legs through dancing, but we layer in moves for the upper body, glutes and core too. Most people are having so much fun they don't realise how many muscles they are using at the time, but they soon see the results.

Q: For a moderate regular workout, how would you recommend combining Zumba® with other exercises? (NewToRenting)

Beto: We designed Zumba® to be a workout for the whole body so you don't necessarily need to combine it with other activities. That said, the more active you are the better you'll feel and three hours a week of activity is a pretty good level. 


Varying levels of difficulty  

Q: I've noticed that some people struggle with the timings for basic steps - would it be worth doing a 'real basics' at the start of the DVD (how to do the basic steps, some tips about moving hips, using opposites etc)? (Queenbean)

Beto: That's exactly what we've done with this DVD. It breaks the basic steps down at the beginning and the moves are very repetitive and easy-to-follow. That said, the beauty of the Zumba® programme is that it really doesn't matter how accurately you are dancing, our number one objective is for everyone to have fun. And once you are having fun, you'll relax and the right steps will come naturally.

Q: Would you bring out different levels of difficulty? For example, a more advanced one which could have more dance steps but in the Zumba® format of repetition. (Queenbean)

Beto: I designed Zumba® for all abilities and don't envisage creating more 'difficult' variants. The way I see it, people can increase the intensity of their workout by putting in more effort: take longer strides with your steps, get a bit lower with that lunge, really pump your arms. There's always more you can put in - the challenge should be upping the effort, not the complexity of the steps. 

Getting into the groove

Q: Does the choice of music used have any effect on level of difficulty, and could a slightly slower tempo help a beginner like me? (clopper)

Beto: The tempo changes in a Zumba® workout are essentially interval training. Generally the faster tracks are the ones where your heart rate will go up. The tempo doesn't really affect how easy the steps are - in fact we find that the more people enjoy the music, the easier they find it to grasp the steps. My advice is: don't think about it too much and enjoy yourself.  

Q: The UK Zumba® classes seem to use a lot of Latin/Miami pop music, often sung in English. Why not use more music from Latin American artists? (WelliesAndPyjamas)

Beto: The Zumba® programme is based on Latin and international rhythms - you'll generally find that 70% of a Zumba® class includes Latin rhythms and the other 30% is anything from hip hop and pop to Bollywood. The choice of music is up to the instructor. Being from Colombia, I favour Latin rhythms like Salsa and Reggaeton. My advice to you is to try a few different instructors - you'll definitely find one that plays music you like.


What equipment do you need at home?

Q:  I've seen people Zumba® in dance shoes, bare feet and old trainers - what's the best option to avoid injury? (Wolfiefan)

Beto: Naturally, I'd recommend some Zumba® shoes - they're designed to be comfortable and supportive, but also to allow you to pivot easily. 

Q: How much floor space is needed when doing the DVD? I'd really like to have a go but, as I'm living with family at the moment, unless I want an audience while Zumba-ing, I'll have to do it in my bedroom. (Syncope)

Beto: You really don't need that much space, we recommend about two to five square meters per participant. But the real question is: why do you care if there is an audience? Ask them to join in and have fun!

What to expect from a class?

Q:  Do you encourage instructors to make up their own dances within the Zumba® choreography? (Perrita)

Beto: Yes - we love it when instructors create their own choreography, using skills they have learned from their Zumba® Instructor training and the educational materials we provide through the Zumba® Instructor Network (ZIN). 

Q: What makes a good Zumba® instructor - is it being able to dance, fitness level etc? (Rollermum)

Beto: Great question! There is no stereotype for a Zumba® instructor - we have people from all sorts of backgrounds. You ultimately need a certain level of fitness/dance and the ability to showcase the steps. The real skill is being able to connect with people and get them moving - being a good educator is the key. You can find out more about becoming an instructor on our website.

The success of Zumba®

Q: I speak enough Spanish to recognise some lyrics, which really helps with steps. Have you ever considered adding some sort of glossary or useful word list to the Zumba® website, for non-Spanish speakers? (Puddock)

Beto: That's a great idea, thank you!

Q: Did you ever imagine that it would become so big and spread to so many countries? What was the moment where you thought: I'm onto something here? (redexpat)

Beto: We started out by selling DVDs and found many people would call us inquiring how to become an instructor. That's when I knew Zumba® was going to be a game-changer and DVDs have remained a key part of our world. 

Q: The WII Zumba® version has the classes taking place in interesting places like on a yacht in Miami or a New York rooftop. Where would your perfect class location be? (LoisWilkersonsLastNerve)

Beto: I am fortunate enough to have travelled the world teaching Zumba® classes in so many types of locations - from movie sets, to rooftops, to huge concert halls. But my favourite place to teach is in my dance studio in Miami, teaching my local students who have been attending my classes for years. It's a complete comfort zone and keeps me at my roots.

Kickstart 2016 with the new Zumba® DVD - find out more.


WIN! One lucky Mumsnetter will win a Zumba® goodie bag - worth £150.

Prize includes: a copy of the new DVD and full Zumbawear® outfit (including top, trousers and shoes).

To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the question below. 


Competition closing date: 20 February 2016



Last updated: over 1 year ago