She Tried It! Want To Push Past A Plateau? STRONG By Zumba Is The Challenge You Need

July 26, 2016  |  


Instructor Irena Meletiou and I drenched but feeling “STRONG” after class.

Remember that joyous and eclectic Zumba class I told you I took part in recently? Well, STRONG by Zumba is nothing like that.

I tried out the newest offering for fitness enthusiasts from the dance fitness company, and I will admit that I did leave feeling strong — but also feeling like I got my a– kicked. As I’ve said before, that’s not a bad thing…

Here is a little bit of background first: STRONG by Zumba is a class meant to have you move in sync with music as opposed to just doing the same dance moves and routines expected of you in traditional Zumba sequences. You literally move your feet, your arms and your entire body at a very quick speed to the music, which has been “crafted to drive the intensity in a challenging progression that provides a total body workout,” according to the Zumba website.

Having to stay on beat, or “in sync” with the music made the routine much harder to keep up with, making it the perfect challenge for anyone who is looking to move past plateaus and who feels bored with their usual workout routine. Knowing all of this, I was psyched to try out the class, which was being taught by Irena Meletiou at my favorite Zumba fitness club in the city: Z Club NY (301 East 57th St.). It was the first time the class was being taught at the club, therefore, it was sold out. Packed in the studio on a 93-degree day, I greatly underestimated the heat and the workout that was to come.

STRONG by Zumba II

Instructor Meletiou before class, breaking down what we needed to know about the workout.

You are literally in constant motion. Whether you’re jumping back into a Spider-Man plank, doing ski jumps or fast feet, there is no rest. Literally. Zero actual breaks. In the hour-long class, we did three to four full intervals with music that went up and down in pace before getting down and doing floor work. The latter included oblique twists, regular as well as side planks, and a whole host of other extensive core moves. I ended up sweating so much that I had to take my shirt off midway through class, joining a number of women who needed a reprieve from stifling clothing and heat while busting a move.

When I spoke with Meletiou after the class, she stated that after training to teach the class, her body changed in ways that she didn’t see coming. Despite not utilizing any sort of weights, resistance bands or the like, but rather, solely relying on body weight, she attested to the fact that you build muscle endurance. As a result, a toned and defined body that keeps burning calories even after you stop moving is what you can obtain from taking the class consistently.

I would recommend trying this new offering, STRONG by Zumba, because it’s a challenge I think many of us need to be pushed out of our comfort zones. Like working alongside a trainer, the class forces you to exert an insane amount of energy and strength out of a reserve that, if left to your own devices, you likely wouldn’t tap into. And while I love to leave a class sweaty and knowing that I got a good workout in, I didn’t foresee myself being drenched, exhausted, and a little (or a lot) stank after the fact. It was uncomfortable, but boy did I feel that burn — and end up loving it.

For those interested, you can see if it’s being offered in your area by using the class finder tool on the Zumba website. Because it’s new, many instructors are still being trained in it so there may not be many ready to go just yet. However, classes are already being offered for STRONG here in NYC. Check out a sneak peek of all that can be expected from this kick-ass class via the workout trailer below:

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