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Kimberly Tenner
November 29, 2019

Zumba vs. HIIT

Zumba vs. HIIT

Zumba and HIIT are two popular exercise programs sweeping through gyms and rec centers around the world.

Both have proven to be effective in helping millions lose weight and tone muscle.

But which one is right for you? Let’s take a look behind each to see which will benefit you most.

Zumba – The Dance Fitness Party

Zumba was created by Alberto “Beto” Perez in the late 1990s.

One day, before walking into the step aerobics class he taught, Perez realized he’d forgotten his music. Instead, he used the only cassette he had.

It was Latin music he’d taped from the radio. According to an interview in Reader’s Digest, Perez said, “I improvised, and that was the beginning of Zumba.”[1]

Today there are over 5 million people taking Zumba classes every week. Multiple classes, 10 in all, are offered by certified instructors. Below are some of the most popular available:

Zumba, the original dance fitness party, combines Latin and international beats with easy-to-follow rhythmic movements.

Zumba Toning utilizes lightweight, maraca-like toning sticks to sculpt muscles.

Zumba Gold is designed specifically for older adults with modified, low-impact moves.

Zumba Kids focuses on teaching kids (ages 7-11) to be comfortable with themselves while incorporating age-appropriate dance moves.

Zumba prides itself on a sense of community and fun. But while it may feel more like a party than a workout, it’s proven to aid weight loss.

In a story related to CNN, Ashlee Tomsche took Zumba classes for a year and lost 123 pounds and more than 10 inches from her waist.[2]

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

Zumba vs. HIIT

HIIT is an advanced form of interval training, strategically alternating between intense bursts of anaerobic exercise and less-intense recovery periods.

An example of HIIT would be sprinting for as hard as you can for 1 minute, then walking for 2 minutes and repeating.

According to Shape Magazine, you can experience some of these benefits from HIIT workouts:[3]

• HIIT helps you lose weight while retaining and building muscle

• HIIT can be done on your own time and fits into busy schedules

• HIIT ups the challenge for more serious athletes and dieters

• HIIT promotes a healthier heart and boosts energy

Popular among athletes, HIIT burns fat and calories at an accelerated rate for fast results. Clinical studies have shown HIIT exercises improve exercise performance and muscle buffering capacity.[4]

Zumba vs. HIIT

Zumba and HIIT, while both support weight loss, each technique offers unique benefits.

Zumba offers a fun, low-stress weight loss experience; HIIT has an intense focus on sculpting muscle through challenging exercises.

The decision is ultimately up to you, but if you’re having a hard time deciding, try both.


[1] “Meet the Man Behind Zumba: Beto Perez.” Reader’s Digest. Available from:

[2] “Zumba Helps Woman Drop 123 Pounds.” CNN. Available from:

[3] “8 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training.” Shape. Available from:

[4] Gibala, M. J. “Short-term Sprint Interval versus Traditional Endurance Training: Similar Initial Adaptations in Human Skeletal Muscle and Exercise Performance.” The Journal of Physiology 575.3 (2006): 901-11. Web.

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