Zumba Toning Defining Fitness

Jacklyn Nowotnik

By Jacklyn Nowotnik – Managing Editor

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If only there was a way to get in the needed cardio and muscle toning workouts without spending hours on end in the gym every week. Luckily, the Zumba gods have a solution, it’s called Zumba Toning.

Zumba Toning combines the familiar rhythms and dance steps from Zumba fitness but adds the Zumba Toning sticks to the routine. The toning sticks are filled with sand and come in two weight sizes, one pound which is a green dumbbell and two and a half pounds which is a purple dumbbell. Zumba describes the weights as having “more ‘give’ than traditional hand weights and let you shake, rattle and rock your way to sexy, leaner muscles and a more sculpted shape.”

Zumba Toning is a fairly new type of Zumba, since YouTube released a video in early 2011 explaining the workout. Fortunately for students, Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) offers two classes for Zumba Toning with Pierre Cameron.

Cameron has been teaching Zumba Fitness for six years in various places around the city and has made a few TV appearances on WGN promoting Zumba. Cameron is certified to instruct basic one and two of Zumba Fitness, as well as Zumba Toning. He is currently getting certified to instruct Zumba Sentao and hopes that like Zumba Toning, Zumba Sentao will be provided at NEIU.

Cameron hopes “that they [the people in his class] find that after all the dancing they’ve done, there’s actually a result which is perhaps inches and weight loss, as well as a boost of energy.”

The Zumba Toning class that Cameron teaches on Tuesday from 12-12:50pm is smaller in number compared to the other Zumba classes offered at NEIU’s Physical Education (P.E.) Complex, but the class is just as sweat worthy as the others. Cameron’s class is a mix of Zumba fitness and Zumba Toning, and he alternate between routines using the Zumba Toning sticks.  At first, one may find themselves just trying to keep up and coordinating body movement with toning techniques, which can be a bit frustrating at times. However, once one establishes a rhythm with the movement and gets comfortable using the toning sticks, it’s all cardio fun from there on out.

In between one of the routines, Cameron mentioned that some people make the mistake of squeezing the sticks while working out instead of gripping them. He also said that while the sticks are very light, one must grip the sticks just enough to create the resistance the muscles need in order to benefit from the toning exercises.

Cameron’s classes will always start with a warm up, and then move into a few routines that increase heart rate. After that he will ask the group to pick up their Zumba toning sticks and that’s where the real work starts. At times the routine is too fun to notice that one is in fact toning their arms, legs and engaging their core muscles. Of course there are a few routines that really test your endurance and stamina, and you will likely not want to look at stairs after his class, but it’s all a part of the fun.

Music wise Cameron will use Pop, Salsa, Reggaeton, Merengue, Cumbia, Bollywood and African inspired songs to keep the excitement going, as well as incorporating dance moves specific to those genres of music.

Cameron has been teaching Zumba at NEIU for two semesters and plans to continue teaching Zumba for as long as NEIU will allow. He teaches Zumba Toning on Tuesdays at 12- 12:50pm, as well as at 7:30- 8:30pm in studio one in the NEIU P.E. Complex. The best part of all, NEIU students and faculty can dance their way to a more sculpted body for free as long as they present their school ID’s at the front desk in the P.E. Complex.

For more information on Zumba classes and group fitness, visit campusrec.neiu.edu