Zumba has gained a cult like following because it’s fun, and it’s exercise. It can be hard to find those two things together.
Another reason why it has such a fanatic following is because of the claims that it makes in helping people lose weight, partially because of the supposedly sky high number of calories that it uses. There are hundreds of articles on the web right now addressing how many calories Zumba burns. The typical answer leads people to believe that it uses roughly 600-1000 calories an hour.
Our take on those figures? There's no way Zumba burns 1000 calories an hour! If that was the truth weight loss and staying in shape would be so easy!
Think about it; 1000 cals in an hour means that you are using nearly 17 a minute. In order for a person to expend that many doing Zumba, they would have to weigh about 325 pounds and be going at full intensity for the whole 60 minutes – not something many (if any) people can do; especially not a 325-pound person.
How many calories does Zumba really burn?
Women in an average weight range, say roughly 120-170 for estimation purposes, are going to burn between 350 and 650 calories in an hour of Zumba, if they go at full intensity through the entire class. The exact expenditure during a class depends on a number of different variables, including exact weight, muscle content, fitness level and more.
Don’t get me wrong, 350-650 an hour is nothing to scoff at, and every calorie matters when you are trying to lose weight. And not only are the Zumba calories burned worthwhile and significant, it’s also a fun way to get in your cardio without actually feeling like you’re working out.
We don’t think it’s fair, however, to lead consumers and health-conscious exercisers to believe that the caloric expenditure is astronomically high. If someone thinks that they have burned 1000 cals an hour during a workout, they might make food choices later on in the day because of that false sense of a deficit.
Yes, it is a great workout; it utilizes a good deal of energy and even provides a small toning benefit, but it does not burn 1000 calories!