In the gym we often come across people breaking a sweat while dancing their heart out and desperately trying to synchronize exotic movements. Yes, sweating it out does give you the feeling that you are successfully burning calories, all in an attempt to burn off those pounds one cha-cha at a time.
The real question is, are you really taking the right steps towards your goal both literally and figuratively?
Okay so here’s the real deal – Yes you do burn calories when you do Zumba or any other aerobic activity. But we have to understand that it is a form of cardio, a substitute for the treadmill, elliptical or just about any other cardiovascular activity. Although grinding in that dance class while sweating profusely, or cycling away without going anywhere in a spinning class with full vigor is what seems to give you some sense of satisfaction, of having put in a great effort. But here are several reasons why you need to re-consider your routine:
- It doesn’t serve your goal
Although cardiovascular activities increase your stamina, endurance and so on, they have limitations. It does not play a significant role in your fat burning/muscle gaining capacity, so it certainly does not serve the purpose we wish it to.
- More distractions, less focus
During these classes, we are focused more on trying our best to synchronize choreography with the teacher and not so much on our own progression. Often, we get more focused on admiring those with their perfect groove on, and suddenly our goal moves towards getting better at dance, so fitness takes a backseat then and there. If you really want to get in a better shape, stop doing such group sessions and focus on your own self, be your own competition, and focus independently on your goal instead.
- Lifting makes more sense
Performing any exercise uses glycogen stores as the primary source of fuel for energy. Glycogen is a formation of long chains of glucose molecules stored in your muscles and liver. The same goes for cardio as well, doing cardio will deplete the glycogen stores in the muscles, which eventually gets compensated with the post workout meals that we have. On the other hand, when we focus on weight training, there are two major factors that come into play:
- Muscle breakdown
- Catabolic and Anabolic windows
When we lift weights, or perform any sort of resistance training like push-ups, our muscle cells are broken and damaged in the process and this puts the body in the catabolic window, where it is under stress. When we stop putting the muscles under pressure, this process stops and the body begins to heal itself back. The healing and the formation of new cells or repairing the damaged ones is known as the anabolism. According to research, the anabolic window after a weight training session can last up to 72 hours! This means that we are burning calories even at rest as compared to zumba/spinning that has no credibility whatsoever in this scenario, because the TUT (time under stress) for muscles is far less than that of resistance training.
- No gender bias involved
Many women believe that they should stick to relatively more feminine exercise routines like swaying their hips rather than curling their biceps. However, weight training doesn’t deserve the bad press that it has been getting. In fact, unlike cardio, it is even responsible for enhancing a woman’s curves. If you are a female and you lift weights, it is going to give you the following advantages-
- Tone your muscles, without giving them a manly appearance
- Burn fat
- Improved hormonal health and stability
- Increase the strength of your ligaments, bones, and overall muscular endurance.
We also need to understand that over-doing of any cardio will surely take a toll on your joints in the long run. When spending an eternity on the treadmills, the only thing you gain is a false sense of satisfaction which virtually amounts to no results at all. Spending on a gym membership is not enough, your time and effort also need to be utilized efficiently and channeled in a proper direction. Now if you are casually attending the Zumba class in your gym for fun, then by all means go ahead. But if you are someone who is looking to get fitter, I hope this article has helped to put things in the right perspective.
Author Credits -Vedang Deshmukh