Fitness: Classes

By Louisa Emery on January 26, 2012 3:50 PM |

Zumba 142.jpgPounding the pavement and pumping iron isn'tfor everyone. If you need more a different kind of routine to make you get in your gym kit on, then classes can spur you on to get in shape.

Zumba Toning launches at Reebok Canary Wharf this month. The toning part refers to the addition of small hand held weights (toning sticks) the Zumba to the dance based workout set to Latin beats.

Instructor Akile said: "Zumba tones your whole body from your deltoids to your calves and bits you didn't know existed.

"Problem zones such as muffin tops, saddle bags, kangaroo pouches and that bit that hangs over the top of a boob tube get a good work out with Zumba.

Having avoided Zumba because I feared my coordination would let me down and being made to Rumba and Cha Cha Cha alongside a bunch of strangers made me cringe. So I was surprised by how much enjoyable the 45 minutes was.

Using the weights gave me something to do with my hands and the routines were fairly simple, easy to follow and a giggle rather than mortifying when I got in a muddle.

Akile said: "The average Zumba session can burn between 500 and 900 calories. We have seen some dramatic weight loss in the classes. I would recommend drinking coconut water and swapping three meals a day for six smaller ones if you are looking for ways to increase weight loss."

Reebok Canary Wharf is running 10 Zumba classes a week. There is a session on Wednesdays available to non-members.

Go to or

Puma Faas class220.jpg

Virgin Active's group exercise manager Gillian Reeve's said the popularity of Zumba has led the way for new trends in 2012.

She said: "The Zumba philosophy of fun with fitness as an additional benefit fits wholly with Virgin Active's goals and works perfectly for our members. This has led to there being more dance classes than ever on offer

to our members. People are looking for a community in their group exercise class, which drives a social environment in the classes and the clubs in general."

The club is launching a series of short classes this year including the Puma Faas class and Beaming.

The Faas (Jamaican for fast) class is based on three times Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt's training.

Gillian said: "Traditionally group exercise classes last between 45-60 minutes but this class will fit into people's busy schedules while providing them with a high intensity workout. The Puma Faas Class will help to maximise fat and calorie burning as participants are put through their paces, like an athlete."

I joined a Faas class at Virgin Active Canary Riverside and it was full of eager participants.

After a warm up we split into two groups and worked on drills relating to speed, agility and fitness.

Like Zumba this class is set to fast music but with this one you don't stop moving - hands on hips are banned and standing still is not an option.

By the end of the session red, sweaty faces dominated the room. The focus is on working as a team - a deal we sealed with a huddle and cheer.

Go to