A lot of people have great things to say about dance fitness. However, there is a perception that while dance fitness is fun, it is not meant for those chasing serious workout goals. To understand how true this is, we caught up with our Dance Fitness Master Trainer & Expert, Shwetambari Shetty.
Let’s dive straight in!
Dance fitness is our most popular workout. It’s a hot favorite. To help those who are not familiar with this workout, can you explain what it really is?
It is simple, it’s easy and most importantly, it’s fun. Every time people ask me where they can kick-start their fitness journey, I normally tell them to start with something they thoroughly enjoy. And, that often tends to be dance fitness for the simple reason that everyone loves music and almost everyone loves to dance.
A 30-minute session can burn nearly 130-250 calories depending upon your pace.
I often hear people say after a dance fitness class ‘Oh, this was so much fun’. This fun element keeps them going back for more, what happens in the bargain is they burn a lot of calories.
That sounds like a lot of fun and I guess it makes a great workout for beginners. What are some of the health benefits or fitness goals that one can associate with Dance Fitness?
Though dance fitness seems like an easy format to get started, don’t under-estimate the power of this simple yet fun workout. Dance fitness classes are intricately planned by incorporating challenging movements and directional variations. This helps you engage your various muscle groups and gives you a holistic workout.
As you keep attending dance fitness classes consistently for at least two weeks, you will start noticing that your stamina has increased, your cardiovascular endurance has improved, and you generally feel like you have a lot more energy to do things. Also, like with any other typical cardiovascular activity, dancing burns an immense lot of calories. By around 1-2 months you will see a great amount of weight and fat loss happening.
Another noteworthy point is that someone new to the fitness world will find classes like HRX and SnC to be monotonous and challenging. It will also give them a lot more soreness than a typical dance class. But with dance fitness, this is not the case. People come back for the fun elements, and stick to it, hence witnessing tremendous weight loss.
What is also important to note is that to see results, one has to get addicted to workout, which may be tougher with a format like HRX or SnC classes for beginners.
There is a notion that Dance Fitness is great for women. Is it really just for women? Who all can benefit from this workout?
Essentially, all workouts at cult.fit are simple and easy to follow for people of all age groups and across genders. However, as dance workouts don’t involve a huge amount of soreness (unlike HRX and SnC), and as you get to move at your own pace and comfort, they make a great fit for beginners and this is definitely not just for women!
Dance fitness gives beginners the adrenaline rush like no other workout and gets them hooked to exercising. So, if you are a beginner, I would say that you stick to a few dance fitness classes at-least once or twice a week for at least a month, witness the change for yourself, and then switch to something else if you prefer.
Essentially, as dance fitness is ideal for first-timers, they are also thought to be great for women. Since many women tend to work towards the goal of weight loss, they end up adoring dance fitness for the calorie-burn it provides alongside the enjoyment. But, that doesn’t mean it is a women-centric format.
As it is a self-scalable workout, absolutely anyone can take up dance fitness, regardless of age or fitness level. For instance, a 35-year old and a 45-year old or a highly sedentary and moderately active individual can be in the same dance fitness class. Even better, a lot of our trainers are men. So, in simple words, dance fitness is for everyone who wants to burn a lot of calories while having fun.
So when you say it’s as serious a workout even for someone at an advanced level. How does it help a person who is already at a certain fitness level?
Dance Fitness gets you panting and your heart pumping. And any activity that gets you panting or your heart pumping really fast is a cardiorespiratory workout.
Cardiorespiratory workouts are great for improving your cardiovascular and respiratory functionality. It improves your heart health and breathing pattern. To make this a bit more relatable and easier to understand, I will give you myself as an example here.
So, I have been actively exercising for nearly 10 years now, and I consider myself as someone who is in the advanced category. Dance is something I do now as a trainer but it has always been my go-to cardio workout.
The realisation that dance workouts can be a serious workout for someone at an advanced level came to me when I was competing in events like Cross.Fit open. During the event, I found that I could complete certain challenging workouts within record time.
Now, all the workouts in Cross.Fit open demand strength, basic gymnastic skills, and an immense amount of cardiovascular and muscular endurance without which sustaining throughout the challenge would be difficult. Cardiovascular and muscular endurance comes from workouts like boxing and dancing. Mine purely came from dance fitness.
So, I would advise that athletes or individuals at an advanced fitness level looking to step up their workout include 1-2 dance fitness classes to their schedule to reach their maximum potential.
By now we are convinced that dance fitness is a great cardio workout. Does it also play a role in strength and conditioning?
Your whole strength is categorized into muscular strength and muscular endurance. Muscular strength is something you build when you are lifting weights in HRX classes, while muscular endurance is how many repetitions you can lift.
For instance, let’s say two people — Person A and Person B are lifting 50 kg deadlifts. Now Person A does 10 lifts while Person B does 3, which means Person A’s endurance is way better than Person B’s.
Muscular endurance improves when you train your muscles to keep performing for a longer duration of time. And that longer duration comes with better cardio workouts.
In a typical dance fitness class, you will be doing squats and lunges to music. You do more repetitions, hence training your muscles and building endurance. So, you become capable of going on and on without stopping until your muscle says, “I am done”.
With all the music and dancing, it’s easy to forget that dance fitness is actually a workout. So, what are your top tips for people to get the most out of a dance fitness session?
If you have been attending dance fitness classes consistently (at least 3 times a week), you might have noticed that the playlist or the choreography don’t keep changing heavily. The primary reason for this is to help users become familiar with the music and the movements so they end up not looking at the trainer but focusing on perfecting their movements.
During the first few classes, half of your focus was on the trainer because you were new to the movements. But over time you got familiar with it. Once you get familiar with all the movements is when you should start putting your 100% and focus on making the maximum out of the dance workout.
To stay fresh with the times, dance fitness instructors often adapt their choreography and playlist. But often these changes are not entire. Most of the playlist and choreography are kept the same with only a few changes happening at a time. This ensures that newness is brought in and familiarity remains. Because familiarity allows you to focus on the range of movement with full energy, which is the best way to get the most out of the dance fitness class.
So, I would suggest that attend dance fitness classes every week 2-3 times in the first couple of months to get a hang of the movements and then stick to it at least once a week thereafter.
Are there any precautions one must take while doing a dance fitness session?
Dance is very dynamic. It involves a lot of work by the ankle and the knee joint due to the quick turns, the abrupt changes, and the overall movements. You have to keep on changing your laterals suddenly, and hence the chances of twisting your ankle or hurting your knee are higher, especially when it’s already on the weaker side. So, if your ankle or knee is weak, I recommend that you do more stable exercises, which are typically done in an HRX class. This is partly the reason why we suggest HRX classes to people who suffer from certain injuries but still want to work out. HRX involves very stable movements. So, users can stay away from doing heavily dynamic movements but still reap the benefits of working out.
So, if you suffer from pain and niggles that don’t go away in 3-4 days, then you should ideally stop dance fitness and go for another option like HRX. However, it’s okay for people with upper-body injuries like shoulder or muscle injury to dance.
Even if you are totally healthy, we ask people to take it slow for the first few classes. People generally get excited going to a dance fitness class and jump a lot when their body is not quite ready for it. So sometimes they end up hurting themselves.
Hence, during the first few classes try to take it slow, observe everything and don’t focus on sweating a lot, feeling tired, or burning thousands of calories. The rule of thumb when starting out is to observe what the trainer is doing and get the movements right slowly.
Lastly, what’s your advice for people who shy away from dance fitness because they are not confident about their dance skills?
It happens a lot. People don’t come into a dance fitness class just because they think they are pathetic dancers. I think it is fair enough. If you are really shy and don’t enjoy dancing, it’s okay that you choose another type of workout over dance fitness.
But, within your heart, if there is even the slightest desire to try dance fitness, but you are intimidated or worried about being judged, then I would say you should go ahead and give it a try. It’s not unusual for newbies to feel awkward and self-conscious. But the thing is, when you come to a dance fitness class, no one else is paying any attention to whether or not you’ve mastered the steps. Everyone is looking at the trainer, immersed in the music, looking at themselves, or enjoying the movements so deeply that they don’t care about the person next to them.
After a few classes, you’ll surely get used to the methods and start mastering the moves. So, why miss out on the immense lot of benefits dance fitness offer just because you are self-conscious!