EL PASO – Entering a room packed mostly with women can make some men feel threatened and realizing that they have to join in and exercise to the rhythm of sexy music can be even more intimidating.
“I was very very scared the first time because there were like 40 girls and I was the only man there,” said Marco Lopez.
That’s how Lopez, 23, described his first Zumba class at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Men are usually less attracted to aerobics classes for exercise and a class where all you do to work out is dance can become a big challenge for most men.
Zumba has become the newest trend in exercising. Created by Brazilian native Alberto “Beto” Perez, Zumba is a work out that combines different styles of dances like salsa, cumbia, samba, hip hop among others.
A few years ago Zumba fever hit El Paso. More and more dance studios and large chain gyms have been offering this classes to their members. Each year more el Pasoans are joining the party.
Linda Victoria Martinez, 19, has been taking Zumba classes for two months and it has been a life changing experience. “I have been able to lose weight, meet new people and I also get to dance!” said Martinez.
Although having a Zumba class full of people is a typical day for Martinez, she also notices the lack of male presence in the room. “Today Marco was the only men in the class,” said Martinez.
“I’m not a good dancer, so I do not like to dance,” said Jesus Enriquez, 22, and like him most men avoid classes like this because they feel out of their comfort zone. “Actually I tried it once and I did not like it,” said Enriquez.
Julie Song has been a Zumba instructor for over a year and has witnessed the little interest men have in taking Zumba classes.
“I think they think that this type of exercise is only for women. Men prefer high impact exercises,” said Song.
Men prefer to exercise their bodies doing “manly” work outs like weights.
“I think is a waste of time, I rather to do other things to exercise,” said Enriquez.
Even though most men agree with Enrquez’ opinion some like Lopez like to dance and use Zumba to lose those extra pounds.
“I am not a gym person, so I joined this class because I thought it was going to be a lot a fun and it would help me lose weight,” said Lopez.
Zumba is described as a workout that works all the muscles of the body doing simple and strategic choreographies to the beat of the music. But sometimes those movements can be difficult to follow.
“You feel stupid when you don’t know the moves and the instructor stands in front of you and is trying to teach them to you,” said Lopez.
And even more challenging, for men in this case, is shaking their booties in front of a room full of ladies. “Men are shy to dance in front of girls,” said Martinez.
Some women think it’s a good idea for men, who have trouble coordinating their moves, to join Zumba and improve their dancing skills.
“It’s a good thing men are joining Zumba classes, that way they can actually dance at the club and not just stand there,” said Martinez
In addition to the health benefits that Zumba provides, Lopez also says that is a good way to meet girls. “You get to see many girls plus they’re dancing,” said Lopez.
Even though Zumba is dominated by females, men should not eliminate these classes as an exercise option. The benefits for women and men speak for themselves.
“It’s a fun way to melt down calories and get fit effectively,” Song said.
Whether they are dragged in by their wives or girl friends or are attempting it on their own, some men are learning to forget their feelings of intimidation and are joining the Zumba party.
“I definitely recommend Zumba for men, not just to see the girls shaking their butts, but as a work out, it really helps you lose weight and you have a lot of fun,” said Lopez.