HIIT or Zumba? What to Choose this Winter

My workout

Published on 1 December 2019
by Karen Laroche

A few weeks ago, I told you about my adventure when I attended a BodyPump class. Even though it took me a while to recover from this strength training class, I decided to give it another shot.

BodyPump is pretty much in my comfort zone since it primarily involves strength training, bar work, and functional movement. So this month, I was challenged to completely get out of my comfort zone and try...zumba class. I love challenges, so I couldn’t say no. Although the idea of having to dance in sync with several other people made me a bit anxious (coordination is not my strong suit!), the idea of an hour of non-stop Latin music seemed like an ideal solution to tackle the November blues slowly setting in.To prepare myself mentally, I did a bit of research. This is how the class is described: Zumba is a high-energy workout combining Latino dancing—salsa, merengue, reggaeton, and cumbia—to the simple moves of an aerobics class.

If you’re like me, these dance styles mean absolutely nothing to you and the idea of spending an hour in this class makes you a little apprehensive.Well, it was time to set those judgments aside and join an hour-long party, Latino style.

When I got to the workout room, I saw people of every size, age, and background gathered for the same purpose: to forget the winter gloom and get (back) in shape while having fun. Some people clearly had years of experience and others, like me, were a bit shy, but the atmosphere was great. Our instructor’s energy was contagious and she made me believe I could dance like Beyoncé if I came to the class often enough. Of course, this illusion faded after the first few songs...but the excitement didn’t leave the room for the next 55 minutes of the class.


Like many other group classes, you start with a dynamic warm-up and end with a cool-down.As for the workout part, it’s divided into songs, each with a different dance routine.For the most part, the choreography is learned through repetition and by example.This can be frustrating for beginners (like me!), but as the instructor told me after class, she reuses many of the same songs, so you can definitely improve!

One thing is for sure: I won’t be changing careers to become a zumba instructor. However, for working on my cardio in a fun way and changing up my routine, this class clearly works.Overall, this first class made a great impression on me: an hour in a room with people who want to have fun and dance to high-energy Latino music in an unintimidating atmosphere.So simple, and yet so impressive!



Karen Laroche
Kinesiologist with a Master in Exercise Science. Responsible for special training projects for the Énergie Cardio network

Karen was initially a trainer at the Énergie Cardio centre in Trois-Rivières. After completing her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in kinesiology, she opened her own CrossFit studio. She then moved to Montreal and took over the Énergie Cardio centre in Complexe Desjardins. Karen is now the centre’s head trainer and oversees all special training projects. In addition to her vast professional experience, Karen is also a distinguished CrossFit athlete.