Take the Zzzz’s out of your Workout with Zumba

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If you are finding your regular workout is becoming a bit dull, or you are looking to start getting in shape then you may wish to consider Zumba. Dance as a way to get fit is certainly not a new idea, and people have been shaking and shimmying off the pounds with salsa, tango, ballroom, belly dance, and even pole fitness and burlesque at gyms and dance studios up and down the country for years now. Zumba is the new kid on the block and this Latin-inspired, fast-pace workout, has spread like wildfire.

What is Zumba

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The aerobic dance form combines elements of belly dance, samba, salsa and merengue and turns them into a cardio workout that tones you up while you look cool (at least once you’ve get the steps down). The atmosphere at Zumba classes is quite different to your average aerobics session, as they have a real party atmosphere. In fact Zumba makes a great evening out with friends, I find that I have so much fun the it really feels more like a fun night out with the girls than a work out, and I’ve learnt a whole host of sexy new dance moves. Most classes are run in large groups, there tends to be a mix of people in terms of age, fitness level and experience. While some people will go in groups of friends, others will go alone so if you can’t round your mates up, you will be made to feel very welcome. You can read more about Zumba at zumba.com.

Refreshes Parts other Dances Can’t

As Zumba targets all of your muscle groups and works squats and lunges into the routines you will most certainly ache then next day but that soon wears off. Zumba teaches you to have better posture and works on your rhythm at the same time as it works on your abs, glutes, arms and thighs. I found that after a few weeks of classes I had started to notice a difference in my body.

Types of Zumba

I find that a regular Zumba class is enough fun to keep me interested, but if you feel that even this is getting a bit too repetitive there are lots of different Zumba variations you can give a try.

Zumba Circuits

If you are looking for something even more high energy then you might enjoy Zumba Circuits where you move between exercise stations to fast paced salsa music.

Aqua Zumba

This is a good choice if you are looking from something that has a lower impact as it takes place in water so puts less pressure on your joints. If exercise in public is not for you then there are now a range of Zumba DVDs that you can use at home and there is even a game for the Wii which is great to play at parties too.

I hope that this intro to Zumba has tempted you to give it a try. I’m Caitin and I am a dance and fitness nut. I’ve been Zumba dancing for about 10 months now. It took me a few lessons to really get into the swing of things but then I was hooked. I write for www.poledancingpoles.info when I’m not or hanging upside down on my pole which is my other dance passion. Let me know how you get on at our blog or on twitter at @poledancepoles. Zumba classes are offered at most gyms now, so it should be easy to find a class near you and get started.

Tofu Tips for Weight Loss

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Not many people know that tofu can help them to lose weight. While it may not look or seem appealing, tofu can be a great addition to your diet when used as a replacement for foods that are higher in calories. Silken-tofu, found in vacuum packs, is delicious when mixed in with creamy sauces and is also a terrific substitute for cheese. If you are looking to replace the meats in your diet, consider purchasing water-packed tofu instead. Experiment with the different types of tofu to find one that is right for your meal plans.

Why Does Tofu Work for Weight Loss?

Because tofu has high amounts of vegetable protein and is made with soy, it allows your body to feel full earlier in the meal. Tofu can aid your digestive system by helping your body to excrete any water weight that you may have had leftover.

For example, a 100 gram piece of grilled chicken breast contains 17 milligrams of calcium and 35 grams of protein. The same serving of water-packed tofu contains 204 milligrams of calcium and 10 grams of protein while a 100 gram serving of silken-tofu has 200 milligrams of calcium and 8 grams of protein. Because tofu has such high amounts of calcium, it is easy to see why tofu is a great replacement to your traditional meats and cheeses.

When comparing the calories in 100 gram portions of silken-tofu and water-packed tofu, the former contains 85 calories and the latter has 97 calories. On the other hand, a piece of chicken the same size has 187 calories.

How to Cook Tofu

Tofu may seem bland and boring to some people, but there are actually many ways you can cook it to add variety to your diet. For example, you can use silken-tofu to make a high-protein smoothie by blending it with fruits, yogurts and juices or you can make an entire dinner by stir-frying water-packed tofu with your favorite vegetables and sauces. If it is grilling season, consider making tofu kebabs with tomatoes, onions and peppers. Make sure you marinate the tofu for added flavor. You can also make a veggie burger out of tofu, vegetables, breadcrumbs and seasonings or substitute water-packed tofu in lasagnas or stews.

Tips to Remember

While tofu is high in calcium and protein, it is also relatively high in fat. It is this high fat content that helps the body feel full sooner, so you end up eating less at any given meal. There is actually more fat in water-packed tofu than there is in a 100 gram piece of chicken breast so if you are serious about losing weight, avoid combining tofu with other high-calorie foods. Also monitor your portion sizes and limit your tofu intake to two to three times per week to ensure that you are not consuming too much of it.

The best way to lose weight with tofu is to introduce it into your diet while maintaining a healthy exercise routine. Do not assume that because you are eating tofu, you are going to magically lose weight. Stick with intense cardiovascular workouts to burn excess stomach fat, or consider enrolling in a Zumba or Pilate’s class, and replace your meats and cheeses with tofu for the most beneficial weight loss plan.

LowFatDietPlan.org believes that tofu is a great diet food because it fits into so many diet plans, such as how-fat, low-cab and vegetarian.