I just got my new Polar FT7 Heart Rate Monitor and it is awesome! I took it to the gym for the first time to do LesMills CXWorx, a core conditioning class (think planks, plate crunches with leg extensions, single leg squats with an exercise band, etc.) and Zumba Toning, a kicked up version of Zumba with light hand weights that focuses on keeping your heart rate high while performing loads of squats and lunges and using the weights for shoulder and bicep toning. Not to mention dancing!
I actually wasn't sure what Zumba Toning was before I tried it. I was on my last leg with Zumba itself due to two less than stellar instructors stopping between each track (which allows your heart rate to drop, reducing the effectiveness of the workout) and not properly demoing the choreography (which is the worst because you end up standing there looking like an idiot and your heart rate drops while you're trying to figure out the next move). I was thinking, Zumba is generally fun (well, at least the music is good!) and not hard or strenuous so I'll just enjoy myself. I had worked pretty hard the prior days so I was ready for something on the mild side. This was not it! This workout turned out to be way more than I expected! The instructor, who is obviously a huge factor in the kind of workout you will have, was high-energy and motivating. She demoed everything clearly, periodically critiqued our form on the toning portions to ensure we were doing the moves properly and had an all-around great attitude that made it easy to enjoy the workout while pushing us to work hard.
I was not expecting my heart rate to get as high at 193!! Nor was I expecting to burn 625 calories! Definitely a successful and fun workout. I was very pleasantly surprised to achieve such a great result from Zumba. Keep in mind, I did all the high options to keep my work at maximum intensity. (It's also a plus when the instructor personally tells you you did a "great job" at the end of class!) Factoring in the core workout I did prior to Zumba, I burned a total of 867 calories. Not bad for 90 minutes!
(Cxworx is held at 5pm on Wednesdays at New Jersey Athletic Club. Zumba Toning is held at 530pm on Wednesdays at New Jersey Athletic Club.)