Tumbao Fitness, 1341 Sherman Drive B, Longmont, 720-917-8243

Instructors: This class is led by three owners, who dance together and shift off and on the stage. Karina Gonsalez, Longmont, owner, is in the process of getting certified. Alma Rico, owner, is a certified Zumba instructor; and Nikki Enriquez, owner, is a certified Zumba instructor.

They opened Tumbao Fitness in late May. They had been attending the same Zumba class but wanted to create a studio that was more family friendly, with a stronger emphasis on toning. All three are married with children, so they wanted a studio that their husbands would want to attend and where their kids could come and learn something new.

"We thought 'Why not do our studio a little different than everybody else?'" Gonsalez says.

 

What is the workout? The students unofficially call this class "Insanity Zumba." (That's not a certified style of Zumba.)

Zumba is the world's largest dance-fitness program, according to zumba.com. It's a Latin-inspired dance-fitness program designed to feel like a dance party.

This class has the party thing mastered.

The music is booming and the room (warehouse-style) is filled with colorful, party lights. I have never been in a fitness studio that felt more like a true nightclub. The three instructors alternate, so they are always at super-extreme-high-oh-my-gosh intensity.

In the front room, behind a separate door, is a Zumbatomic class for kids, which is basically playful dance and movement.

"It's not just a women's thing. It's a family thing, and that's very important to us," Gonsalez says. "Your kids are close by if they need anything, and you're doing something together and healthy."

The goal, Gonsalez says: To provide the best party workout possible and have participants leave stress-free and feeling great.

What's different: How different can one Zumba class be from another?

Um, extremely.

This class is like nothing else I've ever experienced. The energy is higher. The music is louder. Participants really shout and scream and hoot throughout class; I even found myself doing it. I'm not a hooter.

The steps were relatively easy to follow, mixed in regularly with toning, such as push-ups and squats.

Sometimes they do something (always unannounced) that the students call Zumba CrossFit (note: It is not officially affiliated with the trademarks; that's just what the students call it), where they dance one song and then do body-weight strength-training for a while (jump-squats, burpees), and then dance again, then more strength.

Because of this, the class draws more men -- more than any other studio that features Zumba (or typical group fitness class) I've seen.

In addition, the students rotate places after every song.

Instructors also occasionally hand out Zumba bracelets and T-shirts to people who really push themselves. They also have events every month, such as an '80s-theme class, silent auctions and fundraisers.

What does it cost? First class is free, both for the adults and kids. After that, a drop-in is only $6 for an adult, plus $3 drop-in for a kid. New students can pay $25 per month for unlimited classes. With six classes per week, this could end up only costing about $1 per class.

Insanity! (Oh, yes I did.)

Plus, for members, kids are only $2 per class.

After that, rates vary.

When: The owners teach four hour-long classes per week: 7-8 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and 10-11 a.m. Saturday.

 

Level: So. I've been reviewing classes every week for four-plus years, and in that time, the number of 10-out-of-10-intensity classes I've given out can be listed on one hand.

I pushed myself to my total max, a 10 out of 10, in this class -- but in the best possible way -- making this Longmont's first rated-10 class, and the first 10 dance class, too. I think this is also my first 10 class that I would return to regularly. It was definitely the most enjoyable.

Here's the best part.

The instructors all have totally different dance styles and intensity levels, so no matter your level, you have someone to follow. This makes the class comfortable for all levels of students, from people in their 50s to kids (totally welcome to walk in and out of this class, as they want) to extreme fitness buffs (one regular participant is a male personal trainer.

In addition, it's acceptable and normal for participants to walk to the back of the room and hang out, drink water and watch (or chat), when they need a break. At any given time, there are a handful of people sitting a song out, so you can push yourself as hard as you want, or take it easy, if you need to. This makes the class welcoming to total fitness newbies.

The class was pretty packed, with probably 40 participants, including kids.

A handful of the regulars are full families.

What to prepare: Workout clothes you can move in, exercise shoes, water (although water is also provided), a towel to wipe your sweat.

Muscles worked: Full body with cardio. Class begins with a warm-up and ends with cool-down. Songs vary in intensity, giving the class an interval feeling.

I especially felt it in my thighs and shoulders.

What I loved: This is the perfect fitness class that I have been waiting for all my life. It's cardio, strength-training, extremely cheap, relaxed yet intense, fun (you don't feel bored or punished), friendly and welcoming, family friendly, offered in the evenings and weekends for working parents, challenging yet appropriate for all levels -- I don't know how they did it, but they have literally met all of my needs for a class.

When our photographer walked in the room, his response sums it up perfectly. He stopped, his mouth dropped and he said, "Wow."

Not to mention my daughter had a great time in the Zumbatomic class next door. She is normally shy in a new situation, and by the end of class, she was running circles around the classroom. I have never seen her feel so comfortable so quickly.

Boulder may know yoga, but Longmont. Knows. Zumba. This class sets the bar for every other Zumba class.

This class is worth the drive from Boulder.

What I didn't like: The studio is kind of hard to see from the road, so come to your first class a little early.

How I felt after the class: I went straight home and showered. I was giddy with satisfaction. Two days later, my shoulders and arms are surprisingly sore. And two days later, I'm still excitedly telling everyone I know about this class.

-- Reported by Aimee Heckel.

 

Know of any interesting workouts? Tell us about them so we can check them out: heckela@dailycamera.com or 303-473-1359.