Last Christmas, Bry (on behalf of both himself and our boys) gave me Zumba Fitness Rush for the Xbox as a present. The game requires the Xbox Kinect and a decent sized floor space in front of the TV. The Kinect we have. The floor space? Well we have it if we shove all the kids' toys off to one side. Bry bought the game from Amazon.com and it has a 4.5 star review; I was very excited to try it.
It really is a good game with a lot of nice features and I like it a lot. It may not have the word "dance" in the title... ahem... but it is in fact dancing... You can customize your workout by intensity level - low, medium, or high. Or by the amount of time you have to spend - 20, 45, or 60 minutes. You could even create your own playlist. I just stick with what's already programmed but I do like to choose workouts that I know have songs I recognize, even if the choreography is different. Once you select what type of workout you want, you'll see an avatar and the idea is to mirror what the avatar is doing. The Kinect sensor picks up your movements and depending on how accurate you are (in comparison to the avatar), the game will begin awarding you stars. The more stars you have, the better you are doing; it is a game after all. In one corner of the screen are little symbols that give you an idea of what kind of step is coming up next. In a live class, the instructor would use hand gestures to direct the class. Personally, when I use the game, I usually choose one of the medium intensity workouts for 45 minutes; it's a good calorie burn. So I'm sure you're wondering? Does it take the place of a real live class? In my opinion, the answer is both yes and no.
Yes in the sense that if you need to satisfy your Zumba craving (yes, that's a thing...) in a hurry, this is really handy to have around. If you've got a sick family but you're healthy and in theory could go out to class but don't want to leave a sick husband and two young boys, this is really handy to have around. As I said, it has a lot of fun and interesting features and I do enjoy it for what it is. There are some other benefits I can think of that don't necessarily apply to me. Such as... If you're someone who has thought about trying a Zumba class, but you're a wee bit
shy about it, this game could be a nice compromise because it's in the
privacy of your own home. Another one is that if you have a busy job, this game is done on your schedule rather than you trying to schedule in a class.
**Side note: If you don't own a game system that can run Zumba Fitness Rush, there are DVD's that would make a similar, though not as interactive, workout.**
The no answer is a little harder to pin down. For me, I know this game will never take the place of a live class in the long term. A live Zumba class creates its own kind of energy. Those who've been to class probably know what I'm talking about. Those who haven't, I'll try to describe it the best I can. In a live class, you've got an instructor who's a real person with a real personality all her own and that shines out at you and is reflected in the music and choreography. All around you are people enjoying themselves, the entire room is filled with happiness from the veterans to the newbies. This builds on itself until it's greater than the sum of its parts. I decided some time ago to label that energy, that feeling, Zuphoria (Zumba + euphoria). Hopefully that description is satisfactory because I don't how else to say it. If all you need is -just- a workout, the game is a really fun way to get one. The bottom line though, is that a live class can give me something that the game cannot.
Best advice: If you plan to do Zumba at home in any capacity, it's easiest if you can do it while your kids are napping/in bed. Otherwise you get a lot of comments from the peanut gallery that go something like this:
My oldest son: Mommy can I have a sandwich? And I need some milk.
My oldest son: Mommy look! You have four stars! One...two...three...