Activities like Zumba help you move more intensely and use more energy. Find out how many calories this type of exercise burns.
A rough estimation is that the average person will burn around 207 to 356 calories while doing Zumba for 30 minutes.
How much you weigh influences what estimations apply to you a lot.
For example, the 207 calories are for 125-pound (56 kg) individuals whereas the 356 calories are for 215-pound (97 kg) people.
That being said, even when considering this, the numbers above are rough estimations. In reality, you could see different results due to differences in details like body composition, hormone levels, Zumba intensity, etc.
This article also includes a chart with more Zumba calorie-burning estimations for different weights and time intervals and how you can increase these numbers in your situation.
Biggest factors in calories burned with Zumba
Estimating and even measuring how many calories you burn with Zumba is very challenging to do correctly.
This can be inconvenient if you are trying to figure out what amounts of food would fit into your lifestyle habits.
That being said, you can still make your estimations somewhat more accurate by considering certain important factors. These can also help you adapt your Zumba workouts to get more results.
A few of these factors that influence the number of calories burned with Zumba include:
- Weight: Your body burns calories just to keep you alive and move you around. Generally, having a heavier body weight means that these things will require more energy.
- Body composition: Body composition means what tissues are present in your body in what amounts. This is relevant because a certain amount of body fat tends to use up less energy than the same weight in muscle. In turn, this influences the results of your Zumba sessions.
- Zumba intensity: Two people can follow a Zumba workout but do it at completely different speeds. Since the intenser movements tend to burn more calories, this can definitely make a difference in a 30-minute workout.
Hidden calorie burning from Zumba
There are things that make it even harder to estimate the exact results of your Zumba sessions. The extra calorie-burning effects you get thanks to these sessions do not only happen during the workout.
If you do your Zumba workouts intensely enough, you may experience something called afterburn.
This is something where you burn more calories after you stop working out.
Afterburn will typically not last more than 72 hours and won’t make a difference of 100s of percentages but it does make Zumba more effective than it seems at first.
The estimations of how many calories Zumba burns don’t consider this longer-term effect. Partly because it is so hard to measure and can vary so much.
Chart of Zumba calorie-burning estimations
There is a cheat sheet from the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention that simplifies the number of calories you burn with dancing into either between 3.5-7 calories per minute or more than 7 calories per minute depending intensity and dance style (1).
That being said, there are also these numbers called MET values that can help you make preciser and more useful estimations.
These MET values are basically ways of putting a number on how intense certain activities are. In turn, you can use these numbers in the formula below to estimate how many calories Zumba burns.
Formula: METs x 3.5 x (your body weight in kilograms) / 200 = calories burned per minute
The quality sources on METs that I could find did not mention Zumba specifically. However, there was an MET of 7 for high-intensity aerobic dancing which should be similar to Zumba (2).
You can find the calorie-burning results of using this MET in the formula with different body weights and time intervals.
Additionally, there is one small study with 19 young and relatively low-weight females. In this study, they measured that the mean individuals burned about 370 calories in a 39-minute workout time (3).
Again, all of these numbers are rough estimations. The results in your personal situation can be different due to a variety of details.
Besides that, you may also find it easier to know what all of these numbers mean in terms of food with the info that 100 grams of boiled potatoes contain about 87 calories (4).
|1 Minute||15 Minutes||30 Minutes||45 Minutes||60 Minutes|
|125 Pounds (56 kg)||7 calories||103 calories||207 calories||310 calories||413 calories|
|155 Pounds (70 kg)||9 calories||128 calories||256 calories||384 calories||513 calories|
|185 Pounds (84 kg)||10 calories||153 calories||306 calories||459 calories||612 calories|
|215 Pounds (97 kg)||12 calories||178 calories||356 calories||533 calories||711 calories|
Ways to burn more calories with Zumba
How many calories you burn with Zumba is definitely not a static thing. You can influence your results by changing your dancing sessions in a few ways.
For example, you can burn more calories per minute of Zumba by really focusing on making your movements fast and dynamic.
If you get really intense, you may get and increase the afterburn effect mentioned above.
Secondly, you can build muscle mass by implementing a good resistance training workout.
As mentioned, the number of calories burned with Zumba can vary a lot due to differences in body weight. By having more muscle mass, this number will go up.
In theory, you could also wear something like a weighted vest during your Zumba sessions to burn more calories.
Lastly, if you stay away from the point of overtraining, doing longer and more Zumba workouts will generally help you burn more energy too.
How long does it take to see results from Zumba?
All of this extra calorie-burning should make it clear that Zumba can help you lose weight. At the same time, it may still be unclear what types of results you can expect.
Something important to keep in mind is that your habits in areas like nutrition will influence these weight loss results a lot. Doing Zumba is not always enough to lose weight.
At the same time, you can still get a few interesting estimations if you assume all the calories you burn come from body fat.
A 185-pound (84 kg) person doing three 30-minute Zumba sessions in a week will burn an extra 918 calories or about 0.26 pounds (0.12 kg) of body fat.
After keeping up this Zumba routine for four weeks, this person will have burned more or less an extra 3672 calories or about 1.05 pounds (0.46 kg) of body fat.
Keep in mind that this person (and you) will burn fewer calories with the same Zumba sessions as they lose weight. Potentially up to the point where you need to implement other changes to see results.
Should you do Zumba to burn calories?
Zumba can be a good workout choice for people who want to burn nice amounts of calories.
An additional benefit of Zumba is that it can be fun too. If you like this activity, it becomes easier to stay consistent.
And as you can calculate with the numbers above, consistency will do a lot in terms of results.
It is still worth noting that there are workouts that can burn more calories in a shorter amount of time too. If you like these, you could consider them too.
Additionally, even if you choose Zumba or another cardiovascular exercise, it can be smart to build some muscle. The extra mass will benefit your calorie burning.