Calories Burned During Zumba: How Many Calories Are You Burning?

Everyone Wants to Know the Calories Burned During Zumba: We Have An Answer!


You’re not going to burn 1000 calories in a Zumba Fitness class. Believe it or not this is a controversial statement.  There has been a meme passed around on the Internet making this claim for years. I’ve spoken out to dispute it as false advertising and have been challenged repeatedly. Okay, yes you can burn 1000 calories in an hour-long Zumba class if you’re heavy and perform all the moves. But it’s unlikely.umba

An on-line Zumba Calorie Calculator agreed one would have to weigh around 300 pounds to burn in the ballpark of 1000 calories.

Weight Intensity

120lbs Medium-429 Cal High- 486 Cal

160lbs Medium-572 Cal High- 648 Cal

200lbs Medium-714 Cal High- 810 Cal

300lbs Medium-1072 Cal High-1214 Cal

Running for an hour, a person weighing 180 pounds can reach the 900s according to various exercise web sites. Biking is in the 600s and swimming in the 500s. All of these are vigorous activities. The good news for heavy people is they burn more calories than a lighter person doing the same activity if they can keep at it. Calories are measures of energy and it takes more energy to move more mass thus a 180-pound person will burn more than a 155-pound person doing the exact same exercise.

The American Council on Exercise’s (ACE) actually did a study measuring calories burned in a Zumba Fitness class. It found a group of 18-22 year olds burned 9.5 calories per minute or 369 calories in an average class (consider warm-up and cool down). It says that was more than cardio kickboxing or step aerobics.

Calories Burned During Zumba

Calories Burned During Zumba

We’ll assume these youngsters were very light or not coordinated enough to keep up a fast pace in order to burn only a quarter of what many claim.

My own anecdotal evidence finds an hour of hard core Zumba Fitness… with lots of high impact merengue, fast salsa and butt kicking reggaeton burns around 500-600 calories. People in my classes have measured with different types of heart rate monitoring devices and compared. We’re usually within 50 calories of each other.

I’m not trying to hate on Zumba. I’ve been an instructor almost 11 years and think it’s one of the best franchises around. It uses good music to get people moving and feeling happy. I personally know dozens of people who have lost weight by doing Zumba classes. Sure, if you go from doing little to nothing and suddenly you’re regularly wiggling your tush, kicking up your heels and raising your heart rate until you’re glowing with sweat, of course you’re going to burn more calories. The reason people are melting away the fat is because they’re coming back to the class again and again, consistently. That is the key to weight loss success whether you’re doing Zumba or any other activity.  

Find a physical activity that is fun and you look forward to doing. Then it won’t feel like exercise, it will feel and look like happiness. Be sure to discuss your fitness activities with your doctor.

Zumba Calorie Calculator:



About Davida Wright Galvin

Davida is a fitness professional and former award winning health and science television reporter. As a mother and wife she juggles the daily challenges of raising three children, working and staying active. She likes to make fitness fun and helping people find joy in exercise so we can cure the obesity epidemic in our country. --------------------- UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, BACHELOR OF ARTS, Journalism; Certifications (Present and Past): AFAA Group Training, BodyPump, Zumba, Balletone, SCW Personal Training Certification, Turbo Kickboxing, YMCA Personal Training Certification, Vegas Stiletto Fitness, Reebok Core Board Training Certification, CPR/AED & Infant CPR; YMCA Fitness Instructor Certification -------------------- If you’re in the Denver area find her class or fitness events at Have fun, feel fit #withDavida!

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