Dance cardio at home

Feeding giraffes, 



and then back home for Liv’s nap.  

While Liv was snoozing, I decided it was chip thirty:

Coffee and chips

(can we just take a moment of silence for the glory that is TJs quinoa chips? Try them. You will love them)

and then I had a dance party.

Normal Tuesday, right?


I knew there wouldn’t be time for the gym before heading to the basketball game, so got in some cardio during naptime by doing the 20-minute Zumba Rush DVD. It.Was.Awesome.

OpenSky sent me the Exhilarate DVD set when we found out we’d be selling Zumba products in my store, and it’s pretty amazing. My favorites are the Exhilarate and Rush DVDS, and I also enjoy the Mix one- different types of international beats, which is great inspiration for the World Beat class I teach at work.

Dance cardio is one of my favorite methods of cardio. Why? You get a KILLER workout -I often burn more calories dancing than I do running- and it’s the type of workout where you forget you’re working out. It’s a huge indication to me that dancing is my “thing” because I never want it to be over. During my Zumba classes, after a hard song, I’ll sometimes say, “You know you came to the two-hour Zumba class, right?” I could only dream. Haha.

Besides the Zumba CDs, here’s a roundup of some at-home dance cardio options:

-*Tracy Anderson Method: Dance Cardio Workout I’ll be the first to tell you that Tracy is a nut. For real. I don’t agree with any of her “diet strategies” but I really like her mat DVD. From what I’ve heard and read, you do have to learn choreography for her dance DVD, so if you’re just getting started with dancing, check out the instructional portion before jumping into it. While I was writing this post, I actually ordered the dance cardio DVD from Amazon… I’m excited to try it.

-*Dance with Julianne: Cardio Ballroom: I would love to try this one and the reviews are surprisingly good (and I’m guilty of seeing her bod on the cover and thinking “I want to try that workout!”). I used to think that ballroom was a low-key method of working out, until I started taking and teach LaBlast classes… they KILLED me. It’s a fun and unique way to burn extra calories.

-*Rhythmica: Dance Cardio Party DVD: This one seems similar to Zumba, and while I like the emphasis on international beats and dance styles, all the talking would drive me crrraaazzzzyyy. Here’s a short video snippet:

with all of the DVDs that are available, my personal favorite option is YouTube. It’s so easy to customize your own workouts and put a playlist together. My strategy: put whatever you’re looking for into the search bar (like “Merengue”) and then filter by rating or view count. It’s the simple way to find the gems.

Some great live class options, too:

Dance Trance 

Zumba (of course)

Pole fitness

Hip Hope Hustle




Do you like dance cardio? Any favorite dance cardio DVDs? Any you despise? I wanted to like the Shaun T. Hip Hop Abs video SO much (because I like him soooo so much), but no. It just wasn’t for me.

Thank you again for the running shoe advice- I’m off to get re-fitted this afternoon. Maybe I’ll find the new shoe of my dreams 😉



New on the family page: a baby pancake recipe

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  1. Emily on November 7, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I have 2 Tracy Anderson dance cardio DVDs (I started with her mat workouts and eventually decided to give the dance cardio a try, too). I LOATHE THEM. Maybe that’s because I did 3 months of her prescribed program (45 min/day of mat work, 45 or more minutes of dance cardio). The music is terrible, the choreography is pretty complex and takes a long time to learn, her cuing is awful, and it just has no soul whatsoever. It’s also not about having fun or relaxing or feeling strong. It’s about being skinny. That ruins it for me. I could rant about her forever, though. Any trained who uses terms like “nightmare” to describe her client’s bodies is a failure, in my book. She’s cruel, lookist, and her program is an eating disorder in a box.

  2. Ali @ Peaches and Football on November 7, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Eek! I’d hold off on shoe shopping until this afternoon if you can. The shoe place I go to told me that when you wake up your feet are the smallest and that as you move around they release and expand a bit – the same way your feet do under a lot of walking/running. So typically you want to be sized and fitted based on that footprint and not the one you first have. Just a thought!

    Oooh I want to try those Quinoa chips! I need a TJs to move into town!!!

  3. Brooke ( on November 7, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I LOVE dane cardio. It’s one of my favorites. I love doing the ones that pop up on demand on occassion for some fun

  4. Hilary on November 7, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I just trained for BODYJAM this past weekend!!! It was the GREATEST (and hardest) weekend of my lifeee! Completely in love with dance, and can’t wait to start teaching it! It really is a stellar way to get a total body work out. Les Mills is a suuuuuper company, I’m already certified in Combat – another killer work out. But I grew up dancing, and it will always have a special place in my heart 🙂

  5. Karissa on November 7, 2012 at 10:46 am

    EEP! The Exhilarate DVD set is all sold out in OpenSky – any chance there will be more becoming available? 🙂

  6. Kathy on November 7, 2012 at 10:49 am

    What about the LaBlast DVD series?? I’ve tried them and LOVE them and they progress in difficulty. If the live class is great (which I can see why it is!) then how do the DVD’s compare?

  7. Nic on November 7, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Has anyone tried the Zumba video games? I’m so curious!

    • Sara on November 7, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      I’ve done Wii-Fit Zumba 2. You have to wear a belt that holds the wii-mote, and that takes a bit of getting used to, but otherwise it’s great fun. The same game is available on kinect and I’m keen to try it (no belt necessary on kinect).

  8. Tiff on November 7, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Hi Gina!

    Soooo I’ve pretty much been following your blog since I began blogging myself, which was almost 3 years ago and I’m not quite sure why it hasn’t been until today that I figured I would finally say hello, but hi! 🙂

    I’ve followed and read a lot of blogs in the last 3 years but yours has always been one of my favorites. I like that your posts are well balanced and you have a healthy and well-rounded view of what it means to eat/be healthy and fit.

    To date I’ve lost 180lbs and still have 12lbs to go before I reach my goal and I have found reading your blog at this leg in my journey the most beneficial. I can relate to being an Arizona girl (I was born and raised there although I currently only get to visit for the Holidays- I cannot even express how ready I am to stick my face in that pan of Pazookie!! ;), loving all things Trader Joe’s, & wanting to live as healthy and happy of a life as possible.

    Anyways, just wanted to introduce myself, tell you how much I enjoy following your blog & say keep it up! It’s definitely an encouraging highlight to my day 🙂

    • Kathy on November 7, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      Good for you! Wow. Nice work Tiff!!

  9. Rachel Boller - Busy Mama on November 7, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Not a fan of Hip Hop Abs or Rockin Body but I do love Shaun T’s Insanity. Well, more like love/hate. I’m still conflicted. My favorite will ALWAYS be Hip Hop Hustle! Love all the workouts from Powder Blue!

  10. NYC Fit GIrl on November 7, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I use to do dance cardio (Zumba) all the time. Unfortunately I left my gym to join crossfit and I haven’t done it in so long. Perhaps i should buy a dvd 🙂

  11. Lemon on November 7, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I am a big zumba/dance cardio fan too & have to say that I agree with Emily about the Tracy Anderson dance cardio DVD. I tried so hard to like it, but it’s just painfully boring & lacking any kind of fun at all. The only way I can make it through is to have my own music playlist going in the background & to add in “fun” dance steps in random spots when I find myself wanting to be doing something else. Hopefully with some different music & if you can look past the sad pouty face she makes the entire hour, you can find your own way to enjoy it :o)

  12. Chelsa on November 7, 2012 at 11:31 am

    You and Liv are an adorable Momma and daughter duo.

  13. Jackie@ MuscleUpMom on November 7, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I think I’m going to be trying Dance Trance soon for a fitness column I write. But I’m a little nervous…the last time I tried a dance cardio class was when I lived on the Upper West Side in New York and the New York Sports Club instructor and half the students were all Broadway performers and left the rest of us in the dust. I can’t follow complicated choreography on the spot like that.

    Should I not try Dance Trance if I basically stink at dancing?

  14. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on November 7, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I used to teach BodyJam when I lived in Australia (Les Mills classes are very popular there). I LOVED that class! I’m sad to say there are none in the NYC area. I really love Zumba as well. The classes and DVDs are so great. I also have the Zumba Wii which is an excellent workout! The Julianne Hough DVDs are pretty good but you get a better workout from the Zumba Exhilarate set in my opinion.

  15. Leah @ Chocolate and Wild Air on November 7, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Oh my gosh, those chips sounds so great!! I need to find them. And try them. Love a good TJ’s purchase!

  16. Caroline on November 7, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Liv’s hair is getting so light!! What a cutie.

  17. Danielle@cleanfoodcreativefitness on November 7, 2012 at 11:49 am

    How fun! As a former dancer I totally understand that sometimes a dance party at home is just necessary! I’m nervous to try those quinoa chips now! They sounds addictive 😉

  18. Kathleen on November 7, 2012 at 11:55 am

    I have yet to try Zumba but I’m intrigued. Definitely want to try it at home seeing as I’m barely coordinated enough to walk nevermind follow dance moves. Is there a DVD that anyone would recommend for Zumba newbies?

    • Rebecca on November 7, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      I don’t know about Zumba, but for someone (like me) with two left feet and an inability to follow most dance routines, I really like the Hemalayaa DVDs, like Bollywood Dance. They’re easy workouts, but she has a really positive attitude and that made me feel like I could actually follow the steps (which are pretty simple) without feeling stupid. I like her DVDs for a rest day or just to loosen up.

    • Kathy on November 8, 2012 at 8:50 am

      Good question – I’m interested in Zumba for newbies too.

  19. avery on November 7, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I like doing some dance cardio when I need something different than running and can’t or don’t wanna hit the gym. I just acquired a Wii and found out that the Just Dance Games are pretty fun! My eyes bug out staring at a screen too often, but its perfect for a change of pace! One thing I appreciate about going to an actual dance class is the actual instructor and the mirror. While I don’t want to scrutize my appearance by any means, the mirror really helps to tell if my movements actually look how they should. I think part of the fun of dance cardio is to see yourself in the mirror and think, “hey! I sort of look like a REAL dancer!”. It super gratifying when you finally master a dance step that seemed impossible before.

  20. CourtStar @ StarSystemz on November 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I love dance cardio! I feel the same way you do, the time just flies by and I feel sexier as well! Thanks for sharing Rythmica, I have never heard of it! Love and Shine CourtStar

  21. Alicia Orozco @NeverEverBeenSkinny on November 7, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I have been seriously missing my zumba classes recently. I think it is all your fault…and that they are so awesome!

  22. Michelle on November 7, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Hey! I love Charlene’s work outs! I used to take the Hip Hop Hustle class at my local gym, but because my work schedule has changed I run and do work out DVDs at home to save time and money! Which at home Hip Hop Hustle DVD do you recommend?? Thank you!

  23. Megan S. on November 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    I love Zumba and am sad it’s not offered at my new gym, but I’m looking forward to getting the Xbox Kinect when I move next year and trying out the different dance DVD’s! I also was looking forward to the Hip Hop Abs DVD with Shaun T when I bought it, but I’m just not that into it…he is soooo different in that video than with Insanity- it’s almost weird!

  24. Heather Wilson on November 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Love zumba classes, but I don’t own any at home DVD’s! Maybe I should pick one up for weekends I can’t get out of the house!

    Quinoa Chips sound great. I have never heard of them!

  25. Kim on November 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm

    Turbo Fire is about as dancey as I get – my rhythm (or lack of) keep from trying the dance stuff. I get so worked up trying to keep the beat and move like everyone that I feel like I don’t get a workout.

  26. Sara on November 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I put together a Youtube Zumba workout here, hope it’s ok to link to it:

    I love dance cardio also. Zumba, Wii-Just Dance and trance yoga dance are my favourites. Trance yoga dance (I did a class based on Shiva Rea’s moves) is surprisingly hard. I was really working, even though the moves look gentle.

    I think I did so many dance lessons as a kid that any dancing just takes me back to those happy times. I’ve always loved dancing and music. I remember in high-school, I was the only kid that didn’t complain loudly when we did folk-dancing or ballroom dancing as part of PE class. I was such a weirdo: not into rugby, only into dancing.

  27. sarah on November 7, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    new commenter but I had to chime in — I totally agree with you about Tracy Anderson! I think her diet strategies and nutrition advice are totally off the mark. I tried her dance DVD and didn’t really like it (but I have zero rhythm), the sculpting DVD’s are ok, but she only recommends using 3 lb weights to avoid “bulking up” which I also disagree with. But then I look at Gwyneth and I’m like…

  28. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on November 7, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    What a great picture of Livi seeing a giraffe! That must have been such a fun day!

  29. Molly@This Life Is Sparkling on November 7, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    I’m a big fan of Zumba, I just never get the chance to go very often. I also love TurboKick which kinda has a “dance-y” feel to it. At least I think so 😉

  30. Elizabeth M. on November 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    I need a more fun way to get in cardio. I’m not a huge fan to begin with, so it’s extra hard to actually go out and do it! I think I’ll try a few from Netflix and see how I like it, I’ll just have to get over looking like a goober haha.

  31. Maddy on November 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Gah! Wish I checked this blog earlier today. I was just at TJs this evening and had I known about these quinoa chips I would have bought them. Thanks for the rec. Next time!

  32. chrissy on November 7, 2012 at 8:10 pm

    seems like you guys go to the zoo alot!i just bought the new zumba core xbox game definately love at home dance cardio:)

    • Fitnessista on November 7, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      we have a membership, so it’s an easy, fun option to take liv 🙂

  33. Jess on November 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    I have a Carmen Electra dance workout DVD and it is awful! And usually I love all things dance! Love the pic of you and Liv!

  34. Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin on November 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Dancing is just one workout I can’t get into. I’m way too uncoordinated for it! 😛

  35. Bek @ Crave on November 8, 2012 at 5:50 am

    Sh’Bam is a fun dance class! Oh and I reckon you’d burn more calories because you love it and that passion and motivation to do it, makes you work harder naturally and voila- more calories burned 😉

  36. Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans on November 8, 2012 at 6:30 am

    I love dance cardio, it almost makes me feel like I’m back in dance class! I also love that at the end of class I’m dripping in sweat but don’t remember doing that much work!

  37. Krista on November 8, 2012 at 7:30 am

    I love Tracey Mallet’s Fuse Dance Cardio Melt and Fuse Dance Cardio Lean. I am trained in her Booty Barre method and can say, she is a rockstar! Even try her Booty Barre or Pilates DVD’s. Happy dancing

  38. Kelly @ Femme Fitale on November 8, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Since there are so many dance cardio comments, I would just like to address the notion of CHIP THIRTY.


    (aaaand I may or may not have had my own chip thirty here in Brisbane today, too).

  39. Emily @ on November 8, 2012 at 8:34 am

    I love dancing but I am sooooo awkward! But at least I have fun while doing it! : )

  40. Laura on November 8, 2012 at 9:34 am

    This is a great post for me! I love dance cardio and that group environment, but I don’t have affordable options in my area. I go to a great $10/month gym, but they don’t have classes. 🙁 Boo.

  41. elle | nutritionella on November 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    I have to say, I want to love dance cardio but I don’t! I’m not nearly coordinated enough to keep up I guess. I leave frustrated and not nearly as sweaty as when I do a normal run, yoga or gym workout!

  42. Christina J on November 12, 2012 at 11:48 am

    I absolutely love Zumba! I have danced almost my whole life and Zumba is a great way to keep exercise entertaining. I have always questioned how many calories I burn during a session. I found a great and simple calculator ( and I burn over 400 calories in one 30-minute session! It’s great!! The reason I started getting back into Zumba is because of you and your love for it.

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