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1,929 of 1,955 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Average Person--UPDATE
I was in my best shape ever when I was going out dancing once or twice a week (in my late 20s)--lots of salsa and belly-dance moves that work the abs without crunches that put you on the floor and kill your neck and back. Times have changed, and so has my figure since I quit dancing. I resisted buying into the Zumba craze for while, ever since I saw the commercial once at...
Published on June 2, 2011 by Savvy Skeptic

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408 of 444 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT NEARLY AS GOOD AS THE ORIGINAL!!
I own both Zumba programs. I had the original program since the beginning of the year and use it nearly 4 times per week! I absolutely LOVE this program. It is fun and a great workout. I find myself smiling as I do my workout. I could not wait to get a new program from Zumba to add to my DVD collection. Once it came out I ordered it immediately. I cannot tell you...
Published on August 10, 2011 by Donna P.


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1,929 of 1,955 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Average Person--UPDATE, June 2, 2011
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This review is from: Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD Set (Sports)
I was in my best shape ever when I was going out dancing once or twice a week (in my late 20s)--lots of salsa and belly-dance moves that work the abs without crunches that put you on the floor and kill your neck and back. Times have changed, and so has my figure since I quit dancing. I resisted buying into the Zumba craze for while, ever since I saw the commercial once at 3:00 a.m. for the original set. I hesitated, first because everything looks great on a 3 a.m. infomercial; I figured it was the latest infomercial fitness fad. I've been disappointed by lots of work-outs that promise "dance moves you can take to the club" and then turn out to be nothing but club outfits, generic music, and aerobic exercise moves that would get you laughed out of a club. Then I read the reviews, and it seemed like everyone who had the set started out in the classes first. I've never been to a Zumba class and never wanted to work out in a room full of strangers--thus my reason for buying a home workout set to begin with. The price was also intimidating, and way more than I've ever paid for any of the other "dance party" workouts that found their way into a yard sale. Still, I want to get back into the shape I was happy with, and there were a lot of positive reviews, so I went for it. I did my first workout last night, with the Activate disc, and was sweating immediately. At first I saw a couple aerobics-style moves and thought "here we go again." But those were few, and were incorporated well into the dance routine. Mostly there was actual, genuine, hip-swinging, shimmying, dancing--I had a little trouble keeping up. I can see just how rusty I've gotten, and I'll have to work up to finishing the whole disc. Still, time flew by way faster than it does on the treadmill, and this was a lot more fun. I was absolutely sweating more, and my whole body knew I'd been working, but I barely noticed because it felt like dancing and not working out. Some of the moves can be a little tricky, especially when you're trying to keep up with pros. When I got tripped up trying to follow the instructors, I just looked away from them and danced with the music--keeping hips and pelvis in motion. When I needed to catch my breath I just stood front and did hip circles till I could pick up the pace again. I still think the price is a little steep--especially since the little foam plugs that hold the discs in place had already popped off when I got it (it was new and sealed.) But they can be stuck back down with a dot of glue, so no big deal--minus 1 star for price and packaging. The picture and sound quality is very good, and the music is actually enjoyable--not like canned "exercise music" that comes with most workout DVDs. Some of the verbal exchange between the instructors comes off phony (and a little cheesy), but overall the mood during the workouts is light and fun. I'm not a fitness guru, have been in a gym once in my life (hated it), and am not using Zumba as a warm-up for, or addition to, any other exercise routine. Right now, this new Zumba series is my only workout since my treadmill needs maintenance. I've read a lot of reviews for fitness DVDs, equipment, and supplements, and they say things like "I use this every day, walk 5 miles, do free weights combined with cardio, cut out all soda and junk food, and I've lost 6 pounds!" To me, those reviews aren't very helpful: first, a person working out that much is already in shape and has little or no weight to lose. Second, when you make that many lifestyle changes at once, results of SOME kind are inevitable--and can't be credited to anything specific. Did the workout do it, or the lack of candy bars and soda? To really determine how well this routine works for me, I'm going to do Zumba and not change anything else for now. (I already eat mostly low-carb, but I cheat sometimes.) I'll give it a few weeks, see what results I get, and then update.

UPDATE 6/16/2011: It's been 2 weeks today since I tried Zumba for the first time. I haven't changed my eating habits; I eat exactly as I did before (including 6 oz of mint cookie crunch ice cream almost daily), and I'm not taking any diet pills. I've done the Step by Step disc once, and then only the Activate disc so far. To date I've lost 7.5 pounds, and it isn't water weight--it doesn't fluctuate or pile right back on as soon as I eat solid food. The only explanation is that I'm burning more calories than I'm eating, and the only thing that I'm doing different is Zumba. Any activity or workout that gets you moving fast and sweating hard will do the same thing. Pretty much all workouts work, I know that. I also know that it only works if you actually do it, and if it's tedious, boring, painful--or even largely inconvenient (like going to the gym)--I won't do it, no matter how amazing the results would be. The difference with this is that it's fun enough that I'll actually do it more than once or twice and then give it up. You stay on your feet, not on the floor (like with crunches and pilates). There's no straining your neck, breaking your back, or losing your will to live 10 minutes into the session. You're moving and working enough to burn fat and calories, but it's not so strenuous that you can't make it past the first few minutes. Don't get me wrong, I have moments where I struggle with some of the steps, and on occasion I get frustrated trying to keep up--but at least I'm moving. I don't work for the company and am not already sports-model fit. I'm an average 30-something female trying to get back in 20-something shape (and take off some quit-smoking weight). My reviews are honest because I rely on other people's honest reviews to help me make my own decisions about products here. So, I'm going to keep doing Zumba and add some other changes (like giving up my ice cream--so sad) and see how I do. For anyone interested, I'll put a couple beginner survival tips that helped me in the comments. Good luck.
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677 of 700 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addicted to Zumba!, May 14, 2011
This review is from: Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD Set (Sports)
Zumba definitely changed my life. I used to hate working out, but now it's my favorite part of the day. Until I had the courage to start attending a live Zumba class, I had been using Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation System DVD Set. After 3 years, though, it was a bit boring with the same music and routines. When I saw that they were releasing a new DVD set, I knew I had to buy it.

The set comes with 7 DVDs, a pair of toning sticks, and a program guide.

-------------------
DVDs:

1. STEP-BY-STEP- This DVD breaks down the basic Zumba rhythms: merengue, salsa, reggaeton, calypso, cumbia. belly dance. (Unlike with the older DVD set, there is no step-by-step for samba, which kind of annoyed me because samba can be rather tricky. However, they do cover the basic samba step in the Mix DVD.) The steps are broken down by Gina and Tanya (from the previous DVD set.) You have the option of viewing the moves from both the front and back.

2. ACTIVATE- features a 45-minute workout with Gina and Tanya that applies all the moves learned in the previous DVD.

3. RUSH- a high-energy, 20-minute workout with two different instructors, Kass and Loretta, for when you do not have much time.

4. EXHILARATE- full-length (60-minute) workout with Beto and another instructor, Melissa.

5. RIPPED- 60-minute body-sculpting workout that's split up in two sections. The first is Toning which uses the sticks, and is hosted by Beto and two other instructors, Jani and Melissa. The second is Sentao which features chair routines, and is hosted by Beto and another instructor, Marcie.

6. MIX- features routines from different places and cultures. This DVD is supposed to be more advanced, and is hosted by Tanya and Beto, along with experts from around the world. You have the option of seeing the routines broken down beforehand, which is really helpful because some of the moves are really complicated!

7. FITNESS CONCERT- 60-minute live concert starring Beto and several of the instructors featured in the other DVDs. The concert was filmed in front of thousands of Zumba enthusiasts and has the same songs found in the Exhilarate DVD.

-------------------
PROS:

--The workouts are REALLY intense and high energy. I sweat buckets, even in the 20-minute routine.

-- The production quality is AMAZING! I have never seen an at-home workout DVD that even comes close. I always enjoyed the previous DVD set because of the colors. The new DVD set takes things to a whole other level. Everything is vibrant and colorful. There's a definite party feel.

-- The routines really look like music videos. The new DVD set feels more like the experience of a live class. You have the option of turning off the cueing and just listening to the music on each of the DVDs.

-- There's a slew of new music and different routines. You get to "meet" different instructors. In addition to the Zumba staples (merengue, reggaeton, salsa, cumbia, etc.), there are routines that feature tango, swing, axé, hip-hop, etc. The Mix DVD alone if great because it gives the opportunity to learn so many different moves.

CONS:

-- I know the lighting is to help create a visual effect, but sometimes it makes it difficult to see the steps.

-- There are a lot of routines that require a lot more floor space. Why are they including routines with an eight step? Usually I just move for four, then do the other four in-place because there's no room. It seems like they created these routines in the live classes in mind, which on one hand is nice because it gives the DVDs the feel of a live class, but on the other hand it's not really practical for someone doing this in small spaces, like an apartment or dorm room.

-- The Sentao section in particular requires a lot of floor space. You have to be able to walk around a chair. You also need a sturdy chair since you have to do lunges and other things with it.

-- To be honest, I prefer the Toning DVD from the previous set to this one. This Toning routine was not effective at all for me. They should have included a full-length toning workout instead of breaking it up between using the sticks and a chair, or at least make a Toning routine that's similar to one you'd find in a live class.

-- I liked the Abs workout in the previous DVD set, and I had wished that they had included a new one in this set. One for arms would be really nice actually.

-------------------

The best part about Zumba is that anyone can do it. It doesn't matter if you are in-shape or not, as long as you are moving, sweating, and having fun. Not only will you notice a difference in your body, but you will also feel better and more energized. When I started doing Zumba, I was over 200 pounds and had no energy. Zumba gave me a reason to be motivated and enjoy what life has to offer.

Overall, this DVD set has a lot of offer, so unlike with other workout DVDs, you won't get bored easily. The routines are a lot of fun, and you will definitely get a workout. I use this along with Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation System DVD Set whenever I can't attend a live class.
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408 of 444 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT NEARLY AS GOOD AS THE ORIGINAL!!, August 10, 2011
By 
Donna P. (Glen Ridge, NJ) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD Set (Sports)
I own both Zumba programs. I had the original program since the beginning of the year and use it nearly 4 times per week! I absolutely LOVE this program. It is fun and a great workout. I find myself smiling as I do my workout. I could not wait to get a new program from Zumba to add to my DVD collection. Once it came out I ordered it immediately. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am in it. It is NOTHING like the original....it is way to American and has lost its Latin flavor. Besides the DVD entitled, "Activate", which is with 2 of the orginal members the rest of the DVD's are terrible!! Yes, you can get a workout using them, but to me it is not fun and has become very difficult to follow with the lack of sufficient cueing. The use of all the high tech lighting and the quick switching of camera shots totally takes away from what it is supposed to be for.....working out! It should not be about the glitz, but about the basics of getting a good and fun work out, which is what made Zumba different!
Anyone who is giving this 5 stars probably has not used the original version. I would recommend that program to anyone, but not THIS one! As a matter of fact, I have told friends who wish to start using the program to NOT purchase this new program!!
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148 of 161 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 2011 Exhilarate set vs Total Body 2009 set, September 27, 2011
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This review is from: Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD Set (Sports)
After taking my first Zumba class in late May 2011, I ordered the 2009 set of DVDs to learn and practice the moves at home. By June, my instructors were already including steps from the new DVD set called Exhilarate, so I bought that set as well. I have used both sets of DVDs for three months and Zumba to one DVD from either set 5 days a week. Here is what you should expect from Exhilarate if you own the first set (Total Body).

Think of Zumba dance instructors as a band with a lot of hit records. After 1000s of concerts, they are tired of playing all their number one hits. They want to create something new, explore and be influenced by different parts of the world, and expand their repertoire. Exhilarate is like their second album. There are some familiar sounds and faces, but the actual songs, stage, lighting, and dances are all new. This isn't "Total Body, part 2" - it is a completely different album.

For Beginners, the introductory DVD called Activate is easier to follow than Total Body's Cardio Party. After Activate, beginners may get frustrated by Rush, Mix, Exhilarate and Ripped. Forget trying to follow the Live Party DVD until you've really mastered the steps on Activate and Exhilarate.

For a short, 20-minute workout, Rush is very fast; it starts high intensity, covers many different dance genres and never slows down. It does not include a cool down at the end. Compared to Total Body's 20-minute Express which covers four basic genres and includes a short cool down, Rush is not as enjoyable for beginners. On the other hand, the 20-minute Express from Total Body isn't very challenging for experienced dancers.

For experienced dancers, if you can only buy one set, choose Exhilarate. You will have many more options to choose from in this set.

If you are a beginner, start with Total Body because once you learn the steps, you get a long time to practice each style of dance in the Cardio Party and Toning DVDs. Each song is long and Beto leads you through the genres by giving you many repeats of the steps on both left and right sides. Once you feel like you have mastered the Total Body DVDs, purchase Exhilarate. The DVDs in Exhilarate feature shorter songs and more of them. If there are 8 songs or dances in a 45-minute workout in Total Body, there are probably 12-13 dances per workout in the Exhilarate DVDs. Exhilarate's songs are all shorter, so you cover more styles of dances in a single workout. Also, Total Body focuses on one genre per song and Exhilarate combines multiple styles of dance in each song. Both make you sweat, but both are a lot of fun.
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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars lights and shadows, July 16, 2011
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This review is from: Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD Set (Sports)
I have and love the Total Body Transformation Zumba set.
I recently got Exhilarate (I couldn't wait to get this new one), I thought it had to be good, since the first was.
I think I actually like Transformation better so far.

Ok, Exhilarate has much better production values (set, lighting, picture quality etc) than Transformation, but the first impression is that they tried too hard to appeal to as many people as possible but ended up losing the Latin vibe and actually made it "plastic" looking.
Yes, you'll sweat, the pace of the new set is really fast, but most of the exercises are just aerobic movements with plenty of squats, lunges, v-steps, etc. done to salsa, merengue, cumbia music.

Music: I am not crazy about the music in this one (mostly hip hop/house/club music). To me it is not as upbeat and motivating, except for a couple of songs (Celia Cruz - La vida es un carnaval is infectious).

Voice overs: The only workouts that have actual "live" cueing are the "Step by Step" and the "Activate" workout taught by Gina and Tanya and the toning section of the "Ripped" DVD. All the other workouts have the people performing the workouts on stage, and you never hear them talking to each other...just the music and audience.

Although the voice overs do not particularly bother me I would rather prefer the actual cue from the instructors.

Feel it!: A big thumbs up goes out to the new option "Feel it". This allows you to mute the instructors so, just like in the live classes, you are dancing along by watching for their cues and movements changes. This comes in quite handy in the Rush workout: the voice of the leading instructor is so annoying that the only option for me is to use it without voice overs...

The "Mix" DVD is by far my favourite (bollywood dance!). It has professional instructors who break down each of the styles from around the world. You can see Beto being taught the dance moves, before you do the workout. So as not to interrupt the flow, then you play it and follow along. Amazing routine.

Overall this is a good and effective workout with a lot of variety but IMHO not better than the previous set.

If you don't have the first set, you won't see the difference!

Here is a breakdown of the rhythms taught in each dvd:

1 Step by Step 60 minutes led by Gina and Tanya:

Merengue (March, 2 Step, 6 count, Zumba Shuffle)
Salsa (Sidestep, Forward & Back, Travel, Back)
Reggaeton (Stomp, Knee Lift, Destroza, Bounce)
Calypso (Basic, Tobago, Cross, Curacao)
Cumbia (2 step, Forward & Back, Sleepy Leg, Sugar Cane)
Bellydance (stance, tap, figure 8, shimmy)

2 Activate 45 min led by Gina and Tanya:

Pegadita - Warm up - Merengue
La Cancion Del Bobo - TropiPop
Quebra As Cadeira - Axe
Estamos Calienticos - Samba Pop
La Vida Es Un Carnaval - Salsa
Menea Menea - Latin Pop/Cumbia
Merehop - Merengue/Hip Hop/Belly Dance
Te llaman a Grabar - Salsa
Dame Un Tiempo Mas - Cumbia Reggaeton
No Quiero Mas - Flamenco/ Cumbia

3 Rush 20 min led by Kass Martin and Loretta Bates:

Echa PA' Un Lado - Warm Up - Techno/Mambo/Charleston
Enciendemala - Cumbia/Rumba/Flamenco
Estas Perdida - Calypso
La Bruja De La Cosquilla - Merengue
Lo Que Quieras Te Dare - Samba

4 Ripped workout 60 minutes (the workout is divided into two 30 minute parts):

Breakdown for the Toning section:

Nunca Me Viste - Warm Up - Latin Disco
Get Your Sticks - House (Biceps and Abs)
La Luz Del Flow - Merengue/Hip Hop (Legs, Shoulders, and Back)
Te Estoy Amando - Cumbia Salsa (Back)
Con Movimiento - Reggaeton (Abs, Chest, Shoulders)
Vamos DJ - Congo Hip Hop (Triceps)

Breakdown for Sentao:

Besito E Caramelo - Reggaeton Cumbia
Echa Pa'Lante - Bellydance Reggaeton (Tricep and Abs)
Contigo - Salsa Reggaeton (Lunge and Courtesy Dips)
Tonto No - Reggaeton Tropical (Shoulder, Legs and Obliques)
Sabes Que Te Gusta Bailar - Swing (Abs and Cardio)
Zumba Lluvia - Cool Down New Age

5 Exhilarate 60 minutes led by Beto and Melissa Chiz

Bring It On - Warm Up Latin House
Funkezinho - Funk Fuzion
El Vacilon - Merengue
Mueve La Cadera - Batucada/Merengue
Hala - Reggaeton
Que Quiere La Nina - Salsa
Sigue La Cumbia - Cumbia
Anda Y Dime - Tango
Don't Let Me Down - Swing
Pa' La Discoteka A bailar - Merengue Hip Hop
Caipirinha - Brazilian Dance
Salorien - Rumba Flamenco
I'm Going On - Cool Down Ballad

6 Mix

Warm up (Beto & Tanya)
Bollywood Fusion
Quebradita
Hip Hop
Sino Fusion
French Reggaeton
Flamenco
Belly Dance
Axe
African
Salsa
Cool down
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279 of 314 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great New Option, April 10, 2011
By 
C. Dukeshier "cherrisa" (Nashville, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD Set (Sports)
I have been following Zumba for awhile and tried a class at the YMCA. I found the class a little intimidating because it wasn't a beginner class and of course I fumbled along trying to figure out the steps. I decided I wanted to buy the videos. I researched and found that first set and decided to go to the website. They had this set for pre-order. I decided on this one.

I am so glad I did. All of the complaints about the 1st set has been adjusted in this one. The dance moves are very clear on the intro DVD and you can view from the front or the back. They have also adjusted the other DVDs so you can either do the exercise with or without the dance ques from the instructors. I am very glad that I got this set and can't wait to go back to a class and know what i'm doing.
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112 of 125 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'm a convert!!, May 14, 2011
By 
Flygrrl (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD Set (Sports)
I saw the ad for Zumba on tv a while ago, but decided to order this new Exhilarate set of DVD's rather than the original set. I had to wait a while as it was a pre-order, but I was excited when it arrived. Like the previous reviewers, I had gone to a class at the YMCA, which was great. However, with my job I am on the road almost all week, and I needed something to do in my hotel rooms, other than sitting on my phone or watching tv.

The packaging is cool, and includes dietary tips, the toning sticks and the DVD's. The steps take a bit of getting used to, but after a couple of times, you can anticipate the next move.

Now for the big news... I started this just over a week ago. Between one of the Activate and Exhilarate workouts each day, an hour of walking on top, going cold-turkey on soda and making some dietary changes, I have lost 7lbs. The even better part is that I'm really enjoying it. I can't bear going to the gym, but I do look forward to this. The music is fun and the instructors are having such a good time that it doesn't even feel like exercise, even though I have sweat pouring off me all the way through.

I highly recommend this set (and local classes) to anybody who, like me, is a bit worried about their health and fitness. My boyfriend is so stunned at my quick transformation that he is even joining in with me. Yes, its not cheap, but nor is my gym membership which I don't use! What are you waiting for?!
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111 of 129 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not nearly as good as the original, May 25, 2011
By 
Reader PJ "Avid Reader" (Washington State, United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD Set (Sports)
Very disappointed. I loved the original Zumba DVD's and still use them several times a week. The Exhilarate set loses a lot of the Latin flavor that I loved. The steps are "walked" more than they are "danced", which is just like any other exercise video. Zumba was different and that's why I liked it. This so called "cutting edge" fitness program reminds me of an '80's music video from VH1. Between the flashing lights, shiny outfits with leg warmers and the special effects of the videotaping, it has lost it's way. I gave it 2 stars because I will use them on occasion to break up the other DVD's. Even the classes have gone this direction, so guess I will have to find something else to work with.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Zumba!, May 23, 2011
This review is from: Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD Set (Sports)
I love the new Zumba Exhilarate! The dances are fun, the instructors are helpful and likeable, and you get a great workout (seriously, I workout fairly often and when I tried the Activate disc for the first time I was sweating within minues and my calves were burning!). I think the routines look better than the old Zumba Total Body Fitness - they seem more like music videos than the typical fitness DVDs. The new Sentao chair routine is cool and I expect we will be seeing it in Zumba classes at local gyms in no time. My favorite new workout, though, is the Mix DVD featuring guest instructors teaching dances from all over the world.

For those who are just starting out, the new switchable view of the instructor's front or back feature on the Basics DVD should be helpful. I also like the fact that for those who do the routines repeatedly and no longer need the instructors telling you what to do, you can turn the commentary off and just listen to the music. I think the maraca dumbbells provided with the set are a little annoying and too light anyway, so I use hand weights of my own. I have also seen the suggestion of using weighted gloves. One other thing that I thought was a little cheap was the DVD case. Instead of the regular plastic things that hold the DVD's in, there is little foam circles. They make it a little difficult to get the discs in and out, and I don't see them lasting very long.

Overall, I think this is a great workout system and the fact that it is actually fun to do makes it totally worth buying!
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If it ain't broke don't fix it., October 20, 2011
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This review is from: Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD Set (Sports)
I started Zumba fitness transformation set in 2009 after the birth of my first daughter and it helped me lose the 75 pounds I'd gained. I've never loved working out before Zumba. I would work out but saw it as a chore and coulnt wait for it to be over then came Zumba. When I'd talk about Zumba to others I felt like a salesperson for the company. Saying cliche things like, "I didn't know a workout could be fun" or " I was disappointed when the DVD ended and sometimes would do same DVD twice a day," I really fell in love with exercise with this set and even brought it on vacation with me. The only problem was there was only a few DVDs and I wanted more to choose from.

The second that I saw exhilerate come out I ordered it and just so happens I just gave birth again. I couldn't be more disappointed it's everything the first isn't. The first was more intamite with close focus on the two I structors and great music and basic filming on a well lit small stage. The second one is trying too hard to be a party feel with the lighting and overall feel. It lost all of it's charm with the obvious budget increase.

I really hope that Beto listens to his followers and goes back to small studio great up beat music and great dance workout. I found myself bored thru most of DVDs and music didn't match workout. The camera tricks were annoying and it looked like they were trying to make it so fun and it wasn't at all. Not to mention I sweat buckets with first set and barely broke a sweat with the second. I will continue with first set forever but am selling second. Believe me I wanted to love exhilerate to give me more to choose from.
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Zumba Exhilarate Body Shaping System DVD Set
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