Classes We Love: Zumba with Adam Bokunewicz

He teaches at Boston Sports Clubs and Healthworks.

Pardon the awful photo. It is hard to take A Secret IMAGE WHEN THE ROOM IS SHAKING AND YOU HAVE SWEAT DRIPPING DOWN YOUR ELBOWS.  Photo by Melissa Malamut

Pardon the awful photo. It is hard to take a secret image when the room is shaking and you have sweat dripping off your elbows. Also, this is only half the room. Photo by Melissa Malamut

Once in a while, you come across a fitness class so good you selfishly don’t want to tell anyone about it because it’s already packed. This is that class.

We first discovered this when-you-leave-your-hair-is-soaking-wet class last summer and haven’t missed a week since. The fearless leader is Adam Bokunewicz, a junior majoring in musical theater at the The Boston Conservatory. His energy is contagious, which is made clear by the numerous “Woo!” chants you’ll hear during class from your fellow booty shakers. He’s been teaching for about five years and trained under Tanya Beardsley—one of the original Zumba mavens—in New York City.

Bokunewicz currently teaches at Boston Sports Clubs at the Prudential, Newbury Street, and Boylston Street locations. He also teaches at Healthworks. Although we prefer to not highlight classes from members-only gyms, his class is just too good not to cover. So if you are not a member of either of these gyms, get a guest pass. STAT.

Zumba in general can be intimidating (especially if you don’t know a merengue from a cha-cha) and Bokunewicz’s class does have the usual intimidating suspects (professional dancers and models—literally, models), but there’s also seniors, college students, and even men! (Gay and straight—we did say models.) The class is filled with people of all shapes and sizes.

The workout:

It’s an intense cardio dance class that features a variety of styles. There are the typical Zumba moves combined with a little hip-hop, ballroom, and jazz. But Bokunewicz starts every class by saying, “This is not a dance class,” and he’s right. You’ll squat, jump, and crunch until the sweat is dripping off your forehead. Bokunewicz also demonstrates what not to do and really focuses on doing the moves properly in order to get the best workout. He also effortlessly moves around the crowded room in order to make sure the people in the back are just as heavily invested in class as those in the front. And even after 55-intense minutes, you’ll still hear people begging for one more song. The class ends with a much needed cool down/stretching combo.

The vibe:

Here’s the thing with a class so popular: You’re going to make friends. After the first few classes, you figure out where you like to stand and most people stick to it. In the little corner where I like to shake it, I’ve made friends with the other people who also like that spot. I sweat next to a future medical student, a ballroom dancer, a Northeastern student, and a woman in her 60s who are totally now my “Zumba friends.” It’s hard not to feel energized and empowered in this class, and it clearly shows in the faces of everyone in the room. Newbies mix with seasoned vets, and everyone just has fun.

Know before you go:

You should definitely get there early. People in Zumba (myself included) can be a bit obsessive about their spot. And the photo above is not a good representation of just how crowded his classes can get. (Read: In class last night, I may or may not have accidentally smacked the lovely woman next to me—twice.) Also, if you are new to Zumba, you may want to hang in the back for your first few classes (I did).

We take at the BSC Prudential location Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.;