ZUU - Unleash Your Animal Fitness

June 2, 2014

We don't see wild animals suffering an obesity crisis, so perhaps we should take a leaf out of their book.

That's exactly what Australian fitness fans have done, creating Zuu, an animal-based workout that promises to channel your inner bear.

The Chimanzee (Zuu)
View photos
The Chimanzee (Zuu)

What is ZUU?

ZUU training promises to liberate human movement by encouraging its class members to move like animals.

Every ZUU exercise has been inspired by an animal. So if you attend a ZUU fitness class you’ll be asked to squat like a frog, crawl like a bear, move backwards like a flea and scuttle across the floor like an iguana. The classes also incorporate strength and endurance body weight exercises to help tone up members.

ZUU was created by Nathan Helberg, an expert in human movement. Nathan was worried that training his muscles in isolation was making him weak and vulnerable to instabilities. As a result, he developed ZUU as a style of training that worked his entire body, including his ligaments joints and tendons. Nathan explains that he ‘Wanted to get a cardio workout without doing lots of miles.’

Nathan also ‘Wanted a level of body conditioning where I could burn body fat in a short period of time and where exercises that use multiple muscles worked together in the way the body naturally moves. And I wanted low-impact movements that could be done by all but still raise your heart rate.’

Enter Zuu.

The benefits of ZUU training

Admittedly, it sounds ridiculous. But actually ZUU training isn’t just about looking silly. The animal movements are intense. They work all of the major and minor muscle groups, s you’ll be burning fat, toning up and getting a decent cardio workout at the same time. You’ll also be moving in a way you are probably not used to, which will provide a challenge for your body.  

And embracing your wild side also has other more subtle benefits too.

For example, because you’re using your body in a way you haven’t before, you have to concentrate on getting the movement right. As a result, you’re not focussing on the effort you are putting into the exercise so much, and you might find you are able to work even harder than you normally do.

Another subtle benefit of doing ZUU is that it tries to create a sense of belonging. People who follow the training style are referred to as being part of the ‘pack’, and there’s even a ZUU hand sign.

Plus, it’s also hilarious. Step into any ZUU class and you’ll find lots of people smiling, laughing and having a good time.  And we all know that laughing is great for us.  

View photos

Is ZUU for you?

ZUU classes can be tough, but the animal movements are also adaptable, so don’t be scared off if you’re keen to give ZUU classes a go. Speak to the class trainer beforehand to suss out if it’s something you’ll be able to take part in or not.

Currently ZUU training is exclusive to members of certain Virgin Active Health Clubs. This summer the sessions should become available nationwide for Virgin Active members though.