Focus On: Jazzercise

Hi friends!

Happy Monday! Hope your morning is off to a great start. <3 I’ll be back later today with a recap from our fun weekend, but in the meantime, I’m excited to share the deets on a fitness class that I took this past weekend…..

YOU GUYS. I finally got to try Jazzercise after talking and thinking about it for years.

The verdict? I loved it!!

What to expect in a jazzercise class

What is Jazzercise?

Jazzercise is a choreographed dance cardio class. They have a few different formats (some incorporate weights and interval training. There’s a full list of types of classes here), and I was able to check out a Dance Mixx (cardio + weights) class in PB this past weekend.

When I told the Pilot I was talking a Jazzercise class, he was a bit confused.

“Wait, you’re doing what?”

“Jazzercise! I’ve been wanting to try it.”

“You know, my mom used to take Jazzercise classes on base, in Arkansas, in the 80s…”

“It looks fun. Plus, Julie loves it and if it was lame, she would tell me.”

While I was driving to class, a couple of things crossed my mind.

What would the demographic be like? I’m always interested to see what age groups are in each class. For this one, I had no idea if they’d be mostly around my age, younger, or older. (It ended up being a pretty even mix. It was amazing!)

I also couldn’t help but picture leotard-clad ladies spinning and jumping around me, performing complex sequences, while I stood there totally confused. 

In my mind, I saw this:

 

In reality, here’s how it really was:

 

Here’s what you can expect at a Jazzercise class:

When I was arrived, I could see that it was definitely a mix of age groups. As an instructor, this is a huge indicator of the safety of a class. If there’s a variety of ages and fitness abilities, the format is likely scalable to accommodate various fitness levels. Also, no leotards, high-top Reeboks or intensely-hairsprayed bangs. 😉

The assistant immediately walked up to introduce herself (so I only had to stand there looking awkward for about 30 seconds), so I could pay for class and sign a waiver. And then, we got started!

We went through different dances, and almost all of the songs were top 40. It’s definitely fun to dance to songs you know!

As I mentioned before, this particular class was about 45 minutes of cardio and 15 minutes of strength with dumbbells. I ended up skipping the strength portion -I had crushed my legs the day before and didn’t want to strength train 2 days in a row- but danced the entire time.

As far as the moves go, they were very simple and easy to follow. It was similar to Zumba in the format: we did the same movements for the verses and choruses of each song. There were definitely some classic jazz dance moves mixed with the ability to shake your booty a little, which I always appreciate. I really missed some good ol’ chase ball changes.

Also, this is random, but I usually can’t stand it when instructors sing into the mic. It’s fitness, not karaoke. BUT, this instructor sang a little bit, and SHE WAS GOOD. It didn’t bother me at all, and she was a great instructor. Her cueing was on point (so you knew what was coming next), and she contributed to the lighthearted and upbeat energy of the class.

I’m fortunate to have a lot of different fitness formats that I love (Barre! Spin! Orangetheory! Yoga! BODYPUMP!) and taking this class reminded me why dance cardio is my very favorite:

It doesn’t feel like working out. There’s something pretty magical about turning on some music, dancing your heart out, and looking at the clock to see that class is almost over. The time flies by, and I’ll check my Fitbit to see that while I was partying and moving around, I was skyrocketing my daily step count.

It’s great cardio exercise for the general population. As long as you don’t have any joint or health contraindications, there’s a good chance dance cardio would be a generally safe choice. 

It’s good for your brain!! Dance challenges your body and mind in an entirely different way since you’re moving laterally (so much of exercise is forward and backwards movement), turning, and constantly adjusting to learn the combos. This is one of my favorite studies about the benefits of dance cardio.

What to wear:

Comfortable sneakers that allow lateral movement

Comfortable clothes (I think shorts would be ok, but I’d go with crops or tights and a tank top)

That’s it!

I’m excited to try out another class when it works for my schedule -it can be tricky to get into new classes with my teaching schedule + weekly OTF class- and seek one out when we’re in Tucson.

Have you tried a Jazzercise class? What did you think about it?

Did you ever have an expectation of a workout, and find that it was completely different?

xoxo

Gina

More Focus On posts:

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Orange Theory Fitness

21DayFit

Pure Barre

Tabata Training

BODYPUMP

Intermittent Fasting

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Comments

  1. So fun! I’ve honestly been doing some Zumba classes on YouTube (I think it’s called “Danielle’s Habibis or something like that) and I think they’re so fun. I’m sure a whole class environment would be a blast! I’ll definitely have to try it out!

    Side note – I’ve been doing your Squat Challenge throughout the month. ERMAHGAH! There are times that I’ve been so sore the next day that I’d definitely skip the strength portion, too. Proof that I have to focus on working my lower body more, ha!

    Thanks for the tips – and the awesome workout!
    XO, Jessica
    http://www.semisweettooth.com

  2. My mom also did jazzercize in the 80s!! I took a few classes with her over the years but it’s probably been 20 years since I’ve taken one. I honestly didn’t even know they were still around! Sounds fun though.

  3. Anything that has to do with dance I’m totally stoked to do! I swear at blogfest/ IDEA I spent the majority of my time dancing. It was something I hadn’t had the chance to do in a while and I LOVED it!!!

  4. Haha, I love that first Jazzercise video from the 80’s. The gym at my university doesn’t offer Jazzercise classes, I’ll have to see if I can find some somewhere else to try out.

    • Michelle Barker says:

      Hi! Most Jazzercise classes are in an actual jazzercise facility. That way, we can offer more classes (more times, more formats, variety of instructors) than if we were one of many classes hosted in a given day.
      Go to jazzercise.com to “find anclass”. Or download the free app… it will show u all the centers near you. Directions, classtimes, babysitting, etc will be on there. Some facilities offer up to 8 classes a day! Smaller centers or ones that rent space in a church or other facility may have less. U can see all of that on the website and app.
      No matter where you go, jazzercise is the same. They are all expected to run their business a certain way, the instructors follow choreographed routines, and they are critically reviewed by corporate jazzercise every year in order to keep teaching. Most of the time, on the spot. U know u will get a great class no matter where u go. And teaching in two states and having attended 12’different facilities… they all have a variety of students and they all love doing it. The joy is infectious.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i’ve watched that video so many times since writing this post. so many gold star moments

  5. YAYYYYYYYYYY Jazzercise!!! We have to take a class together — maybe meeting in Jax once you move to Valdosta? My mom’s studio is a blast!! xo

    • Seconding Julie’s YAY … FINALLY!!! 🙂 Or better yet, when you’re both in Orlando, you can come to Mills 50, our incredible premiere Jazzercise center here!! Hooray!

    • Yess! Jazzercise is the best. Such a fun time + a seriously good workout. I’m 25 & have been going for a few years now. So glad you tried it Gina!

    • Fitnessista says:

      YESSS! i actually thought while i was driving there, “is it weird if i text julie and see if we can take a class with her mom?” haha can’t wait 🙂

  6. I have a friend who loves doing dance classes. They are definitely not for me but I think it’s awesome for someone who lives them. It’s all about finding something you love doing.

    • It’s not your typical dance class. It’s not dancy like Zumba. There are some dance moves in there but it’s a very intense cardio program. It’s an amazing full body workout Go try one! I bet you will love it and be pleasantly surprised. And you don’t have to have a dance background to do this at all.

  7. I LOVE Jazzercise! I haven’t done it in years because I moved, & we don’t have a studio nearby. 🙁 I used to travel for work & would find a Jazzercise class in whatever city I was in. My mom & I also went to a bunch of their conventions over the years. I knew you’d love it! 🙂

  8. Angela Siciliano says:

    Hi,
    Great article!! I’ve been a Jazzercise instructor since 2004 and I noticed you mentioned how Jazzercise is great for the general population.
    Since February 2005 I’ve been teaching an Adapted Jazzercise program for individuals with disabilities of All ages and All abilities. My program here in Cleveland has really grown since then and I’ve currently added adapted yoga classes. Please check out my Adapted Jazzercise PLUS Facebook page or contact me with any questions. 🙂
    Keep Moving with Jazzercise!!!!

  9. Oh my gosh! You finally got to try a class! I’m so excited and so glad that you liked it!! 🙂

  10. A coworker at my old job taught jazzercise and she was obsessed!

  11. I used to do jazzercise here in Oceanside, even took classes from the founder herself but they raised the price from 55$ to 69 a month in one year, I just can’t justify that price hike. Seems so unfair, especially with old weights, etc. if they ever lower their price I’ll prob go back. I’m surprised you didn’t get your first class free?

    • I’m just curious – have you ever done the math based on how many classes per week you take? It’s very inexpensive when you break it all out. When you look at the number as a whole, it seems expensive but it’s really not for what you’re getting. Just a thought…

    • Fitnessista says:

      no, it was $20! it’s crazy how much class prices vary depending on where you are

  12. I’ve tried jazzercise once, in 4th grade, when an instructor came to our PE class one day. I remember her black tank top, it had JAZZERCISE in rhinestones across the front. Not that I was judging her, since I probably had just bejeweled my jean jacket the weekend before (the 90s = <3).
    Anyway, I'm glad to read this post because now I want to try a class!

  13. In high school I despised all exercise except Jazzercise and belly dancing. My friends would tease me about being an “old lady” but Jazzercise was so uplifting that I didn’t even notice until the end that I was “working out.” Sounds like there’s a younger following now, too. I have to get back into it!

  14. So cool!

    That first move looked so much like a yoga one– goddess pose!

    I think switching up your fitness routine every now and then is so important!

  15. I love Jazzercise because it’s a full workout – cardio + strength for the whole body in just one hour. And it’s current moves and music! Definitely not the jazzercise from the 80’s anymore.

    So glad you loved it!

  16. Hahahaha I love the videos!!! Exactly what I pictured as well! Glad to hear it is NOT the same!!!

  17. queenoffitness says:

    I tried Jazzercise for the first time this past summer when I was out of town. My first class was free and the instructor greeted me within seconds of my arrival. My friend’s wife takes classes all the time and loves it. I have never been able to take a class because they aren’t any facilities even remotely close to where I live. I LOVED it. It was a lot of fun, easy to follow along with, and I really worked up a sweat. I loved how the class had a wide range of participants (even 1 man) and that a lot of the ladies were singing along to the songs. I thought it was more dance-y than Zumba but easier to follow the moves than Zumba. I find Zumba choreography to be a bit more intricate for those who don’t typically dance. The time flew. I took the same class you did with the 45/15 strength format. The lady who taught the class sent me a sweet postcard after my visit and gave me information about starting a club.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i totally agree that it’s easier to follow than zumba. without a dance background, some of the zumba tracks can be confusing. (and i danced my whole life and was SO LOST my first class in zumba because a lot of the latin styles were so new to me.)
      so happy to hear you loved it too!

  18. Thank you for such a positive voice about Jazzercise. I’m glad you love it as I’m pretty much obsessed with it and wish more people would give it a try.

    Again I say, thank you!

  19. Jazzercise was one of my Mom’s favs. It is not your mother’s Jazzercise anymore. Looks like a lot of fun.

  20. When I first tried Crossfit I totally thought it would be a bro session. I went with my husband and figured why the heck not! Thank goodness I did because it is now such a huge part of our lives. Much of the time the classes are 50% women! Def makes you realize to not assume things before you’ve tried :). I might have to try jazzercise now that I don’t picture my grandma when I hear it! Haha

  21. Thank you for trying it and doing a “Focus On”! I’ve been loving Jazzercise for a year and a half. It’s the ONLY thing I’ve stuck with in my adult life as far as fitness. Love, love, love it!

  22. Love your blog. In my 60’s over here. I did this when in my 20’s. So fast forward to current classes. My opinion is that cardio is good but seems on the light side. I dislike the jumping. I as well dislike the music….. I did a year of these classes and left more so from the stand point of boredom. Instructors are taught same routine—–change up wasn’t there. The music became too stale. Steps became routine and I believe one needs to move outside of one’s comfort level and change it up if you want change in your body. Same ole’ doesn’t get it. I had to make a year contract so I did….. Now moving on. I am a runner ( 3 days a week) so doing my other 3 days of exercise changes it up for me, ( eclips, gym equip. And some yoga). The weights were good though…. But again the music was not. Btw— any advice for the 60+ and heart rate/ exercise advice would be so appreciated. Thanks for all the great recipes— I make your baked breakfast cookie all the time. Your dinner suggestions/ recipes are awesome too.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i’m so happy to hear you like the recipes 🙂 and i totally understand what you mean about doing the same thing all the time. the body does adapt, so it’s important to add changes and stressors where you can.
      it sounds like you’ve found an awesome schedule that works for you!
      thank you so much for reading <3

  23. I’d love to try a Jazzercise class. I recently took a BollyX class and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! I felt like I was part of the cool dance squad in some hit Bollywood movie! So much fun! When I told my husband I was going to do it, he was like “huh??”

  24. Love this post thanks for the info! Just curious, when you say you “skipped out on the strength portion”, do you actually leave class? Or just hang out on your mat until the portion is over? There are portions of classes I consider skipping, so I just wanted to know class etiquette! Thanks!

    • Fitnessista says:

      oh i left class. it was a good transition time since everyone left the main area to get their mats and weights
      if you want to skip a part at the end of a class, i think it’s totally fine to wait for a transitional spot and sneak out
      xo

  25. Jazzercise is my favorite! It’s the only exercise I actually get excited about doing.

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