That is the first image that pops up when I google image search the term. Jazzercise, according to a pal on MyFitnessPal, evokes this response:
OMG, I haven’t even heard that term in like 20 years! Makes me think back to my old Jane Fonda videos!!
Well… Turns out that’s not really what Jazzercise is all about. According to the internet, “Jazzercise is a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga, and kickboxing.” When I visited the Chapel Hill Jazzercise location (located dangerously close to a bagel shop and a barbecue joint, eep), I didn’t know what to expect. While I didn’t imagine unitards and shiny leggings, I sort of wish I’d brought a pair of leg warmers, if only to get the full experience.
The full experience, however, was pretty fantastic.
For the Healthiest You Challenge, we are required to try a few community health options out over the 8 weeks. 6 complimentary Jazzercise classes were on that list. While I’m accustomed to a gym full of hyperactive “yo pros” (Young professionals) with the occasional student mixed in at O2 Fitness, Jazzercise was definitely an older crowd. That being said, it definitely wasn’t “OLD” old, and there was a range from about mid- to late-20s all the way up to (I assume) 60s. A great mix, and everyone seemed very excited.
As far as the outfits, folks weren’t rocking my dream of Glitter Body Suits, but all looked pretty fashionable in bright colors and comfortable workout gear. Nothing out of the standard fitness gear.
There were only females in my class, though I know that Jazzercise welcomes males and females.
The perceived exertion chart sort of set up the class as far as how we’d be working out. There’s a buildup with a warmup, a sustained peak for four songs (in this particular class, I’ve heard it can vary), and then a period of slowing/cooling down, which included some strength training.
I’ll admit, I was wary initially. The warmup was REALLY slow, and my heart rate stayed a lot lower than I’m used to in my standard dance fitness classes (like Zumba or Bodyjam). However, after a little while, I could see why folks were so dedicated to this class. Though it moves at a slower pace, you definitely are getting a solid workout in. Most of the songs I’d never heard before (with about 3 exceptions during the whole hour class), and I always kind of prefer being able to sing along, but (at points) I was working so hard that singing would’ve been a challenge.
Jazzercise is less about sexily shaking what your mama gave you, and more about a fun dance workout to music. I get the feeling it sort of set the groundwork or foundation for lots of more modern classes, and it’s always good to know where your roots are. The participants were all in good spirits, which was contagious enough to have me whooping with the rest of the class about halfway in. My favorite part of the class, though, was definitely the strength portion.
There was a section for arms, for lower body (booty, thighs), and an ab section, covering
all most of the bases. This was a nice change of pace from my usual cardio-only classes, and I liked jumping off that cardio high to focus on small, controlled weight lifting and inner/outer thigh work.
As far as Jazzercise goes, while I can’t say that I’m a convert, I will happily say that I’m a believer that it can be a great fitness workout for some people. It’s affordable, it’s a great feeling of community, and, I imagine, with enough practice, the steps feel like second nature.
Without any practice, you may end up bumbling around like a fool for few parts.
I know I did.
According to my HRM, I burned 692 calories during the hour (with a few questionable peaks that make me wonder if, at the end, I may have bumped it or made it go funny). But hey, I broke a serious sweat, and had fun doing it.
I haven’t had a chance to get my weigh-in for the week (blessing in disguise after a bit of overeating on the weekend), but I’ll let you know when I check in on that, too.
Have you ever tried Jazzercise? What’d you think?
or, if you haven’t, What’s one exercise class you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had a chance?