We all have our strengths. The dance is not one of mine. I’ve never considered myself a dancer and I don’t have much rhythm. That said, I love fun music and watching others move and have fun on TikTok is one of my favorite pastimes. Enter: my foray into Jazzercise.
I’m not ashamed of my lack of ability, but I don’t necessarily love to dance. What I love, though, is a new challenge (especially if it involves training), so when I had the opportunity to try Jazzercise for two weeks, I was intrigued.
I was a little skeptical at first and TBH, I didn’t realize Jazzercise was still around in 2023. I’d only heard of the dance cardio class from older family members and the thought of dancing for my workout didn’t it seemed the most challenging or exciting. mode.
Jazzercise has been around for over 50 years (!) and is the *OG* cardio dance class. I knew there had to be something special about the method. There’s a reason it’s stood the test of time.
For personal context, I’m a fitness class aficionado who has never done a group aerobics session. I usually go for hot yoga, Pilates reformer and Peloton workouts. I feed off the energy of others and love when a motivational coach leads the charge. Oh, and upbeat workout playlists always keep me motivated, so I took on the challenge with an open mind.
My goal for the two weeks wasn’t to overhaul my entire fitness routine, but to explore new ways to move and tone my body. I’m a creature of habit and usually stick to the workouts I know and love. I was curious to see how my weekly workout would benefit from a new program.
Here are my (unfiltered!) thoughts and what results I noticed during two weeks of Jazzercise workouts.
The Jazzercise workout
Jazzercise is a combination of aerobic exercise, HIIT cardio, dance and resistance training that focuses on choreographed movement. Jazzercise On Demand workouts range from 10 to 50 minutes, and there are routines that focus on upper body, lower body, core, and cardio endurance.
Jazzercise offers in-person classes, but there wasn’t a studio where I live. I have committed to On Demand classes at least four times a week.
I received my selection of lessons for my two week trip directly from the coaches at Jazzercise. My program consisted of Cardio Sculpt, Cardio, Power Sculpt and Band Blast formats. Most classes were 20 to 40 minutes long and some required zero equipment, while others needed a set of dumbbells and/or resistance bands.
For shorter workouts (10, 20, or 30 minutes), I typically supplemented with my cardio regimen. The 20-minute workouts were a great warm-up for a running or cycling class, and the 10-minute sessions were a killer finisher. Workouts longer than 40 minutes were a full-body burn, so I didn’t need any more sweats for the day.
My two week Jazzercise trip
I started with an open mind and dance cardio.
Since Jazzercise is rooted in dance cardio, I started with the Kickstarter collection to familiarize myself with the core moves and choreography. For example, a dance pattern: March in place for eight counts, roll your shoulders back for four counts, then squat for four counts before repeating the sequence.
Each workout begins with a dynamic warm-up, followed by a quick stretch and a preview of your next routine. The coach prepares you on what to expect and demonstrates basic moves with simple instructions. I was able to quickly catch on with no prior knowledge of dance.
I admit, I was a little embarrassed and felt silly performing the routines. The dance moves were totally out of my comfort zone. After three days of dancing and doing my best in Cardio class, I had a little breakthrough after the coach said, We all have different styles and no one is watching you.”
Once I realized my dance skills weren’t meant to be up to par with the expert coach, I took myself less seriously. I was alone in my apartmentliterally no one was looking at me.
I expanded to the full spectrum of strength classes and found my rhythm.
I’ve added intensity with classes like Power Sculpt, which is HIIT-based and packed with compound exercises, and Band Blast, which incorporates resistance bands. My heart rate was consistently elevated and my *whole* body was engaging. I have definitely felt the effects of cardio resistance.
There was still a fair amount of dance cardio, which served as a welcome active recovery between strength circuits. By the end of a 40-minute class, I was satisfied with my workout and glistening with sweat.
After every Band Blast class, my body was always shaking. My arms especially were working on a whole new level using the resistance bands. Instead of focusing solely on reps and sets, the instructors explained that it was all about creating time under tension. As a result, I noticed that my smaller stabilizer muscles were challenged and the larger muscle groups were activated in both the concentric (muscle shortening) and eccentric (muscle lengthening) portions of muscle contraction.
My Jazzercise tips
1. Resistance bands are super effective and a new go-to tool.
Resistance bands have been a game changer for me. Not only did I learn to feel (and embrace) the burn, but the Jazzercise instructors kept me focused on the correct movement patterns and form.
I knew that resistance bands work and have the power to totally transform your muscle composition, but prior to Jazzercise I didn’t have much experience using them. I mostly train with dumbbells and/or body weight. As soon as I tried Band Blast’s lessons, I was instantly obsessed with bands.
Another plus? Resistance band classes are so versatile. Whether I was in my small apartment, at the gym, or on vacation, I was confident I could knock out a 20- or 30-minute class and tone my entire body.
Resistance bands are here to stay in my routine. After just two weeks, I could see and feel my muscles level up. Even though I train regularly for strength, resistance band workouts have targeted my muscles in a new way.
2. There are benefits to letting go even if it feels a little awkward.
It’s no secret I didn’t love dance cardio nor was I very good at it, but that doesn’t mean it was invaluable. I still had fun, and that’s what matters in the end. Sure, the moves may seem cheesy and a little basic, but after a long day of sitting at a desk, dancing was refreshing and at times just what I needed.
I’ve learned to appreciate a dance break.
3. The combined exercises are more challenging and rewarding than you thought.
In every class I completed, combination drills were a huge part of the choreography. Instructors often paired two different movements together to be performed as one. For example, using dumbbells for your biceps while simultaneously doing mini squats with a resistance band.
It sounds complex, but I managed it after a few reps and turned my attention to form. Instead of running or trying to keep up with the music, I focused on maximizing each rep.
The mental and physical challenge was well worth it. Compound exercises are super effective. Work your upper and lower body at the same time? You say less.
Ultimately, I don’t regret dedicating two weeks to Jazzercise and would encourage others to give the classes a try, especially if you love to dance! As they say, what’s old is new again, and Jazzercise definitely has a lot more to offer than aerobics.
Andi Breitowich is a Chicago-based writer and graduate student at Northwestern Medill. She is a mass consumer of social media and cares about women’s rights, holistic wellness and non-stigmatizing reproductive care. As a former collegiate pole vaulter, she loves all things fitness and is currently obsessed with Peloton Tread workouts and hot yoga.
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