Ten Misconceptions about Jazzercise

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 5th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Exercise & Fitness

People laugh when I tell them I am a member of Jazzercize and that I love it. Here are 10 misconceptions about my workout program -- and I'll debunk 9.5 of them.

10. It's for old people.

Not true. I've seen lots of high school seniors and college students all the way through senior citizens. Younger kids are allowed to dance with their parents as long as they don't interfere with class. At the two centers I attend, one has a child care attendant and the other has a room where young kids can stay. My son says he hates to dance, but when class is over, he'll come out and bust a move. He recognizes and likes the music (he's 10) and would say it is music from his generation -- not just for old folks like his MOM!

9. It's for women only.

Not true. One of my instructors brings her fella to class and he fits right in. There are some moves that men might not be comfortable doing, but men can be choreographers, business owners, and instructors -- as well as students.

8. It's just another aerobics class.

Not true. Jazzercise includes cardio, kickboxing, dance steps and weight training. I've tried Zumba, Kickboxing, Aerobics, Cardio Aerobics, and Weight Training. And while kickboxing may still be my personal favorite (though I haven't found a good local program that I could afford or that fit my schedule), nothing else has made me feel as comfortable with what I get from a workout as Jazzercise.

7. Richard Simmons.

Nope. Try Pitbull. Christina Aguilera. One Direction. Adam Levine. Usher. Blake Shelton. Lady Antebellum. There are some throwback artists, too, but there is a good mix of contemporary pop and country. One positive thing about Jazzercise is that, as a national program, students can attend classes as they travel and perform the same routines as they do in their hometown centers. The negative thing (tongue in cheek) is that when the (top-40 station) radio is on, Jazzercisers WILL hear a work-out song at least once an hour. I can't hear Taylor Swift's "Trouble" without my glutes hurting. Seriously.

6. People will watch me dance.

Nope. Unless you're the instructor. Eyes seem glued in that direction. Everyone wants to get it right and all the first-timers have two left feet. No one is watching anyone else otherwise. There is a stage up front for the instructor to be more visible, and in both locations I attend, a glass store front allows onlookers a good view of the classes going on. But the onlookers I've talked to -- some of whom come in and join immediately -- all say that the only thing they notice is how in sync everyone is. And that's because the steps are simple and repetitive, but still flashy and cool. And that's a tough feat to pull off.

5. I'll have to watch myself in front of a mirror.

Mirrors aren't present in the workout area of either Jazzercise location I attend. There are mirrors in the bathrooms and the dressing rooms, but you can be dancing there -- there will be a mirror -- and still nobody will be judging. Dance, my friend, dance!!

4. I'm too fat.

a -- see this FAT RANT by Joy Nash. Though she's been around for years, I just discovered her work. I love the way she thinks.

b -- My Jazzercise instructors are constantly showing modifications for those who are injured or out of shape so everyone can get their best workout. At over 250 pounds, I'm one of the heavier participants, and there are moves I can't do (yet), like planks or leaning back on my elbows to do some of the leg raises. I can still work up a good sweat and feel like I've gotten a solid hour of exercise.

3. I can't do it because I can't dance.

Guess what? I can't dance, either. And my dancing inability really turned me off from Zumba, because I didn't have the Latin rhythm (or simply, rhythm) and I wasn't going to feel the rhythm or the super sexy dance moves (I attended for six weeks, and was as lost in week six as I was in week one, despite above-average instructors I knew well, liked, and respected.). Jazzercise moves are more sassy than sexy, and you don't have to be a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader to understand what's going on. Also, with all the modifications, you'll get SOMETHING that allows you to stay in sync with the group.

2. It's (too) easy.

Easy to learn -- impossible to master -- perhaps. Each song has its own routine, but there are so many songs in rotation, muscle groups don't have a chance to go into autopilot from week to week. There are old familiar favorite routines and there's also almost always something new, so muscles are constantly learning. All muscle groups are worked every session, and muscle confusion* is really put into play here.

*"P90X uses the term "muscle confusion" in their advertising to refer to their training methods. Muscle confusion is said to prevent the body from adapting to exercises over time, resulting in continual improvement without plateau." (from the link above)

1. It won't fit my schedule.

Now this one might be true. Most Jazzercise centers offer morning and evening classes, and like anything else, the bigger a city one lives in, the more likely one will find a Jazzercise class at a time that's convenient.

For me, the morning class is an hour after I drop my kid off at school, and that's a lot of time to fill between dropping off a child and attending class -- especially in yoga pants and a work-out top (maybe if I had Candy Crush on my smartphone...). Afternoon classes are homework and dinner time at my house. And my son's at that awkward age where he doesn't need a babysitter, but doesn't want to be left alone. So we're still trying to figure that out as far as a set schedule goes.

The question "how bad do you want it" is valid here. If working out is even a medium priority, you will find a class that fits in your schedule. If you want to find an excuse, though -- and I'm as guilty as anyone else -- this is probably going to be the "reason" that sinks you. I attended a lot of Jazzercise classes over the summer, then didn't attend in August so I could finish some things I'd neglected (painting and prepping my house for sale, publishing two books, getting my son ready for back-to-school, working a temp job, applying for jobs, interviewing illustrators, traveling to Phoenix, writing Wikinut articles -- need I go on?) and ended up taking September off, too. So Friday morning was my first class in two months, and I had worried I'd be back at square one, or scorned by the other students or the instructors. I shouldn't have worried. It felt good to be back, and my fellow students and the instructors greeted me by name and seemed genuinely happy to see me. They cared about me as a person, not just an account.

Jazzercise isn't a gym where you should walk in and do your own thing any time of day -- which is good for me because I won't push myself in those situations. But I will dance in exaggerated fashion with two left feet, singing all the words I know and some I make up, and call it exercise. And my instructors are OK with that, which is just one more reason I love coming to class!

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Photo Credits:

Guys do it: http://mrg.bz/XkGSn2

Richard Simmons: Angela George (Wikicommons) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Simmons

mirror dance: http://mrg.bz/Gbh8Sq

dance steps: http://mrg.bz/Bo0JPI


Exercise, Fat, Jazzercise, Muscle, Working Out, Workout, Workout Exercise Program, Workout Routine, Workout Session, Workout Tips

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
5th Oct 2013 (#)

Phyl, great article! I have never tried Jazzercise but I think I will! It sounds like a blast. Keep up the great work writing and working out!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
5th Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Connie!

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author avatar ladyfoxxy
5th Oct 2013 (#)

Nice one, i enjoyed reading. Keep on sharing.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
5th Oct 2013 (#)


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author avatar Phyl Campbell
6th Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Mark!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
6th Oct 2013 (#)

good one Phyl...you are such a wonderfully trippy lady...

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
6th Oct 2013 (#)

Thanks, Carolina! I trip with the best of the falling... ;)

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author avatar Sher D
21st Sep 2016 (#)

Thank you so much! I was really nervous about trying jazzercise for fear of not being able to handle it. You've convinced me to go for it!

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