Mom to Iris. Wife to Todd. Our little family lives at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We love it here and I love sharing little bits of our life.

© 2014 sarahfortune.


A Beginner’s Guide to Jazzercise

Some of my most popular blog posts have been the ones about my journey with Jazzercise, and some of my most commonly asked questions from friends and folks online is about Jazzercise. Since I was a beginner myself not that long ago, I thought I would answer some of the questions I’ve gotten, as well as some that I had when I first began:

What do I wear?
Sorry to disappoint, but the neon leotards and spandex left with the 1980s. For your first Jazzerise class wear whatever you are comfortable in, but remember you’ll be jumping and moving around, so you’ll want something that gives you flexibility and support. Personally, I wear cropped leggings (even in the winter because you truly work up a sweat), sports bra, tank top, and sneakers. You’ll see a wide-range of outfits though. Some people are head-to-toe is cute workout gear, while others keep it ultra-cas in a t-shirt and shorts.

What do I bring?
Just water and yourself! Some people bring their own mats and weights, or even a towel or extra cushion to put down on the mats that are provided. At my center, there are almost always enough mats and a range of weights to choose from. While you use weights in every class, mats aren’t always needed. You’ll occasionally use exercise balls and resistance bands, but those are provided as well (and no prior experience is needed).

Okay, so there are weights. What do I start with?
If you are already familiar exercising with weights, then you probably know what’s best. But if you are a newbie like I was, I started with 3-pound weights and then after about a week went up to 5-pounders. Currently I go between 5 and 6-pound weights depending on the class.

So there are different types of classes?
Yes! That’s what helps keeps it fun and what helps keep it a well-rounded workout. Each class format is a different mix of songs/workouts, with some being more focused on cardio (Dance Mixx) while others are more focused on strength (Strength 60). You can read more about the different class types here. And you can always find out what classes are happening and when via the Jazzercise app or by searching for your center on their website. For example, here’s my center’s schedule!

Is it really a good workout?
As with any exercise, you’ll only get out as much as you put in. Overall though, people (like myself) are surprised to find out how much of a challenge each class can be. The classes are typically an hour long and are a good “one-stop-shop” for your daily exercise.

I can’t dance. Does that matter?
Anyone can Jazzercise. I don’t consider myself a dancer in the least, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have fun trying. Plus, one of the many things I love about Jazzercise is that it’s helped with my coordination overall. You’ll learn that each routine is choreographed to work specifically with each song, so you can feel (and hear) when you’re about to change movements. And if you count in eights, it will be easier to stay on track. None of that truly matters though – The environment is made to make you feel comfortable so that you can just do your thing and make it your own workout. It’s a no-judgement zone.

Do they still dance to 80s music?
While I think a throw-back class would be awesome, Jazzercise definitely keeps it fresh with what’s popular on the radio (my fave routines are the ones to Bruno Mars). That means we get to learn new routines pretty often, so even if you are brand new to Jazzercise, it’s likely that the veteran next to you is learning something for the first time too.

I have an old injury. Can I still try it?
Absolutely! While there is a lot of hopping and lunging that can be tough on the knees, instructors give low-impact options for each workout.

How many calories do you burn?
I wear an Apple Watch and I find that I burn approximately 450 – 550 calories per class. I discovered this blog, which has some good insight into the amount of calories burned for each class format.

How do I get started and how does it all work?
Once you sign-up (you can pay per class or join for 3, 6, or 12 months), they print you out a little card with your name on it. Before each class, you pull your card so that they can scan it. This helps keep track of how many classes you attend in a year. They usually announce during class when you hit a milestone, such as 25, 50, 75 or 100 classes. And with the new app, I think we’re going to see a transition to scanning your phone instead of the card, so that’s exciting! Jazzercise also announces great deals a few times throughout the year, so be on the lookout for a joining special – that’s how I got hooked.

Any questions I missed? Feel free to ask or share your insight below! The Jazzercise community is a warm and welcoming one, so if you are curious the best thing to do is just give it a shot and keep in mind it usually takes at least a few classes for it to “click.” You can read my previous posts here and here.

PS – This is not a sponsored post. I’ve just enjoyed sharing my Jazzer-journey!


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  • Brenda March 28, 2017 @ 11:45 am

    I am in my 3rd year of Jazzercising. I love it, at 62 I am probably stronger than ever. I have osteoarthritis all over, but Jazzercise keeps me moving. It still hurts, but I know the stiffness and soreness would be worse without Jazzercise.

  • Dana March 28, 2017 @ 1:03 pm

    I have been Jazzercising for 4 years (or 24 if you count that once class I went to as a kid with my mom). She is 62 and we both try and make it to a 5:45 am class at least 4 days a week. Not only is it a great workout, but we have made the best friends. My peers who are mostly into cross-fit or Orange Theory workouts might poke fun but once they try it they are hooked too. Thanks for a great post that I will definitely share with my friends!

  • Sheri Kennedy March 28, 2017 @ 2:26 pm

    Thank you, Sarah! I am an instructor of 3 years and an owner for 2. I am going to share this on our center’s FB page. I get emails and phone calls every week from people who ask “Can I really do Jazzercise?”

  • Debbie Page March 28, 2017 @ 7:14 pm

    Love this!! I am new at Jazzercise and I LOVE it!! The cardio and the weights together give me a GREAT workout! My body is changing and I will be sticking around for a long time!!! Thanx for sharing… Debbie from Texas

  • Nancy E. March 28, 2017 @ 11:13 pm

    Twenty-seven years ago this month, I joined Jazzercise here in Wisconsin. Today the sale of our home went live, and our realtor is the daughter of my first instructor. Jazzercise is part of the fabric of my life, the way I begin 4 days of most weeks. Sure hope I find a new community of Jazzergirls in Florida.

  • Lisa March 30, 2017 @ 6:21 am

    Good information about Jazzercise…did you know that some locations are promoting Girlforce…free classes for 16 to 21 year old ladies. Perfect way for Jazzercise to move into the new generation. Keeps us oldies younger….looking, feeling, moving… I am personally a 19 year member, but there are members there longer!

  • Annette Kleckner March 30, 2017 @ 8:58 pm

    Ten years in and still love it!!!!

  • Monica Benninghoff March 31, 2017 @ 2:51 pm

    Thank you for such a lovely step-by-step narration from a newbie point-of-view. Great job! I was a newbie back in 1992/93 and all those questions were pertinent to me, a shy, overweight woman. I became a certified Jazzercise instructor in 1994 and am still loving this program and found a way to get and stay fit for life.

  • Kelsey April 4, 2017 @ 8:42 am

    Love this! Thanks for sharing great info about a truly awesome fitness program, I hope more people will understand that Jazzercise is so much more than an 80’s workout program!

  • Pam April 6, 2017 @ 2:53 am

    I love Jazzercise. When I say Jazzercise, I get so many weird looks and comments ..I want to reply…look at me and the definition I have . It’s just from jazz. The workout is amazing, the routines are fun with current songs , and the choreographed routines work every body part! I would be lost without this workout. It is the only daily workout regime I have ever stuck with , 3 years! When I travel I can always find a center to keep going. I am so thankful my “x”sister in law got me started by giving me a free 5 day pass! Your blog is spot on. Thank you