In 1969, former Broadway dancer Judi Sheppard Missett started a dance-exercise revolution, when she turned her students away from the mirrors and started teaching with an emphasis on fun instead of critiquing their technique. She later named her workout program Jazzercise. Decades later, Jazzercise is still a favorite of women looking to lose weight, get fit or just dance for fun, with more than 6,800 franchise units in North America and 1,500 additional units abroad.
What to Expect in Class
All Jazzercise workouts are still choreographed by Missett, then disseminated to instructors by DVD and over the Internet. So you can count on consistency, no matter which Jazzercise franchise you walk into. With that said, Jazzercise has adapted with the times and split into 10 different class types, most of which incorporate strength training and focus on a different aspect of fitness. For example, the Core class focuses on developing your core muscles as you dance, Fusion works high-intensity intervals into your workout, and Strike incorporates cardio kickboxing moves.
Jazzercise advertises its classes as burning up to 800 calories per hour -- but the truth is that your calorie burn varies according to your body weight, body composition and how hard you work out. Estimates from My Fitness Pal are a little more conservative, but still impressive: If you weigh 150 pounds you can burn more than 400 calories in an hour-long Jazzercise class, or about the same as running 9-minute miles. You must burn 3,500 more calories than you consume to lose a pound of body fat.
Get More From Jazzercise
Believe it or not, working out hard in a dance class can be a lot of fun -- and the more effort you put into each Jazzercise move, the faster you'll lose weight. Instead of speeding up -- which would throw you off the beat of the music -- make your arm, leg and body movements bigger. If you get into moving with the music and really exaggerate those movements, you'll not only burn more calories but also increase your toning and cardiovascular benefits as well.
The Big Picture
If you've been dancing your heart out in Jazzercise class but find yourself losing weight slowly or not at all, take a step back and look at the big picture. Some lifestyle habits that can stall your weight loss include not eating a healthy diet of minimally processed foods, not staying hydrated, excessive stress and not getting enough sleep. Tweaking those factors may be all it takes to get your weight loss back to a healthy, steady rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week.
- Jazzercise: Our Classes
- My Fitness Pal: Calories Burned From Jazzercise
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- Harvard Health Publications: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Club Industry: Judi Sheppard Missett Has Enjoyed a Lifetime of Dance and Fitness
- Entrepreneur: Jazzercise Inc.
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
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