In the past, when I would hear someone say the words "work out" or "exercise" I always associated that with going to the dreaded Gym. I find the experience of going to a gym extremely intimidating. However, I have seen many people thrive in the gym environment. When attending these gyms, (yes, multiple) I seemed to leave feeling defeated. I quickly realized that exercising in a gym just wasn't for me. Since realizing this, I have struggled greatly trying to find a fitness routine that works well for me. This past January, I was going through a very difficult time in my life. My mom had just been in a terrible car accident, and I was living an unhealthy lifestyle - mind, body and soul. I was still in High School at the time, which made it even more challenging. I had so much on my mind, balancing school work with helping my mom recover, etc. I was extremely overwhelmed and depressed to say the least. My teacher at the time, and someone I consider family, suggested that I come to a Jazzercise class with her. I had heard my mom talk about Jazzercise many times throughout my life, but I never took the time to really find out what it was exactly. At that point in my life, I had nothing to lose so I was up for anything that had the potential of lifting my spirit. I attended my first class and have been obsessed ever since.
Jazzercise is defined as a type of fitness training combining aerobic exercise and dancing to jazz music. Jazzercise was founded in 1969 by Judi Sheppard Missett and her goal when creating it was and still is to combine dance, strength, and resistance training with music for a full-body workout. One of the brilliant things about Jazzercise is that there are different types of classes you can attend. A few of the classes include: Dance Mixx, Strength60, Flip-Fusion, and Core. There are tons more! Each class is very different and works different muscles. Despite what people may think, Jazzercise is more than just dance. My personal favorite class to attend is the Dance Mixx because I love how happy I become after dancing to the upbeat songs being played. At the end of this class, strength training is incorporated and weights are used. There is most definitely a class for everyone, it just comes down to trying it out and finding which one works best for you. One of my favorite things about Jazzercise is that there are no mirrors in the dance studios. This allows for everyone to stay focused on the movements and routine rather than looking at themselves. Having no mirrors in the studios is also beneficial because it helps with self confidence. I am much more comfortable knowing that everyone in the class is only paying attention to what they're doing.
Jazzercise has provided me not only an amazing workout routine, but also a strong community of women who support and build one another up. When I walk into a class, I know that when I leave I will feel energized, and truly happy. I find that attending morning classes prepare me to take on the day and put me in the best mood. Jazzercise empowers women, (and men, everyone is welcome) and allows them to express themselves through dance cardio. Unfortunately, there have been many stigmas, people who only associate the workout routine with leg warmers and sweat bands. This is unfortunate because Jazzercise has evolved over time, and has now incorporated popular music, along with modern workout wear. I can understand at first that some people are apprehensive to try the workout because they're, "awful dancers" or simply "don't dance" but I am living proof that you do not need to be a dancer to attend a Jazzercise class. Doing something for the first time can be very intimidating, which is why the Jazzercise family always makes sure newcomers feel welcome in the studio. I am so grateful for all the women at http://jcls.jazzercise.com/facility/jazzercise-tampa-lutz-fitness-center who have so kindly welcomed me with open arms and who have truly brought up my confidence level. I am forever thankful and look forward to becoming an instructor in the near future.
Now... let's get to the fashion. If you're anything like me, what I wear plays a huge role in how I feel. The great thing about Jazzercise is that you can wear whatever makes you feel confident. After attending quite a few classes, I have discovered that high waisted leggings are most comfortable to work out in; they don't move throughout class and I never have to adjust them. A great pair are from Adidas, a brand I found at Finish line. As far as tops go, I tend to stick to tank tops and cropped workout tees. A cropped tee I love to wear with the leggings is also Adidas. The outfit is super stylish and is perfect for class because you won't have to worry about adjusting it. This is a huge factor because the last thing I want to have to worry about while exercising is my outfit. Most workout clothing isn't fitted correctly which is why I love Adidas. The brand is extremely comfortable and isn't too tight while still fitting the body nicely. The high waisted leggings balance out the crop top so that just enough skin is showing. For shoes, I chose to pair Nikes with the outfit. While at Jazzercise, I prefer to wear Asics however since they provide the most support. At the end of the day, you should wear what makes you feel most confident and comfortable in class!
Jazzercise was introduced to me during a very difficult time in my life and has delivered me to the healthiest, happiest place I have been. No matter what place you're at in your life, I hope you give Jazzercise a try. You can't go wrong with an intense workout that incorporates self- confidence and women empowerment!
Photographer: Sydney Norberg