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I Tried It: The New Jazzercise


Photo by Jay Reilly

You Try It

Class times vary across 23 San Diego locations

When I hear the word “Jazzercise,” neon leotards, leg warmers, headbands, and old ladies come to mind. That dated aerobics scene is permanently singed into my brain. But Jazzercise founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett will be the first to tell you, “We left the ’80s behind a long time ago.” I had to see for myself.

I arrived at the Oceanside outpost for a 9:30 a.m. Dance Mixx class, surprised by how many women filled the spacious studio. Missett and her smiley, taut-bodied daughter, Shanna, co-taught the calorie-torching class, a mashup of dance moves, kickboxing, Pilates, strength training, and stretching. The Cyndi Lauper songs had been replaced with tunes from Beyoncé, Shakira, and Pitbull. The experience was fun and sweat-inducing, as this high-energy class can burn 600 to 800 calories in 60 minutes, depending on the intensity and range of your leg lifts, jumps, and arm pumping.

The women around me, having swapped leotards for Lululemon, shook and shimmied their 20-something-to-70-something bodies across the floor, following the routines with enthusiasm. And while I stumbled through some of the footwork, as a first-timer, I never felt foolish. I left glistening in sweat, thinking about what Missett (whose company has more than 8,300 franchises teaching 250,000 students per week) said to me at the door: “If we didn’t evolve with the times, we wouldn’t still be here 45 years later.” I’ll Jazzercise to that.

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