Jazzercise Still Thrives After 50 Years… and Its Startup Fee Is Only $1,250

August 20, 2019 13 min read

This story appears in the September 2019 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe “

It is 9:45 a.m. on a Wednesday morning in Oceanside, Calif., and the crown jewel of the Jazzercise class schedule is hitting its stride. It’s called Dance Mixx, and it’s taught by Shanna Missett Nelson, the daughter of Jazzercise’s founder and CEO. Nelson says that Jazzercise prides itself on having “a little sprinkle of everybody in class,” and the more than 60 women who gather in this studio next to a Buffalo Wild Wings indeed represent a little bit of everybody. There’s one in the front row with hair dyed neon red, another near the windows dancing in her sandals, a lanky 18-year-old in sleek, forest-­green leggings, and a group of 40-somethings who call themselves the Mom Squad, who whoop and rib each other throughout the session.

“We try to come Monday through Friday,” explains Stephanie Rosenthal, one of the moms, as she cools down after class. “Saturdays are for sports, and Sundays are for church.” She first took to Jazzercise three years ago after she had a baby, but her friend Mindy Batt — another Mom Squadder — had been trying to get her to come for 20 years. “You get made fun of at first because they think it’s for old ladies,” says Batt. Rosenthal rejoins: “But I started coming, and my friends said, ‘You look amazing — what are you doing?’ ”

Such is the challenge and opportunity for Jazzercise, the brand that practically created the fitness class as we know it — but that doesn’t always feel like it’s kept up with industry changes. The 2019 fitness landscape teems with boutique studios, data tracking technology, and organized feats of strength. Jazzercise, meanwhile, has fallen out of the cultural conversation — enough so that people may be surprised to learn it still exists. But it does, and it attracts millions of fans. The company did $98 million in sales in 2018 and has almost 1,800 locations, represented in every state in the U.S. and 25 countries.

Related: After Explosive Growth, the CEO of Orangetheory Explains How He’s Moving So Fast

How is that possible? The answer, it seems, can also be found in Nelson’s class. Nelson is 50 years old, now the president of Jazzercise, and teaches three days a week — and her class feels local and small-knit. She carries a big, white smile, a high blonde ponytail, a six-pack, and a buoyant, can-do demeanor. She punctuates her choreography with rhetoric that ranges from the instructional (“Right shoulder back!”) to the quotidian (“Is anyone going to the Shawn Mendes concert?”) to the empathetic (“Are these sit-ups over yet?”). At one point, Nelson calls out a woman in the class who would be teaching her daughter at school in the fall. Later, she brings someone up on stage to dance for her birthday.

All of which is to say: While Jazzercise has been overtaken by faster-growing, polished operations, it has clung tight to the comfort of familiarity. “We try to create an atmosphere that’s friendly, nonjudgmental, and noncompetitive: Come on in and do what you can; make it work for yourself,” says Judi Sheppard Missett, the company’s founder and CEO. “People get a sense of community out of it. They meet each other in that class and become friends. They’ll have a big luncheon on a holiday where 50 people will go to the Olive Garden.”

It all works for now. The question is, will it work forever?

Image Credit: Cara Robbins

Jazzercise didn’t always have a snappy name. It began with a longer one: Jazz Dance for Fun and Fitness.

It was 1969, and Missett was teaching dance classes for moms in Chicago. But people kept dropping out. As she sought ways to keep them in class, she came upon the insight that would transform her life: Women aren’t interested in being trained like dancers — they’re interested in looking like them, having fun, and feeling good. Missett simplified routines, taught facing participants (instead of with her back to them, like a dance instructor), and took an interest in their lives.

Her timing was perfect. The previous year, Kenneth Cooper’s book Aerobics began to demystify fitness for Americans, explaining what exactly constituted aerobic exercise. “Cooper defines fitness as something that involves your heart, gets you sweaty, and gets you red in the face, and Judi plugs into that moment,” says Shelly McKenzie, fitness historian and author of Getting Physical: The Rise of Fitness Culture in America. “If you look at what was acceptable for women to do during that time for exercise, it’s not weights and jogging.”

Missett, her journalist husband, and their 3-year-old daughter, Shanna, soon moved to Oceanside, Calif., and brought Missett’s new “Jazz Dance” class with her. She started teaching so often at a Parks and Recreation Center in Carlsbad that the man who cut the checks withheld her pay for four weeks, embarrassed that he was writing such large sums to a woman. Missett threatened to go to the press, but she also saw an opportunity to remove the bureaucratic hitch entirely. She’d sign up and bill participants herself, and cut the rec center a percentage for rent.

This business agility — what Illinois-born Missett calls her Midwestern work ethic — would prove key to the growth of Jazzercise. By 1977, her schedule of 25 classes per week caused her to develop nodules on her vocal cords. She realized she needed to hire instructors but wondered how she’d possibly train enough of them. She turned to a new technology: VHS cameras and players were just arriving in the U.S., so Missett started using them to film her routines. In 1980, still hoarse from teaching, she implemented the first wireless lapel microphones, and then, in the 1990s, the first headset mics, pioneering their use in the fitness industry. Around that time, Jazzercise started integrating weights into the workout. (Today, a class promises a cardio workout that integrates strength training with free weights and resistance bands.)

Jazzercise would become a uniquely female story — one that hinges on interpersonal networks, the realities of child-rearing, and ingrained resourcefulness. “Women are the organizers of life,” says Mary Wadsworth, who owns two Jazzercise centers in Houston. “So you put us in business and we just do that.” From the beginning, Missett offered free childcare. “I thought if I need it, all these moms need it, too,” she says. (The service remains at many centers today.) This helped draw military wives from the nearby Navy base in San Diego; then, when their husbands would be transferred to a new post, the wives would train as Jazzercise instructors and open a studio in their new hometowns.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Jazzercise

By 1982, there were more than 1,000 certified instructors teaching classes in almost every state. This raised red flags with tax attorneys who knew the IRS would not look kindly on the fact that Missett treated her far-flung instructors as independent contractors. So Jazzercise made two decisions that would come to determine its future. First, it converted all those instructors into franchisees. Then, to maintain Jazzercise’s low barrier to entry, Missett set minuscule startup fees for future franchisees. That kept the door wide open for women of all kinds, and, perhaps as a result, Jazzercise and Missett became widely beloved and world-famous. She led a performance at the 1984 Olympics, danced at the Statue of Liberty rededication ceremony in 1986, and was featured at the 1991 Great American Workout alongside Barbara Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

This low barrier to entry has helped Jazzercise survive in an era of change. Its fee now is only $1,250 — plus whatever costs might be incurred from renting a space, securing liability insurance, buying a microphone and possibly a sound system, and paying for songs. By contrast, building out a Pure Barre studio requires initial costs of between $198,650 and $446,250. Anytime Fitness, considered a relatively inexpensive gym brand, will set you back at least $78,012. For plenty of women who want to run their own fitness business, most brands just aren’t available to them. Jazzercise is.

Related: How the Founder of Fitness Craze LEKFit Built a Business From Her Backyard

That means Jazzercise franchises are a varied swath of class sizes, prices, locations, and ambitions. Some classes are held in YMCAs or school gyms, and some in dedicated centers with nine classes a day. For many franchisees, Jazzercise is a side hustle. Natalie Feilland, a 34-year-old instructor in Oregon, is a classic case. She teaches two classes a week to supplement her livelihood as a farmer. She likes getting paid to work out, and it’s proven a reliable source of income as the circumstances of her life evolve. “I’ve moved several times,” she says, “and with Jazzercise, I knew I could always get a job.” Because the company is so flexible, its franchisees’ revenue varies widely. Some women do just $4,000 in gross sales in a year, but the top earners — ­people for whom Jazzercise is a full-time pursuit — are bringing in up to $600,000. The company takes 20 percent of a franchisee’s sales.

This arrangement has also created great longevity. Some franchisees have been teaching classes for decades, shrinking their workload as they (and their customers) age. But only one Jazzercise instructor has been teaching since the very beginning: Missett. At age 75, in addition to leading the company, she leads classes three times a week.

Image Credit: Courtesy of Jazzercise

“I guess I never doubted myself,” Missett says, reflecting upon what it took to build Jazzercise. “I knew I had this incredible group of people around me. I always believed you need people who lift you up, who are positive, smarter than you, and believe in what you’re doing.”

It’s late June, and Missett has just wrapped up teaching a low-impact fitness class, where a group of septuagenarians lifted weights to a Billie Eilish song. Now she’s sitting in a conference room at her company’s headquarters in Carlsbad, just outside San Diego. She’s tall and very tan, with striking blue eyes and blonde hair that swoops upward. Her nails are painted glittery pink, and she reaches for a wineglass that’s embossed with her initials and filled with cherry Dr. Pepper. Soda, she says, is her only vice, and she has always believed that if you have nice glassware, you should use it.

Missett belongs to several elite organizations for women in business, but so far, she hasn’t met another female founder who has maintained complete control of her company for as long as she has. She’s still involved in every aspect, right down to choreographing new routines for her instructors, which happens every 10 weeks.

In many ways, Missett represents the enduring charm of Jazzercise. The brand runs on personal relationships, and here she is, still the face of her company all these decades later. But the charm of the personal relationships can also be an Achilles’ heel. It prevents longtime owners from charging what they should for classes, for example. Customers who entered at a membership fee 20 years ago may pay outdated fees — and because of how their agreement is structured, Jazzercise can’t require owners to charge a minimum.

Two years ago, the company had an internal reckoning. There were instructors who needed to retire and facilities that weren’t up to snuff. Jazzercise made owners send in pictures of their facilities and required changes. Some balked and closed down. For those who remained, the company enacted something called the Promise. “The industry is harder than it’s ever been,” says Nelson. “We need to be at the top of our game teaching, and with our facilities, so we made a promise to franchisees that we’ll ensure consistency from our end, but they’ll need to make sure it happens from theirs. We made those changes so that, hopefully, when someone comes to a Jazzercise class, it’s on par with all the other programs out there.”

The company is also encouraging its franchisees to scale. Some see instruction as a business and some as a hobby, a community, or their own narrative in the gig economy. That’s been good for keeping people involved with the brand but not so good for the bottom line. A part-time franchisee, after all, is bringing in part-time money. So Jazzercise has been promoting an incentive program called the President’s Club, which gives high earners part of their franchise fee back at the end of the year. The program began decades ago. “In a time when we were losing franchisees and decreasing in sales, it made people feel more committed,” says Nelson. “They stayed, and our sales increased.”

Image Credit: Courtesy of Jazzercise

While the company continues to be profitable, it’s aware of its aging demographic and that 20-somethings are much more likely to try different fitness classes than devote decades step-touching in one community center. Missett says they plan to launch an on-demand video service for $19.99 a month before the end of 2019, with the goal of using it as a gateway workout to drive people into studios if one is nearby.

Related: These Franchisees Really ‘Kicked It’ in Their Choice of a Fitness Franchise

Jazzercise also realizes that its brand may not resonate with the next generation. So it’s exploring an offshoot fitness brand aimed at women in their 20s. As Nelson sees it, promoting the name isn’t nearly as critical as promoting what the brand represents. “It’s really important that there’s human contact, and that you go to class, that you’re with people,” says Nelson. “I feel like that’s never going to go away, and I want Jazzercise to continue to be that place for people.”

But in the meantime, the Jazzercise legacy goes on, and so does Missett. In June, Jazzercise held an event at the San Diego Convention Center, where 3,000 fans gathered to celebrate its 50th year. Missett stood onstage with her daughter and granddaughters — all dancers — as they watched tributes and choreography. Afterward, in interviews, many instructors broke into tears talking about it.

Missett admits she’s starting to think about stepping to the side. She’d like to spend time with her dogs and her husband, and travel. She dances every day, however, whether or not she’s working. “It’s an absolute joy, to dance,” she says at the company headquarters. “When you start to move physically, it gives you the courage to move in different directions in your life.”

Jazzercise Is Back—and It Might Just Kick Your Ass


Laura Kitzi is a fierce CrossFitter who has mastered handstand push-ups and ring muscle-ups. She can bang out a 1-mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and another 1-mile run in less than 45 minutes. She’s also a Jazzercise instructor.

Yes, you read that right. Jazzercise, the workout that was all the rage in the ’80s, is still around. Not only that, it’s reinvented itself as a hardcore dance- and strength-based routine that purports to rival the trendiest boutique fitness classes in terms of intensity, calorie burn, and sweat equity.

The Evolution of Jazzercise

Once synonymous with pelvic circles and shiny nude tights, Jazzercise never really went away (it is one of seven retro workouts that still get results). It’s currently a hundred-million-dollar-per-year company in the rankings on Entrepreneur’s Top 50 Franchise list, with more than 8,000 franchises offering 20,000+ classes per week in all 50 states, plus 30 other countries.

The official Jazzercise Instagram page is in the same fitspo-esque vein as, say, your favorite hot yoga or barre class: quippy inspirational memes (“Instructors who say ‘last one’ are the reason I have trust issues”); women with cut shoulders; cute workout gear (Jazzercise has its own line); and the requisite photos of salads-in-mason-jars. Jazzercise is even on ClassPass.

But now, the nostalgia-inducing workout is on a mission to let people know that not only is it still here, it’s nothing like your mother’s Jazzercise.

Shanna Missett Nelson knows this better than anyone else. The 48-year-old is the president of Jazzercise. Her Insta page is filled with posts like a recent one of her beaming in a black “Fearless” tank, promising that it was gray before her 9:30 a.m. class left it drenched with sweat. Nelson’s mother, professional jazz dancer Judi Sheppard Missett, founded Jazzercise 48 years ago, when she began offering dance classes in Chicago.

“Back in 1969, there was no fitness industry, so all that women had in terms of exercise were sports or calisthenics,” says Nelson. “Women would show up for my mom’s class, often because they wanted to lose weight, but they wouldn’t return because the classes were too technical.”

So Missett made a few tweaks: She turned participants away from the mirror and made the class more about having fun, not technique. Women responded favorably, and class sizes swelled. In 1972, the Missett family moved to Southern California, and women continued to flock to what was for the first time being called Jazzercise, a suggestion made by a class regular. Jazzercise began hiring instructors. Nelson says her mother’s company was the first to train them and outfit them with microphones-before SoulCycle, before Tae Bo, before Richard Simmons.

“Some people also think that because we’ve been around so long, we haven’t changed. But in order to stay here, we’ve had to evolve,” says Nelson.

Evidence of that evolution: Whereas Jazzercise used to consist solely of dance aerobics, today it boasts a portfolio of 10 different classes. Every class also integrates strength training in the form of resistance tubes, balls, or weights, helping women boost bone density, muscle mass, and metabolism. The music is modern, too. And it’s worth noting that while Jazzercise studios exist, many classes are still offered in churches, schools, and recreational centers.

Do Dance Exercise Classes Work?

Recent research out of the University of Brighton in the U.K. found that dancing burns about 600 calories per hour-about as much as jogging or swimming. (Read: 4 Reasons Not to Dismiss a Dance Cardio Class) The researchers involved in that U.K. report point out that unlike running or swimming, which typically involve moving in one direction at a constant speed, dancing requires multiple types of movements-jumping up and down, hopping side to side-and lots of accelerating and decelerating.

Pete McCall, C.S.C.S., an ACE-certified personal trainer and host of the All About Fitness podcast, adds that in an age of high-intensity strength training workouts, people tend to overlook the exercise benefits of dancing. But “dancing uses so many muscles and can keep your heart rate elevated for an extended period of time, both of which are essential for burning calories.”

He adds: “Dance formats that keep you moving are a great way to achieve the benefits of cardiorespiratory exercise, and the best part is that you’ll be having so much fun you won’t even realize you’re working out.”

The Next Generation of Jazzercise

This year, Jazzercise introduced a global initiative called GirlForce, offering free classes for girls ages 16 to 21 years. It’s an effort to boost their self-esteem and introduce them to the healthy high of a good sweat. Missett says that while attending the White House’s United State of Women Summit in June of 2016, she was inspired hearing Michelle Obama speak about her Let’s Move campaign. “We want to support young women in creating healthy habits,” she says. “As a woman who has raised a daughter and now has granddaughters, it’s important to me to support the growth and development of strong women in our culture.” (Missett’s granddaughters-Nelson’s daughters-are 15 and 11.)

About 2,000 girls a month have been taking advantage of the free GirlForce offer since January. “It’s been incredible,” says Kitzi, who is 43. “We’re impacting their life trajectory.” Not only are they learning to love fitness and achieve different fitness-related goals, but “we have the chance to talk to them about things like nutrition, so they can understand that maybe something like aren’t the greatest breakfast option. It’s one more way to infuse their lives with positive fitness role modeling.”

  • By By Leslie Goldman

Judi Sheppard Missett Has Enjoyed a Lifetime of Dance and Fitness

Judi Sheppard Missett knew she would dedicate her life to the joy of dance from the first time she stepped on the stage. But it wasn’t until years later that she realized she would also be devoting her life to fitness. The 61-year-old Jazzercise founder and CEO credits her longevity in the fitness industry to her ability to adapt to different trends. While Jazzercise has had the same core philosophy since the 1970s — making exercise fun and effective for individuals of all ages and fitness levels — the company has continually changed its music, movements and class structure to stay on the cutting edge.

“We always make sure that our classes are fun and challenging and our students feel successful,” she says. “That’s why we’re still here and doing better than we’ve ever done.”

Club Industry’s Fitness Business Pro magazine will recognize Judi for her decades of dedication to the fitness industry by presenting her with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Club Industry show this November in Chicago. Jazzercise, Inc., which recently celebrated its 35th anniversary, has grown from a one-woman operation to a worldwide business with 3,200 locations, 20,000 weekly classes and more than $70 million in system-wide sales.

Before founding Jazzercise, Judi toured on Broadway and worked as a professional dancer. At the age of 14, she joined a touring company and starred in a production of “West Side Story.” She went on to star in “Funny Girl,” “Hello Dolly,” “Mame,” “Coco” and “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” in New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami. Her dancing roots, however, began in Red Oak, Iowa, where her mom enrolled her in a dance class.

“I was pigeon toed, and my mom thought it would be good for me to be in a dance class to help with my inward rotation,” she says. “My mom would practice with me every day for a half an hour, and I was very willing to go to class. I loved it, and everything came naturally to me.”

Her hard work paid off. As a young girl, she taught dance classes to her friends in the neighborhood, and decades later, she’s helped thousands of women get fit by creating Jazzercise, which started in Chicago and has spread across the nation and the world.

Where It All Began

The history of Jazzercise can be traced back to 1969 when Judi was a student at Northwestern University in Chicago and taught dance classes at a jazz studio. Her classes had a 90 percent dropout rate, and she searched for ways to improve retention. One day it dawned on her that her students attended the class to lose weight, have fun and get in shape — not to become professional Broadway dancers. As an experiment, she turned them away from the mirrors and became less critical of their movements. Her students loved the concept, and she soon doubled and tripled her class attendance until the room was packed.

Jack Missett, her husband of 39 years, says the mothers of the dancers also served as inspiration for the dance-fitness program.

“I would sometimes drop in on class and see eight or 10 women with scarves around their necks sitting on chairs knitting, reading and watching their daughters,” he says. “One day Judi turned and looked at the mothers and said she had to do something to get them up on their feet and experience the joy of movement.”

In her first “just for fun” dance classes, which she later named Jazzercise, she used a jazz dance warmup to start the class and then used up-tempo choreography for the main portion of the workout followed by a stretch and cool down at the end. When she and her family moved from Chicago to California, she started teaching the dance classes for the Carlsbad Parks and Recreation Department. Word spread about Jazzercise, and the program exploded with women from all over the area attending the classes. To keep the participant numbers to a manageable level, the city department began limiting participation to individuals with a Carlsbad, CA, street address, but that didn’t stop some women, who signed up for P.O. boxes at the Carlsbad post office so they could attend the Jazzercise classes.

Training the Teachers

To meet the high demand for classes, Judi trained 11 instructors at her home. Later as the number of instructors grew, Judi and Jack turned to a new technology at the time — the home VCR — to train the teachers. The couple drove to San Diego to purchase two VCRs and a video camera, and Jack, a former Chicago CBS news reporter, filmed Judi’s dance routines, made copies of the videotapes one by one and mailed them to the teachers. When the Jazzercise instructor numbers grew to 100, the couple started their own production company to produce the tapes for Jazzercise as well as clients nationwide. Judi also took her concept to the next level by selling franchises nationwide and worldwide and provided business opportunities for thousands of women.

Jazzercise has continued to stay on top of technology by training its instructors with DVDs and Internet resources. The company sends the teachers a DVD with 28 new routines and the accompanying music every 10 weeks, and the instructors can download choreography notes from the Jazzercise Web site.

Judi still teaches five classes per week and designs all the choreography for the Jazzercise classes. Her niece, Kathy Missett, says 80 to 100 students show up for Judi’s classes.

“She’s dynamic and has a presence on stage,” Kathy says. “She can motivate a room of people like no one else. I feel that the same level of energy and motivation that she’s able to bestow on the class is the same level of energy that she gets back from her class.”

By working out along with the students, Judi can test her movements before the production company films the training DVDs for the instructors. After her production company pretapes her workouts, an exercise physiologist reviews the movements for safety and if necessary, Judi modifies the routines before the final taping.

While group exercise classes are on the decline in some health clubs, Jazzercise has grown stronger with each year. One key to Jazzercise’s success is consistency, Judi says. Unlike group ex classes that can vary from instructor to instructor, Jazzercise students know what to expect when they walk into a class, she says.

“They know they’ll do a little yoga and Pilates, burn some calories and get out of the door in an hour,” she says. “Sometimes in a health club, they don’t know what to expect and they can feel lost. That’s when class attendance can take a big hit.”

Judi’s ability to develop new and creative routines every 10 weeks for 36 years amazes Angie Ford, the owner of the Overland Park, KS, Jazzercise center. Ford has been teaching since 1989, and she says the classes have gotten more intense. For example, she remembers a routine in the 1980s to the song “Fame” that was a heavy cardio routine. Twenty years later, Jazzercise used a remake of the song, and the routine was used for a warmup routine.

“Jazzercise continues to challenge people who have been doing it for 15 or 20 years,” Ford says. “That’s why we’ve been around for 36 years rather than fading into the sunset.”

Legacy of Fitness

Jazzercise may continue long after Judi steps off the dance stage. Her daughter, Shanna Missett Nelson, now serves as the executive vice president of the organization and manages the Jazzercise executive team. She started her career with Jazzercise as a certified instructor and media spokesperson and then became the coordinator of Junior Jazzercise, a dance fitness program for children, and the vice president of international operations.

Kathy, a Jazzercise senior business analyst who works closely with Judi and Shanna, says the mother-daughter team balances each other out.

“They bring different perspectives to the table, which is critical,” she says. “Judi has grown the business from the ground up, is passionate about the program and is very heavily involved in Jazzercise. Shanna can step out of that box and see Jazzercise through the eyes of our instructors and students.”

Shanna joined the Junior Jazzercise performance group at the age of 7, and as a teenager, she watched her mom’s first workout album climb to gold certification status. It wasn’t until she went to college in Tucson, however, that she saw how popular Jazzercise was outside of the Golden State. At that time, she attended Jazzercise classes and witnessed the enthusiasm of the students.

“Every day I watched my mom get excited about her job, and I couldn’t help but share her passion,” Shanna says. “Jazzercise has been more than her life’s work. It’s something she truly believes in and has used to motivate thousands of people everyday. When it came to identifying role models and a career path for my life, both were very clear to me.”

Future of Jazzercise

Judi and Shanna are working together to develop new choreography, organize annual events, promote the Jazzercise-branded line of fitness apparel and raise money for charities. In the past 20 years, Jazzercise has raised more than $25 million for different causes. Their newest program, Art and Soul Tour, benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of America’s Art Enrichment Program for Kids and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Their goal is to raise $1 million with a 10-city tour.

“Art feeds your soul and brings so much joy into people’s lives,” Judi says. “As an artist who has been successful, I want to give back to those who need a little help. We’ve also made great strides in breast cancer research. There’s not one woman who hasn’t been touched by breast cancer.”

As far back as she can remember, her aunt has given back on both a local and national level, Kathy says. Judi and her daughter are now trying to tackle a nationwide issue — childhood obesity — by offering Junior Jazzercise classes in elementary schools. Some Jazzercise centers also offer Junior Jazzercise classes, but Judi encourages instructors to go a step further by teaching classes at schools in their gyms, cafeterias or classrooms. Since Jazzercise hired a full-time Junior Jazzercise coordinator, the program has grown by more than 100 percent, Kathy says. Jazzercise is also reaching out to seniors by offering Jazzercise Lite classes in retirement communities.

By providing classes for children, senior citizens and everyone in between, Jazzercise has made fitness fun and effective for students of all ages, Judi says. When she first started her dance classes in Chicago, she had no idea how far she would come in 36 years, she says. Her husband says her passion, positive attitude and compassion have gotten her to where she is today.

“What she’s done has affected millions of people’s lives in terms of introducing them to a fun way to be fit and raising their potential to enjoy life,” he says. “She has introduced them to the joy of movement.”

Q&A with Judi Sheppard Missett

Q: How did you come up with the name Jazzercise?

A: I was teaching in La Jolla, CA, and one of my students said I should call it Jazzercise because it was a combination of exercise and jazz dance. A couple of days later, I went to the copyright office and registered the name.

Q: What are you the most proud of in your professional career?

A: Being able to found a company that is woman-based, has a history of 35 years and is only getting stronger and better. I know it will continue to grow and change with my daughter and my granddaughter.

Q: What are the benefits of continuing to teach Jazzercise?

A: I have five regularly scheduled classes per week and am in class every day. I need that exposure with my student base to make sure that everything works and everyone likes the movements and can do them.

Q: What are the advantages of sending your instructors training DVDs and music rather than having them create their own routines?

A: It’s really hard to do on your own. Every 10 weeks they can count on me to get a DVD with great music and fun movements.

Q: How has Jazzercise managed to continue growing over its 36-year history?

A: I think number one it’s fun. We have remained consistent in what we do, and our students see the benefits of hard work. I also have so many incredible people who are totally dedicated to Jazzercise and share my passion. When you have people like that around you, you can’t help but be successful.

Q: How do you feel about winning the Lifetime Achievement Award?

A: I’m honored and thrilled and feel like I haven’t done that much in my lifetime. It’s very humbling to be honored for something that you love and are passionate about.

In their words

“When I see her, I’m still starstruck and am like a teenager at a Beatles concert. She’s one of my top five heroes. While she’s done extraordinary things, she’s still a down-to-earth person with good old Midwestern roots.”

Angie Ford, owner of the Overland Park, KS, Jazzercise center and instructor since 1989

“She’s dynamic, very passionate, persistent and flexible — and not just in the physical way. Her flexibility is one of the reasons why she’s continued the success of Jazzercise. She’s open to new ideas and new ways to grow the company and the program, which is often difficult for entrepreneurs. They take a product or a service that is their passion and have a hard time incorporating other’s thoughts and ideas.”

Kathy Missett, Judi’s niece and Jazzercise senior business analyst

“Judi always has a positive attitude. I remember when we had a car with a sunroof and we were going to Los Angeles. Traffic was terrible. I was driving and fuming because I hate to wait. She looked up through the sunroof and said, ‘This is a beautiful day.’ She’s never lost that quality.”

Jack Missett is Judi’s husband. The two met on a blind date during the summer of 1965 and married a year later. They have two children, Shanna and Brendan, a granddaughter named Skyla and another grandchild on the way.

Jazzercise Review – 19 Things You Need to Know

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  • 12 Answered Questions

Jazzercise is the self-proclaimed original dance party workout. It combines strength training, kickboxing, yoga, and Pilates and claims to help you burn up to 800 calories in less than 60 minutes. While possible, there are certain conditions needed to burn such a high amount in less than one hour.

It takes hard work to burn 800 calories within an hour. Our research team took this exercise program to task by seeing if everyone could burn this amount of calories within 60 minutes, the potential dangers of this program and any research backing the claims. Then, we gathered the facts to give you the bottom line.

Jazzercise can be purchased through their .

Jazzercise Readers: Noom is offering our readers a 14-day trial, for a limited time. for this special offer! Overview

What is Jazzercise?

Jazzercise is a company that holds dance classes combining strength and resistance training.

These fitness dance classes give its students a full body workout to popular music. There are a variety of different classes to target people’s different needs.

You physically go to Jazzercise classes and can meet like-minded people.

Surprisingly, Jazzercise classes are not available online. But, you’ll find the DVDs and videos sold through third-party retailers.

Jazzercise Competitors

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How Did Jazzercise Start?

Jazzercise is the brainchild of Judi Sheppard Missett, who started the company in 1969.

At that time, she was teaching performance dance classes while studying dance and acting at Northwestern University in Chicago.

She realized her students were coming to keep fit rather than to train to be good dancers, so she started fun dance classes.

The Jazzercise name evolved from the jazz dance warm-ups at the beginning of these fun classes.

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History of Jazzercise

Jazzercise was one of the first companies to market exercise as fun and was one of the leading fitness franchises across the world.

It broke new ground in training its instructor’s effective teaching methods.

They also considered their demographic and were the first to add childcare facilities onsite to make it easier for mothers to get fit.

Sheppard Missett’s family moved to Carlsbad, California where Jazzercise still has its headquarters today.

Jazzercise quickly became popular, so Sheppard Missett began training new instructors and devising new programs.

With this growth in popularity came franchise opportunities and it grew from there.

Franchisees pay Jazzercise a fee to start-up their classes, then pay 20% of their gross monthly earnings in royalty fees.

Every ten weeks or so, Jazzercise founder Sheppard Missett produces new choreographed routines to keep the program fresh with the latest music and moves.

Jazzercise also has a retail division selling activewear apparel with the company logo.

Its production company, JM DigitalWorks produces DVDs and videos for Jazzercise and other clients.

The Success of the 1980s

Once Jazzercise became incorporated in 1979, Sheppard Missett started promoting her fitness classes across America.

She performed on television and advertised her company’s fitness program. It was her television appearances that led to developing the Jazzercise apparel.

She developed activewear with the Jazzercise logo to ensure viewers would associate her with her company when she appeared on television shows.

This led to inquiries from customers about where to buy the clothing, so she began selling it through mail order.

It was this television exposure that grew Jazzercise. By 1980 she had trained more than 1000 instructors and its classes earned the company $1.9 billion.

The next year Sheppard Missett wrote the best-selling book ‘Jazzercise: A Fun Way to Fitness.’

It has sold more than 400,000 copies and been reprinted four times.

In 1982. Jazzercise produced its own music, recording a record album called Jazzercise that went gold selling more than 25,000 albums.

They followed this up with another album: ‘Jazzercise Looking Good!’

Jazzercise formalized its franchise process in 1983 with its instructors charged a low start-up fee and high royalties.

At a time where franchises were selling for around $25,000, Jazzercise instructors could buy a Jazzercise franchise for $500, but pay 20% of their gross monthly earnings back to the parent company.

At the time, monthly fees were between 3 and 10%.

This backward formula worked well for both the franchisees and the company.

This could be because franchisees could earn money straight away without having to worry about paying off high start-up costs.

Franchise owners were earning about $75,000 year and, by 1983, there were Jazzercise franchises in every American state.

In 1983, Jazzercise released it third music album, and Sheppard Missett was a regular guest on the Disney Channel’s Epcot Magazine show.

Jazzercise instructors performed in the 1984 Olympics opening ceremony, and Sheppard Missett ran the Olympic torch relay to bring the torch into Los Angeles itself.

When Jazzercise put out a workout video in 1984 it went gold.

Sheppard Missett has kept promoting her company with it continuing to evolve and grow in strength.

Jazzercise Keeps Evolving

To thrive for more than 50 years, Jazzercise continues to evolve.

In 2017, the organization’s estimated worth is $100 million, with “8300 franchisees teaching more than 32,000 classes a week in 32 countries.”

Jazzercise has survived the fashions and fads of almost half a century to remain a thriving business. Its winning dance fitness format is continuing to give its students a fun fitness workout with experienced Jazzercise instructors, according to ResearchGate.

And, no doubt, the company will continue to evolve as its customers demand into the future.

Company Information

Jazzercise is not accredited by the Better Bureau Business. It has no reviews or complaints and has a Better Business Bureau rating of A+.

Jazzercise Founder

Jazzercise founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett began what was to revolutionize the fitness industry when she began Jazzercise in 1969. She has devoted her life to the growth of the business and is still involved with the business at the age of 72.

Dance became a part of Sheppard Missett’s life when she had to wear braces to correct being pigeon-toed. Born in Iowa, in 1944, she took her first dance class at three years old as part of her therapy. Her dance talent was apparent immediately.

They lived in Red Oak and qualified dance teachers were scarce in the area. Her mother organized with qualified dance teachers, helping them move closer to the area by offering a business opportunity to students. She also promised to do their bookkeeping and sew costumes for free.

At 10, Sheppard Missett was already teaching dance classes.

When she graduated from high school, she enrolled in an acting and dance program in Chicago. Her focus turned to jazz dance and she studied with the famous choreographer Gus Giordano. She traveled, dancing professionally and taught dance classes for Giordano.

Sheppard Missett married Jack Missett in 1966, a television news reporter, and in 1968 her daughter Shanna entered the world.

While teaching a performance dance class, Sheppard Missett realized her students were only really coming for fun and exercise. So, she started Jazzercise in 1969 in Giordano’s Chicago dance studio.

To take the pressure off her students, she banned mirrors from classes and this proved successful. It allowed her students to relax and concentrate on exercising.

She said one of the things that have made Jazzercise so successful for more than 40 years was its ability to change. Sheppard Missett shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Where her business was founded in Giordano’s dance studio, it now has more than 8300 instructors in 3000 locations across the world.


Jazzercise Claims

Jazzercise is hailed as the original dance fitness program that transformed the fitness industry.

It claims to have more than 8300 franchises in 32 countries across the world.

According to the Jazzercise website, you can expect to see results after three classes, claiming that those who “stick with it” will see results.

Jazzercise Ingredients (What’s in the Box)

Jazzercise is a workout dance program. There are no ingredients, but you can use it to support your weight loss and fitness journey.


Jazzercise Classes

Jazzercise markets itself as a “pulse-pounding, beat-pumping program.”

Known as the original ‘dance party’ fitness program, new routines are choreographed regularly to the latest music in the charts.

With a choice of classes such as Strike, Interval, Dance Mixx, Fusion, Core and Strength, there is always something to leave you exhausted, craving for more.

Classes designed to burn calories while toning your body; though it can be exhausting, people say always have fun. There are Jazzercise classes for everyone; they have classes specifically designed for varying levels of fitness experience.

To find a class near you, their necessary contact information to get you started, and even pricing details, just go to the Jazzercise website and select three radius distance options. You don’t have to know how to dance to start Jazzercise; they will teach you!

You may find jazzercise tough in the beginning as you learn all new steps and you may struggle to during the first few classes. However, if you stick with it, you will learn to have fun and get fit listening to your favorite music.

According to their website, the Jazzercise mission is to teach “fitness classes that transform your body and your life.”

Dance Mix

Jazzercise Dance Mixx

Jazzercise Dance Mixx classes combine strength and dance-based cardio to burn off calories at a rapid rate of up to 800 calories or more in a 60-minute class.

This is a high-intensity workout that targets your legs, abs, and upper body to get you in shape. It boosts your energy and leaves you feeling good.

Does Jazzercise Work?

Yes, Jazzercise works. You can take classes that help you lose weight and produces quick results.

Burn off those extra calories to your favorite dance party music. Jazzercise music turns working out into a fun and enjoyable experience.

Jazzercise has been around for almost 50 years and is still growing. It has proven to be one of the most popular, and original, workout dance programs.

“Cardio exercise delivered with guidance, comradery, and fun can be very effective. The sole use of this program may lack some benefits of a more comprehensive regimen, but all safe movement is good,” shared medical reviewer Dr. Anthony Dugarte.

Benefits & Results

Jazzercise Benefits and Results

The benefits of Jazzercise vary from person to person based on their fitness goals, and how they use the program to reach them.

Reduces Stress

Being fun and enjoyable, Jazzercise reduces your overall stress. There is nothing better to beat the blues than a dance class.

It allows you to express your emotions and creativity.

When you dance, endorphins release combatting any low feelings to make you feel happy and alive again. Jazzercise is also a great way to socialize with like-minded people.

Jazzercise boosts your energy. There is nothing like doing a dance class to boost your energy.

Exercising will help you produce more energy to help you get through your busy day.

Details on Jazzercise and Weight Loss

Jazzercize is effective as part of a weight loss program.

It is a high energy dance workout class with movements that works out your entire body. Working in the highest intensity classes can burn 300 to 800 calories per hour and provides strength training as part of its classes. The total calories burned per hour covers a broad range that is dependent on factors such as weight, age, gender, current physical activity level, room/body temperature, and others.

In some classes, you may use additional equipment such as free weights and resistance bands, or you can find yourself doing push-ups and bicep curls, and other exercises for strength training.

All classes have warm up and cool down session to ensure minimal injuries.

Fully trained Jazzercise instructors lead each class and keep them moving and upbeat. You do not spend endless time working in one area of your body. Typically, each area is targeted for one song, around 3 minutes each.


How to Use Jazzercise

Jazzercise is mostly available through their dance studios located in 32 countries around the world.

If you want to try out dance as a way to lose weight, you should be able to find a class near you. Check out their website to find a location near you.

But, if not, try doing Jazzercise at home. You can buy Jazzercise DVDs online and you can download their videos from YouTube.

Side Effects

Potential Jazzercise Side Effects

The only potential negative side effect of Jazzercise is overdoing your exercise.

Start off slow and avoid doing workouts that are too advanced, choose something your body can handle.

And, if you are injured, you should talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Jazzercise Product Warnings

There are no Jazzercise product warnings.

Just be honest about your fitness levels and disclose any injuries, and the Jazzercise instructors will start you off at the right level.


Any Jazzercise Lawsuits?

While there does not appear to be any legal action taken against Jazzercise, there was a highly publicized complaint made about the company to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

Jennifer Portnick, 38 and weighing 240 pounds at the time, accused Jazzercise of discrimination when they rejected her application as an instructor based on her weight, reports The letter said the company required all instructors to look fit and trim and “look leaner than the public.”

Portnick said, while this was devastating, it inspired her as well. She said it inspired her to change the Jazzercise policy.

She is an aerobics instructor and works out six days a week. Despite her 15 years’ experience and skills, Jazzercise refused to hire her as an instructor.

Portnick won a victory when Jazzercise changed its policies and now “no longer requires its instructors to look trim and fit”, states ABC News.

Jazzercise Alternatives

Diva Dance Company

The Diva Dance Company is a unique company that offers dance classes in their dance studios and dance parties for adults.

Diva Dance classes give participants a full body workout and there are different classes to suit individual fitness levels.

Define Body and Mind

Define Mind and Body hold workout classes and programs that target people at all levels of fitness in their workout studios.

For example, the Define Body class combines cardio and strength training.

It targets the leg muscles and glutes for maximum fat burning effects.

Define classes use strength and resistance training to tone and strengthen every part of your body. The focus is on exhausting the target muscles followed by stretching exercises to tone them up.

What Users Are Saying

“I enjoyed this workout. I don’t have any dance experience but was able to get down the moves after 2 tries. I just wish they would spend more time on each song, somehow make the song longer because once they have all the moves combined together you only go through it all maybe once or twice and then its over to the next routine. I usually do each song twice because it really is fun and goes by so quickly. Once you really get the moves down and you put your all into it you will sweat a lot. Wish they’d make more of these kinds of workouts.”

“First, I love Jazzercise and have been in classes off & on since 1981. I’ve been out for a while, so I bought this dvd to get back in the swing. The basic workout is fun, but not like a class. I tried the 10 min ab & glut workout and was disappointed to find that there were no new routines, just repeats from the first section. (I didn’t purchase on Amazon, but it’s the same dvd.)”

“I give it 3 stars because yes it’s a good workout but music is what motivates me to keep going and the music song choices were great but you could barely hear The music over the talking which was a bummer . I would not buy it again.”

Bottom Line

The Bottom Line on Jazzercise

What’s the real deal with Jazzercise? If you are looking for an exercise regimen that has a good track record this may be worth trying. As with any new physical activity, it’s always a good idea to get the approval of your doctor first.

If the time has come to jump-start your metabolism, you may want to try a weight-loss program that can help you lose weight and boost your metabolic rate in a healthier way.

Among the best weight-loss apps we’ve seen this year is one named Noom. The program includes human coaching, personalized meal plans, support groups, and more. We did find many dieters sharing their amazing results.

The makers of Noom are so excited about the weight-loss program that they are offering Dietspotlight readers a 14-day trial, which has been very popular.

Learn More About Noom “

This Woman Lost 77 Lbs. with Jazzercise

Courtesy Karla Kelton(2)

Overweight and living a “very sedentary” lifestyle, Karla Kelton knew she had to curb her unhealthy habits.

“At the time, I was going through a divorce so that was kind of a catalyst that made me realize, I need to make some changes in my life,” the CPA tells PEOPLE. “I was size 16, and I refused to go into plus-size . Once I hit 222 lbs., it was just a life-changing moment.”

She knew she needed to get active, but had struggled to do so in the past. “I absolutely hated working out,” Kelton, 35, says. “I could not find an exercise program that I enjoyed enough to stick with for the long run.”

That all changed when the Grapevine, Texas resident rediscovered Jazzercise in 2015. “I remembered doing it as a kid with my mom and having so much fun,” she says of the mix of dance cardio and strength training. “I fell in love with it after my first class. I didn’t even realize how much I’d sweat. The hour flew by and I was back the next night.”

Without any gimmicks — just through healthy eating and exercise — our 2018 Half Their Size stars shed hundreds of pounds. For more on their stories and weight loss tips, pick up a copy of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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Watch People Features: Half Their Size, available now, on PeopleTV. Go to, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device.

RELATED VIDEO: One Change Wonders! These 5 People Share the One Thing They Did to Jump-Start Their Weight Loss

Kelton quickly worked her way up to six-day-a-week classes – in each she burned 550 calories – and shed 77 lbs. “For the first time in my adult life, I enjoyed working out and I found myself looking forward to my evening class.” Along the way, Kelton, a self-described “sugar addict” also decided to limit her sweets.

Now at 145 lbs., Kelton calls the hour she spends at Jazzercise her “favorite part of the day.” She also became a certified Jazzercise instructor, and enjoys helping other women like herself.

“Looking back on it, walking into my first Jazzercise class two years ago was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and my life has forever changed for the better,” she says. “I’ve achieved things I never dreamed I could, such as gaining a newfound strength and confidence in myself.”

The Tale of Two Workouts

Snack Girl knows Charles Dickens won’t mind the reference to the Tale of Two Cities (because he is long dead).

Man, I hated Dickens in high school. Why so many pages?

My tale begins with my wanting to save money because my schedule is a mess in the summer. I put my regular gym on hiatus for a couple months.

Then, a Groupon popped up for Jazzercise classes within a three minute drive from my house and I thought, “Hey, I can fit that in”. So, I bought it.

My regular workout is called “Boot Camp” and is very intense. Picture jumping jacks, crunches, curls, push-ups, and a terrible thing called a “Burpee”. You do not want to attempt this class if you have eaten in the last 3 hours.

Once I fainted because I was dehydrated before I started. Boot camp is serious and it will kick your butt. I have had trouble driving my standard car home after 60 minutes of Boot Camp.

Right about now, you think I am a lunatic.

I started my Jazzercise class wondering how the blankety blank I am going to do all those silly moves without looking like a freak. You want me to shimmy??? What do I look like? Someone who can shimmy?

I eyed the exit and wondered if I could make it out without anyone noticing.

I looked around and my sisters (there were zero men) were shimmying and nailing the moves. Argh! I finished the class and I felt like I broke a sweat but I could drive my car just fine.


Since my Groupon was for 10 classes (and I am cheap), I tried again. This time, some of the routines were familiar and I began to shake my booty. Hey, everyone else was doing it! I sweated more this time and still felt like an idiot.

I tried seven Jazzercise classes before I decided it wasn’t for me. I did start to get a workout the more of the routines I was able to do without falling down. It took practice but I still didn’t like it as much as boot camp.

Why am I telling you all of this? You have got to try new things if you are going to get fit and some things will work and others will not. My attempt at Jazzercise failed because I am not a dancer type. I am a jock type that likes to grunt and curse (in my head of course).

But, I gave Jazzercise a chance because it is fun to change things up and I needed something else to keep me in shape. I am sure that a bunch of you like Jazzercise and get a lot of of it.

The workout I really want to attempt is Zumba. I haven’t figured out how to fit it in yet, but one day I will give it a spin.

What is your favorite workout? How do you keep things fresh?

Other posts you might like:

Want To Exercise Without Noticing?

Snack Girl has a little problem with couches. She can’t stay away from them…

The Secret Of Building A Healthy Body (For People With Little Time or Money)

Obviously, the women above got great bodies by going to the gym. Look at how fit they look!…

Jazzercise, Inc. Launches New On-Demand Exercise Video Platform

CARLSBAD, Calif., September 16, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Jazzercise, Inc., the company that pioneered aerobic dance fitness and became a global phenomenon, has launched its most contemporary and exciting initiative: Jazzercise On Demand. This app and web-based platform houses the global fitness leader’s first-ever on-demand exercise video subscription service and furthers Jazzercise’s commitment to making physical fitness accessible for everyone. Now, consumers can experience Jazzercise’s proven, effective and fun workout from wherever is most convenient – the living room, garage, home gym, or while traveling. This foray into virtual exercise instruction provides a solution for customers across the country who want access to Jazzercise, but may not live in proximity to a studio or center.

Jazzercise On Demand features exclusive new video content in 10, 20, 30 and 40-minute sessions. The videos offer a variety of choreography targeting all muscle groups and types of workouts, such as cardio, strength training, restorative and more. Jazzercise On Demand will release new video content each week to ensure subscribers can experience the same variety that in-studio consumers are provided. The videos are hosted by select Jazzercise “FitPro” instructors, including Jazzercise President, Shanna Missett Nelson.

“It has always been our goal to make physical fitness as enjoyable and accessible as possible. We are so excited to launch a platform that broadens our community, reengages those who may no longer have access to a studio, and allows Jazzercisers to keep up the great work wherever they are,” said Missett Nelson. “We are thrilled to supplement our fantastic franchises with this new streaming service.”

Jazzercise on Demand will be available for $19.99/month or $195/year on the Jazzercise On Demand website, or $19.99/month on the app, available in the App Store for iPhone, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick and Roku. Jazzercise Insiders, those who operate franchises, or who already have a recurring Jazzercise studio membership, will be able to purchase a subscription for $12.99/month.

This new release comes one month before the brand’s 50th anniversary, celebrating Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett’s first classical jazz dance class that she transformed into the upbeat, dance cardio workout that changed the fitness industry. Before Missett, the common belief was that exercise was the domain of men. She disrupted this attitude by creating the heart-pumping choreographed class that has since grown into a global empire.

In the wake of the brand’s growing popularity, in 1982, Jazzercise became the first fitness program to franchise as a means of expanding. In the last 50 years, the single class of 15 women has expanded into 32,000 classes per week across 8,500 franchises worldwide. The release of Jazzercise On Demand further demonstrates Jazzercise’s ingenuity, continuing to evolve the program in ways that make physical fitness accessible and fun.

About Jazzercise
Jazzercise believes you can create a stronger, happier, healthier life through fitness. The company draws on the passion to motivate and inspire customers, instructors and employees to live healthier, fitter lives. Jazzercise develops fun and effective fitness routines and products that enhance the well-being of people of all ages. Learn more about Jazzercise at

SOURCE Jazzercise, Inc.

Jazzercise Helped A Mom And Daughter Lose A Combined 184 Pounds

Losing weight is never easy, but having a workout buddy can be a big help, as this fit mom-and-daughter duo have proven by losing a combined 184 pounds together.

Jamie Allison and her daughter, Calista Jean Jones, took their first Jazzercise class in their hometown of Trussville, Alabama, in January 2016 and have stuck with it ever since.

“From that point on we were hooked,” Allison told Health. “Who doesn’t love to dance? For one hour, a stress-free, heart-pounding, fun, fat-burning dance mix that give you amazing health benefits and even muscles!”

What better way to start this month off right and our 30 day challenge with our fav workout @trussvillegetsfit @jazzerciseinc! • • • • #jmegetsfit30for30 #jmegetsfitwithwwjazzercisetemplework #wwfreestyle #weightwatchers #wwlifetime #weightwatcherscommunity #beyondthescale #wwalabama #livefully #jazzercise #glutenallergy #happy #onedayatatime #heismystrength

A post shared by Jaime (@jmegetsfit4life) on May 1, 2018 at 6:15pm PDT

Allison has been documenting their journey — from workouts to healthy meals — on Instagram. As you can see, the pair has undergone quite a transformation:

This hasn’t just been about weight loss, though. It’s been a bonding experience for them. Parenting is tough, Allison said, and it was difficult to watch her daughter struggle with her weight as a teen. Going to Jazzercise turned into something special they could do together.

“We are a team, helping each other, making good food choices and keeping each other on point,” Allison told Health. “Our bond is something special that I would never trade. I always wanted her to look up to me now I feel like we both inspire each other.”

12 for 30💃🏼✅ 9 of 25🔵✅ #absandjmespringforward • • • • #jmegetsfitwithwwjazzercisetemplework #wwfreestyle #weightwatchers #wwlifetime #weightwatcherscommunity #beyondthescale #wwalabama #livefully #jazzercise #glutenallergy #happy #onedayatatime #heismystrength

A post shared by Jaime (@jmegetsfit4life) on Apr 12, 2018 at 5:47pm PDT

Jazzercise has been around since 1969, which is some serious longevity in the fitness world. When you think of Jazzercise, you might picture big 1980s hair and leg warmers.

But Jazzercise has made a comeback in recent years. Classes are even offered in New York City, where people certainly can choose from a wide variety of different fitness classes. A 2016 New York Times article featured one class that attracted women ranging in age from their 20s to 60s.

“It’s nonjudgmental; any age can do it,” instructor Janet Forward told the Times.

The mix of cardio and strength training includes dance, yoga and kickboxing moves, and the company claims Jazzercisers can burn 800 calories during an hour-long session.

With a variety of formats, our classes include dance cardio to HiiT and everything in between to help you avoid plateaus and tackle your fitness goals

A post shared by Jazzercise Inc. (@jazzerciseinc) on Apr 19, 2018 at 2:18pm PDT

But Allison isn’t just relying on her workouts to stay healthy. In addition to going to Jazzercise three or four times a week, she follows Weight Watchers. It makes sense: Research shows that paying attention to what you eat is an important factor in weight loss.

RELATED: 7 Snacks That Are Okay To Eat Before You Go To Bed

Her motivation seems to be downright infectious, and if her photos are any indication, she appears to be inspiring other family members as well. Check out these photos of Allison and her husband!

What an inspiring family — keep up the great work!

Of course, Jazzercise isn’t the only workout that can aid in dramatic weight loss. A mom named Tessa lost 180 pounds — half her body weight — over the course of five years.

She credits the app My Fitness Pal, which she uses to track what she eats. And she is also devoted to Zumba, a dance fitness routine that became popular in the 1990s.

“I fell in love with Zumba, which in turn made me love fitness in general,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

Some nights ya just gotta dig a little deeper for that motivation! #weightlossjourney #losingweight #transformation #motivation #inspiration #gym #gymlife #digdeep #goals #stronger #weightlossmotivation #weightlossinspiration #weightlossstory #weightlosssupport #fitmom #fit #fitlife #lift #lifting #run #motherrunner #onetoughmother

A post shared by Tessa (@tessasweightlossjourney) on Jan 11, 2017 at 8:25pm PST

Is jazzercise an excellent workout? Can it really help one lose weight? You might have asked yourself the mentioned questions if you’re still on the stage of deciding whether you should try jazzercise for weight loss.

The answer is actually a yes. It’s a great workout, which lets you shed excess pounds. Get to know more about it and how can jazzercise help you lose weight through this article.

Jazzercise Defined


Jazzercise is actually one of the most popular types of exercise regimen today. It’s a beat-pumping and pulse-pounding program, which provides quick results. It’s also a fat-burning workout, which allows you to enjoy a hip-swiveling dance party featuring a hot playlist.

Such will distract you from the fat burning process. This means that instead of viewing the whole process as extremely exhausting, you’ll actually find it enjoyable.

The good thing about jazzercise classes is that you’re not required to know how to dance or have a background in dancing. It’s because the classes come with a learning curve.

You may find the first steps difficult, causing you to struggle with the entire class at first. However, note that those are only in the initial phases. Jazzercise is a learning process. It allows you to stay fit while also learning a new skill.

Another great thing about the jazzercise classes is that they involve movements that suit the song structure. This can make the entire experience more enjoyable.

How can Jazzercise Help you Lose Weight?


Jazzercise is effective for weight loss. It’s because each class comes with a set of movements that target your entire body. Most of the movements involved in each class are high intensity. Working at the hardest level, therefore, can burn up to six hundred calories in just one hour.

Jazzercise is not only about aerobic fitness, though. It also provides participants with proper strength training. Before, the class involved the use of exercise ropes and balls.

While you can still find classes today that use them, the majority are using resistance bands, bodyweight exercises, and free weights. Jazzercise might also require you to do bicep curls, crunches, and push-ups, among other types of strength training exercises.

With that, you can expect to work out all your muscles, thereby strengthening them. The good thing about strengthening your muscles and building leaner muscle mass with the aid of jazzercise is that it can further maximize the ability of your body to burn calories and fats.

That said, jazzercise lets you lose weight by toning your muscles and burning fats at the same time. The routines are also more than just dancing. They target all your muscle groups in such a way that you’ll find the entire process fun and enjoyable.

Furthermore, each class does not just linger on one area for half an hour. It involves one song, which usually takes around three minutes, and allows you to target one specific area during that period. This is beneficial if you want to push yourself harder and prevent the risk of cheating on your workout.

Jazzercise has different kinds of classes but you can expect their focus to be on the specific thing that you want to achieve. While others want to focus more on core strength, there are those who want to focus more on achieving an HIIT workout.

Jazzercise can offer that. Most of its classes will last for sixty minutes while others can be completed within thirty minutes, all of which are enough to give you a good workout designed to help you lose weight.

All classes also come with cool-down and warm-up exercises, thereby preventing you from suffering from injuries.

Other Amazing Benefits of Jazzercise


Aside from giving you a good workout, which lets you shed excess pounds, jazzercise also offers a host of other benefits. These include the following:

  • Lowers your risk of developing heart disease – Taking up jazzercise classes that often take around 30-60 minutes can reduce your risk of developing heart disease by up to 50%. The workout can strengthen your heart and pump more blood with minimal effort. It can also lower your blood pressure.
  • Elevates your energy – It’s ironic but expending energy by exercising can actually cause you to produce more energy. It can get your blood pumping, making you ready to tackle your busy schedule. The good thing about the increase in energy you get from each class is that it can also boost your productivity, allowing you to do more things in just less time.
  • Strengthens your bones – This is all thanks to the ability of jazzercise to strengthen your muscles. Having strong muscles also means that you can build stronger bones. Exercising regularly with jazzercise can also reduce your risk of suffering from broken bones.
  • Lessens stress – Jazzercise is actually a fun and enjoyable form of exercise. Doing it regularly can lessen your stress by getting rid of muscle tension. It’s also possible to counter depression through this exercise as it works in releasing endorphins that can improve your mood and make you genuinely happy.


What to Wear in your Jazzercise Classes?

To get the best results out of jazzercise, especially in terms of weight loss, it is advisable to learn more about what you should wear in your classes. Wearing the right outfit and shoes is crucial in making you feel more comfortable in class, thereby allowing you to move more efficiently.

One tip is to choose bottoms that are not too restrictive, making it easier for you to dance. In this case, go for an unrestrictive pair of shorts. Leggings and tights that perfectly fit into your body are also recommended.

Also, you need to wear comfortable tops. You should be able to move freely and comfortably when wearing it. You can choose to wear a comfy t-shirt, a gym-specific attire, or a sports bra. Just make sure that it can really let you move with ease.

Investing in the right Jazzercise shoes is also a must. You need to wear a good pair of shoes for Jazzercise as this can help you maximize the effects of the exercise. You need shoes that can enhance your performance – one that is comfortable, flexible, lightweight, supportive, and easy to dance with.


With jazzercise, achieving your weight loss goals is possible. Just make sure that you’re fully aware of the entire program and its benefits before starting. Furthermore, you need to know exactly what to wear in each class to maximize its benefits.

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Melissa Bell

Melissa Bell has a strong background in nutrition education, fitness and yoga, and experience working on specialized stretching, bodybuilding and weight loss programs. She is actively studying Japanese, doing research and travelling for conferences while taking care of two children. Follow me: =”https:>

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The Workout That Helped This Mom and Daughter Lose a Combined 184 Pounds

Get ready to do some jazz hands for this mother-daughter duo. Jaime Allison, 40, and her daughter Calista Jean Jones, 18, have lost a combined total of 184 pounds—and they credit their weight loss to their favorite workout: Jazzercise.

RELATED: How to Be More Confident in the Weight Room, Dance Class, and More

Their Jazzercise journey started in January 2016, when the two were talked into attending a class, Allison tells Health. Ever since, they’ve been regulars at the Jazzercise studio in Trussville, Alabama.

“From that point on we were hooked,” Allison says. “Who doesn’t love to dance? For one hour, a stress-free, heart-pounding, fun, fat-burning dance mix that give you amazing health benefits and even muscles!”

For these women, it’s not just about breaking a sweat. One of the benefits of Jazzercise has been the bonding experience.

“Jazzercise has completely changed our relationship,” Allison says. “Raising a daughter is tough enough, seeing her struggle like I did as a teen with her weight and self-confidence is difficult. We have found something we can do together, to keep each other accountable and motivate each other. It’s our special time together.”

RELATED: I’m the Worst Dancer, but I’ll Never Quit Taking Dance Fitness Classes—Here’s Why

Jazzercise was created by Judi Sheppard Missett in 1969, according to the company website. The workout is described as a “high intensity dance party that fuses cardio, strength, Pilates, hip hop, yoga and kickboxing.” Jazzercisers can burn up to 800 calories during each 60-minute class, the site states.

Allison says she takes Jazzercise classes three to four times per week and follows the Weight Watchers program. She frequently posts side-by-side transformation photos, snaps of her meals, and also mirror selfies at the studio. Many of the selfies feature Allison and Jones beaming after a tough workout.

“We are a team, helping each other, making good food choices and keeping each other on point,” Allison says. “Our bond is something special that I would never trade. I always wanted her to look up to me now I feel like we both inspire each other.”

It’s been over two years since Allison walked into her first Jazzercise class, and she says persistence and self-love allowed her to make this life-changing step toward a healthier lifestyle.

RELATED: 6 Dance Cardio Workout Videos That Will Get You Out of Your Exercise Rut

“It just takes one moment, one decision, making a small change that can completely shift your mindset for the better, becoming healthier, fit and happy,” she says. “Do something different, try something new, out of your comfort zone, you might just love it! That’s what Jazzercise did for my daughter and . It will be worth it! Promise!”

Jazzercise before and after

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