It's quite daunting walking into a brand new class, especially if you are on your own, so here is a little guide to what to expect to make you feel more comfortable.
What to wear? Anything you feel comfortable in. Most people wear leggings and a vest top or t shirt, and we love a bit of trendy athleisure wear, but you are not coming to class for a fashion show - just wear something you can move in and can remove layers if you get hot. The most important thing is suitable footwear. Your old plimsolls are not ideal! You need shoes that have some spring left in the soles and that lace up securely to support your foot. Don't buy anything new for your first few classes, but then ask your instructor what they recommend. There are some subtle differences between the functions of trainers, eg running or tennis, so we can advise you on what's best for Jazzercise.
How will I know what to do? The instructors all wear a microphone to tell you what the move is, when it's going to change and what you should be feeling and working as you do it. We also give you safety tips and modifications throughout. We spend a lot of time planning our sets to follow a physiologically tested sequence to ensure you are warmed up, and then can start working your cardio vascular system and your muscles. We use dance terminology, which might sound like a foreign language at first, but you will very quickly understand what a chasse or plie are, because the moves repeat and there are patterns to every routine. It does take some co ordination, so if you are struggling to put it all together, concentrate on the feet first - then you will moving in the same direction as everyone, then add the arms, then work on the details.When you feel confident, you can start to think more about how you are executing the moves, using the correct muscles, thinking about your alignment, rather than just what you are doing. When you've done a routine a few times (we tend to change about 2 a week out of 16, so there is always something familiar, but also always something new) you can enjoy it and really dance! We always finish with a stretch to reduce muscle soreness and increase flexibility.
Do I need any special equipment? Not for your first classes. We do use mats, weights and mini resistance bands, but don't invest in any of these until you are sure we are the right fit for you. The instructor will show standing options if you don't go to the floor, (or you can bring a blanket or a towel as some padding), several people usually remain standing, so you won't be the only one; a clenched fist is fine until you have weights, and you can just work with the idea of holding resistance in the move - I promise this alone makes you work harder. Do bring a bottle of water and maybe a small handtowel to mop your glowing face!
I'm not very fit, will I be able to keep up? This is one of my favourite questions to be asked! Don't worry about not being fit, that is our whole purpose of being here! If everyone was already fit, we would be out of business. One of the very best things about Jazzercise is that we really are suitable for all fitness levels. The instructors are trained to show modifications throughout the class, so you can do low impact with no jumping, or use lighter weights, or reduce the resistance in the muscle work. As you get stronger and your stamina increases, you can add in high impact moves, increase the heaviness of your weights and go to the floor for strength work. There will always be someone in class working at about the same level as you, because we really do have a huge mix of ages and abilities. It's absolutely wonderful seeing teenagers working out alongside ladies in their 70's and even 80's - and both are getting a good workout. Remember it is your hour for you. Don't compare yourself to anyone else, they might have been coming for years, whilst you are at the beginning of your fitness journey. They were all beginners once and they remember what it felt like to be new, no one minds if you go the "wrong" way or don't get a move the first time. No matter how energetic you are, we all have days when it feels difficult, and it's ok to be gentle with yourself. Some days the hardest part is just deciding to go to class. Once you are there, we can guarantee you will feel better and be pleased that you came, you never leave class feeling worse. And if you have a day when you feel like you didn't work very hard, or didn't give it your all, you still did something, which is better than sitting on the sofa.
I've got a dodgy...(fill in body part)...Can I still do class? Yes - generally, and with care. Obviously if you have an injury it's best to check with your doctor or medical professional to be aware if there is anything you should not do. Your instructors are not Physios or medically trained, but we do know how to show modifications to work around difficult body parts. Talk to them, let them know what worries you. If we are not sure, we can find out. The benefits of working everything else around the affected area are huge - strengthening the muscles around a delicate joint help to keep it stable and protected from further harm. Don't let one dodgy body part stop you from doing everything else to it's full range of motion and benefit. And remember, if Olympic athletes and professional sports people can injure themselves despite all the physios, nutritionists, doctors, coaches etc, we mere mortals can injure ourselves too. We are all just human and these things happen.
How much will it cost? There are options, but the first thing you should really ask is "How much is my good health worth?" If it's similar to the price of a coffee every day, I'd say that was great value. We have several different tickets for sale, because we know that different people have different lives and requirements. All the options are on our booking platform, Punchpass. You can buy 1, 5 or 10 Class Passes, these give you great flexibility if you only want to pop into an occassional class, or are not sure how often you can come to start off with, or you know you have time away planned. Through many years of business, however, we recommend the Membership. This gives you unlimited access to all the classes in our area, as often as you like. To get the real benefit of Jazzercise, you need to come reguarly - if you feel you are always getting out your payment card, or have to go through the process of buying a ticket every time, this feels like effort is required. The Membership auto renews every month without you doing anything, and can be cancelled any time without a penalty. It encourages you to come more often - once a week is good, twice a week you will feel the benefits, three times a week you will see the difference. And the really great thing is that the more you come, the cheaper every class works out to cost. People often say to me, "Well, I only pay £5 a class for my workout." which is great, but if you go twice a week, that's £10, three times a week over a month is £60. If you come to Jazzercise three times a week, each class is less than £3.33. The price of a fancy coffee.
I hope this has helped to answer any questions you might have had and given you the confidence to just come and have a go! What have you got to lose? Maybe a bit of weight, maybe some inhibitions, maybe some preconceived ideas? But what have you got to gain? Strength. Confidence. Fitness. Muscle tone. Better mental health. Friends. Energy. Laughter. Fun. I could go on and on, because all of these and more have been given to me, personally, through Jazzercise, which is why I teach it. See you on the dance floor.
Keri and Team