This is an unpaid review of Planks and Plies at Jazzercise in Independence, Missouri.
I have always wanted to try Jazzercise. It’s an iconic exercise company that was founded in 1969 and was a part of the dance fitness revolution in the 80’s (think thong leotards and leg warmers). With over 8,300 franchisees (SO MANY) across the globe, chances are there’s a Jazzercise near you. Before I went to my first class, I associated Jazzercise with moms doing light workouts. Now? Not so much.
Fact: Jazzercise members stay for an average of SEVEN YEARS. I spoke with an instructor and she said she’s been taking Jazzercise classes for 17 years. Now that’s commitment.
Every now and then, like once a quarter, Jazzercise will host a Free Fitness Weekend where all of the classes are free all weekend. So when my friend Jenny asked if I wanted to go to a class with her I was all over it. I actually went to two classes: Planks and Plies with my friend Laci immediately followed by Lite with Jenny. Yep, I did back-to-back workouts. But apparently Laci is an even bigger workout beast than I am – she did THREE classes in a row. Monster.
THE LOW DOWN
The Planks and Plies class is “an interval fusion twist with a focus on toning arms and legs for long, lean muscles. Think sweat-soaked ballerina”
We did a lot of twisting and elongating our legs and arms. Three things that stuck out to me during my first Jazzercise class.
- When the instructor tells you to Plié, put your ballerina arms down and do a squat. I see it as their own fancy way of saying squat. Kinda like how I say Tar-jay instead of Target. Fancy.
- When the instructor says lunge, she doesn’t mean do a deep 90 degree lunge, she just means put one leg in front of the other and bend it a little.
- Everyone uses really light weights – like 3 pound weights. I felt like a weightlifter when I grabbed my 6 pound weights (and that’s still pretty light for me).
Put this combination together and you have a very shaky, sweaty Lauren with a very sore gluteus maximus for the next 3 days. That’s what’s cool about Jazzercise – you can modify the workout to burn more or less calories.
We worked out to top 40 music with a sprinkle of EDM. Each song consisted of 3 moves that we repeated throughout the song so by the time the song was over you had the moves nearly memorized.
The workout is very dance-y, with half of the class clapping at the end of each move without prompting (leftover from the 80’s) and the instructor only said “jazz hands” once. It kinda reminded me of my mom’s Richard Simmons’s Sweatin’ to the Oldies VHS tape but with Meghan Trainor.
Amy gave clear directions and said “jazz hands” only once (which made me chuckle). As someone brand-spanking new to Jazzercise I wanted more of an introduction to the instructor however the person working the desk only yelled out, “Hey, Amy, you got one more,” meaning don’t start class just yet. I arrived with 8 minutes to spare but, of course, I had to sign a waiver and provide a full profile of myself which the full profile couldn’t be finished later (I asked). Amy didn’t stick around after class so I didn’t get a chance to meet or chat with her like I usually like to.
Shortly after class, I did get a proper introduction to Jazzercise by Dana, the owner, long-time devotee and social media manager of the Jazzercise Independence Fitness Center Facebook page.
Jazzercise Independence Fitness Center gets straight to the point. There’s a small front reception desk and then the workout floor. No street shoes allowed (thank goodness I left my trail running shoes at home). I love the walls of windows and that the instructor is on a stage at the front of the class ensuring that everyone can see what she is doing. My only gripe is that there weren’t any cubbies, coat racks or hooks to hang up my jacket. However they do have cork coasters along the walls for your water bottles (so smart).
Planks and Plies gave me a full workout and turned me into a sweaty, red-faced mess. I really enjoyed it once I started feeling more comfortable with dancing. It was fun and I’m pretty sure I burned a fair share of calories. I had sore biceps and glutes for days – a sign that I worked my muscles.
Side note: I need to chill out with the crazy eyes in my after workout pictures but I just can’t help it. I’m riding that feel-good workout buzz.
The majority of the people in the class looked like moms and grandmas, I was definitely the youngest one there and I’m thirty. It makes sense though because these are the same moms and grandmas that were sweating to Jazzercise in their leotards in the 80’s. I can’t say I know of another workout franchise with such an iconic brand and devoted following that’s still keeping it fresh today.
While there are 13 locations in the Kansas City metro area, there aren’t any convenient classes nearby my home. I do like how the moves are very dance-y and fun however, as a commitment-phobe, I couldn’t spend the majority of my workout time at Jazzercise. I need a variety of workouts in the area and there’s so many more left to explore.
I will definitely be returning for the next Free Fitness Weekend. I’ve already “liked” the Jazzercise Independence Fitness Center Facebook page so I can be notified of the next free round. I mean, who doesn’t love a full-body workout for free?
What workout do you think I should try out next? Know of a free workout class or trial in the Kansas City area? Tell me in the comments below.