You can probably envision it: A thin woman clad in a spandex leotard and leg warmers encouraging you to “move it to the beat!”
That may be Jazzercise’s clichéd past, but it’s certainly not its present, at least, not while Brittany Chugg has anything to do with it. “I’ve always liked the idea of exercise but haven’t always had it as a regular part of my routine,” Chugg said. “I only tried it because I had heard of it before, and loved it!”
Chugg insisted that Jazzercise is not just another fad workout, but, if it is a fad, it’s the longest fad in workout history starting back in 1969 and continuing into the present day. After rediscovering Jazzercise after moving to Utah, Chugg went through the exhaustive process to become a certified Jazzercise instructor—including a full-on audition. “Being an instructor for this fitness program, you have to train for a long time, go through a physical assessment, work with multiple instructors and then pass an audition,” Chugg recalled. “I really like the whole process and getting to learn how to build this community.”
That fitness community is what Chugg believes separates Jazzercise from other fitness regimens. “I’ve done other programs myself: gyms, running, and it can be great. But I found it was really difficult to stick to without a community around to keep you going and encourage you,” Chugg said.
And community building is half of the job. But the other half is being a successful businesswoman. “Ultimately, it’s a business, so I have to be profitable and make money. When I’m in the business mindset, I’m taking care of numbers and learning how to get my name and mission out there. But my success has a lot to do with my love for my customers and wanting to see the benefit of fitness affecting their everyday lives,” Chugg said.
Her Harrisville location turns one year old this June, a milestone that seemed far away when she started offering classes at the Farr West rec center about three years ago. But her customers respond with the same dedication and fervor as Chugg—supporting a whopping 24 classes per week with demand increasing the class offerings to 26 this summer.
Jazzercise is literally for every body: clients range from 16 to 80 years old and even feature some very pregnant women. Maybe “moving to the beat” isn’t such a bad idea.