Do What You Love

In May, I graduated from college. However, I just had my graduation party this past weekend, because I wanted to wait until I was done with student teaching. In the end, I had multiple reasons to celebrate – not only my graduation, but also scoring a job teaching sixth grade math and social studies in an awesome local school district.

One of the cards that I received for my graduation said:

It kind of got me thinking. While I will definitely be doing what I love as a teacher, there is what thing that I love that has been missing in my life lately: Jazzercise.

I began taking Jazzercise classes at the age of 15. I was an overweight teenager and  had tried settling into a routine at the gym, but I felt lost and became bored easily. I saw a commercial on TV and decided to give it a try., After taking my first class, I knew immediately that Jazzercise was a perfect fit for me. I had been taking dance classes since the age of three, and Jazzercise allowed me to dance and workout at the same time. I longed to be up on the stage and was bummed to find out that I had to be at least eighteen years old to become an instructor.

I graduated high school and began my college career at UW-Madison. I took some fitness classes at school there, but I really missed my favorite workout – Jazzercise. When I was home for the summer, I returned to the center for a class and immediately decided that I needed to become an instructor. I was certified in August 2008. I returned to Madison and taught once a week there, even though it meant a lengthy bus ride both ways. But after that semester, I decided to transfer to a school in Milwaukee.  I was excited to be back at home and began teaching regularly at my “home” location.

Although I was Jazzercising regularly, I was a college student, so my eating and drinking habits were not fantastic, and my weight slowly went up. I can only imagine what it would have been like without Jazzercise. As you might know from my weight loss story, I joined Weight Watchers in May 2010. By changing my eating habits, and teaching or taking Jazzercise classes six or seven days per week, I lost over sixty pounds in four months. I felt amazing!

In August 2010, I met my boyfriend. Soon after, I moved in with him. This meant that I was now over thirty minutes from my beloved Jazzercise center. Between nurturing my new relationship, dealing with the intense final two years in my college education program, and working several jobs, I was overloaded. In August 2011, I decided that it would be best if I took a break from Jazzercise. I had too much on my plate, and as a result, I wasn’t able to give 100% to all of my commitments.

Since then, I reflect often on how much I miss Jazzercise. However, I usually attempt to negate these feelings by reminding myself “how busy I am” or “what a hassle it was to drive so far to teach Jazzercise.” But here’s the thing: I want to make Jazzercise a priority in my life again.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I have been struggling with my self-image lately. I’ve returned to some negative eating habits, I’m not exercising enough, and I’m simply not happy with the way that I look and feel.

In reality, it’s simple: I love teaching Jazzercise. And when you find a fitness regimen that you love, why wouldn’t you do whatever it takes to do it? Today, I submitted my request to reinstate as a Jazzercise instructor.

I know that my first year of teaching sixth grade will not be easy. Everyday will bring something new and challenging. But I’m confident that feeling fit and healthy and sharing my passion for dance and exercise with others will help to keep me sane. Sometimes, you have to throw caution to the wind and do what you love.

P.S. If you have any questions about Jazzercise, feel free to ask There are so many misconceptions out there about Jazzercise. It has evolved tremendously over the years and is a fun, total body workout choreographed to today’s hottest music. Leg warmers and leotards not required!

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