Instructor jazzes PLU up

By Natalie DeFord ’16

Kimber Maroney is a sophomore at PLU from Bozeman, Mont. She is a certified Jazzercise instructor who teaches a Jazzercise class through Pacific Lutheran Group Exercise. She is also Pflueger Residence Hall Council’s newly elected Activities and Outreach Director.

Kimber Maroney, sophomore and Physical Education major at PLU. Maroney is also minoring in Personal Training. Courtesy of Kimber Maroney.

Kimber Maroney, sophomore and Physical Education major at PLU. Maroney is also minoring in Personal Training. Courtesy of Kimber Maroney.

Peyton Schmidt, sophomore, said, “Kimber Maroney is a passionate and very inspirational individual with great thoughts on Jazzercise and student life.”

Maroney is an out-of-state student who wanted to get away. She does get homesick at times, but she said “It’s nice to be in a different area and experience different things.”

In addition to majoring in Physical Education and minoring in Personal Training, Maroney is a certified Jazzercise instructor who leads several classes at community centers throughout the greater Tacoma area. She became certified when she was 18-years-old and has been instructing for a year and a half now.

Maroney first heard the word Jazzercise from her teacher in middle school. “It was a funny word that got stuck in my head,” she said. She also got a Jazzercise bumper sticker at a women’s expo once.

After ending her volleyball career in her sophomore year of high school, Maroney was looking for a way to stay active. So, she gave Jazzercise a try. “I signed up for a class and fell in love,” she said.

Jazzzercise 1

Maroney demonstrating some Jazzercise techniques. Courtesy of Kimber Maroney.

Maroney defines Jazzercise as a “dance-based fitness class.” She said that classes incorporate different types of dance including jazz, hip hop, Latin and kickboxing.

There are several formats for classes, and she said they tend to follow an “aerobic curve.” This means a warm-up followed by a section that raises the heart-rate. Then some time is spent in the “max zone” which is followed by a cool down. One class is typically 40 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of strength training. “Jazzercise gets all the muscle groups,” Maroney said.

Jazzercise, see, is a franchised business.  Judy Shepard, CEO, founded that franchise and began teaching other instructors in 1977, and has ever since been evolving.

Instructors, like Maroney, are franchised. There are different statuses of franchisees, including associates (or subs) like Maroney and class owners. Maroney teaches classes and gets paid by the class owner who also collects fees and reports income. The instructor only teaches the class and gets paid. Maroney said she feels pretty independent. “I can go wherever needs an instructor,” she said.

Maroney also instructs a class here at PLU, working with the PLX, PLU’s group exercise program. Maroney’s class is Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. The class is held in the auxiliary gym, inside Names Fitness Center and through the double doors to the right. It’s open to all PLU students with a swipe of their Lute Card.

There are many benefits of Jazzercise for students. Maroney said it has helped her to keep off typical college weight gain. She said Jazzercise also helps with improving cardiovascular endurance and muscle strength.

“People make excuses not to go because they have too much homework, but if they do go it will actually help them reduce stress,” Maroney said.

Equally important to health benefits is the community that such a class can create. Maroney said that it’s great for people to come and see the same faces every week and get to know people like a club.

4th of July '13

Maroney leading a Jazzercise class. Courtesy of Kimber Maroney.

Despite all these benefits, Maroney struggles to keep membership up. She said it is difficult partially because her class is considered less trendy. She said the issue is when people hear the word Jazzercise “they probably think of grandmas in leotards.” But she said this is not the case and that “the class offers a modern full-body workout.”

Maroney said her class at PLU is mostly promoted “through word of mouth.” She hopes that once people start coming, they will keep coming due to that sense of community she is trying to build.

Jazzercise is one of 5 classes featured through PLX. See or

In addition to encouraging students to stay fit, Maroney encourages over all involvement as well. She just became Activities and Outreach Director for Pflueger RHC this fall. This job comes with many duties.

Maroney is actively involved in “planning events, throwing ideas, tweaking others’ ideas, reserving event spaces, and coordinating with others,” she said.

She said  “RHC tries to have weekly or at least biweekly events.” Maroney said she is learning more every day.

She said that her position’s title was previously just Activities Director but the Outreach emphasis was recently added. “Campus is trying to connect with the community,” Maroney said. She said she thinks PLU has a stigma about the Parkland area. But Maroney said she believes, with outreach, people can get over that and maybe connect better.

Community is important to Kimber Maroney, be that through outreach and activities or through Jazzercise.

“I like to help people get involved with something they enjoy,” Maroney said.

Categories: Profiles

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