If you’ve never heard of it, WERQ is a wildly addictive cardio dance class that’s become a fave of gym-goers around the country. Forget Sweatin’ to the Oldies (look it up). You’ll sweat to today’s hottest pop and hip hop hits in super fun choreographed form.
But what we at Curvicality like best is that this company is all about body positivity. In fact, the organization’s unofficial motto is: WERQ is for everybody and every body. (Love!)
“We firmly believe that, and promote and encourage it,” WERQ Chief Operating Officer Kati Weber enthusiastically tells Curvicality. “It’s accessible to everyone — all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds. No matter what fitness level you’re at, you’re welcomed and cheered on. Our instructors make sure everybody who comes to class leaves feeling successful.”
What sets WERQ fitness apart, enthusiasts say, is that it makes you feel like a member of a family — a big, non-judgmental dancing family. (Fun, right?) It’s not just a dance class. It’s a community.
“It’s a connection to other people who want to have a fun, uplifting experience that is exercise in disguise,” shares Weber.
You might even become what this crew calls a “WERQaholic.” (Yes, that’s a real thing.) WERQaholics are the diehard enthusiasts who take classes over and over. There are thousands of them around the world.
If you don’t believe me, just ask WERQ Instructor Amanda Widener (@Chunkychickchanging). When she innocently tried classes, she had no idea that WERQ would become one of the most treasured aspects of her life. Hearing her story actually made me tear up a little.
“I had a friend who basically forced me to go to classes because I was a stay-at-home mom and I was lonely,” Widener says. “By the third week, I was hooked.”
In 2018, Widener took the leap to become an instructor. “Now, I either teach or take a class about seven times a week,” she says, laughing. “I have a problem, but it’s a good problem. I’m a WERQaholic, 100 percent.”
Like most WERQaholics, Widener loves the all-inclusive atmosphere. “Literally, every class feels the same way, and that is that the moment you walk over that threshold, you are accepted. It doesn’t matter if you’re older or younger, or what your background is. If you wanna WERQ, you’re welcome. It’s all about uplifting each other.”
Widener also shares an important journey with Curvicality readers. She’s what the fashion industry would consider plus-size.
“I think the thing that makes my classes different is that I know what it’s like to walk into a fitness class and be intimidated because there are a lot of other body types in there that don’t match mine,” she says. “I might not be able to turn my body a certain way because I have a midsection that’s a little bit thicker than the girl next to me. I’ve been thicker my whole life.”
She noticed the special atmosphere of inclusion the very first time she walked into class. “What’s really special is that the first time I walked into class, I was immediately accepted. Nobody cared what size pants I wore. They cared that I wanted to have fun and I wanted to dance, and that’s it.”
But don’t for a minute think that you’re not going to get one of the best workouts of your life when you jam with the WERQ crew, no matter what size or fitness level you are. “We’re gonna be doing lunges and squats and jumps and turns and fast feet and movements with your arms, but you’re not going to realize you’re doing it because dance is sneaky and it makes it fun,” Widener shares. “When they do the choreo, they build them to not only reflect the songs, but they also do them so that you’re going to get an athletic exercise throughout the class.”
Kansas City resident Tiffany Mikhail is yet another WERQaholic (@Flabfab_Tiffany). In fact, she describes herself as a body positive WERQaholic. “Body positivity for me is just being comfortable in my skin and not caring what anybody thinks I should look like or how I should live my life,” she tells Curvicality. “My favorite song we have right now is ‘Jello’ and I make sure I always point to my thighs.”
Now an instructor, Mikhail considers WERQ one of the most important parts of her life — and her journey to sharing positive body image with the world.
“The best part of WERQ is getting to be yourself in a space where there’s no judgment. When people come into my class, they’re excited to see someone who wiggles and jiggles and still gives a killer workout,” she says. “And class feels more like you’re at home or at a club with your friends just having a good time than a workout. It doesn’t matter what age or size you are. You’ve been dancing in your home since you were little, so take the pressure off and just have fun in class.”
A chronic anxiety and depression sufferer, she also uses the class to alleviate stress. “This is what helps me get through it,” she says. “It gave me a community to be a part of. It gave me a reason to get out of bed. And it honestly just gave me something to look forward to.”
So there you have it, why you better WERQ. At the end of the day, if you’re a dance fitness lover, this class is worth a visit. I’ve never seen such enthusiasm for any program, and I’ve been to a lot of group fitness classes in my day. It really is a family.
Now for the fun part! Are you ready to get your groove on? We’ve got some very special, short at-home WERQ clips to share with you right now. So get comfy and get ready to WERQ.