Get to know Wellbeats instructor Josh Keenum, a lifelong dancer who has over 15 years of experience in the fitness industry. Josh brings contagious energy and encouragement to his fitness classes, whether he’s instructing strength training, cardio, or his first love—dance.
After discovering his love of dance during his youth, Wellbeats instructor Josh Keenum followed his passion to a career as a professional dancer. Eventually he found group fitness, where he could share his passion and talent for dance in a different setting. With group fitness, Josh found not only a second career path but a lifestyle.
Josh’s route to dance was, oddly, through karate. When he was young, he and his brother took karate classes next door to a dance studio.
“I would always do all my strikes and kicks to the beat of the music coming from next door,” Josh said. “Our karate instructor said to me, ‘You’re really good at this, but you might want to try next door and see how you like that because you’re moving to the beat of the music.’”
One dance class was all it took for Josh to be hooked for life.
“I took one dance class and ran home and told my mom and dad I really wanted to do that,” Josh said.
From there, Josh took every opportunity to dance that came his way. He danced in high school and then started the dance team at his university. After college, he decided to audition for the Atlanta Hawks’ dance team and made the team. He spent two seasons dancing professionally in the NBA and with other artists in the Atlanta market.
From Injury Comes Opportunity
When a hamstring injury sidelined Josh from professional dance, his rehabilitation ultimately led him to another passion—fitness.
“I realized I needed to be working out and not just dancing,” Josh said of his injury. “I needed strength training to strengthen my hamstring. I found a club and fell upon group fitness.”
It didn’t take long for Josh to transition from group fitness participant to group fitness instructor.
“The director at the time pointed me out,” Josh said. “He said to me, ‘You’re a dude, you’ve got rhythm, and you’ve got personality. Would you like to teach?’ I said yes. Since August of 2005, I’ve been teaching group fitness.
“I haven’t looked back. I’ve just fallen in love with all aspects of fitness. Strength training, cardio, mind-body, it’s become a lifestyle—not just for me but for my family.”
Family is incredibly important to Josh. In fact, his love and care for his family also contributed to his decision to pursue fitness as a career. Josh loved his experience as a professional dancer, but the late nights performing at evening events made it difficult to spend quality time with his family.
“My injury made me reevaluate things,” Josh said. “I really think it was a blessing in disguise. I had to figure it out. Did I want to still do my career of dancing or think about my family long term? I found out I could marry both interests in this fitness world where I got to quasi perform in a group fitness setting, but I was able to teach dance without being out at late hours.”
Josh’s talent as a dancer and his enthusiasm for fitness proved to be an ideal combination as a group fitness instructor.
Coaching Philosophy: Connection and Community
Josh prioritizes education, presence, and connection in his approach as an instructor.
“It sounds simple, but in my coaching methodology, I like to focus on naming moves and then slowly breaking down the technique,” Josh explained. “Physically I always want to be a role model but also really look out to see—in a live class setting—how do I get them to execute these moves safely and effectively? My coaching needs to be present.”
Whether he’s instructing in person in a studio or virtually with Wellbeats, Josh brings passion, energy, and emotion to his teaching as well.
“When it’s virtual, I have to imagine someone is there, and I want to think of celebrating them and us,” Josh said. “It’s a different experience because it’s just me on the screen behind the camera, but I try to emote the same excitement or passion. Wherever the song is going, I want them to be able to feel from me through the screen as much as they would in a live class.”
In his dance classes in particular, Josh always hopes to connect with his class participants as their instructor, but he also wants them to connect with the emotion of the music.
“For me, music is emotional,” Josh said. “I can be in a certain mood, but a song comes on and I can get hyped up and excited, or it takes me back to a nostalgic moment. So, for me, whenever the emotions come out from the songs, I love being able to teach a fitness dance class and exude those same emotions.
“It feeds my soul—moving, listening, emoting, and honestly seeing the members in a class do the same thing,” Josh said. “It’s not about me as the instructor. It’s about them and their experience. If my movement and my passion are able to get them to have this great experience, then let’s do it. Let’s do it every day.”
Fitness as a Way of Life
Josh looks at fitness as an important element of his overall health and wellbeing. He recognizes the mental, emotional, and social benefits of physical activity as much as the physical benefits.
“I like to think of fitness as a wellness thing because there are so many studies that show what it does for our brain, what it does for us mentally, and the social aspect of it at the same time when you’re with other people,” Josh said. “The biggest study lately has been that with social and assisted activity, people stay with it longer because you end up having a community. This community becomes lifelong friends and family.”
Josh recommends weaving fitness into daily life and has personally had success approaching fitness from a holistic point of view.
“When it becomes holistic, when it isn’t something you have to do but it’s something you want to do because you’re passionate about it, it’s so easy to maintain it,” Josh said.
“I think a lot of people feel that fitness equals a gym, and what we’ve realized in this pandemic is that it’s not,” Josh continued. “It’s anything. You can do anything. You can use a chair at home or a couch. You can go outside to your steps, or use your steps inside and go from floor to floor. There are so many things that we can do. For me, fitness is about wellness.”
Wellbeats was a natural fit for Josh. It gave him the opportunity to share his passions and combine strength training and cardio classes together.
“Let’s teach people and get them to understand that all it takes is 20 to 30 minutes per day, and we can change our lives,” Josh said. “It doesn’t take a lot. Just that one little bit.”
Take a Wellbeats Class with Josh
Josh’s passion for fitness and dance comes through in each of his classes. Interested in trying a dance class with Josh? Wellbeats members are encouraged to take one of Josh’s classes now.
About Wellbeats, a LifeSpeak company
Wellbeats, a LifeSpeak company is a leading provider of on-demand virtual fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness classes for use in workplaces of all sizes, health plans, on college or university campuses, multi-family housing, the U.S. military, and fitness and health clubs. Based in St. Louis Park, MN, Wellbeats makes fitness accessible, affordable, and approachable for everyone. More than 1,000 classes and 35+ programs are available to help members stay on track and meet their goals. To learn more, visit www.wellbeats.com or check out a sampling of the company’s fitness classes during a Facebook Live class, and follow Wellbeats on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.