I’ve loved dancing for as long as I can remember. I met Jason Layden a few years ago when we were both working at the same restaurant and he told me about this new dance-fitness class that he created. Obviously, being super intrigued I wanted to learn more about it. It has become one of Los Angeles’ hottest new workouts and is spreading like wildfire across the country! Naturally, I wanted Jason, the creator of PlyoJam, to share what sets it apart from all other cardio workouts.
‘A new year means a chance for a new and improved you! The question is, how are you going to make that happen? We all have good intentions, especially in January, but it’s often hard to keep it going as the days and months go on. The key is to find something that motivates you. For 90 percent of people music is a huge motivator. The soundtrack you have hand selected to blast in your ears while running, biking, or (if you’re really tech savvy) during a swim, is everything. You probably even put those songs in a specific order! It can make or break your workout.
For many people, dancing to those favorite tunes is another motivating way to shed some unwanted calories. However, if you’re really looking to see results, you need to find the right intensity in a dance class that will deliver the burn. There are many different types of dance classes. One that’s been around the longest is Zumba, for which I’ve always been an advocate. It’s fun, motivating and most importantly, it’s a decent workout. But is it enough?
Two years ago I decided to start my own follow along dance program called PlyoJam. I created this dance cardio workout because I often had people asking me for something harder. Just to clarify, they were not asking for harder choreography. My students wanted something more physically challenging. I should also mention that most of these people were women between the age of 35 and 55. I solved this problem by using what the industry experts would call Plyometrics, but for the sake of this article we will call it a form of Jump Training. The class is set to today’s Top 40 pop hits and involves combinations of easy dance movements with jump training. I sprinkle these explosive, calorie scorching movements throughout the routine and, in a way, mask them with fun dance steps. It’s like putting cheese on broccoli for children, but in this case the cheese is beneficial too! What many don’t realize is that it takes a lot of effort to get two feet off the ground and in doing so the dance workout uses maximum power to strengthen your muscles and to maximize the calories burned. The dance steps are quick and explosive, resulting in the use of a lot more energy than in a typical follow along dance class. I like to tell students that it’s not how high you jump, but the effort it takes to get two feet off the ground. An inch goes a long way, but a centimeter is a start.’