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Class Action: PlyoJam

This calorie-torching workout combines dance cardio with hardcore plyometrics—and has an A-list celebrity fanbase.
Plyojam class
(Photo: PlyoJam)

There are some celebs who have great taste in workouts. So when fitness junkie Reese Witherspoon started raving about a new cardio-dance-meets-plyometrics class (that can also burn more than 600 calories in 60 minutes), I immediately packed my gym bag.

She was talking about Jason Layden’s PlyoJam: Dance Powered by PlyoMetrics, which he teaches eight times a week at various locations on the Westside. I found him at Moore Dancing in Brentwood on a Tuesday morning, hoping to possibly catch a glimpse of the star and her calorie tracking device in person. I’m not gonna lie.

Layden, a former Zumba instructor, says he created the workout to combine dance cardio with fast, explosive plyometric movements (the jumping, bounding, and hopping exercises used by hardcore athletes to keep their heart rates up while working nearly every muscle in the lower body). His objective? Maximize calorie burn.

“Every dance move can become a plyometric, giving you the option of making the workout even harder,” he says. “Just the effort of getting your body even one inch off of the floor makes a huge difference.”

The class—a heart-pumping hour of booty shaking combined with what seemed like a million 180 jumps, lateral hops, and ski jumps—was a serious cardio session that left my calves on fire. There was no time dedicated specifically to arms or ab work on the floor, but both were constantly engaged. Plus, the routines were easy to pick up, and there were modifications for every move—a good thing, given there were no breaks or changes in tempo.

“Some clients always stick to the basics and never jump,” Layden says, which is still plenty tough. “Others choose every plyo modification I offer them and really kill it.”

As for calorie burning? A glance at my FitBit after the quick stretch sequence at the end of class showed I had burned an impressive 489 calories. No Witherspoon sighting, alas.

Who’s it for: Anyone who loves a dance cardio class (especially if you sometimes struggle with complex choreography) or looking to maximize calorie burn. —Rachel Marlowe

PlyoJam is offered in Brentwood, Culver City, and Santa Monica (prices vary based on location),