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I was in the middle of a squat set early on in a fitness class at Athleta in the Flatiron District Wednesday evening when the instructor told us, “That’s enough; I don’t want you doing more than eight.” It was at that moment that I knew the workout was for me.

The class was PlyoJam and the instructor celebrity trainer Jason Layden who created the dance fitness course based in Los Angeles with co-founder Stacey Beaman (who dropped 70 pounds by the way). There, they help everyday fitness enthusiasts stay in shape and work one on one with the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Kate Hudson. But what separates this dance workout from, say, Zumba or other popular dance classes is that it’s powered by Plyometrics.

Plyometrics is a type of training that involves a lot of jumping and stabilizing in short, rapid intervals of time which causes the muscles to exert maximum force. That means doing squat jumps instead of the stationary butt-building exercise; star jacks, a more intense type of jumping jack; and lots of other sculpting moves while bouncing on your feet to the tune of popular songs by Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Lil Jon so you almost forget what a killer workout you’re doing.

I’ll be honest, I went into the workout with one major concern: my knees. Lunges and I are not quite on good terms again yet and I’m known to catch an attitude after one too many jumping jacks, but, surprisingly, I was good during this workout. Front-row, kept up with no problem until the last 10 minutes of class when I started getting a little tired good. The next day there was only mild irritation in my left knee, not unlike what I experience after other workout classes, from cycling to samba. And I burned 402 calories, even though I missed the first 10 minutes of class.

What I appreciated most about the workout, which absolutely tests your stamina to the limit, was how often Jason told us “I don’t want to make you suffer.” Though at times he was being funny, his words were also born out of an understanding that you have to create balance in a workout — not just so people can keep up, but also to prevent injury, especially in a routine like this that can put a lot of pressure on the joints if you don’t use correct form. That’s why more intense moves like jump turns were followed by grapevines or a little body rolling and booty shaking which could be viewed, as they say in the fitness world, as active rest. The body is still in motion and the heart rate up, but the intensity is minimal.

While, like us, you may not be in LA and able to take a class with Jason in person, there are instructors who teach PlyoJam in a few other cities in Cali as well as in Nevada and New Jersey. Check here to see if a class is offered in your area. Jason also offers 60-minute online courses so you can get your plyo on right from your living room. At $19.99 per month, you have no excuse not to try. Obviously, I think you should.

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