We Tried It For You: PlyoJam

If you’re still going through a “Big Little Lies” withdrawal, we’ve got a great way to help you feel closer to ringleader Madeline, aka Reese Witherspoon, until Season 2 arrives. The HBO starlet recently bonded with funnyman James Corden on “The Late Late Show with James Corden” over their mutual love for PlyoJam — the hot, high-energy cardio dance class that debuted in NYC this March. Witherspoon and Corden aren’t the only celebs who are obsessed with it and fitter for it. Kate Hudson, who’s also a huge fan, has partnered with PlyoJam’s co-founders Jason Layden and Stacey Beaman.

Just weeks after premiering at the New York Health & Racquet Club in Manhattan, where two instructors are now offering three sessions a week, we put on our best dancing shoes (i.e., sneaks) and joined the intense, yet easy-to-follow dance party, which initially launched in L.A. four years ago. After a fun and flirty sweat session that torched 415 calories in 45 minutes (no wonder co-founder Beaman lost more than 60 pounds with PlyoJam), we caught up the co-founders to get the full scoop on the workout they affectionately say “ain’t your mama’s Zumba class.”


The 4560-minute class (duration depends on the venue) claims to be the first of its kind to artfully combine hip-hop-style dance moves with plyometrics (short, fast, explosive movements) set to a curated playlist of top 40 radio tracks.

“At the time that I created this dance class, I was teaching at a country club where women were demanding something more difficult. They wanted to walk out of the workout sweating and not needing to hit the treadmill or bike afterward. So I decided to merge plyometrics with dancing, but I was careful not to make it a boot camp. We wanted to amp up the amount of calories people burned and still make it fun,” Layden says.

Since Layden first introduced PlyoJam in 2014 and lured friend Beaman to become his client and then co-founder, they have steadily grown the brand in L.A., where it’s offered in 13 fitness studios (approximately 35 classes a week are held) and across the U.S. and globe. PlyoJam is also available in Las Vegas, New Jersey, New York and Germany. PlyoJam’s master choreographers are constantly creating new routines, which all certified instructors can access, then mix and match as they please for their group sessions. In any given class, an instructor can show you between 7–15 routines.

Next up, the plan is to build a PlyoJam flagship studio in L.A., which they hope to open this fall. If a class isn’t offered near you, you can always sign up for a weekly online subscription ($ 9.99), which features four new workout classes (chockful of routines) that you can do anywhere, anytime. Routines are updated weekly if you’re considering a monthly subscription ($ 19.99).


After a phone call had detained me at my desk longer than expected that Tuesday evening, I arrived at the New York Health & Racquet Club flustered and breathless with only 30 seconds to calm down before go-time. My bestie, Draga, who is my favorite dance partner ever, was quick to try and make me smile, but even her adorable silliness, which usually has me rolling, couldn’t wipe the grimace off my face. Our PlyoJam instructor, Ebonny Fowler, a Tracee Ellis Ross-lookalike in both her beauty and goofball humor, had her work cut out for her. Truth be told, I was prepared to dislike it. Don’t get me wrong, I love to get down, but you have to be in the mood to groove — and I simply wasn’t.

Though I had trouble hearing Ebonny in the back row (she wasn’t wearing a headset), I pieced together her pre-workout instructions, which were basically to jump around with her if you want, but honestly, just aim to do your best to have a great time. She also stressed that if she’s kicking with her right leg and you accidently lift your left leg, it’s all good. There’s no hard, fast rules here. Just do you. This encouraging message right off the bat immediately washed away some stress. It’s always good to dive into any new adventure knowing you can’t mess up.

From the first song, Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger,” we got right into it, body-rolling, jump-kicking, grapevining and squatting. Within 11 minutes, which is when I next looked at my sportswatch, I could feel my funk fading, despite being even more breathless than when I started. When I looked to my right during DJ Snake’s “Let Me Love You,” there was Draga beaming as she always does when she’s in her element. Her huge smile, along Ebonny’s, was so infectious that I slowly revealed my pearly whites, too, and began letting loose and putting more into each move. Suddenly, I was jumping higher, moving faster and really feeling the beat.

I have to note that not everyone chose to match Ebonny’s electric energy and that was cool. There was one particular young woman who took the “do you” message to heart, turning each and every single HIIT step into a low-intensity move (no jumping, no speed). And she was in the front row, too! It was really comforting to see her confidently dancing the way she wanted. It confirmed that we were in a judgement-free zone, which is exactly what you want when you’re twerking in unison with strangers.

With sweat dripping down my face and back, I soon stripped to my sports bra (something I rarely do) and black tights and began channeling my inner J-Lo from her backup dancer days. Feeling sexier and more confident with each song, I caught myself looking more in the mirror at my booty, which was rotating clockwise then counter-clockwise, than at my watch. At one point, during Demi Lovato’s “Confident,” I caught a guy on the row machine outside of our glass-encased studio looking up right at me as I wagged my finger in the air and stuck out my butt as if to say, “You can look, but caaan’t touch.” Normally, this would make me blush, but in that moment, I felt like a queen.


By the last song, I was definitely mailing in most of the moves while Ebonny was still going strong. I loved watching her crush each move as if she were on stage, performing her heart out. It inspired me to try to match her, but I had neither the talent nor the stamina. But seeing the other women in class — many of whom were probably repeat customers because they had a lot of the dance steps dialed in — gave me hope that if I kept coming back, I’d be grooving with the grit and grace as they had. I’m also set on convincing Draga to become a PlyoJam certified instructor, which would be awesome for both of us.


In addition to all the great tunes Ebonny played for us, here are a dozen more that are currently on rotation for all PlyoJam classes. Rock out with PlyoJam in-person, online or on your own to the following hit songs.

“Freaks” – French Montana
“Back It Up” – Prince Royce
“Cake” – Flo Rida and 99 Percent
“The Edge of Glory” – Lady Gaga
“Ain’t My Fault” – Zara Larsson
“HandClap” – Fitz and the Tantrums
“Pon de Replay” – Rihanna
“Faith” – Stevie Wonder and Ariana Grande
“Shape of You” – Ed Sheeran
“That’s What I Like” – Bruno Mars
“Chained to the Rhythm” – Katy Perry
“I’m a Lady” – Meghan Trainor


> Men’s Workout Tops
> Men’s Workout Pants
> Women’s Workout Tops
> Women’s Workout Pants

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What Causes a Weight-Loss Plateau? | Ask the Dietitian

If you’ve ever experienced a weight-loss plateau, you know the disappointment of stepping on the scale after another week of eating well and exercising only to see the same exact number as the week before. For days, or sometimes even weeks at a time, your weight may not budge, which can make your efforts to eat well and move more seem, well, like a waste of time.

The truth is, weight-loss plateaus happen to almost everyone trying to lose weight — even those go-getters with plateau prevention plans. In order to overcome one, it’s important first to understand why they occur. Here are three contributing factors that can lead to a stalemate with the scale:


A rapid drop in weight is normal during the first few weeks of weight loss, but what you may not realize is that a fair amount of this initial weight decrease comes from water lost as the body uses up carbohydrate stores in the form of glycogen (sugar). As carbohydrate intake fluctuates day-to-day, it’s not uncommon for some, if not all, of that water weight to return, which can offset fat loss and cause a plateau.



The downside to losing weight is that your body doesn’t just burn fat for energy — it breaks down muscle, too. Unlike fat, muscles burn calories, so losing muscle will slow the rate at which you use up energy from food. This, of course, impacts weight loss, and is part of the reason why cutting too many calories can work against you because your body will break down muscle at a faster rate. For tips to offset this, learn why protein is good for weight loss and how to optimize your carb, fat and protein goals.


As a smaller person, you expend less energy moving around than you did at your heavier weight. Thus, the same number of calories that produced an initial loss may now just maintain your current weight. To continue losing, you’ll have to increase the calories you burn through physical activity and/or reduce the number of calories you eat. For up-to-date calorie need estimates, be sure to update your nutrition goals in MyFitnessPal every 5–10 pounds or so.

Remember, it’s completely normal for weight loss to slow or even stall on occasion, so don’t get discouraged. Now that you understand the main causes of weight-loss plateaus, you’ll be able to devise a plan of attack if and when the number on the scale stops dropping.

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3 Quick Recipes for Homemade Energy Bars


When was the last time you ripped open a packaged energy bar and thought “delicious!”? Likely not recently — or ever. Don’t waste your money or suffer through those calories any longer. These three energy bar recipes are delicious, packed with nutritious grains, nuts and seeds — without too much sugar or too many preservatives.


(vegan & gluten free)


  • 1 1/2 cups cashews
  • 6 tablespoons raw white and black sesame seeds
  • 5 tablespoons finely ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides. Toast cashews, sesame seeds and flaxseed in separate areas on a rimmed baking sheet, stirring occasionally (but not mixing), until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool.

Set aside 2 tablespoons sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon flaxseed. Process cashews and remaining seeds with wheat germ, salt and cardamom in a food processor until mostly finely chopped. Place in a medium bowl.

Bring maple syrup and coconut oil to a boil in a small saucepan; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Pour over cashew mixture and stir to coat.

Press mixture firmly into prepared pan with wet hands (it will be sticky). Top with reserved seeds; press to adhere. Bake until golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Let cool, then cut into bars. Recipe makes 16 servings at 1 bar each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 124; Total Fat: 8g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 3g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 112mg; Carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 7g; Protein: 3g


(vegan & gluten free)



  • 1 cup medjool dates, sliced in half and pitted
  • 1/4 cup organic tart dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup dried mission figs
  • 1/2 cup pecans (or, sprouted pecans if you can find them)
  • 2 tablespoons organic maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons finely ground flaxseed


Preheat the oven to 350°F and place pecans onto a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 5–7 minutes until the pecans are just toasted. Remove from oven, turn off heat and set aside. (If you’re using sprouted pecans, skip this step.)

Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle lightly but completely with ground flaxseed then set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the dates, cherries, figs, pecans and maple syrup. Pulse until the mixture comes together and is generally smooth but still has a few chunks.

Empty the mixture out onto the prepared pan. Press the date mixture out in the pan until  it’s uniformly thick, about 1/2 inch.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill overnight until hardened. Remove from refrigerator, slice into squares and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Storing in the refrigerator will keep the texture of the bars hard, rather than soft.

Recipe makes 16 servings at one 2-inch square bar each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 92; Total Fat: 3g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 1mg; Carbohydrate: 17g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 13g; Protein: 1g




  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup crumbled kale chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped oil-cured olives
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup honey
  • Pinch of saffron (optional)
  • Pinch of dried chili flakes (optional)
  • Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt


Grease a 8-by-8-inch baking pan with the coconut oil. (This makes a nice, thick granola bar. If you like thinner bars, opt for a 9-by-13-inch pan.) Then, in a large bowl, combine the oats, kale chips, olives, walnuts and rice cereal until well incorporated. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the honey, saffron, chili flakes and salt. Stir constantly as it comes to a boil and thickens just a bit, about 4 minutes. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir until the syrup is evenly incorporated.

Spread and press the granola bar mixture into the prepared pan and cool to room temperature.

To make these gluten free and vegan, substitute brown-rice syrup for the honey and use gluten-free oats! Recipe makes 12 servings at 1 bar each.

Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 219; Total Fat: 10g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 214mg; Carbohydrate: 34g; Dietary Fiber: 2g; Sugar: 22g; Protein: 3g

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Get More Beets On Your Table

Beet salads have taken over restaurant menus nationwide and for good reason: They’re sweet yet earthy, roast up nice and tender, and can be pickled or grilled for more texture. Best of all, beets are nutritional powerhouses. They’re an excellent source of folate, rich in fiber, potassium and vitamin C, and a good source of iron. Their pigments, called betalains, have also been shown to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Raw, boiled, steamed or roasted beets are typically more nutrient-dense than canned, but let’s be honest — preparing fresh beets can be intimidating, if only because it tends to be messy.

Using disposable gloves makes getting your hands clean much, much easier after working with red or pink beets (it’s cleaning under the nails that is a real pain). Lining pans with foil helps, too. Just think of protecting any surface the cooked beet, especially once it’s peeled, will touch.

Second, know that once beets are cooked, their skins slip off easily. So, consider scrubbing them clean, cooking them, then peeling them for less work.

Still not convinced? Luckily, pre-cooked beets are readily available. Canned and jarred beets oftentimes contain added sugar, salt and preservatives. Instead look for “steamed and peeled” beets in the refrigerated aisle of the produce section. They’re a healthier, no-fuss option since they’re vacuumed-packed and contain only one ingredient: beets!


Once you have cooked beets on hand, there’s a thousand things to do with them. A few ideas to get you started:

  • Drizzle with vinaigrette and a few dollops of fresh goat cheese or feta cheese for a super-simple salad.
  • Grate a beet and cook as hash browns. Top this “flannel hash” with a fried or poached egg for a tasty breakfast.
  • Slice, chop or grate along with a bit of onion, heat up in some chicken broth and you have the world’s easiest beet soup (aka borscht). A sprinkle of dill and a spoonful of yogurt makes a nice addition.
  • Add chopped beets to a tossed green salad.
  • Add a slice or two of beet to a burger instead of tomato — it’s how they roll in Australia (often using pickled beet, but the key is the bright sweetness).
  • Use the staining ability of beets to brilliant effect by grating a beet, stirring in some yogurt, adding a clove of minced garlic and seasoning with salt and pepper. Is it a salad? Is it a dip? How you use this shocking pink, delicious concoction is entirely up to you.
  • Use them to top a pizza.

However you use them, know you’re adding nutrients, flavor and beautiful color to your table. That’s what healthy eating it all about.

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