By: ALISON BURMEISTER
Winter is officially over. Time to get a little spring in your step. One sure way to get a jump start on a fitness routine this season, is by attending Kate Burke’s PlyoJam classes.
Taught every Tuesday and Friday at 9 a.m. at Gerry Blanck’s martial arts studio on Marquez Avenue in Pacific Palisades, Burke’s classes are energy packed. When you attend, be prepared to move, sweat and smile.
A combination of plyometrics and dance, PlyoJam is a great cardio workout that will simultaneously increase your heart rate and elevate your mood. Plyometrics, moving a muscle from an extension to a contraction in an explosive manner, increases muscle strength, which allows you to run faster, jump higher and change direction quickly. It also improves balance and agility, which will benefit just about every daily activity.
During each class, Burke offers up catchy playlists, creative choreography, and careful instruction to warm you up and cool you down.
Burke said that “no dance experience is necessary,” but don’t be surprised, if by the end of class, you feel like a backup dancer in a Janet Jackson video.
Student, Heather Gilhooly said, “the best part of PlyoJam is not just the physical work out, but the comradery within the community of ladies who take Kate’s class.”
An unexpected benefit of the class,” Gilhooly said was “the mental stimulation from learning new routines and having to remember the old ones from week to week.”
Burke said the class is really about women lifting women and having fun along the way. “It’s an opportunity to turn your mind off for an hour and leave the outside world behind.”
First introduced to PlyoJam by a friend who started taking classes with Jason Layden, the founder of PlyoJam in Brentwood back in 2013, Burke took her first PlyoJam class in 2014. By 2015, she was certified to teach the exercise class.
Raised with a dance studio in her house, Burke’s mother was a ballet teacher. As she grew up, Burke found her body was better suited for sports than dance and ended up playing soccer.
She went on to play soccer for Ferrum College, in Virginia. In her off seasons, Burke taught aerobics. After college she took a job as a technical recruiter and HR business partner for Science Applications International Corporation where she was offered an opportunity to transfer from her home state of Virginia to Hermosa Beach, California.
Burke’s first impression of California was one of awe and wonder. She remembers questioning if all people did was surf and ride skateboards.
In 2002 she met her now husband, Dave through one of her roommates. The couple moved around southern California from Los Gatos to Pasadena before settling into Pacific Palisades.
“We moved here in 2013,” Burke said. “My husband was born and raised in Pacific Palisades and his family is here.”
A mother to two boys, Declan and Logan and one furry kid, a golden doodle, Murphy, when she isn’t teaching PlyoJam, Burke acts as membership chair for the National League of Young Men, Palisades/Brentwood chapter. She also works part-time as a social media consultant for various companies.
Burke’s weekly invitations to class are on social media and are equally fun and engaging as the classes she instructs.
Known for the occasional outburst of odd noises and cues, Burke’s classes are not only great exercise, but also entertaining.
Burke takes pride in anticipating the instruction needed to easily follow along and offers modifications for every level of student.
Student Jennifer Solum said, “Kate brings dance to everyone, no matter what your level, no matter if you have ever danced at all. Kate makes everyone feel like you can dance.” (Go to Instagram: palisadesplyojam.)