All posts by Amy Dixon

The 10 Hottest Workout DVDs of 2013

Amy Dixon's Breathless Body, Volume 2: The Edge

Melt the Most Calories with Cardio

Amy Dixon’s Breathless Body, Volume 2: The Edge ($20,


What you’ll need: Nada

Calories burned: 409 per 55-minute workout

The skinny: This “no-excuses” high-intensity interval routine had testers pushing to the edge. Sweat-in-place exercises like plank jacks and tuck jumps are highlighted on-screen at the start of the workout, so you know what’s coming up. Whether you choose the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level, “it’s definitely a challenge, no matter where you are,” especially the last six minutes of nonstop 30-second drills.


Five Fitness Tools that Burn Calories

Ever wonder how to use some of the fitness tools in your gym? Well, Amy Dixon, Equinox Group Fitness Manager in Santa Monica, CA stopped by “Summer Shape Up” to give us the skinny on the coolest fitness equipment that will fight the battle of the bulge. Here are five get-fit tools that you may or may not already be familiar with.

ViPR- (Viper) ViPR is an acronym for Vitality, Performance, and Re-conditioning. The rubber tubing varies in weight between 8 – 44 pounds. You can do any movement with this fitness tool and it will build lean muscle, while shredding calories.

Bosu Ballast Ball – This weighted stability ball doesn’t roll away when doing various exercises such as Russian twists, crunches, and any plank variation.

Bosu Balance Trainer- This versatile fitness tool is great for exercises such as push- ups, mountain climbers, and side planks. The Bosu Balance Trainer enhances balance and adds to any cardio or strength training.

Kettlebell- Although the kettlebell looks like a cannon ball with a handle, it’s a powerful way to lose weight. In 20 to 30 minutes it strengthens the core, blasts calories, and tones up your entire body.

Water Rower- Even though you’re not out on the high seas, using the water rower for 30 minutes will burn up 300 to 500 calories.

All of these tools will encourage you to step off the treadmill and upgrade your fitness regimen. And if you want to continue to get in shape this summer, Amy Dixon has her own line of fitness DVD’s that will improve your physique.


Cut Workout Time in Half With The Tabata Method


Sounds like an unrealistic promise, right? But it’s not—and I’ve got the American College of Sports Medicine to back me up. They recommend either doing 20 minutes of intense exercise 3 times per week, or 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week (with “most” typically translated as 5). So 60 minutes versus 150 minutes—which actually means you’re cutting your workout time more than in half.

Here’s my suggestion for maxing out that 20 minutes while making your sweat session fly by: Tabata training, in which you exercise super-intensely for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat.

The method was named for Japanese scientist Izumi Tabata, who conducted a small but ground-breaking study in which some participants were asked to alternate 20 seconds of all-out cycling with 10 seconds of rest for a total of 4 minutes; they did 7 to 8 sets of that, then repeated the process 5 times a week for 6 weeks. Here’s the cool part: Those folks boosted their fitness way more than did others who pedaled at a moderate pace for a solid hour 5 times a week for 6 weeks. You read that right: those who worked out half as long got better results, all thanks to intensity.

I discovered Tabata last summer while reviewing a terrific DVD called Breathless Body from Amy Dixon, a L.A.-based trainer and exercise physiologist. Dixon’s workout is based on the Tabata method (and has become one of my favorite workout DVDs). Then last week, I came across an excellent new indoor cycling DVD called Short & Sweet (the name is lightweight, but the workouts are not), which includes a 20-minute Tabata session among its 3 workouts.

You don’t even need a DVD. You can do Tabata while running, cycling, skating, swimming—virtually any cardio activity that allows you to work intensely. Simply go all out for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds (you’ll want a programmable interval watch or timer). Do that 8 times, rest for a couple of minutes, then do it again; repeat the whole thing 4 more times and you’re done.

Here’s the thing, though: Going “all out” doesn’t mean just working harder than usual. “It needs to be a drain-the-tank effort,” says Dixon. “On a scale of 1 to 10, it has to be a 10.” You’ve got to put everything you have into it, working so hard that you can barely make it through the 20 seconds. And no, you won’t feel fully recovered after the 10 seconds of rest (if you do, you weren’t working hard enough). And yes, you’ll probably grunt and curse your way through virtually every 20-second block, especially those toward the end (as I do). But time will move faster than it ever has during a workout, and before you know it, you’ll be done. And you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something amazing. Which you have.

Allow Dixon to summarize: “Tabata training will make you more fit in less time.” Amen, sister.


Amy Dixon: Queen of Fitness. The Manifestation Q&A Series.

Hello again from London!

Welcome to The Manifestation Q&A Series.

I am Jennifer Pastiloff and this series is designed to introduce the world to someone I find incredible. Someone who is manifesting their dreams on a daily basis.

Today’s guest is the “Queen of Fitness” otherwise known as Amy Dixon, or Mommy to her kids. Amy happens to be one of my best friends as well as one of the people who gave me my first shot at teaching yoga. She took a risk on me because she believed in me, and that, Dear Manifesters, is the type of person I choose to surround myself with. Someone who takes risks, who follows their gut and who is not a cookie cutter of everyone else. Enter Amy Dixon.
The Queen of Fitness: Amy Dixon.

I love so many things about Amy, but the first is her dedication to her family and, by extension, her friends who have become her family. To watch Amy with her husband and children truly is an inspiration. I am fascinated by strong women who seemingly balance career and family like they were born to do it with a smile and with grace.
Anyone who takes Amy’s classes or does her dvds knows that she takes that same dedication and commitment she has for her family and brings it to her classes/students. She is a coach, an inspirational leader and someone who lives their joy.
As far as fitness goes, I don’t do much these days except yoga and Amy’s classes. This is because I forget when I am in an “Amy class” that I am actually exercising. A dear friend of both Amy and I named Emily Rapp, once said of Amy and my own classes “You both create an experience rather than a class.”
The experience of Amy Dixon. That is what I am after today. Read and enjoy this interview by one of the most beautiful, powerful and talented people I know.
Amy and I a couple years ago.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What are you most proud to have manifested in your life?

Amy Dixon: The joy and love that I feel with my husband and children.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What is the greatest lesson that you have learned from your daughters?

Amy Dixon: Bella teaches me everyday how to show my sensitive side and to sing out loud with confidence. Ava shows me everyday how to be independent and fierce beyond words.

Jennifer Pastiloff: How do you balance being a mom and being a ‘Queen of Fitness’, as many call you?

Amy Dixon: Balance is a funny term to me because I truly never feel balanced unless I am home for the holidays with my family just relaxing. And the truth is that everyone, young to old feels unbalanced from time to time. I believe that “balance” is having awareness that life just isn’t balanced and using that information as a tool to help me tip the scales back in the direction of where I need to re-focus my energy. If the scale tips to deeply towards my career, it helps me be mindful to tip it right back towards my husband or my children.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I have a list of rules. See below. What would some of Amy Dixon’s rules be?

Amy Dixon: 1) Love and have compassion for others.

2) Never take yourself too seriously.

3) Laugh as often and and loud as you can.

4) Spend real time with your loved ones.

5) Be free of hate and judgement.

6) Don’t be afraid to speak your mind even if you think it might be hard. Be REAL.

7) Exercise your body often and don’t be afraid to push yourself.

8) Don’t ever believe that anyone owes you anything.

9) Earn it…work hard for it.

10) Be confident, strong and kind.

11) ATTITUDE is everything.

Jennifer Pastiloff: Who/what inspires you the most?

Amy Dixon: People that face adversities every single day that are free of blame and full of love.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I teach many of my classes to the theme of gratitude. If you could say thank you right now to one person who would it be?

Amy Dixon: My husband Jeff. He is truly one of the greatest people that I know. He supports me in everything that I do…he is the Wizard. (Note from Jen: Jeff is indeed the Wizard. I know him well.)

This picture explains why I love the Dixons so much. And the guy with the beard? The “Wizard” himself.

Jennifer Pastiloff: I have taken your classes and done your videos and I am inspired by your “Can do ” attitude. Your positivity is infectious. Your messages have gotten me through many times I wanted to quit, whether on the bike or in real life. What is one message you would pass on right now to someone looking to manifest their best selves, both physically and mentally?

Amy Dixon: I am a firm believer that change requires change. If you want to do what you have always done, then be prepared to stay exactly the same. If you want to test your limits and truly make a change you have to be willing to get uncomfortable…maybe even breathless. It’s scary but totally worth it.

Jennifer Pastiloff:
SuperFitBod. Tell us a little about that, and about how you have taken that idea way beyond simply the body.

Amy Dixon: SuperFitBod is a class that I developed over the years that incorporates strength training and cardio all rolled into one package. My motto and belief is that so many women are afraid to lift heavy weights or work out hard in fear that they will get “BIG” or look “HEAVY” and that just isn’t the case. I wanted to prove to women that being FIT is what exercise is about…it’s not about being skinny. I can tell you that people that do my workout DVDS and that are in my classes are ridiculously fit and lean. I think that every single person at some point in their life struggles with their body image and I want above all else for everyone to feel good about living in their own skin and know what it feels like to have a SuperFitBod.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What brings you the most joy? Your joy list, as it were.

Amy Dixon:

1) Spending time with my family.

2) Exercise of all kinds.

3) Listening to music.

4) Enjoying amazing food and wine.

5) Exploring the great outdoors. I LOVE the mountains.

6) Laughing.

Jennifer Pastiloff: What can we expect Amy Dixon to manifest in 2012.

Amy Dixon:

1) Spend more time with my husband and children.

2) Learn how to cook or at least try. :)

3) Create and produce two new DVDS

4) Create an Amy Dixon App

5) Write a book

6) Help Fitness Glo hit its groove

7) Work for a major health and lifestyle magazine as a contributor

8) Take at least ONE yoga class per week.

9) Go running ONCE per week.

10) Ride my bike outdoors.


Jen Pastiloff’s rules:

1. Be Kind.

2. Have a sense of humor especially when it comes to yourself

3. Write poems, even if only in your head

4. Sing out loud, even if badly

5. Dance

6. If you don’t have anything nice to say… you know the deal

7. Find things to be in awe of

8. Be grateful for what you have right now . yes, even your little one bedroom apartment with the ugly carpet

9. Watch Modern Family

10. Duh, do yoga

11. Don’t worry. Everyone on Facebook seems like they have happier and funner lives. They don’t.

12. Tell someone you love that you love them. Right now.

13.. Take more pictures.

14. Forgive yourself for not being perfect. no such thing.


Amy Dixon is one of the most dynamic fitness instructors and Master Trainers in the industry today.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in exercise physiology as well as many other fitness certifications.  Amy is a contributing fitness expert for many major Lifestyle magazines, a master trainer for Schwinn, BOSU, and GRAVITY and stars in many critically acclaimed fitness DVD’s.  She is a former World competitive power tumbler and coach and uses that experience everyday in her classes.  With over 15 years of teaching experience, she is best known for her energy and enthusiasm for fitness.  Her energy is contagious.

She delivers a fun, performance based class and works hard to educate and motivate her students to achieve extraordinary results.  She has also been a part of the Nike Rockstar Fitness Academy in Los Angeles.  Her talents have been featured on The Today Show, ABC News, Exercise TV, Your LA, Fox News, and MTV.  Her classes and insights have been reported in Women’s Health Magazine, Self Magazine, Shape Magazine, Variety Magazine, In Touch, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times.  Amy is the Group Fitness Manager for Equinox in Santa Monica.


No Joke: The Shake Weight Works Muscles 66 Percent Harder

In case you haven’t heard of the Shake Weight, it is, according to its makers, the “revolutionary new way to shape and tone your arms, shoulders and chest.” Basically, it’s a 2.5 pound dumbbell with springs on either end, and instead of merely lifting, you, yes, shake it.

Exercise physiologist Amy Dixon, group fitness manager for Equinox in Santa Monica, Calif., isn’t surprised the Shake Weights are selling so well — according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), in its first year on the market, more than 2 million Shake Weights were sold and they have since surpassed the 4.5 million mark.

“People are always looking for the new hot product and the quick fix,” Dixon says. “This product promises fast results and has a marketing campaign that promotes the idea of ‘sexiness’ — if you want sexy arms like the people on the commercials, you need a Shake Weight!”

But will it really give us sexy arms?

Wanting to test out some of the claims made by the Shake Weight informercials — primarily that the Shake Weight can “increase your upper-body muscle activity by up to 300 percent compared to some traditional weights” — ACE commissioned a team of exercise scientists from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. The researchers compared the degree of muscle activation when using the Shake Weight to using a traditional dumbbell of equal weight, and they came up with some interesting results.

The ACE team tested four different workouts using both the Shake Weights and regular weights: the one-handed biceps shake, two-handed triceps shake, one-handed shoulder shake and two-handed chest shake were compared to a biceps curl, triceps extension, shoulder press and chest fly. Researchers measured muscle activity using something called surface electromyography (EMG) and found that, for all four exercises, the total EMG activity for all four muscles was indeed greater for the “shakes” — on average, total muscle activity was 66 percent greater with the Shake Weight exercises (not the 300 percent the Shake Weight makers claim, but still a significant amount).

Woah. So is the Shake Weight more than just fodder for late-night comedy shows?

Well … sort of. The researchers found out that, although the EMG was indeed a lot higher, no matter which exercise they performed with the Shake Weight, the muscle being worked the hardest was always the tricep — even when the tricep wasn’t the target. Dixon explains, “This is because the tricep is working as the co-contractor, or the breaking force, for the vibration in a majority of the exercises.”

Furthermore, though the Shake Weight did increase muscle activity compared to a regular 2.5 pound dumbbell, the ACE researchers point out that not very many people work out with 2.5 pound weights. In fact, they conclude that the Shake Weight would be most beneficial to people who are on the “lower end of the fitness spectrum” because, essentially, doing something is better than doing nothing.

Dixon concurs, saying, “When your body is used to doing nothing, any stimuli it receives is going to have a positive effect.” However, she continues, “someone who consistently resistance trains will not receive significant gains from using the Shake Weight.”

Dixon also notes, “It is also important to mention that there is nothing functional about the exercises done with the Shake Weight.” In other words, the Shake Weight only trains muscles in a limited range of motion (non-functional), working the muscles isometrically, which means the muscle may get stronger, but only in that limited range. That motion doesn’t translate into movements and activities we do in our daily life.

“I would never discredit a product that could have a positive effect on a person’s fitness,” adds Dixon, “but if someone is really looking to improve their long-term fitness and functionality, the Shake Weight is not going to be your game changer.”

But what if we really, reeaaalllly want to try it?

“If you are going to use the Shake Weight,” says Dixon, “make sure that it is an addition to a regular, functional resistance training program.” She recommends training your muscles in their full range of motion first, and then adding the Shake Weight as a “superset.” For example, do your regular set of tricep push downs followed immediately by a timed set of triceps shakes.


How to Work Out at Lunch

With my early-morning workouts getting depressingly darker as the year draws to a close, I’m starting to wonder if I should try to squeeze in some of my sweat sessions at lunch. The “sweat” part is what gets me, though: How do I do my exercise, stop sweating, clean up, make my hair presentable again, and fix my makeup—all in just one measly hour? In need of some woman-to-woman advice (because, let’s face it, guys have it way easier in the cleanup department), I turned to my four favorite trainers (and great gals to boot)—Ramona Braganza, Amy Dixon, Kristin McGee, and Michele Olson. They responded with a bunch of savvy tips that have left me thinking, Yes, I could do that! Allow me to share them with you.

Choose strength
You’ll sweat a lot less while doing resistance training than you will during cardio, says Braganza, a Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer who counts Jessica Alba and Halle Berry among her clients. If you can, save the cardio sessions for when you have more time to clean up and shower.

Stay cool
If you do choose cardio, keep sweat to a minimum by drying off with a cold towel, suggests Amy Dixon, a trainer and exercise physiologist based in Santa Monica, Calif. Freeze it overnight at home and pop it in the fridge at work (or keep it in an insulated bag with a cold block) until you need it. So refreshing! To halt sweat faster post-workout, drink very cold water (keep that in the fridge too) to reduce your core body temperature faster, says Michele Olson, PhD, a trainer and professor of exercise science at Auburn University, in Auburn, Ala.

Skip the shower
Clean off with body wipes instead (Nathan Power Shower Refreshing Wipes are a great choice). Or, if you don’t have an issue with dry skin, try ordinary sanitized wipes—the  alcohol in them will help cool your skin more quickly, Olson says.

Rescue your hair
New York City–based trainer Kristin McGee (Health magazine’s own yoga columnist) solves the limp post-workout hair conundrum with dry shampoo (her favorite: Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk)—you just spray it on and brush it through. Got long tresses? Both McGee and Dixon suggest putting your hair up in a bun or ponytail to keep it as sweat-free as possible.

Prep your face
Think ahead and go light on the makeup in the morning—and definitely choose waterproof mascara, Dixon says. Then, just before your workout, spread a thin layer of petroleum jelly under each eye, McGee says. That way, if your mascara smudges while you sweat, you can just rub it off with a cotton swab or tissue. Touch up makeup as needed and voilà, you’re good to go!


Get into Shape with the ViPR Workout

Malibu – Looking for some new workout moves to get into shape? You might want to check out Equinox’s ViPR workout.

FOX 11’s Phil Shuman went through the paces on Good Day LA.

ViPR… Vitality, Performance & Reconditioning… is a workout designed for energy, movement skills, and strength.

According to its creators, the workout delivers a progressive and fun variety of real-life movement, plus whole body integration for maximum metabolic rate and increased caloric expenditure, resistance, endurance and strength.

Equinox and ViPR are now developing the workout for surfers to help strengthen the muscles used in the water and on the board.




Three speed-boosting interval routines

Interval Workout No. 1: Tabata Intervals

Tabata routines are a style of interval developed at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo. The principle is that you’re “working” for twice as long as you’re resting. Here’s how it goes:

Hop on the treadmill and run on a 1 percent incline for 20 seconds at an all-out, run-for-your-life pace, then recover for 10 seconds (hop onto the treadmill rails, carefully). Repeat this cycle eight times, for a total of 4 minutes of action.

Rest for as long as needed and repeat up to eight times, depending on your fitness level.

Interval Workout No. 2: Endurance Intervals

The goal is to work as hard as you can without becoming breathless. Choose whatever style of cardio (swimming, running, cycling, etc.) you enjoy most.

Minutes 1 to 6: Warm up at easy-to-moderate intensity (you are able to speak in full sentences, no prob).

Minutes 6 to 11: Work as close to breathless as you can for 5 straight minutes (you can speak only in spurts of three or four words).

Minutes 11 and 12: Ease up to a moderate intensity (you can chat, but would rather not!).

Minutes 13 to 18: Work as close to breathless as you can for 5 straight minutes.

Minutes 18 and 19: Ease up to a moderate intensity.

Minutes 20 to 25: Crank it up and work as close to breathless as possible.

Minutes 25 and 26: Ease up to a moderate intensity.

Minutes 27 to 32: Pick up the pace and push yourself to as close to breathless as possible.

Minutes 32 and 33: Ease up to a moderate intensity.

Minutes 34 to 39: Pick up the pace and push yourself to as close to breathless as possible.

Minutes 39 and 40: Ease up to a moderate intensity.

Minutes 41 to 46: Work as close to breathless as you can for 5 straight minutes.

Minutes 47 and 48: Ease up to a moderate intensity.

Minutes 49 to 54: Pick up the pace and push yourself to as close to breathless as possible.

Minutes 54 to 60: Cool down at an easy intensity.

Interval Workout No. 3: Power Intervals

1. Box Jumps: Stand facing a 12-to-18-inch-high box or step. Squat slightly, then swing your arms for momentum as you jump up onto the box, landing with your knees soft. Step down and continue for 1 minute at a fast pace. Recover for 30 seconds. That’s one rep — do four.

2. Side Shuffles: Place two cones about 6 feet apart. Side-shuffle between them, traveling back and forth as quickly as possible for 1 minute. Rest for 30 seconds. That’s one rep — do four.

3. Lateral Bounding: Stagger 10 cones so they form a zigzag line with about 6 feet between them. Start at the first cone and bound to the right to arrive at Cone 2. Next, bound to the left to arrive at Cone 3. Continue bounding back and forth until you reach the end of the line. Sprint back to the beginning and run through it again. Continue for 1 minute, and then rest for 30 seconds. That’s one rep — do four.

4. Traveling High Skips: Find an open area and skip, using your momentum to get big air and moving forward as quickly as possible. Continue for 1 minute, then rest for 30 seconds. That’s one rep — do four.

5. Switch Lunges: Perform a lunge with your left foot forward. Jump up, switch your legs in the air and land in a lunge with your right foot forward. Continue for 1 minute, moving as quickly as possible (while maintaining control). Rest for 30 seconds. That’s one rep — do four.

6. Fast Feet: Stand with your feet together and run in place as quickly as possible for 1 minute, dropping to the floor (think: bottom of a push-up position) every 10 seconds. Recover for 30 seconds. That’s one rep — do four.