The multi-talented Jennifer Johnson, “JJ Dancer,” is a certified personal trainer, professional dancer and choreographer, and currently the underground “it girl” of dance cardio workouts. JJ is a celebrity trainer for CosmoBody–Cosmopolitan magazine’s new video fitness app–and her workouts are regularly featured in magazines, such as Cosmopolitan, People, Self, Shape, and Racked, as well as television shows like Entertainment Tonight, The Insider, PopSugar, and the KTLA news.
JJ has been dancing since the age of four and began her professional career at age eight performing with The Chicago City Ballet and Ruth Paige Ballet. As a professional dancer and choreographer, JJ has performed nationally and internationally with artists such as Beyoncé, Kanye West, Kelly Rowland, Pitbull, Lil Wayne, Tyrese, Amerie, Outkast, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brian McKnight, Carlos Santana, and more. Recently, JJ trained and choreographed for Jessica Alba in the film Sin City 2: A Dame to Kill For and the upcoming film, Dear Eleanor. JJ has also been featured in many music videos, national commercials, films and television shows, including Dancing with the Stars, MTV Video Music Awards, The American Music Awards, Fashion Rocks, and many others.
JJ’s passion for fitness arose after becoming captain of the NBA Washington Wizards Dance Team, where she was required to lose weight and get in the best physical shape possible. She researched and practiced health and fitness for eight years, ultimately using her experiences with dance and fitness to design the JJ Dancer Technique, a one of a kind, cutting-edge fitness program that combines dance cardio, intense body conditioning, calisthenics, kickboxing, and ballet barre technique with JJ’s celebrity training secrets. JJ’s love for her work is infectious and she believes in fully challenging each individual client to their absolute limits, while making it a priority that training is extremely fun for all fitness levels! JJ is dedicated to promoting empowerment and confidence through fitness.
Areas of Expertise: Endurance, Raw Food, Toning, Weight Loss
Services: Consulting, Personal Training, Coaching
Credentials: Personal Trainer, Professional Athlete
Availability: In person
I began my journey back in 2000, when I initially decided to hone in on my plant-based diet with vegetarianism. I didn’t do it for my physical appearance. I wanted to make the change to have a cleaner, better functioning body and to look out for my homies, the animals of the world. In fact, my boyfriend (at the time) and I decided to become vegetarian for our New Year’s resolution. Since our goal was to be completely vegetarian by January 1st 2000, we began our gradual transformation during the summer of 1999.
Every month we dropped one type of meat from our diets. The first month we dropped pork, then red meats, then chicken, followed by turkey, and finally…fish. We were actually fully vegetarian before the year even began. I had never felt so amazing! Like I said, I didn’t stop eating meat to lose weight or to get in shape. However, I was quite surprised when I lost an extra layer of fat that I didn’t even realize I had. I started noticing that I had a lot of extra energy and motivation. My mind felt clearer. OMG…I loved it! It was great to have a partner, as it helped make this transformation SO much easier for me!
Fast forward to July 8th 2007, my birthday! I was still vegetarian and doing my first cleanse ever. It entailed eating a fully vegan (plant-based) diet. That meant no more cheese, no milk, no eggs, or anything at all from an animal.
During my cleanse, my best friend, John Salley, invited me to a PSA shoot he was doing for Peta. While I was there, I learned so many unforgettable facts, such as the fact that every vegan saves 7,500 land animals from slaughter! I learned about the negative affects that dairy products have on my body. I also learned that vegan food is delicious, as I devoured 2 giant plates of it! After learning all of that (and more), how could I NOT be a vegan? John and I were both so inspired and decided to become vegans that day! We make it fun as we continue to explore the incredibly satisfying lifestyle.
Btw, much to my surprise, as a vegan my body has gone through (and maintained) yet another transformation! I have even more energy and clarity, great skin, a tighter bod, and the enormous satisfaction of knowing that the animals that I love so much don’t have to die (or work) for me to eat!
It was actually quite an easy transition for me to go from vegetarianism to becoming a vegan. However, going from flesh-eater to vegetarian 14 years ago was a bit of a challenge, at first. I believe that I did it the best way possible for me to succeed. Taking on the transformation gradually and doing it with a partner made everything so much easier for me! Once I arrived at the place of no longer eating my furry friends, the hard part was over. And now that I’m fully vegan and living in LA, with all the delicious, vegan restaurants and health conscious markets, eating a plant based diet is a piece of vegan cake! I must admit, as a new vegan, the one thing that I would occasionally miss was the pizza. But I finally found the most bangin’ deep dish vegan pizza in LA! It’s at this cafe called Masa of Echo Park! Get into it, y’all (you can thank me later)!
I’m an animal advocate. I attend numerous animal rights fundraisers and I use my voice to spread awareness. Whenever possible, I love to provide foster care for animals in need and help them find a loving, “furever home” that they deserve! But the best way I fight for the life of an animal is with my fork.
Some of my favorite animal rights organizations are Best Friends for Animals, No Kill Los Angeles, and Mercy for Animals.
I have so many memories about animals that made an impact on my life. Ever since I was a child, I would rescue stray animals off the street. I constantly brought in dogs, cats and birds. I even “rescued” a couple frogs and lizards! Lol. There are a couple doggie rescues of mine that stand out to me. The first is from when I was when I was about 16 years old. One night I saw a dog get hit by a car. I searched for her for about an hour in the dark and I finally found her hiding and scared. I was able to pick her up without her biting me too much and I put her in my car to bring her home. I gently cleaned her body and called my mom, who is a physician, to have her explain to me how to check her better for injuries. She wasn’t banged up too bad, but her paw pad was literally hanging off! My mom told me what materials to use to clean her wounds and bandage her up. I remember staying up all night for a few nights staring at her to make sure that she wouldn’t try to eat her bandage off. For some reason, I named her Twinkles, and she was one of the dogs I rescued that my mom let me keep!
Another memorable rescue was more recent. I saved a little Chihuahua (a Chiweenie, actually) from a horrible situation. A friend of a friend of mine left town for a week and left her new puppy in her apartment…alone. As if this wasn’t bad enough, apparently, she wasn’t allowed to have animals in her building. So she decided to hide this puppy locked in a dark closet inside of a make-shift cage with PIZZA to eat and not enough water!!!! WHAT?!!!! WHO DOES THAT?!!! But wait…there’s more. When she flew back in town, she STILL didn’t go home. She went to her family member’s house and didn’t tell anyone about the puppy she left at her apartment an hour away! As soon as I found out about it, I went to pick my friend’s friend up at her family’s house and drove her out to her apartment and snatched her pup away from her. That was seven years ago. That pup has grown up to be the coolest and sexiest Chiweenie ever! That’s my boo, Jazzy. And now, she’s definitely like my daughter. I mean, that little girl has even taken on my personality! I can’t imagine life without my bitch!
If you are thinking of transitioning to veganism, I have some tips:
1) Do your research. We live in an incredible world where we have access to practically infinite information. Invest in some E-books on veganism, do some Internet research about ingredients in foods, and learn about different causes that might interest you. Know exactly what you’re getting into so you aren’t surprised by anything later. Explore restaurants that have vegan options. Trying out new vegan fare is a great way to expand your palate and enjoy new foods. You’ll get an idea of what it is that you like to eat and what you want to try to cook yourself at home. Be brave, but start with the more simple dishes.
2. Get a partner. The decision to go vegan is easy for some and difficult for others. Usually it requires significant changes in a person’s everyday life. Having a partner makes you accountable to someone, other than yourself. This always makes challenges a bit easier to conquer. Having a partner definitely helped get me through my transformation!
3. Make it a gradual transition. You don’t have to go from eating everything one day to being vegan the next. I dropped one type of meat every month when I was making my transition. It was great because I had time to learn and adapt to this new lifestyle, while slowly weaning myself off animal products. Remember, you can’t rush something you want to last forever.
4. Remind yourself why you’re vegan. It can be a difficult transition, so it’s important to keep reminding yourself why you made the choice. Whether it’s for moral or dietetic reasons, veganism can be an incredibly beneficial and rewarding lifestyle if taken seriously!
5. Reach out to the vegan community. We are a very large and proud community! I’ve met a lot of inspirational people at events and through blogs and social media – reaching out to others is a great way to stay excited about your new lifestyle. Start a Pinterest and follow people with vegan meals, desserts, snacks, etc. Be active about it! Talk to vegan friends and acquaintances, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Participate in fundraisers, join a club in your community, and make lots of vegan friends so you can have cooking parties! Be open to discussing veganism with people who may not agree, but NEVER argue with anyone. Negativity isn’t worth it. You’re doing this for YOU.