Demar Jackson Shares His Top Fitness Tips — and a Hot Summer Playlist! — with Bachelor Nation
Summer is right around the corner, Bachelor Nation — and the eternally optimistic Demar Jackson is here to coach you through any fitness goals you may have!
Before fans fell in love with Demar on “The Bachelorette” Season 16 in 2020, the charismatic contestant captured the hearts of countless riders as an in-demand spin instructor at The Madison in Scottsdale, Arizona. The handsome San Diego native still teaches sold-out classes at the indoor cycling studio, where he also serves as program director.
Sitting down with BachelorNation.com for an exclusive interview, Demar shares his top tips — as well as a hot Spotify workout playlist (which you can listen to below) — to help fans feel their best as life begins to heat up again with sun-filled days and fun-filled nights.
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With beach season coming up, what advice do you have for those who are looking to get in better shape?
My first question for anybody wanting to get in shape is, “What do you want to feel like?” Not look like — but feel like. They can tell me, “I want to feel happy. I want to feel great. I want to feel excited. I want feel like my body and mind are in the right space.” Then all we’ve got to do is work backwards. If you want to feel like that, what things can you do to get you there? Maybe they say, “Spinning would get me there! Lifting weights! Swimming! Yoga!” It could be anything. The next step would be building a routine around it. Let’s do something that you actually enjoy doing — because the moment you feel like you’re forcing yourself to do certain things you don’t want to do, that habit will be broken. It takes 21 days to build a habit. If you can’t build it in three weeks, it just won’t stick. So, if spinning, swimming, running, or walking is your jam, then let’s figure out a regimen that caters to that. Just be consistent with things that you like doing — and then do more of it.
For those of us who have spent the better portion of the COVID-19 pandemic indulging, what is the best way to improve our nutrition game?
Everybody’s body is different. That’s one thing that I’ve learned throughout my fitness career. For me, personally, I can build muscle fast and I can burn fat quickly with spin. But what am I fueling myself with? If I’m eating lots of carbs, then my body’s going to look like a giant carb. Do you want to be more toned? Do you want to get ripped? If so, then you want to eat leaner. You want to eat protein and fuel up with greens. I recommend keeping a caloric log. That way, you can log your calories and think about how many you’re burning throughout the day. That way, you can ask yourself, “Am I burning more than I’m intaking?” It will help you track your progress. You might even surprise yourself and get a six-pack along the way. That starts in the kitchen. Think about what food you enjoy and then just make it cleaner.
For anyone who wants to feel their best but is lacking in the motivation department, what would you tell them?
Start small. Have attainable goals. We call them “smart” goals — something that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. For example, I found out recently that I am horrible at jump roping. But I’m working on it. The goal for me to get better at jump roping is a specific goal. It’s measurable. I want to see how long I can last jump roping. I legit go five seconds and then I mess up. So, can I go longer than five seconds? It’s now measurable and attainable. It’s reasonable. I’m not skydiving. What’s the timeline I’m giving myself? I’m giving myself a month to get better. So, these are all smart goals I’ve set for myself in my jump roping journey. For somebody who wants to get motivated, create your own smart goals. It could simply be just drinking more water every day, getting more sleep every night, or eating more vegetables. Keep it simple and start at the ground level.
What are ways to make fitness more fun?
Everybody has something that they enjoy doing that’s considered physical activity — whether that’s walking, running, swimming, or anything else. Having an accountability partner, someone to join you in what you enjoy, is a great start. Not everybody likes to be on a treadmill, but what if you’re walking with a friend in the park? All of the sudden, you’re doing the whole thing you’d be doing on a treadmill but you’re talking and walking with your BFF, your mom, dad, or dog for maybe an hour — and that hour flew by. You were able to catch up with your loved one — and you didn’t even realize you were burning calories at the same time. So, to make things more fun, I say bring somebody along with you for the ride. And speaking of the ride, in my opinion, spinning is definitely a great way to make fitness fun.
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As an expert, what would you say are the biggest benefits of spinning?
Spinning is a great workout for everybody and all fitness levels. For example, I had a middle school student in my class and then I also had a 60-year-old sitting right next to each other, having the greatest time. No matter what song I played or what was happening around them, they both connected with something I said or did. You can’t lift weights when you’re too young because you might do more harm than good to your body. But you also probably don’t want to lift heavy if you’re too old, for the same reason. Anybody can sit down on a bike and pedal their legs at whatever pace they need to. You can modify a spin workout very easily. Take it down or bring it up. You can’t always run. You can’t always go on a treadmill. You might have bad knees, or a bad ankle. Being on a bike is different.
What do you love most about your job?
The thing I love most about my job is seeing people progress towards their goals. The goal is not always physical. The goal can be mental, emotional, spiritual, or occupational. I love getting them on the right path to their goal, and also seeing people get better at spin. It’s not that hard to get good at spin, but it takes consistency. If you go once every month, you’re not going to get any better at it. You have to go at least once or twice a week for about four months to really develop confidence in class. Watching people get better at riding a bike to the beat of the music and have a good time with it, too, is very rewarding for me.
Between inspirational messages from the instructor, empowering music, and lit candles, spin classes can sometimes feel like a spiritual experience. As someone who continually radiates positivity, how do you like to motivate your riders?
The music is the driving force of my message. As I’m scrolling through my class roster, I see who’s coming to class to today and I think to myself, “Do I recognize any names? Do I know what this person likes? Do they like Drake? Do they like Beyoncé? Do they like The Weeknd?” Over time, you get a feel for the kind of music your riders like. My class is very hip-hop and R&B with some house sprinkled in as well to make the vibe feel like a roller coaster. I want you to feel the highs, where you’re excited, you’re hooting and hollering. Then I bring it down to get my riders in their feels a little bit. It’s all about the journey.
When I’m thinking about what I’m going to say, I usually hold onto a quote that really sticks with me — something that I heard, something that I read. And then that is the message for the day. I reiterate that message every moment that I can in class.
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What is your secret to crafting a perfect playlist?
I’m thinking about transitions from the jump. How am I transitioning from one song to the next? A typical class of mine is 50 minutes, so that’s about 12 songs. How am I going to take us to a slow song to a fast song to a medium song? What kind of pace am I delivering? How am I directing my riders? Once I find that formula, that’s when I can choose the songs that fit. For me, I love hip-hop. Tyga and Megan Thee Stallion are some of my go-tos at the moment. They’re both upbeat artists and will keep my riders motivated during the “jog” portion of my class. I like to correlate each song to the next. So, if I’m in a hip-hop vibe, I’m going to stay there. I might transition to a house song, but the key is making sure it flows. Right now, when I think about slower songs for my riders to cool down or take a breath, I’m thinking about The Weeknd. He has some slower, heavier songs. If I’m going a house route, I love something like Diplo’s “On My Mind.” It’s all about the levels. And, as an instructor, it’s important to articulate the message of the music while also being ahead of those drops and creating great choreography because riders love that.
Aside from teaching spin classes all day, what else does your personal workout routine involve?
I’m in the gym about three times a week. I try to squeeze in a quick 45-minute to an hour session if I can. I focus on chest and triceps one day; the next day could be back and biceps. I might hit some squats as well. It depends on what the day feels like for me. I try to routinely hit those muscle groups.
How did you physically prep for “The Bachelorette”?
Prepping for “The Bachelorette,” it was during quarantine, so we unfortunately had no gym. All I had was whatever was in my house. If you can do some planks, that’s what you’re going to do. If you can do some push-ups, that’s what you’re going to do. That gets insanely boring, exhausting, and monotonous. My prep going into “The Bachelorette” is not as good as it would be if I were to go on “Bachelor in Paradise” because more things are open now and I can take my creativity to a different level. I’ve been hitting the gym. I’m eating as healthy as I can while fitting in some Chick-fil-A here and there, too. It just comes down to discipline. I don’t have a crazy six-pack. I’m going in solid, but I won’t be going in like, “Woah, this man is a Spartan.”
Your riders nominated you to be on “The Bachelorette.” How has your time on the show impacted your career?
New riders are through the roof! I have so many new faces in my classes. It’s bittersweet because a lot of my OG riders are now not able to book a class as fast as these new riders. New riders might be traveling into Scottsdale to hang out with friends or go to a bachelorette party and then they add my class to their to-do list and reserve it early. My classes typically fill up six or seven days in advance. Our studio is now a major hub for private rides for bachelorette parties. They will come with their 10 girls and it’s a “party on a bike.” We have champagne, we have lights, we have all this fun stuff going on. It’s like a whole little club. So, between those bachelorette parties and people traveling from out of town, who now know that we exist as a studio because I was on the show, they want to stop by, take a class, grab a picture, and post about it. And I’ll repost them and we build a connection after that. Business is booming. It’s amazing and I’m so grateful.
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After seven years teaching spin, how do you envision your future in the fitness industry?
To one day open up a place that I call my own. Yes, I opened up a location of a spin studio. But if I ever was to one day go the extra mile to open up my own studio, it wouldn’t necessarily be a spin studio. I still would want to teach spin elsewhere, but it would be more of a wellness studio — thinking about diet, recovery, and maybe even vitamin-infused IVs, that kind of vibe. I might throw in a little HIIT [high intensity interval training] boot camp on the side as well. Whatever happens down the road, I’m looking forward to it.