What you need: Wrist Bands! (or socks or leg warmers) The new Thinny bands no longer have a foam cushion to protect your ankles (sanitary reasons). You need something to protect the delicate skin around your ankles from chafing from all the sliding the bands do in this high energy class. BYO or purchase them at the front desk for $6. I highly recommend them. They make a world of difference.
Props: Yellow Melt Ball, Lithe Thinny Bands (the ones that velcro around your ankles) 3lb weights
Clothing Considerations: Long pants. Especially if you don't have wrist bands. This will protect your skin from the abrasive velcro of the bands.
Sweat Factor: A light sheen. You could hang out with people afterwards without anyone wrinkling their nose and asking..."What IS that?" It won't be you. You'll be fine.
A few weeks ago I tried to jump back into Lithe after my post-wedding, love-bloat, lithe-hiatus by taking Watershed for my first class back. I thought to myself: It'll be a good chill class to get me started. We roll around on that spiky ball a lot, and I should be fine. I've never been more wrong in my life. Being the person that reviews all Lithe classes, you would think I would know better!! Once I got in there, I remembered that we exhaust the leg muscles at the bar BEFORE we roll around on the spiky ball. I was in so much pain the next day that I straight up couldn't WALK let alone go to class again. This sent me back on an unintentional break to recover and then the new year's holiday hit and then...well I was back on hiatus (never having really ever left).
So this week, I decided I would ACTUALLY ease myself in...for real. So I took Thinny on Monday. And while it was super challenging, especially with the brand new incredibly tight bands at the new Rittenhouse studio, I was able to use my legs on Tuesday when I kicked it up a notch to take Skinny Jeans (taking it slow by staying flat footed the whole time). But foreseeing that 40 minutes at the barre would do a number on me regardless, I made sure to sign up for Melt yesterday. I used to chase Melt around the schedule a couple of years ago, when it was in rotation, and loved the combination of stretching and massage the class offered, so I thought it would be perfect.
Now, of course, as with all things Lithe, Melt has upped the ante and is a whole new class. When I walked in and saw the Thinny bands hanging from the ceiling, I cursed the Gods because it was clear that we were about to WORK. And work we did. But I have to say...it was the perfect combination of WORK and reviving my muscles. We started the class with a series of stretches, much different than the quick ones you may be used to in other Lithe classes. We took our time with them. Really getting into it and getting our bodies ready for the class. Then we grabbed the the small yellow Melt ball which is slightly larger than the spiky balls from Watershed and significantly smaller than the blue balls (hehe), used in many other classes. Tif, a licensed massage therapist, guided us to put the ball in a particular spot on our bodies that is often incredibly tight. And while she queued us for exactly what to do, and we laid there breathing, taking deep breaths through the tension, pain and release, she came around and adjusted each of our bodies to help us to get deeper into the stretch. (Germaphobes, need not worry, she sanitizes her hands between each Lither). And depending on the number of people in class, she gets to you once or twice max so no need to fret if being touched isn't your thing.
Next, we strapped the Thinny bands around our ankles, grabbed the 3lb weights and placed the small ball under our low backs. And that's where we moved the train from relaxation station to f#@k me! depot. We did an ab series that I might be so bold to say is one of the tougher ones in all of Lithe. My core was seriously quaking. And I had to take periodic breaks before continuing. Yes, I'm not at my all time best as far as stamina is concerned, but it was objectively TOUGH.
This process basically repeats itself for the duration of the class. Your work the hell out of a muscle group, then you take a quick breather by using the ball to release tension in the body. At one point you rub the ball across your pecs (ladies blessed with big bazooms, you might have to wrestle with yours for a bit first, but it's worth it) and you will feel a "hurts so good" feeling (as Tif puts it) that will have you wincing with agony/pleasure.
If you're in that mode where all you want to do is burn calories by taking all of the high cardio classes, and you think Melt is too soft. Think again. You get that heart rate up repeatedly. Burpee moguls (try to visualize that one), mountain climbers, back bends...the list continues. This class is incroyable! And honestly, might be my new favorite. It was challenging, but also felt so therapeutic and...fun. Melt is all grown up, and perfect for those days where you want a challenge, but doing a CCS sequence is more than your overworked mind or body can handle.
So far so good on easing my way in. I'm feeling the momentum building and climbing my way back onto the wagon. (Although I have had more chocolate chip cookies than I care to admit in the past 2 days...but hey! Baby steps!)
See you in class!