I just wanted to thank you and all your lithe instructors. (As you probably know) I started Lithing around this time last year. I was coming off an injury caused by martial arts and wasn't allowed to train for a minimum 2 months. Lithe gave me a complete workout without compromising my recovery. The core work was incredible- I had never experienced anything like it! Overnight I fell head over heels for everything Lithe. I appreciated the attention you put into all edges of the brand, and it shows. I never took a class I hated, ate something I thought was "bad" or "mediocre", or wore clothing that was uncomfortable. Most of all, I loved being around women who felt the same. I loved the energy of the classes. The dance routines made me feel sexy and strong, something rarely acquired in this society. I smiled at myself in the mirrors instead of having a stare down. I continued Lithe months after my injury had been deemed healed. Lithe put me in touch with myself, the modern day everything woman, and I liked what I found. I bring that new female confidence with me to my current training every day.
I am now back into my mixed martial arts training or "beast mode" as the boys call it. It's quite a shift from Lithe. I train will all very athletic as well as accomplished men, (my coach is a marine), often multiple times a day. They call me "hellcat". I never hesitate to bring them a daily dose of girl power- Thanks to Lithe for reviving the sexy strong woman in me! Just because I'm tough, doesn't mean I can't smile or shake my booty when I train. After all, this is supposed to be fun right?
I hope all is well- I still keep up to date on Facebook and love everything I see! I attached some photos from my fights. I'll be back for Hot Legs and Rock Steady soon :)
This is my second love letter to you. I've wanted to write this for a while but finding the time – well you know what that is like.
I signed up for the Lithe Escape in Nicaragua last summer to focus on lithing, clean eating, and getting daily doses of vitamin D. It was an amazing experience. The setting was serene and my fellow Lithers were inspiring. And my results blew me away. So all in all one would say it was a successful Escape experience. What I did not expect was how the osteoarthritis in my knee would react to the level of activity. I found myself modifying every activity and not looking forward to the next Lithe session. I was in pain (yes, actual pain) but I found a way to fight through.
When we got back from Nicaragua, I thought it was the level of activity that led to the discomfort. Unfortunately that was not the case. I was uncomfortable, unable to sleep properly, and sore all the time. I needed to hold the railings going up and down stairs. I thought I could manage with pain medication and my brace, but that didn't ease my symptoms. Even doubling up my mats in the studio didn't help. I dreaded going to Lithe because I felt like I was at a status quo and that this where I had topped out in terms of my physical health. I was going to be like this for the rest of my life. (I paid a lot of money in late cancels last year.)
I finally made an appointment with my orthopedist. He told me I was looking at possible knee replacement surgery. What? No way! I wasn’t ready for that. I asked him what my other options were. He said I needed to wear sneakers during workouts, which I tried and hated. He decided my last and only option was to fit me for a brace and throw away my generic drugstore brand one.
I received my new knee brace at the end of January. I wore it hoping it would decrease my pain, but I was not so lucky. I still experienced pain and new pain that I definitely did not expect. I used this recovery time to concentrate on form, as I couldn't do reps at the pace that was typical of a class, and to get through the transitions.
I hadn't completed a challenge in two years. Now I am happy to say that I completed the Earned in Winter challenge earlier this month. I took eight classes in the last five days, even three doubles in a row. I feel stronger than I have in a long time. I am more confident and happy. I don’t always get through 30 reps, but I know that my form is in good shape. Now I can even get through 15-20 plyos before I have to modify. I am hoping that by the end of the summer challenges I will be able to complete 30 plyos.
I am grateful beyond words. Lithe is again my happy place.
As with any chronic pain, you adapt and it becomes your new normal. You're aware of your body position at all times. Don't stand for too long, don't sit for too long, always sleep with a pillow under or between your knees, and forget about sleeping on your stomach. Ice sometimes, heat other times, and lots and lots of Motrin. The bathroom sink becomes a dangerous place. You're always sure to rest your elbow on it as you brush your teeth and if you must wash your face at the sink it has to be one-handed as the other needs to lean on the sink. The one thing that never eased was my inability to have all of my weight on one foot. I was in my late 20s and had to lie on my bed to get dressed every day.
My condition exacerbated whenever Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled around. I would stand for too long while baking and end up on bedrest for a few days. This post-holiday slump was particularly bad in 2010. My doctor sent me for an MRI and it revealed three bulging discs and degenerative changes to my spine. It was clear that this injury was not new and the changes had most likely taken place over many years. My neurosurgeon friend reviewed the results and told me it was time to make changes as I couldn't keep living this way as I would end up in a wheelchair. We talked about surgery which I vehemently opposed and thankfully he advised against. The only other option was finding a serious core strengthening program. He explained that if I tightened the muscles around my spine, I would have a chance of relieving the pressure on the discs. A fellow nurse was going to a new exercise studio called Lithe Method. She loved the program and encouraged me to try it. I wasn't into classes and preferred blending into the walls of the gym. Since my usual exercise methods weren't helping, I took her advice and went to an immersion class in April 2010. At first, I was in uncomfortable, but not in pain. Once you experience true pain you always know the difference. I took the classes at my own pace and focused on form. I was petrified of injuring myself and was often behind the rest of the class. I worked up to 4-5 classes a week and focused on the sculpting as it was physically impossible for me to do any jumping. I fell in love with the workout and stuck with it. Over time, I picked up my pace, but I always maintained form as most important. I watched myself gain strength from the inside out and began to understand my body. I can't pinpoint exactly when the chronic pain began to fade away.
After two years of Lithing, one of the instructors suggested that I audition. I was thrilled and proud of the recognition. That was when I reflected on how far I had come and how great I felt. I auditioned and made the Lithe team in March 2012. That same year, the girl who couldn't lift her feet years ago ran the Broad Street 10-miler. All of these accomplishments were new to me since I never considered myself athletic. My pain is mostly resolved with only occasional rainy day aches. Though my injury is still there, I've learned to manage it by maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.
Thank you for the opportunity to encourage others and show them it is possible to achieve relief. Most importantly, we all need to listen to our bodies and take the time to care for ourselves.
Dear Lauren and the Lithe ladies,
I wanted to write this letter for awhile, but I figure there's no better time than Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As some of you know, I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in June 2014. I found out that I was positive for a gene mutation, giving me an 85 percent chance of developing it. Because it is genetic, lifestyle factors didn’t play much of a role in my diagnosis. I underwent a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, five long months of chemotherapy, and another surgery which included my last reconstruction, or the placement of my permanent implants.
Prior to my diagnosis and surgery I was in the best shape of my life. I Litheing almost daily for about four years. My 6AM Lithe routine was an important part of my life – but I had no idea just how important.
From the day of diagnosis until my surgery I continued to Lithe. It was my escape. It was the one hour each day that I wasn't thinking about what I was going through. On July 31, 2014, I underwent a surgery that was almost 11 hours long. As soon as I woke up in the post-operative unit I sat up (yep, I popped straight up because I was terrified to roll to either side) and was walking to the bathroom and sitting in a chair less than 24 hours after surgery. My surgeon and nurses were beyond impressed. My recovery went smoothly once I was home and I know it's because of how strong I was prior to surgery. I am a physical therapist, someone trained in rehabilitating the body, but it is completely different when it is your own body.
About six weeks after my first surgery I was back at Lithe, modifying, but happy to be back. The instructors were so kind and understanding. I started to tell my fellow Lithers what was going on, where I had been, and what was to come. I had no idea that these women, who I had spent so many hours with before would become a great support system to me. They listened, asked how I was, and genuinely cared. Not long after returning I started chemotherapy. I tried to continue Litheing but the chemo got the best of me and kicked my Tight End. I worked throughout chemo and that took every last ounce of energy. In February 2015, I finished chemotherapy and had my final surgery in April. I returned to Lithe exactly six weeks after my second surgery, on the first day I was off my restrictions. I’ve worked hard since then. I’m still not at 100 percent, but I know I will get there. I learned how incredible my body is and what it's able to withstand. I cannot imagine how much harder the entire journey would have been if I wasn’t active and strong – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Lithe gave me so much of that strength. I consider myself lucky to Lithe every day.
Lauren, you have created an incredible workout, brought together an amazing group of women, and changed so many lives. I am grateful to be part of this community.
So, to this community I think so highly of, I would like to share one last part of my story. Just prior to my diagnosis, I found a lump in my breast. Because of my age, I never had a mammogram, nor did I know I had this gene mutation. I went to my physician and was immediately sent for a mammogram and ultrasound. As if all of this isn’t scary enough, my mammogram and ultrasound showed nothing. The cancerous tissue appeared similar to the rest of the tissue. In fact, we celebrated after the mammogram because I had been told there was “nothing suspicious.” It was recommended that I see a breast surgeon, but I wasn't told it was necessary. However, deep down I knew something was wrong. I ended up having a biopsy and that’s how I got the news, but could you imagine if I had stopped with the mammogram? I encourage you to never stop when it comes to your health. Women have incredible instincts. Trust yourself and be proactive, no matter how scary something may be. I didn’t waste a minute getting answers and for that I am grateful.
It’s been two years since we separated and I still often think about how you made me feel and how I felt when I had you in my life. You’ve given me confidence and physical and emotional strength. I see that you’re spreading your wings and I can’t help but be happy knowing that more people can share in my love for you. Please keep doing what you’re doing. And if you ever feel like coming to where I am, I would love that.
I promise to visit when I’m in town.
I’ve been meaning to write this love letter ever since I left Philly but it was a little painful. I realize how ridiculous that sounds. I guess I felt that if I wrote this love letter, then the good-bye would be official. And I just wasn’t (and still am not!) ready to say good-bye. I know a lot of people write in to tell you how Lithe has changed their lives and how much healthier they are. I am writing to express the same and more.
Lithe has changed a part of me that I wasn’t expecting. It changed me mentally. It was the first time that I witnessed myself doing the impossible. (Tight-end? That’s like at least 100 reps on one leg alone, right?? ) The physical and mental training that we had in Lithe has carried over to other parts in my life. So often in class, I would see an instructor demo a move that I was sure was physically impossible. Though I never got through those reps un-interrupted, I attempted it. That’s more than I would’ve done, pre-lithe. That’s the mental toughness Lithe gave me. I don’t know that I would’ve gotten this on my own. For that, I am forever grateful.
Physically- well, you already know. I now scoff at other workouts (cocky, I know). I push myself more. I test my limitations. I don’t quit. I’ve found the coveted muscle-shake. I walk into other workout classes with an inflated sense of confidence knowing that I have the best form and breathing technique. All this, I’ve learned from Lithe and the instructors.
I’m learning how to get to the next physical level because I’ve had the physical training from Lithe to push me there, no matter what I’m doing.
I know you hear it all the time, but, we love Lithe. We know you pour your heart into it. We feel it with every 2.0 class, with every new Lithe drink, and seasonal Lithe challenge.
If you ever need a moment of clarity, just remember that you’re changing lives in so many ways other than in the physical sense. You’ve transcended a mere “workout” into something that permeates into all other aspects of our lives. THIS is why we can’t live without it.
I am very much in the zone with the EarnedInWinter challenge. I participated in the Lithe Spring Clean and TMINUS30 last year. Something about the daily hashtag calendar really showed how we band together to support each other in Lithe and life.
I’m not sure if my current state is completely inspired by Lithe, but I can’t think of anything else in my life that has had such an impact. I make Lithe a priority during packed workdays and weekends. I am single and always searching for the right guy. Last year, I posted during the TMINUS30 challenge, “single, is not a status, it’s a word that describes a person who is strong enough to live and enjoy life without depending on others.” At that point, I was building the strength to allow my health, mind, and body to be the focus and to take the attention away from the seemingly woeful single life.
Now I'm shedding the fat. At first, it had nothing to do with body fat at all. There are a few men in my life that come and go. They reach out whenever they want. I acquiesce, thinking that’s all I deserve. A transient, temporary situation, at best. Friends say that you manifest what you portray you deserve. In some ways I take full responsibility for the type of situation I attract. I was almost eager for that random text/email to make plans with a guy. I found myself saying, “maybe this time he’ll be different.” We all know the answer to that hope.
Since I’ve delved into the challenges, I feel myself becoming stronger and wiser. As I gain more muscle definition, use higher weights, and watch inches fall away, I am redefining myself on the inside as well. I’ve sent a few courtesy no thank you texts to those who reach out to me intermittently to hang out without any intention of a serious relationship. I am reshaping and restructuring my heart, as well as my body.
I know Lithe hearts my heart, but now I'm beginning to heart my heart as well.
Thank you, thank you, thank you,
Hey Lithe. How’s it goin’?
So here’s the thing - I had a baby and stuff got weird. I mean, it’s not as if I wasn't warned that it was going to happen. Throughout my pregnancy everyone with a face insisted on telling me about the delightful physical changes that occur both during and after pregnancy. I smiled my way through a number of traumatic conversations around birthing hips and foot swelling. But, turns out the alarmists were right on this one. I emerged from my pregnancy about 9 months ago with a wonderful baby girl named Perry and a whole mess-o baby weight.
In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I wasn't exactly rockin’ a Victoria’s Secret Angel body pre-baby, but I've always been active. When I found out I was pregnant (read: surprise!) I had been Lithing for a few months, maybe 2 or so days a week. I supplemented with fairly long runs and some spinning. Exercise has always been a big part of my life and I think, key to my sanity. Although I'm slightly embarrassed to do so I have to admit that I obsessed throughout my pregnancy about when I could get active again. I was basically chomping at the bit to no longer be a swollen, hormonal maniac.
The doctors cleared me for physical activity 6 week after my c-section and I was ready to roll. I busted out that jogging stroller and made it happen, only to find that the strain of running caused me incredible pain in my lower back and hips. Not one to give up easily, I kept running only to find things escalating to the point where I was unable to pick up the baby. Panicked about how I’d get back in action, the friend that I had Lithed with pre-baby (shout out to Lindsay) suggested that I start up again, so I hit the studio. I started with Step Rally, which had been one of my pre-baby favorites. Needless to say, it was hardly a magical experience. I left class crying and drenched with sweat, shocked by how far my strength and stamina had fallen. But the thing is, I kept coming back.
It’s hard for me to even say that I enjoyed Lithe before the baby. I spent so much of my time hiding in the back, stressed about what the fitness mavens in the class might think of me. I also felt certain that I could only do the sculpting classes because my tall and moderately awkward (on the best day) body doesn't lend itself well to CCS.
But after a few post-baby classes, I found myself letting all that go. It wasn't about just surviving through classes, it was about thriving. I forgot about everyone around me and instead looked inside…literally. I started thinking about my breathing and my core. I focused on the instructors’ cues instead of praying that they’d ignore me entirely. I even started doing the unthinkable…I asked for their input on my form.
What I’ve found is that my time in the studio is now entirely stress-free. I’m able to focus on improving each time and not worry about how ridiculous I look during that RockSteady CCS sequence (I know the answer – fairly goofy). It's funny to notice that around the time that I stopped caring if I looked like JLo is when I started to see some great results.
So now, you name the class, I take it. Pom? I’m there! Sideline? You betcha. All That? With bells on! I can’t say it’s entirely about confidence, but something has changed for me. It’s easier for me to feel accepted because I see that we’re all in the studio with different motivations, but we’re all in it together. We’re trying to improve for a countless reasons, each one as valid as the next. It’s about accepting who you are and having a little fun with it. If you don’t know the steps just be sure to keep moving…and you might surprise yourself. Letting go is fun. Not to mention very good for your hip pops.
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