Happy Tuesday! It's cardio day at Lithe, so it’s time to kick up the cardio and sweat it out. Cardio is one of the most important things you can do for your body. Not only does it make a difference on the inside (improving your cardiovascular health), but you will see results on the outside, too (especially if you stick to it 3-5 times a week).
I think that one of the toughest aspects of Lithe is getting your cardiovascular stamina up to par or back up to par after some time off. As a newbie, you may find yourself feeling defeated trying to finish our hour-long classes numerous times a week and devoting some time to learning our Cardio-Cheer-Sculpting choreography. You can do it! Here are some tips for safe, efficient and effective cardio:
1. Be a 6-7AMer! I suggest doing cardio in the morning before your first meal. Your body is most likely to use fat as the energy source because your glycogen stores are depleted.
2. Protect your feet, but not with sneakers (unless you have a foot injury). We barefoot train at Lithe. Why? It makes you stronger from head to toe and simply builds a better, stronger, leaner body. If you have a foot injury you should wear a studio sneaker and avoid stilletto. You want to work correctly, stay on a mat and NEVER over-bounce on the balls of your feet. Our feet work instinctively, but to prevent stress fractures, shin splints and plantar issues, stay on your mat, use your quads to launch a jump, keep a gentle point to your ankle, and then roll through the forefoot and heel. Your goal is to "sponge" and not bounce. That "up" energy should be an illusion. Your entire body is active, but you're working down into the ground. Work harder by getting low and grounded, rather than bouncing high and beating up your feet.
3. Keep your shoulders open, depressed, and lift your chest. This instantly engages and elongates your abs.
4. Activate your arms. Think about how you punch out those perfect sharp high V's and low V's ... Do this with every movement and feel your heart rate climb!
5. Don't stop as soon as your heart rate starts to really climb. So many people get nervous once their heart rate gets in the zone. Breath, stretch, and shake.
6. If you're DIY, Make a killer cardio playlist on your iPod to get you through the workout. Pick out your favorite songs that you love listening to so you forget about the time.
My favorite Lithe cardio workouts are Rock Steady, Higher Power, Freestyle and Spirit. What are yours?
Image of Lithe Instructor Liz Galbally wearing Lululemon via Dom