INSTAGRAM ENDVY ♥... 17 Apr 2014
Image of Lithe Instructor Meg G. via Free People
Can you believe that Lithe is NINE years old!? Some of your instructors have been teaching the method for almost a decade, and that is something to celebrate! I'm excited (and very proud) to announce our Master Instructor status.
What it is: a combination of the number of years teaching (4+) and the actual number of classes taught (1,000+). The status is something that is earned; not simply given. The Lithe Master Instructor embodies a commitment to Lithe, instruction with confidence and selflessness, and continued study of the method. Other elements that define this title include: maturity (and understanding) of Instructor injury prevention, utilization of voice (instead of body) for energy, and the perfect, precise, total command of a large studio.
We all know that Lithe is different, and teaching it is the ultimate multi-task. Many people assume that teaching Lithe is like teaching a grounded workout that rarely changes, like Yoga/spinning/barre or Pilates, and they couldn't be more incorrect. Lithe Instructors are triple threats and it takes many years to become a well-oiled teaching machine. Our instructors are forever in-training and constantly learning new workouts.
At commencement, we'd like to announce the inaugural team of Master Instructors! Congratulations to Tiffany Nork (teaching since 2006), Krista DeNofa (teaching since 2008), and Bari Rosenthal (teaching since 2009) on this level of excellence in their instruction of the Lithe Method. Ladies, thank you for working with me and loving this incredible company. You ARE Lithe, and Lithe wouldn't be what it is without you!
Image of Lithe Instructors Bari Rosenthal, Tiffany Nork & Krista DeNofa via Dom
I’m turning 28 on Friday!
I don’t love birthdays. I feel forced to take stock of my life and evaluate my general life trajectory. This is the first birthday I have celebrated as not a student. So, by default, does this mean I’m a grown-up?
On one hand, I do feel like I can play that part. For example:
I was appalled at the 8:30 pm start time for the Oscars: don’t people work anymore?
I “rest my eyes” on the daily
I cannot properly use the “self-check-out” line at the grocery store and always need cashier assistance
I get two-day hangovers
At the same time, I feel like such a kid. And, when I think about “grown-up” things, I feel totally fraudulent and question everything in my life.
Should I be married? Shouldn’t I at least be engaged?
When will I learn to properly apply blush?
Why don’t I have children yet, and is it atypical to be uncertain about wanting them?
Will I ever stop locking myself out of the house?
Why can I still not cross the street safely? I have “close calls” all the time (I was recently scolded by a passerby outside Starbucks for my risky moves. In my defense, I was coming to Lithe, and nothing is more important than that)
The clinical psychologist in me takes this to mean that this is a “transitional” period in my life that is inherently confusing. I am young at heart but I also have an old soul; sometimes those two parts of me conflict and make it difficult for me to feel cohesively “mature”.
Dr. Dore: Really, let’s think about this. You express an inclination towards thinking and behaving in ways you did as a youth.
Dr. Dore: But you also express disinterest in many things that your same-aged peers would consider important…
Rachel: I think there’s something wrong with me.
Dr. Dore: You might interpret your thoughts that way, or you might just accept them for what they are: just thoughts…
Dr. Dore: Perhaps you might consider honoring these conflicting parts of yourself. Embrace your multi-dimensionality instead of looking at is as pathological. Who says you can’t be both young and old?
Rachel: You sound annoying. You’re a quack.
Dr. Dore: It might be useful for you to integrate an activity into your daily life that allows you to honor both the “older” and the “younger” parts of yourself.
Rachel: I see. Like if they hang out with each other enough they will become besties
Dr. Dore: Or at the very least better-tolerate each other so that you don’t feel so confused all the time about who you are and what you want.
Rachel: Gotcha. I’ll think about it.
Image of Lithe Instructor Rachel Dore, PSY.D. wearing Lithe's Hot-stepper dress via Dom
…And then it hits me: I’m already there, I already have it. It’s the reason I get up when it’s still painfully cold and dark out. It’s both a proper noun and a verb in my vocabulary. It’s that perfect shade of baby-blue…
Lithe helps me celebrate my youth: I pretend I’m still a cheerleader, I jump holding bands so it feels like I’m flying, I bounce on trampolines, and I feel breathless and speechless post-class just as I used to feel walking in from recess...
BUT, Lithe does not treat me like a fragile child! Lithe embraces my womanhood: I slap my booty in Barlesque, show cleavage during pushups, push for one more set for a total of 30, and work it in stiletto until my legs quiver…
I’m a Lithe Instructor, and damn proud of it. Most people cannot do what I do. And it has nothing to do with strength, age, etc. It has to do with heart and passion. And that extends beyond instructors to all who engage in this rigorous fitness regimen!
Lithers, we are smart cookies. I bet you knew that. But I bet you didn’t know that regular exercise is now proven to slow the aging process and protect us from age-related disease.
Yes, we know that exercise leads to not only longevity in life but also makes the whole aging process less-cruel. But now we finally have data that makes a molecular connection between these two things! Anyone in field of science can appreciate the significance of this UK-based study published last month that proves this connection! Long story short: regular exercise induces the release of a particular hormone, Irisin, which elongates a particular chromosomal marker of aging.
So, every time I teach (or take!) a class, that’s one grey hair that disappears from my future-self. That’s one less wrinkle on my face, one less liver spot, one less blocked artery. That’s one more neuron in my brain that’s free to fire as I sit in my rocking chair with ten cats, engaging in some form of cognitive-exercise game for the Aged that hasn’t been invented yet. That’s one more pump of the heart. That’s one more gaping stare and one more “dang, that lady’s 87?! She walks around like she’s 28 years old!”
And so, on the mat, under the bands, wearing this mic, I am one person again, I am whole, and I am so peacefully happy. And suddenly, one year older is OK. I am OK. And if I am lucky enough, I’ll be writing this very same thing, on this very same day, to post on this very same blog, to be read by the very same people who exude beauty and strength that cannot be tied to a number. We are ageless. On Friday, I hope you will join me in celebrating that.
Image of Rachel Dore, PSY.D.wearing Lithe's Hot-stepper dress via Dom
Happy Valentines Day, Lithers!
I say “I love you” all the time. And I always mean it. I have so much love for the people in my life. Other things I love: chocolate, leggings, big & messy hair, kittens, Lithe, sleeping, puns, things that are monogrammed, the color red, Oreos, binge-watching television shows on Netflix, and pants with elastic waistbands. To all of these things in my life: I love you!
I even love being Dr. Dore (most days)! I recently took the plunge into full-time employment as a Post-Doctoral Resident at a hospital for women with eating disorders.
I work a lot with patients to de-emphasize the importance of the body’s physical appearance and re-focusing that mental energy onto the underlying psychological factors that are blah blah blah…
Boring. And, more importantly, I am a hypocrite.
I don’t always practice what I preach. I complain to my friends about random things I “hate” about my body. I talk about my muscular shoulders with a pained look on my face. I engage in fat talk. I have ill-fitting clothes in my closet that I refuse to donate.
I do these things, even though I know the statistics relating body satisfaction to all of these other awesome things in life that I want. I know how important it is embrace your body, flaws and all. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy! I’ve met women who are totally there. I want to join that club. I have read that body satisfaction increases with age. Every year, I’ll remind myself of that.
In the mean time, I’ll be making a more conscious effort to reconcile my feelings in other ways. In the spirit of Saint Valentine, I decided to write a love-letter to a part of my body that endures much self-criticism. I encourage you all to do the same (and please share!)
Stay tuned to see how I turned a major self-perceived flaw into my most coveted asset…
Image of Lithe Instructor Rachel Dore, PSY.D. wearing Lithe's Hot-stepper dress via Dom
What you need: Just yourself!
Props: 3lb, 5lb and 8lb weights (Lauren encourages using 8's at the barre and bumping down to 5 only after you've tried giving it a shot with 8's)
Clothing Considerations: Whatever you are comfortable in.
Sweat Factor: I didn't sweat a ton, but I was definitely muggy...if that makes any sense. Other folks had a good sweat going. But no one was drenched.
Every Lither I know loves to talk about Lithe. And more than that, we LOVE talking about our schedules. Do we take the 5:30 Sculpt at Rittenhouse or the 5:45 Pom at Old City? Perhaps we hate Sculpt, but Rittenhouse is closer and earlier and there isn't a wait list. We have to talk these conundrums out as if we are at a UN summit. Weighing all our options and making the best possible decision. Get two Lithers in a room and it generally sounds like this: What class are you taking? Have you taken it before? What do we need? Is it crazy? What studio? And my favorite: Who is the instructor?
Why? Because one of the things I love most about Lithe is that in addition to the 75 plus classes on the roster and the revved up, 2.0 versions of those classes constantly being added to the menu, each instructor often has her own line-up variation within each class. Taking Skinny Jeans with Lauren is different than with Krista or Elizabeth. Liz's Twiggy is slightly different than Ashton's. So even if you take a class over and over again, you'll still be exposed to some variety. The same holds true for Sculpt, and I took a new variation last week that I really loved.
The lineup that I have taken in the past incorporates a 3 or 5lb weight into the barre work. With the weight in one hand, you do 3 different types of arm work along with the leg work. For example, you do your first 10 lunges while doing a bicep curl. Your next ten while punching up in the air with the weight, and the last 10 while taking the weight behind you to work your triceps. I have to admit, even though I liked this class when I reviewed it, I never got very good at it. I was clumsy and couldn't coordinate. Trying to punch up in the air while doing a Sumo had me all over the place as far as my form was concerned and I just felt like I wasn't getting the most out of my workout. I had friends on the other hand, who had it down, loved it and chased that class around the schedule. Different strokes as they say.
So when I signed up for Colleen's Sculpt, I have to admit that I was not excited about the class. But I was soon dispelled of any preconceived notions because Collen has a different variation of Sculpt I've never taken. You spend more than half the class on the mat doing a TON of arms, abs, and foldover work. Your standard ab prep that you're used to, peppered with arm sequences from classes like armistice. A push-up, see-saw, plank sequence with no breaks that will have you pleading with God to have mercy on you. Waist rotations. The works. I was quivering and shaking and almost spent before we grabbed our 8lb weights and headed to the barre.
So we started (without the weights) doing leg combinations at the barre--think hover-launch-and-land-its and all the standards. Inbetween the leg exhausting sets at barre sets, we picked up the weights and used them during our wide second work. Lowering and lifting our heels, for example, in concert with lowering and lifting weights in a variety of configurations. Up right row, out to T, and adding the extra pounds to our plyos.
This class was INCREDIBLY challenging, but I left there feeling a) pleasantly surprised at how much more I liked it than the other Sculpts I had taken and b) thinking that this class was a BODY CHANGER. And while all Lithe classes do that, there are a few that, for me, after just 1 or 2 times, I can see a difference. This Sculpt variation is now on that list. If you'd like to give it a shot, Danielle, Colleen, Julie and Meredith all teach this version. I will certainly be signing up.
See you in class!
From: Hamden, CT
Favorite City: Paia, HI
Favorite Lithe Workout: Thinny & High Waisted
Favorite Lithe Exercise: CCS sequence from Tight End
How'd she land a spot on the Lithe team: Cate is an experienced teacher with a great eye for misalignment and poor form. She has super strength, stamina and form, and I think that you'll agree that you can't help but like her. She can crack the whip and be funny (and a little bit goofy) in the best possible way!
Other Job: High school science teacher
Enjoys: walking around the city with her husband & two dogs, curling up with green tea on a Sunday morning, baking, cooking, going to concerts and music festivals, traveling, hiking, SCUBA diving, dark chocolate, and spending time with friends and family.
What you wouldn't know by looking at her: She was a nationally competitive pairs figure skater throughout high school and traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia to train for a month when she was 15. She stopped skating to study environmental science at Trinity College and focused her research on insect chemical ecology. She was raised as a vegetarian and has never eaten chicken, beef, or pork, but will eat fish while traveling under certain circumstances. She's a scientist and a naturalist at heart and knows lots of interesting, mostly random, facts about a variety of plants & animals. She also has a knack for identifying dog breeds.
Image of Lithe Instructor Cate Rigoulot via Dom
From: Larchmont, NY
Favorite City: New York, NY
Favorite Lithe Workout: High Waisted & Barlesque
Favorite Lithe Exercise: CCS sequences from Tight End & Weightless
How'd she land a spot on the Lithe team: A natural teacher and Lithe drill sargent, Meredith is commanding, always smiling, strong, form-focused and fun! She brings a unique, calm-assertive quality to her classes that you'll absolutely love!
Have you seen her? Talk about having a radient glow! Lithe Instructor Ashton Osby and I were recently chatting about beauty rituals, and I quickly realized that not only is she the picture of health, she is a product junkie with a real passion for beauty and skin care. She shares her 5 staples for getting that glowing aura:
1. Flax Seed-My mornings start with flaxseeds; the high fiber content gives me energy and keeps me full on those rushed mornings. I use ground flaxseed in smoothies, oatmeal, and quinoa porridge. The omega-3s have the added benefit of supporting healthy skin, hair, and nails. For the curly haired girls-after your leave in conditioner, rub a pea sized amount of little flax oil in your hair. It will lock in moisture without weighing down curls or appearing oily.
2. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment-I started using this face mask three months ago and can't stop raving about it. This face mask uses microbeads and fruit enzymes (papaya, pineapple, and pumpkin) to gently buff away dead skin cells. A little goes a long way! Have you ever had dry skin after using a face mask? ExfoliKate has honey and vitamin E to combat dryness. This mask gives my combination/oily skin a nice rosy glow and overall smooth appearance. Honestly, this two minute face mask blows away some of the facials I've had! Pro tip: use it in the shower when your pores are already open, and use a face oil afterwards to really lock in moisture during those dry winter months.
3. Tumeric Tea-I got into using turmeric after cooking different lentil based recipes. The earthy, yet peppery turmeric root is speculated to be a natural anti-inflammatory; I think it to help me unwind after a busy day. Heidi Swanson's blog, 101 Cookbooks, has a more exact recipe for turmeric tea. I eyeball it by placing one spoonful of honey and a couple of healthy pinches of turmeric in a mug. Stir until it makes a paste, then pour hot water over the mixture. It's really fun to experiment with different flavors-my go to is adding ginger and lemon. Sometimes, I add cinnamon and nutmeg to the base for a hot apple cider taste.
4. Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer-My main skin concern is uneven complexion. Until about a year ago, I had frequent breakouts; now those acne scars have turned into dark spots. While daily use of sunscreen certainly helps fade some spots, others are more stubborn. At night, I use this Perricone moisturizer with antioxidants and vitamin C to even out skin tone. It's lightweight, yet immensely hydrating; no greasy residue here!
5. Ginger Root- Ginger is one of my favorite spices! There's something calming about ginger-it helps with digestion, aids circulation, and supports the immune system. I always have this root on hand in the kitchen.
Images via google, brand websites, 101 cookbooks (adapted for FHH) and Lithe Instructor Ashton Osby in LA via Ashton
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