209 posts categorized " Lithe Instructors "


Annette's Lithe Inside Challenge!

So, I just passed the halfway point in my challenge to my 40th birthday.  I'm 22 days in.  Since January 1st, I have taken 25 classes, taught 25 classes, and trained to teach three more. My body is a bit fatigued, but overall I feel great. 

I'm amazed by the reserve of untapped strength we all possess. I see it in class when in the last 10 minutes, I challenge Lithers to give it their all, and they dig deep and do. That has been something I hold onto when I am taking class and thinking, "I probably could do 10 more plyos, I just don't want to."
I'm doing my best to pick sculpting classes that target different body parts to allow some recovery time, and since I have been teaching a lot of cardio this month, I've been lightening up on those in my own schedule. If you've ever taken one of my classes then you know it's really hard for me to stay on the platform and just watch. I love being down on the floor, sharing the energy and spirit. I definitely bounce around and get my heart rate going. So all of this has been a great lesson in listening to my body, feeling what it's telling me, and trying to adapt as needed.  
I've been surprised by how my body is physically responding to all of the training. It was exciting when we got down on our side in Endvy to do clams and I felt the strength in my back as I lifted up through my shoulders and ribcage. It was enlightening when I thought I was going to have an easy time in Floored, and then my muscles started to shake like crazy with every leg lift. It was humbling when I got to the end of Skinny Jeans and my thighs and glutes were burning so bad from the fold-over work that I had to come up for a break. But, it's also rewarding on the days when I make it through one class and realize I just might have enough reserve to push to take another that day. Each day is very different, with its own successes and challenges, and I am muddling through the best I can, looking for the little victories in each.  
I am the first to admit that my numbers might be a bit excessive. It just worked out for me that the beginning of the year is a quiet time for me in regards to acting work. I also suffer from the cold weather blues and don't do too well with excessive down-time. I have been focusing my energy on keeping my endorphins pumping.  
As for food, it hasn't been nearly as bad as I imagined. Yes, I miss my wine. That is a given. :)  But I'm not too much of a carb craver, so cutting back on the refined carbs wasn't too hard. I have however been eating A LOT, and I mean A LOT, of fruit to satisfy my sweets craving, which has been the toughest for me.
I've had two cheat days since I began. The first was New Year's Day as it was the first day of the challenge and I was out of town staying at a friend's house. I didn't plan far enough ahead. I did bring ingredients to make Lithe breakfast quinoa. But, as morning slipped into a lazy afternoon, and then into early evening, my host made us a lovely dinner. It was pretty healthy, but I can't say it satisfied all of the restrictions of the challenge. My other cheat came this weekend while I was at a funeral. Sitting around the table with loved ones, sharing stories and laughs, I realized life is too short not to partake in some of its sweetness (and the four cakes people had baked) every once in a while.
It has been easier than I thought to go out to dinner. Most places have a grilled fish or salad which is genuinely tasty with just a little cold-pressed olive oil and lemon.
My weight hasn't changed at all which wasn't a goal one way or another. I notice my arms becoming more cut, but my abs aren't necessarily responding the way I anticipated, making me think it's time to reevaluate a little bit and kick it up just a notch for the second half. Maybe subbing a yellow pepper for a mango or snow peas for pears.
I realize at this point that it's the little steps and the small changes that are going translate into maintained behavior. I have a 21-year-old California cabernet sitting in my basement waiting for midnight on the 9th. And I am dying for a slice of pizza from anywhere at this point. These things will definitely come back into my life. But I also can see moderation is easier than I thought, and allowing yourself that little bit of grace on the days you need it will do your heart and soul a world of good.  
I learned to appreciate modifications! Don't be afraid to modify in class. Right now, you might see me flat-footed at the barre or on my quads for push-ups. But also, find the day you're feeling strong to try and start that ab work on the mat with 5 lbs. You can always drop down to 3 lbs. after the first set if you need to, but at least you got that one set in. And trust me, next time you just might make it through the second set.
So much for keeping this short, but I have to say, the best part of the entire challenge has been the Lithe community. Everyone has been so supportive which really means so much. That encouragement has pushed me through the shake and burn to finish each class. I LOVE hearing about everyone's personal challenges that they have taken up in the new year as well. Some of my favorites have been, "I stopped after just one Girl Scout Cookie!" (Seriously WHO can do that with Thin Mints?) Or, "This is only my second class since the new year, but I'm here!" It's everyone's determination and passion that keeps me going strong. Thank you all for your inspiration! It is a gift!!!!
As you hear me say in class, "We're already halfway there. It's just a little muscle fatigue. You are SO MUCH stronger then you realize! Keep going!"
Annette's "before" image via Lauren



Hi Lithe,

Even though I am incredibly sad to have to retire from teaching I wanted to write a little Lithe Love Letter to let you, and the Philadelphia Lithers know how much my time as an instructor meant to me.

I’m still suffering from a badly herniated disc in my lower back (L4) that flared up last May.  I’ve been improving over the past few months, and feel great some days, but I don’t feel comfortable committing to teaching all of you only to wake up on the day of class unable to move.

Being an instructor was an amazing and absolutely unforgettable time in my life and has helped me grow in so many ways.  I never thought I was “good” enough, “cool” enough, or confident enough to teach.  I’m naturally a shy person, but being an instructor gave me the confidence to get up in front of a large group of impressive, fit, professional women and make them all “get low,” “see their eyelashes,” and “break it down - one time each!”  Teaching not only gave me confidence on the podium at Lithe, but also helped give me the confidence to speak clearly and commandingly to others in my law profession.  (I still remember the day Lauren asked me to audition – I called my best friend right after and couldn’t stop jumping up and down with excitement).

While I can’t take classes at the moment because of my back, I’m working hard everyday to hopefully be back on the mat soon!  This is the first time in my life I’ve had an injury that has forced me to take more than a couple weeks off from any activity.  While it’s been a terribly painful experience, it has made me come to terms with the fact that I can’t always do everything “100%” and that I’m not a failure if I need to take a little break or modify.  My type A personality has always had me pushing myself beyond my limit, which, I’m learning from this injury, is not always the best choice.  I’m coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay if I have to take a week or two off and I won’t get horribly out of shape, gain weight, or lose my ability to Lithe.  I’m still in physical therapy but working hard with my doctors to get better as fast as I can! 

I absolutely LOVED every second of teaching and would continue to teach for years if I had the chance.  It was amazing to work with so many wonderful other instructors and support staff who all continue to inspire me.  I’m going to miss being a part of such a wonderful team.

Thank you so much Lauren.  For giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to be a Lithe instructor, for creating Lithe Method that has given me so much confidence and joy, and always proving that working out can be silly, fun, and incredibly tough!  I can’t wait to be back!


Retired Lithe Instructor Cat Kiernan wearing Lithe via Dom



Become part of a unique, innovative workout and a growing team leading the industry in health and fitness.  We're looking for spirited, outgoing women and men with professional dance, cheerleading or fitness backgrounds. Lithers are welcome to audition but we are looking for candidates with open availability. 

Learn more about Lithe and attend our Open Call on Thursday, February 5th at 8PM @ Lithe Rittenhouse.  Please email your head-shot and current work resume to careers@lithemethod.com for audition details.

Image of Lithe Instructor Meredith Steinberg in Stella McCartney & Lithe via Dom

KATIE BOOK! 22 Jan 2015

Katie B

From:  Martinsville, NJ
Favorite city: New York, NY
Favorite Lithe workout: Waspie (for now!)
Favorite Lithe exercise: Plyos with blue bands
How'd she land a spot on the Lithe team: Katie has killer precision and is a natural teacher who is commanding, always smiling, warm, strong, form-focused and fun!  She brings a unique, calm-assertive presence to her classes that you'll absolutely love.
Other Job: Dancer, Fitness Instructor & Personal Trainer
Enjoys: Dancing, reading, knitting, cooking, precision, coffee, painting, live performances, playing fetch with her dog Loki, staying active, design, working with her hands, helping people reach their goals
What you wouldn't know by looking at her: Katie graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a BFA in Dance, ballet. There she got to work with one of her favorite choreographers Robert Battle, who set a new work on her.  She also had the opportunity to dance in an off Broadway show before moving to Philadelphia. Her Italian Greyhound mix, Loki always keeps her on her toes (she’s named after the god of mischief), and is a great running partner. She always forgets how short she is, and has a deadlift PR of 220 lbs.  
Temporary image via Katie Book


Rachael's Burn

A little over two weeks ago, Lithe Instructor Rachael Bridgens wrapped up her 2014 "Lithe by the numbers" personal challenge. Rachael, we love that you took a picture of every Lithe Burn!  Burn baby, burn! 

Start: 12/1
End: 12/31
Lithed: 12 classes
Taught: 27 classes
Total burn: 17,791

25 THINGS! {KALIKA FAIL} 21 Jan 2015


I love the flair and edge that this week's subject of 25 Things! brings to Lithe. She is a powerhouse of strength and explosive energy who exudes confidence in the studio. I love her classes because she's firm and relentless, but supportive while pushing us to get lower, finish every rep and work through the transitions. When I take Kalika's classes, I can feel how invested she is that Lithers leave her class getting the best possible workout. So when I read number 25 on her list, I wasn't suprised at all. Read on to find out more about the Lithe vixen she is. 

1. I was born and raised in Neptune Beach, Florida.

2. I have a BA in Dance Studies from the University of South Florida (in Tampa).

3. My boyfriend and I moved to Philadelphia in 2005 and it was the best decision we ever made.

4. I have been a member of the Peek-A-Boo Revue Neo-burlesque show since 2006.

5. We won Best Troupe at Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in 2008 and 2012.

6. My boyfriend, Chris, and I have been together for 13 years. We're considering marriage.

7. I have a 10-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named Kya who doesn't act a day over 2. It is impossible to be in a bad mood around her.

8. I am the oldest of three. I'm seven years older than my brother Andrew and ten years older than my brother Matthew. They're my half brothers, but really they're my brothers. We are different in many ways, but share the same overly sarcastic sense of humor.

9. The Exorcist and Garden State are tied for my favorite movie. The Breakfast Club is a close second.

10. My troupe was on America's Got Talent in 2010. We made it to Vegas.

11. I dislike most reality TV shows.

12. I have never seen a Harry Potter movie.

13. The first job I had in Philly was in "The Freezer" at Nightmare on Broad Street, a haunted attraction at the Spectrum.

14. I worked with a wheelchair dance company in Tampa.

15. One of my earliest childhood memories is seeing Michael Jackson in concert while sitting on my dad's shoulders.

16. Most people call me Kaley and my stage name is Ginger Leigh.

17. Three things I can't live without: coffee, sushi, and peanut butter.

18. I am gluten-free 93% of the time.

19. I perform with The Roddenberries, a Star Trek cabaret band.

20. I quickly became a city girl, but am most at ease near the ocean.

21. My first experience with Lithe was at my instructor audition. I instantly fell in love.

22. I used to say I would never be a cheerleader. Now I can't get enough Lithe CCS.

23. I have been dancing since the age of 3; ballet, tap, jazz, modern dance, and many other forms have been sprinkled in over the years. I love and hate to choreograph.

24. Entertaining and teaching both make my heart sing, but in different ways.

25. I teach burlesque classes. Helping women feel comfortable and sexy in their own skin is far more rewarding than teaching them dance steps.


Julie F

Dear Lithe Community,

As some of you have realized, I have had to take a personal leave from Lithe and haven't been in the studio recently. I wanted to share what's been going on with me and also hope that it might inspire you to start your New Year with a fresh perspective like it has done for me.

Earlier this fall, I started to have trouble with my vision. It started gradually, but by November it was quickly deteriorating to the point where I could no longer read, drive, differentiate colors, or see my husband's and daughter's faces clearly. I went to an ophthalmologist about six weeks ago and was sent for an emergency MRI. They found a tumor on my brain that was pressing on my optic nerve, causing the changes in my vision. Making things a bit more complicated, I am also 14 weeks pregnant. The hormones from my pregnancy were stimulating the tumor, which the doctors believe led to my sudden loss in vision. The tumor was thankfully benign, but it was large and growing more quickly because of my pregnancy, so the doctors wanted to move fast.

About three weeks ago, I underwent a craniotomy to have the tumor removed. It was a long procedure that lasted over 10 hours, but fortunately my neurosurgeon was very happy with the removal and everything went well. And, even though I have not had any official testing yet, my vision appears to have fully returned or, at the very least significantly improved, and I can see more clearly than I have seen for a long time. The doctors believed that I was at a serious risk of being permanently blind and had told me that it would be "something of a miracle" to wake up from surgery with my vision fully recovered, so I feel extremely fortunate. I have also had three ultrasounds since my surgery, and my baby is doing well and growing right on track. For these things, in particular, I will forever be grateful.

Over the past few weeks, I have been feeling better and my recovery has gone about as well as it could be. Less than 48 hours after my surgery, I was able to move around, take short walks, and even managed to make it up and down a flight of stairs on my own. My doctors and physical therapists at the hospital were impressed with my strength and stamina after such a major surgery and had told me that it would be a game-changer in my recovery. I am thankful that I am in good shape, and know that it has made such a difference in helping me to overcome so many of the challenges my body has faced since my surgery. In the past, I've worked out with intentions of "fitting into that smaller dress from a few years ago" or "getting bikini-ready for summer", but this experience has helped me to realize how important it is to be active and fit, for no other reason, than to simply be healthy.

When the doctors found my tumor, I was told that I could no longer exercise because they didn't want me straining in any way. While I knew that I would miss it, I was not prepared for the void I would feel by not being active. I miss moving my body, taking walks with and carrying my daughter, and, of course, lithing, more than I could have imagined. For me, it has truly been the hardest part of my recovery; trying to just relax and forcing myself to do less and rest more. Once I return to a more active lifestyle again, I know that I will not take it for granted, and that I have found a much greater appreciation for it.

As anyone can imagine, receiving the news of my initial diagnosis was a life-changing shock for my family and me. And while I definitely can't say that I'm thankful for it, I am grateful for the new perspective it has given me. In the beginning, I kept thinking this can't be for real...this can't be happening. I'm not sure if it's even fully sunk in at this point. It definitely was a jolt that shook me to my very core. How quickly life can change in a matter of seconds. For me personally, it has always been easy to over-think minor details, to let my to-do lists run too long, and to get caught up in "keeping up," to the point where these things take over and cause me a great deal of stress and worry. But in the face of a situation like the one I've just been through, I realize that so much of this doesn't matter and that life is just too short. Now I can appreciate that, at the end of the day, there are very few things that truly matter aside from health, family, and friends. My New Year's resolution is to keep this new perspective in mind each and every day, and to be there for others during their time of need, just as I’ve been lucky enough to have so many people here for me.

I am looking forward to regaining my strength and getting back into the studios and seeing all of you over the next month or two. Wishing you all a very healthy and Happy New Year!




Annette 40

Lithe Instructor Annette Kaplafka is on the cusp of her 40th birthday and celebrating with a Lithe Inside Challenge: forty days without refined sugar and carbs until her 40th birthday. We met for measurements last week, so she's a week in at this point. Join her here and stay tuned for updates!

Here's what she said:

Okay, I'm owning up to a fact I've kinda hid from for a long time: My age. I'm celebrating a milestone birthday this coming year (gulp!). I turn 40 in February. Actually, it really wasn't something I thought too much about until recently. 

I set many goals and milestones for myself while in high school and college: "I'll star in my first feature film at 25" or "I'm not going to get married until I'm 35." As time passed and some of those thing passed with it, I realized how little control we have over so many aspects of life. 

We can and should set our sails and chart our course, but sometimes the winds take us where they may.  Knowing this, I decided to embrace the things I do have control over. How I care for my body, what I put in it, and how I embrace it are things that are totally up to me. Therefore, I'm using this challenge as a way to take charge of my fitness and food habits, so that when 40 does hit, I can stand proud and say it really doesn't look so bad! I plan on being in the best shape of my life to greet it head-on as I push forward to all the new goals I set for the next 40 years. Feel free to come along for the ride and set your own challenge in the new year and definitely offer words of encouragement (I'm gonna need them if I'm giving up wine and refined sugar for 40 days). Just don't tell me I look good for 40! I'm not there yet :)

"40" image of Annette via Lauren

BEST OF FHH 2014! 29 Dec 2014


What a great year! Thank YOU for all of your hard work and dedication: We completed 3 challenges, 2 Lithe Escapes, traveled on tour to Seoul, NYC & LA, celebrated a decade in Philly, Welcomed 11 fantastic new instructors (Meredith, Cate, Jen L., Maggie, Jenn B., Annette, Liz S., Kalika, Jonathan, Alicia, Katie B), 3 veteran instructors became Masters, debuted 7 new workouts (Rah, Lithe Beach, Hi-Top, All That, Sideline, Mercy & Lithe Lab), 2 WKND's and have seen the most killer camaraderie and results than ever before!  Here's to 2015!  Check out some of our favorite posts...

Lithe Escape Jamaica, Lithe WKND, Lithe Escape Tulum, Love Letters, Kristy's Before & After, Lithe Tour Philly, Seoul, NYC & LA, Because I'm Perfect, Lauren's Gym Bag Essentials, Beauty Tips for a tired face, 3 Days to Flat Abs, Lauren for Prevention, Breaking the Mom Cycle, Talking biz with Forbes & Jon Oringer, Fall Transformation Results, Elizabeth Tomkins x Destination Maternity, Lithe Foods x Art In The Age Skinny Heathen series, Sayeh's Living Lithe Tips, Earned in Winter Challenge, Results, T-Minus 30 Challenge, Mission: Lithe, Mama Says, Lithe Spice No.1, Meg G. & Lithe on BLDG 25, love from the Press & Eating Lithe,




Favorite City: Philadelphia & Chicago

Favorite Lithe Workout: Hot Legs

Favorite Lithe Exercise: CCS in Barlesque

How'd she land a spot on the Lithe team: As an ex-competitive level 5 gymnast and collegiate soccer player, Alicia is athletic, hard-working and has real knowledge of the body. She challenges vets and inspires newbies with her no nonsense approach with an emphasis on proper form.  I think that you'll love her classes! 

Other Job: Podiatrist (Foot and Ankle Surgeon)

Enjoys: Spending time with my husband and my baby (Olive Maria, my boston terrier), road trips, experiencing new restaurants in Philly, singing, dancing, chocolate and peanut butter in combo, a really good latte or cup of tea.

What you wouldn't know by looking at her: I'm half Puerto Rican. My dad is from Puerto Rico and his entire side of the family still lives there. We go to visit often and actually almost moved there when I was in grade school. I definitely look much more like my mother's side of the family with blue eyes and lighter features. I recently got married and am in the process of changing my name to Lai which is Chinese. I hate losing my last name because it is my only visible tie to the fact that I am hispanic. People literally do not believe that I am half Puerto Rican, until they get to know me...I can be quite feisty:) I have also been asked on more than occasion if Rivera was my married name. Sadly to say, I can only speak enough spanish to get by in PR, I am far from fluent.

Temp image of Alicia & Olive via Alicia

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