46 posts categorized " Lithe Tips! "

SIX CARDIO TIPS! 22 Jul 2014


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 offAs 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 LitheWhy? 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



  1. Remind yourself of how far you've come!  Why exactly do you Lithe? One of the most common questions I am asked by new Lithers is: When will I start seeing results? And while I always tell clients that it takes consistent Lithing for 6 months to truly see your body really change, it's important to be mindful of the changes that happen almost immediately (that you can't see) when you make working out a regular part of your life. Breaking a sweat several times a week not only helps us lose weight, but improves our cardiovascular health, increases our stamina and strength, stabilizes our moods, increases our flexibility and bone density, and lowers cholesterol and blood pressure just to scratch the surface. So, if you've hit a plateau or are feeling frustrated that you aren't seeing results as quickly as you wish you could, remember that your body is changing (from the inside) and be proud of what you are accomplishing. I recommend keeping a pre-Lithe (before) photograph of yourself around to serve as a constant reminder of how hard you worked and feel empowered because YOU did it!
  2. Keep Lithing regularly. No excuses here. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it pretty quickly.  Fitness is a lifelong commitment with endless health benefits that go far beyond the way that you look.  Make a habit of hitting the studio at least 3-4 times week. I like to do four days of Lithe (Waspie, Higher Power + 2 cardio sessions) during the week, and then I walk and develop new Lithe content on the weekends. 
  3. Say no to excuses:  Silence that voice in your head.  Speaking of the "I don't have the money" excuse, It doesn't have to cost a thing to move your body. If you can Lithe one-two times a week, your results will happen at a slower pace but you WILL achieve the results that you're looking for.  Is this you?  Stick to the classics!
  4. Break the fast. The benefits of eating breakfast are so amazing.  When you wake up after a long slumber, your blood sugar is at a fasting level; "breaking the fast" is so important - it's your first shot at laying the ground work for a healthy day. Breakfast helps prevent binging and eating too many sweets. Plus, it deters you from making unhealthy food choices because your body is stabilized with the appropriate fuel. 
  5. Eat Lithe. We all love to eat out.  Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to maintain your results when the average portion size at most restaurants is 90% more than we should be eating in one sitting.  Most of us overeat at restaurants because our visual response to the massive portion size is skewed. What do I do?  Stick to whole foods, order an appetizer as my meal, or I tell the server to only give me half of a dinner and box up the rest.  That other half of the meal never makes its way to my plate - or my hips!
  6. Barometer gear.  Invest in a few cute workout pieces ever quarter.  You'll look and feel cute, and your gear becomes your barometer! I find that if you Lithe in old clothing, you will be more likely to accept a few extra pounds.

Image of Lithe Instructor Jennifer Blatstein wearing Lululemon via Dom



Last week, I shared 5 of my tips for getting the most out of my classes and staying motivated through the Earned in Winter challenge. This week, a few more. 

1. Front and Center: Yesterday, I fought the rain and a mangled umbrella to walk into class late, right as the stretching started. There were no mats left, except for in the very front of the room, right in front of the instructor and everyone else. I grumbled to myself. I usually like to stay off to the side, not too far away, but far enough from the spotlight so I was loath to take my position. But, it was SUCH a boost to my motivation. I didn't feel like I could slack with so many people behind me. It gave me a little kick in the pants to get my knees up, my butt down and to take less breaks. (Don't be scared to try this. The reality is that no one is really paying attention, unless they are looking for a leader. I rarely see the girl at the front, since there are so many people between her and me and I'm concentrating on myself.) Even still though, you feel the pressure anyway, and it helps.

2. Schedule Smart: If you're like me, you already spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what classes you're going to take--which instructors, on which days, in which studios. (Can I get an amen??) But, somehow, despite this, I often don't take my whole scheduling picture--social life and habits--into consideration when I get on MindBody. I tend to focus more on getting on the schedule at all, rather than scheduling smart. This leads me to forget about a meeting or dinner plans, which has me realizing--way too late--that I should have scheduled a morning class that day, instead of an afternoon one. So, I've begun keeping my smart phone calendar out in front of me when scheduling so I can't forget about the commitments I can't move. Taking it a step further, I'm also trying to gauge patterns in my energy. When am I up-beat? When am I dragging? If I know that Monday afternoons are a low-energy time for me, I don't schedule myself for a high cardio class for that slot. Instead, I pre-plan for a low-impact, sculpting class that day so I'll be more likely to follow through with it.

3. You're So Vain: On last week's post, someone shared their tip of looking in the mirror, and it's a really good one. Getting yourself in a place where you can get a clear look at yourself in the mirror is a good habit. I know most of us feel uncomfortable gazing at ourselves for 60 minutes. (I personally find it challenging not to focus on the parts of my body that I'm unhappy with, or the rogue hairs sprouting all over my face), but it's actually proven good practice for me in multiple ways. Not least of which is to encourage myself to look beyond my insecurities to my form. When I can SEE what I'm doing, then I can make adjustments. When an instructor yells FLAT BACK, I can check and see if I'm flat and adjust. When she asks me to make sure my knee isn't going over my ankle during lunges, I can double check from the side reflection. Keeping tabs on form through the mirror has helped me vastly improve. 

4. Stretch Armstrong: I hate stretching. I'm using the word HATE about stretching. I know how crucial it is, but still I hate it. It hurts. I'm inflexible and I suck at it. It's one of the reasons I hate being in class early, because I feel forced to stretch on my own--like others around me--and I just don't wanna. BUT, I do commit to the stretching IN class. I know it's not much, but that makes it all the more important. Before and AFTER the class. We've all been there, when we are lithing at lunch and need to hurry back to work, or we have a ride waiting on us downstairs, so we skip the stretching at the end, step over some people, and get a towel and rush back to our mats and out of class before everyone else. I certainly have. But, there are some folks that make this the rule rather than the exception just to beat the locker room rush, and I can't help but feel like I'm getting cheated out of my much needed stretch when girls are stepping over me or spraying me with mat cleaner while I'm down in a straddle. We all need a stretch, even if it's just a few moves, and let's be honest, hitting the elevators two minutes before everyone else isn't worth skipping out on it. A few stretches a few times a week, really does add up to increased flexibility. So stay to the end of class (if you actually have the time), I and your neighbors, and your body, will thank you for it. 

See you in class!



Confused about taking your measurements?  Follow the image here, and have a friend measure you so that you achieve the most accurate results. This is exactly how we measure people at Lithe.

To Do:  Measure the fullest part of the bust, your natural waist (not where you wear you jeans), the high hip (where you wear your jeans; just palpate the hip bone/iliac crest to find the correct spot), low hip/butt (the widest part of the booty), your dominant thigh (approximately halfway between the knee and the hip) and your most dominant arm (approx halfway between the shoulder and the elbow). 

Tips:  Commit to wearing the same outfit whenever you measure, stand posture perfect and relax the extremities.   

Image of Lauren Boggi at Lithe Old City via Chrissy Parker

WANNA BE A 6AM-ER? 6 Jan 2014

get up early
Happy New Year, everyone!  Trying to be a 6AM'er?  There's really a lot to be said about getting up and getting your workout in (and done!) before the work day even starts.  Need some help getting prepped?  Setting your clothes out/packing your bag the night before is a no-brainer, but check out this info-graphic from Anna Vital for some inspiration.  See you tomorrow, bright and early!

Info-graphic via Anna Vital



As Director of Ops and a Lithe Instructor, I'm always running back and forth between studios and meetings.  These on-the-go snacks are essential to keeping me fueled and avoiding 'hangry' spells:

1.  I always have one of these little lifesavers in my bag to turn to if a meeting runs over into meal time or I need an emergency energy boost in between classes.  2.  I'm allergic to corn, so finding a healthy chip alternative is a toughie; this one fits the bill and can go savory (in salads or soups) or sweet (with honey & greek yogurt). 3.  Genji Shrimp or Avocado Summer Rolls from Whole Foods are a great prepared food option when I don't have time to cook and want something fresh, light, & clean.  4.  I can't go without dark chocolate, and I love a good salty + sweet combo

5.  Sweet n' Spicy Roasted Almonds are my go-to holiday season snack.  They are great alone, tossed in salads, added to greek yogurt, or mixed in with dried fruit and other assorted nuts.  You can also make this recipe with pecans & cinnamon instead of cayenne (so good!), just reduce the roasting time a bit:

Roast 2.5 cups raw almonds at 350 degrees in a single layer on a baking sheet about 10-12 minutes (or until fragrant); place 1/4 cup coconut sugar, 1.5 tsp coarse Kosher salt, & 1/4-1 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like things!) in a large mixing bowl; heat 1 tsp evoo, 1 Tbsp honey, & 1 Tbsp water in a large frying pan until bubbles form, remove from heat, add in roasted almonds; transfer to bowl of coconut sugar mixture without adding excess liquid and toss until evenly coated.  Enjoy!  xo Melissa

Image via brand websites and Lithe Instructor Melissa Weinberg on the Ultra Lithe Tall Box via Dom



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 really defeated trying to finish our 1 hour classes, numerous times a week, and having to devote some time to learning some of our Cardio-Cheer-Sculpting cardio choreography.  Here are some tips for safe and efficient cardio:

1.  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 and keep a gentle point to your ankle, then roll through the forefoot, and heel.  Your goal is to 'sponge' and not be bouncy. That 'up' energy should be an illusion:  your entire body is active, but you're working the bands' resistance down into the ground.  You want to work harder by getting low (think: squashing grapes) and grounded, not through bouncing high and beating up your feet.

2.  Keep you shoulders open, depressed and lift from the heart.  This instantly engages and elongates your abs. 

3.  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! 

4.  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, shake.

Image of Lithe Instructor, Krista DeNofa in perfect form via Dominic Episcopo.


Kelly wearing Lithe

I know that many of you are completing your last few Fall Challenge classes this week...congrats!  Can you believe that you've pushed through 30 classes in 35 days?  That's no easy feat!  Have you noticed that you've pushed and become stronger, or have you noticed that you're still modifying and doing your push-ups on your knees after 3-4 reps? If you have pushed, have you noticed that your body has changed?   

Most women come to Lithe with the desire to change their body and become the best version of themselves.  When developing new workouts, my main goal is to increase your lean muscle mass, decrease body fat in your female fat zones, keep you interested and make you happy.

We focus on increasing your lean muscle mass because that is a major catalyst in decreasing your fat. We achieve this through cardiovascular resistance training via Lithe's Cardio-Cheer-Sculpting®.  And boy, does it hurt at times.  Have you ever heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger?”  At Lithe, most of you learn how to push through your (good) pain and allow it to help you gain strength and earn the results that you're striving for. 

Many of you become frustrated, or stop when an exercise becomes painful – not injury pain, but the burn that occurs when you are fatiguing your muscles.  It is SO important that when you feel the burn that you “push through it” by continuing on for a few more reps.  Breathe through it, because it's at that exact moment when you're creating changes in your body.  Your metabolic state begins to increase your lean muscle and burn the fat right off your thighs. 

If you never change your diet for the better and do the same workout everyday (with the same modifications) and never push through the burn or leave your “comfort zone," you will never see change in your body. So, in light of finishing the fall challenge this week, make it your goal to channel that pain and strive to get in 1 or 2 more sets, OR - hold that half plank for one more breath! 

Images of Lithe Instructor Kelly Wong wearing Lithe via Dom


Getting Grounded

I've heard from many Lithers, when they first start Lithing, that they were already working out every day, thinking that they were ‘fit’ and had just hit that inevitable plateau with their results. Then, they realize, Lithe.Is.Different.

I have specifically designed Lithe around a sculpting regimen and cheer-based cardio (Cardio-Cheer-Sculpting®) that will give you unparalleled results…and I've put a system in place that assures you will never plateau. By constantly updating and adding workouts, customizing classes to the season, and orchestrating the monthly class schedules so you almost can't avoid variety in your workout, you'll never get bored, and never stop seeing results.

To every thing, there is a season...

Just like eating seasonally is important, it’s just as important to work your body in unison with the seasons and what you’re are taking in food-wise.  During the fall, we get back to the basics with the "bones" of Lithe.  Our classic, grounded, sculpting workouts return to the studios in a big way:  Higher Power, Waspie, Hot Legs, Cinch, and Skinny Jeans take the place of summertime's high-energy favorites.  Why?  We turn inward, are more lethargic and tight as the weather turns cooler. Guess what?  Your body knows this, too!  Without even realizing it, you ground your body for colder weather as well as decreasing sunlight and serotonin levels.  Have you been eating processed, starchy food?  Try to stop.  Right now is a crucial time to winterize your diet, balance your body and your blood sugar with more protein (veggie or animal) and nutrient-rich veggies. 

So remember, to get the most out of Lithe right now, embrace the variety (and the classics) and continue to push yourself (hold those bands longer and pick up those 5 and 8lb weights!). You'll love the results! 

Image of Lithe Instructor Cat Kiernan wearing Lithe via Dom


Lauren Boggi

Dear Lauren & Lithers,

I've been noticing a recent trend in my practice: active women presenting with wrist, hand and elbow pain. This may not seem like anything out of the ordinary in my line of work, except that these patients all seem to blame a common culprit: EXERCISE.

In the past I've been mostly taking care of active yogis, but now I’m hearing a lot more complaints from women doing  “total body work outs” such as boot camp, cross fit etc. I’m thinking this may be related to people ditching the gym elliptical and getting out there to exercise more effectively.

Some of my newer patients are active “Lithers”. Interestingly enough, most of the problems I'm seeing are not related to push ups, burpees etc. The “new” pain is primarily due to old, forgotten about injuries of the hand, wrist and elbow.  An old sprain, fracture etc. is exacerbated as a result of new activity, sometimes improper technique.  As an active Lither myself, I can say that the work out method is extremely ergonomic and will not cause new problems if done appropriately.

I’ve sustained three wrist fractures in my teens. For somebody like me, there needs to be an awareness that a childhood injury will most likely manifest itself in our 30’s and 40’s and 50’s. Having no symptoms from old injuries now is great and we want to keep it that way! I constantly remind myself of this and always do your modifications in class. Sometimes I will  skip the more wrist “pressure point” exercises and lift my 5lbs weights, while the LITHE ladies in the room “wipe the floor” with their gliders or sleeves.

What is OK for most lithers, will not work for my wrist, even if I have no pain doing the exercise.  Because of my old injuries, some stuff is off limits if I want to continue being able to move my wrist in 20 years. NO WORK OUT IS TO BLAME FOR THIS! The 14 year old me is to blame for this!

It’s not the downward dog, the mountain climbers or side planks that did it. There is no need to STOP doing your beloved activity believing that it causes you to fall apart. Please don’t grow to have a love/ hate relationship with exercising and don’t think of it as your enemy.   It’s what I tell my patients and myself.

Giving yourself a day off, stopping when it hurts, not pushing yourself beyond your limitations can be very helpful, but will not always solve the problem. Sometimes treatment of underlying conditions may be necessary.  Also, keeping in mind that certain exercises may be forever off limits (this part is extremely difficult to accept for a Type A personality, I personally struggle with this every day).

All of this seems fairly intuitive, however most of us can’t pay attention to our bodies when we are working out. This phenomena is caused by a rush of endorphins, which block the pain receptors in our body. They are very similar to opiates. Working out is similar to physical dependence. It can cloud judgment.

This is why it’s important to think of what hurt you in the previous class and try to avoid similar activity in the present, never push yourself through the work out. Pain is one of our best defense mechanisms to prevent injury. Believe it or not, pain is good!

Being able to stop and nurse your old injuries is not a weakness, it’s what will keep us doing the things we love for years to come. I’m thinking competing in a “LITHELON”  may be a hot trend for 2023!

Julia Mayberry M.D.

Main Line Hand Surgery PC

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