29 posts categorized " Passport to Lithe "

SAYEH'S LIVING ENDVY! 2 Apr 2014

Sayeh

Endvy! aka Are you SERIOUS? aka What the f#*^! aka Can I LEAVE?

What you need: Sweat Bands! 
Props: Thinny Bands (the ones with velcro), Heavy Weights, Blue Ball
Clothing Considerations: Long pants--you velcro the bands around your ankles, and they will help to prevent chafing
Sweat Factor: This is one of those classes where you don't jump, but the moves are so intense that your body gets immediately hot, and the sweat shows up on the back of your neck 2 minutes in. You won't be soaked, but you'll be shiny for certain. 

I've been wanting to review Endvy for some time, and now that I've finally been able to take the class, I have a feeling that my relationship with it is going to be a fraught one. Endvy was like, Oh hey. You've been feeling good about your strength and stamina lately? Don't make me laugh, Sandy. Heh heh heh. Then it smacked me down to size in the first 30 seconds (I'm not exaggerating) and had me feeling like a little tiny baby in her first Lithe class.

You begin by standing at the barre, with your right knee raised in a liberty position, but with a twist. You place the blue ball, under your knee and keep it secure by squeezing it between your calf and ham strings. This extra effort on your raised leg, coupled with the normal excruciating pain on your standing leg is a passport to an entirely new world of muscle exhaustion. After hover lunges, static tuck and squeezes, pulses and round of chair sits, where you SLOWLY squeeze the ball between your legs, I actually considered lying down in the adjacent room for a couple minutes. 

Moves that you're accustomed to only doing 10 times--you know the really tough ones--you do 30 times in this class. Then you do fold overwork, incorporating a heavy weight with your upper body, in coordination with the moves on your lower. If we were new to the class, Elizabeth recommended that we focus on our balance and form before we incorporated the weights, so that we could do the moves correctly and avoid injury. I happily obliged. 

You then take it down to the mat, and this is where the Thinny bands come in. Once you strap your legs in, you begin an intense full body sculpting session that includes a move called the Pretzel. All I can say is, it's a doozy, and my rendition was what is referred to in the biz as a 'hot mess'. There's lots of balancing core, where you while on all fours, you extend one arm and do ab and leg work (full body really). After that, you head back to the bar to do it all over again on the left side and then back down on the mat to round out the banded series on that side too.

I really liked how this class was broken up. Super intense barre series sandwiched between sculpting mat work. I felt like despite how exhausted I was, the class went by really quickly. For those of you that want a break from CCS, but stress that you won't burn as many calories in a sculpting class--fear not, Endvy will make you eat your words. (In my experience, it's the sculpting classes that help me see the most difference in my body's shape anyway.) I am going to keep going to Endvy, although I will probably cuss through the whole thing. At least for a while, but I look forward to working on my pretzel, incorporating the heavy weights and getting a little better. As always, Lithe pushes you out of your comfort zone, and if you're game, Endvy can't be beat. 

See you in class!

SAYEH'S LIVING SLEEVELESS 2.0! 15 Jan 2014

Sayeh

Sleeveless 2.0!

What you need: Wrist Bands! The new Thinny bands no longer have a foam cushion to protect your wrists (sanitary reasons). They protect the delicate skin around your wrists from chafing from all the sliding the bands do in this high energy class. BYO or purchase them at the front desk for $6. I highly recommend them. They make a world of difference. 
Props: Lithe Thinny Bands (the ones that velcro around your wrists) 5lb and 8lb weights
Clothing Considerations: Anything you are comfortable in.
Sweat Factor: Sweat City, USA.

I once saw a guy walking down the street sporting a white tank top that said--in giant black letters--F*CK SLEEVES! Aside from almost causing me to choke on the smoothie I was drinking, I tend to agree with the man. Sleeves? Please. WHO NEEDS EM? I don't know about you guys, but this dreary, rainy and completely erratic weather has me yearning for the days of sun, fun and obscene tank tops. But since I can't do anything to speed up the slow, frosty crawl of winter, I can at least use this time to get my arms in shape for when the day finally does come, right? 

SUN'S OUT, GUNS OUT! 

Enter Sleeveless 2.0. By this time, you all know how I feel about 2.0s. Insert expletives here, but I've learned to just embrace and accept that I'm going to get my butt kicked even harder than that last time I thought I'd my butt kicked.

Basically, you arrive, strap into the Thinny bands, and start standing up. The music is turned sky high and it's go time from the first count. Sleeveless 2.0 is rife with Lithe Method signatures: bursts of cardio moves that build upon one another and eventually lead to a CCS sequence that is fun to learn and much easier than it looks. I promise. Think calf pumps, jacks, and bow and arrows into your favorite 90s throw back move, the Roger Rabbit. 

Once you're good and sweaty, you take the heart rate down a notch to do some sculpting lunges and squats with 8lb weights (the Thinny Bands help to carry some of the weight) and do a series of arm sculpting exercises. You can always drop down to 5s when it gets to be too much. 

You end with foldover work (aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah) and push-ups. That's right. Push ups. After all that. Get ready for it. I have to say though, I'm looking forward to taking the class again. It was the combination of fun CCS and then slower sculpting that I really enjoyed. Also, Colleen taught our class and really PUMPED up the jams. So it was nice and loud and she was loud and the bands were clanging and we were sweating and the dancing was in sync and at one point...I was like YESSSSS. THIS IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT! I love those Lithe moments. And this class is full of them. I think you'll really enjoy it. 

See you in class!

Image of Sayeh wearing Lithe via Dom

SAYEH'S LIVING WAIST NOT 2.0! 23 Oct 2013

Sayeh's living Lithe

Waist Not 2.0!

What you need: Gloves! 
Props: Pom Bands (The ones with handles), 3lb weights (optional for modifying), 2 mats (intrigued?) 
Clothing Considerations: Whatever you are comfortable in
Sweat Factor: I had a pretty good sweat going. If you have to go out in the world after, you certainly can without looking like you stepped out of a swamp, but you should probably just go home and shower. 

Rachel Dore's column last week about being Fit.Hip.Mindful was truly perfect. All of it resonated with me. The "I am here" mantra struck a cord because my mind is always wandering, (my wedding is day after tomorrow!), as did the piece about being open. So much wisdom in those words--especially for life in general. But being open can be challenging when it comes to our ways and habits. It's hard to switch gears when we've been operating in the same ones for so long. Lithe however, offers us a microcosmic opportunity to take baby steps in that direction. Not sure if you'll ever be able to be open to another political party's rhetoric (or the annoying FB'er who won't stop ranting about it)? At least you can attempt to not spazz out when you walk into your favorite class, and it's now a 2.0. Don't think you'll ever be able to understand the obsession with YouTube sensation "What Does the Fox Say?" (What's wrong with you? It's incredible. It's my gonna be my first dance.) you can at least try a new instructor without wanting to gag.

Enter Waist Not 2.0. I walked into it on Friday, looking forward to the chill vibe I was used to in its predecessor. When I saw the bands dangling from the ceiling a la A-List Abs 2.0, I thought fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu....well you know what I thought. But, in the spirit of openness, I sat down, took some good breaths, set my intention (to be hot for my wedding) and was ready TO DO THIS!

Think of Waist Not 2.0 as A-List Abs 2.0's much much meaner older sister. She loves you, but bosses you around and doesn't let you wear her clothes or touch her makeup, and while you kinda hate her, you really wish you could just hang out with her and her friends. You begin by laying flat on the mat and taking the Pom handles into your hands for some familiar ab-prep work. All extremely more intense with the resistance of the bands. Since the focus of the class is the waist area, you do a ton of rotation work...taking the bands with you, working your arms, shoulders, back...EVERYTHING.

This class had me TREMBLING and for real sweating. At one point we were in side plank and had to bring our hand which was pointed towards the ceiling, holding a band, down in front and underneath our bodies. I baaaarely made it. My good friend made eye contact with me in the mirror and mouthed, this is HARD." I mouthed back some other, worse expletive. And then there's Banana Rolls. I'm not even going to tell you what these are. All I'm going to tell you is: be open, be patient, and prepare to be SORE. (Hint: They are the reason you need 2 mats.)

We finished off the class with some standing leg and waist work, which included a bit of choreography. Not jumping, dancing choreography. Just a series of moves you do in sets and then put all together. I have to say that Waist Not 2.0 gave me the class I never knew I was missing. It was a cardio class that wasn't crazy high energy. In other words, I sweat like a cray and my heart rate was UP, way UP, but I didn't jump around at all. There are days where I want a serious cardio workout, but I'm not in the mindset to do a Twiggy or a Barlesque. but I still want the sweat factor of those classes. Waist Not 2.0 is just that--best of all worlds for any day...but especially those days where you just don't have it in you to slap your own butt. I couldn't recommend it more. 

See you in class!

Image of Lither Sayeh Hormozi wearing Lithe via Dom

 

 

SAYEH'S LIVING A-LIST ABS 2.0! 2 Oct 2013

Sayeh's living Lithe

A-List Abs!

What you need: Gloves! 
Props: Pom Bands (The ones with handles), Hipster Box, 3lb weights (optional for modifying) 
Clothing Considerations: Whatever you are comfortable in
Sweat Factor: A nice light sheen. You could go get a drink afterward, sans embarrassment (although don't be confused, this class is NOT a walk in the park. Are any of them, ever?)

When I signed up for A-List Abs last week, I was coming off of a 3 week Lithe hiatus. 3 weeks! Between a trip home to Texas and never-ending wedding errands after work (woe is me, I know), I was off the wagon and spazzing out because the wedding is so close. Knowing the soreness I was sure to experience,  I decided this lower-key abs class would be just the ticket to easing myself back into my routine. So imagine my surprise when I walked in to see the Pom Bands dangling ominously from the ceiling and the hipster boxes planted firmly on my mat. 

Noooooooo! I thought. I'm not ready! I'm not ready! This can't be! Is it...is it A-List Abs 2.0?? I almost turned around and walked out. 

Yes, Melissa Weinberg confirmed, A-List Abs has upped the ante. The humanityyyyyy! She began the class by telling us that A-List Abs 2.0 builds on the original A-List abs, like all 2.0's build on their predecessors. She warned that if we have had less than 30 hours of Lithe (30 classes), that she highly recommends we not attempt to use the Pom bands, but the 3lb weights instead. She was emphatic about this. 

Now, when a class needs a disclaimer like that...you know you're in for it. I thought for sure between the box and the bands...we would be jumping and squatting and lord only knows what else, but when Melissa put on a nice slow playlist of R&B Jams, and told us to lay flat on our mats, I was one happy camper. 

After a good stretch, we took the Pom bands into our hands and did a series of moves that will not be new to you. Ab prep, press downs, climbing rope, waist rotations, etc., but incorporating the bands takes these moves to THE NEXT LEVEL. No joke, I had a serious shake in my abs with the very first crunch. This continues at a perfect pace. Not too fast. Not too slow. Melissa cues you in a detailed way so that you get every ounce of work out of each move. With the music smoothly gliding around you in the background, before you know it, you will be working hard AND you will be ENJOYING yourself. (At least, I did.)

After an intense ab series, you turn onto your stomach and do some familiar backwork, but using the bands to take it up a notch. Then you use the hipster box as a place to sit and do some 360 degree waist rotations using the bands (I loved this.) And then you end the class by using the box as a guide to do some squats and other leg work. 

I HIGHLY recommend this class. I was super sore in the morning, but my mind felt incredibly relaxed afterwards. It is certainly going to be a regular in my rotation until it moves off the calendar. You won't regret it, if you do the same. 

See you in class!

SAYEH'S LIVING STEMS 2.0! 1 Aug 2013

Living

Stems!

What you need: Wrist Bands! The new Thinny bands no longer have a foam cushion to protect your wrists (sanitary reasons). BYO or purchase them at the front desk for $6. They keep the delicate skin around your wrists from chafing from all the sliding the bands do in this high energy class. I highly recommend them. They make a world of difference. 
Props: Lithe Thinny Bands, Lithe Loop (giant blue rubber band that goes around both thighs), 3lb weights
Clothing Considerations: I would avoid shorts so the loop isn't directly rubbing on your skin
Sweat Factor: Major sweat-athon. 

Recently, Lauren posted a beautiful yellow image of Lithe instructor Joellyn Fox with words "No Maybes" written across it. I loved it and found it inspiring, but after I took Stems on Tuesday, I decided it should be changed to: "No gimmes." or "No free passes. At all. Like Ever." Because in her mission to constantly raise the bar, Lauren has revamped the old Stems line up (which was already challenging) and really upped the ante. 

I walked into Stems remembering that there was a bit of cardio in the beginning, but looking forward to the other part of class--the majority of it--which is spent on the floor doing a sculpting series using the Lithe Loop for resistance. I was tired and dragging myself into the studio, so I thought it would be perfect. Then our instructor, Rachel Dore, asked who was new to Stems 2.0. My stomach immediately dropped.

I know what 2.0 means in Lithe speak. It's not just a slightly faster, more streamlined version of its former self. Oh no. It means strap yourselves in tight, b*tches. This is going to hurt. So that's exactly what I did. Strapped myself in tight to the Thinny bands--a new edition to this class--as the cardio used to be done without bands--and put my game face on.  

The beginning cardio was wait for it...really fun! There was new moves I'd never done before and some that were CCS staples. It was definitely much much longer than the previous CCS in the original Stems, but a great playlist was pumping super loud and I was FEELIN it. It was a little Rock Steady, a little Higher Power and a little Pom all put together. 

After we had a proper sweat going, we grabbed our 3lb weights, still strapped into our Thinny bands, and started an arm series that was almost an excerpt from Peeled, which kept my heart rate going. It was only after all that, that we got to lay it down on the mat and thread our legs through the Lithe Loop. 

At that point, my muscles, although super warm, were exhausted so the loop work was NO GIMME. I was shaking. I was quaking. I was Lithe stalling. I was Kerri Struggling. I imagine however, with a couple of classes under my belt, I'll just get stronger and the loop work will get less painful--at least a little bit. 

Stems 2.0 turned out to be exactly what I didn't know I needed. It pepped me up and made me feel SO much better. I left really worn out, but in a great way. Not the same way I came in. I highly recommend this class. It's got a bit of everything, and will certainly kick your butt, but you'll have fun in the process. 

See you in class!

SAYEH'S LIVING ROCK STEADY! 1 May 2013

RS

Rock Steady!

What you need: Wrist Bands! The new Thinny bands no longer have a foam cushion to protect your wrists (sanitary reasons). BYO or purchase them at the front desk for $6. They keep the delicate skin around your wrists from chafing from all the sliding the bands do in this high energy class. I highly recommend them. They make a world of difference. 
Props: Lithe Thinny Bands
Clothing Considerations: Whatever you're comfortable in 
Sweat Factor: You'll look like you just pulled the chain to dump water on yourself during your dance performance on stage a la Flashdance

I was a cheerleader once, for exactly 1 year. The 8th grade. We were the Mustangs. Who rocks the house? The Mustangs rock the house. And when the Mustangs rock the house...they rock it all-the-way-DOWN! Picture butts in the air and slamming the ground on the word DOWN. We were awesome. Except that we weren't. We kind of sucked. I just loved the uniforms and was excited to learn synchronized dances, but wasn't into my squad leaders yelling and screaming at me and would usually skip practice to fake inhale cigarettes under a bridge behind my school with all the 'alternative' kids. Which meant I was wearing a pleated skirt and coughing up a storm while kids cooler than me listened to Nirvana on their discmans in their flannel shirts.  

Fast forward ten years, and I was a first-year high school teacher a few weeks into the job when my principal called me into his office to ask me if I would volunteer to be the cheerleading sponsor for the school. Now, as a first year teacher you are expected to take on extra-curricular activities and really lend a helping hand. Something I was prepared to do, but high school cheerleading in Texas is NO JOKE. You guys saw the Lifetime movie. They kill for that stuff down there. I just looked him dead in the eye and said: Cheerleading? Do I look spunky to you? He chuckled, said Good point. And I decided to head up our school's chapter of Crime Stoppers instead. We stopped mo' crime!

But deep down I've always been drawn to the sport despite acting too cool for it when I was coming up. I watched the competitions on ESPN, secretly loved pep rallies where I could see all the amazing stunts and high flyers. I had to admit--even if just to myself. Cheerleaders, despite their various stigmas, were TALENTED ATHLETES. 

Enter Rock Steady. A microcasm of my relationship with cheerleading. When I first saw the video that Lauren posted of one of its CCS sequences, I was slightly terrified. Then when I realized they actually shout things out and stomp and clap, my too-cool-for-school reflexes kicked in. HEll NO! I thought.  But then true to form, my nagging inner cheerleader kicked in too. She was saying: Rocky Steady might actually be FUN. You know you want to. 

And she was so right. First, it wasn't nearly as difficult to remember the CCS sequences and keep up as I thought it would be. If you've been taking classes like Higher Power, Twiggy, Pom and Weightless and have gotten a feel for CCS, you will pick up the Rock Steady sequences quickly. If not, I still say give it a shot. You repeat the sequences so many times that you will certainly pick it up by the end of a class or 2. 

Like the aforementioned CCS heavy classes, Rock Steady breaks up the CCS sequences into sets. In other words, you do 10, 20, 30 reps of each move before moving to the next. You do that a few times before you break them down by doing one of each all in a row. And the CCS sections themselves are further separated by scultpting segments where you doing standing sculpting work or down on the mat doing abs and sculpting yourself from hip to shoulder. 

Class flies by and you're done and soaking wet before you know it. It definitely brought out my secret love for remembering fun routines. It was so fun to see everyone doing them in unison while a great play list blared around me. It definitely beats hacking away at Viriginia Slims in a cheerleading uniform and dodging the dean of students under a gross, humid bridge. Rock Steady definitely rocks the house. All-the-way DOWN!

See you in class!

SAYEH'S LIVING DUTCH! 3 Apr 2013

Sayeh's Living Lithe

Dutch!

What you need: Just yourself! 
Props: Jump Ropes
Clothing Considerations: Cropped pants or tight leggings--flared pants will get caught in the rope, sneakers (tie your laces tight!), I wouldn't wear a hoodie as the hood will catch on the rope too 
Sweat Factor: Red-faced and sweat-tastic!

I must preface this post by informing everyone that I don't run. Can't run. Not even to my mailbox--and considering my mailbox is a slot in my front door, that gives you some concept of what I'm talking about. Growing up, every Thursday was "running day" in gym class. I LOATHED it. We had to run around these four orange cones placed way too far apart in a field. Everytime we finished a lap, our gym teacher would hand us a popsicle stick. The goal, obviously, was to collect as many popsicle sticks as possible during the 45 minute class period--but the minimum was four. Four laps around the cones. In 45 minutes. Easy right?

Wrong!

Every Thursday, without fail, boys and girls ran past me...two, three times carrying fists full of popsicle sticks. Not me. I could barely collect 4. During the last leg of the 4th lap, the coach would cheer me on/yell at me. My friends would urge me forward, "Chariots of Fire" would play, everything would go into slow motion, and I would collect my last stick before falling into a heap just shy of the last cone while everyone else was headed back inside. You get the idea. 

So, when I showed up for Dutch, and realized there would be running involved, I was slightly terrified. All I knew of Dutch was what I inferred from the picture of Melissa jumping rope posted on the blog last year. I guess I assumed we'd be skipping down the street with ropes--which in retrospect was silly considering we ran down Spruce (from the RH studio)--and people wouldn't appreciate a gang full of rope wielding, fitness crazed ladies taking over the sidewalks (or would they?)

Thankfully, we alternated between a light jog for 2 blocks and walking for 1 block until we reached the Schuylkill River Park, so I didn't have flashbacks to gym class. In fact, even though I was dead last in the line of ladies, I wasn't as miserable as I thought I would be. Turns out all of the up-tempo Lithe classes have paid off. I felt like my lungs were keeping up with me (on the way there anyway), and that my legs weren't going jello on me like they did back in the day. 

Once we got to the park, we started jumping rope, and something happened with the space-time continuum. Have you ever been having an incredible time with friends or an amazing moment with your significant other--where you just wish time would stand still so that you could live in that moment forever? Well, I've found the answer for you! Start jumping rope! That's right. Want that goodnight kiss to never end? Bust out your rope and get to skippin! Want the incredible dish you ordered at your favorite restaurant to last as long as possible? Get to jumpin! Why? BECAUSE TIME STANDS STILL WHEN YOU JUMP ROPE!!

For example, Catherine, our instructor, would say now jump on 1 leg for 30 seconds! Oh, 30 seconds? No sweat! YES, SWEAT! MAJOR SWEAT! And don't even think you can Lithe stall your way through any portion of those 30 seconds. I blew my nose. Adjusted my sweatshirt. Tied my shoes. Untangled myself from the rope, and Catherine would shout, while looking at her watch, 28 more seconds! This goes on for 3-minute intervals. Three minutes of nonstop rope jumping. You do it in a variety of ways for the interval, then you hit the ground for push-ups, burpees, etc. in between each. Get ready to really test your endurance. This isn't your school yard jump-rope sesh. Oh no. 

Then you head to the riverside to do some sculpting work, which is a nice break from the jumping (but still tough), then it's another light jog-walk back to the studio. I again, was bringing up the rear. So much so, that during the walking portions...I had to run anyway just to keep up with the pack. Needless to say, it was a killer workout. I can imagine adding this to my schedule once a week, and watching the lbs melt off. Seriously. I could barely walk the next day, and had to cancel my Tuesday Skinny Mini since I couldn't even make it down my stairs. Lithe still makes me sore, for sure, but this was like first-time Lithing type of sore. I'm still feeling it. 

If you like to run, I think this class will satisfy that running-itch I always hear runners talk about. If you're like me and my account of middle school gym class sent shivers down your spine, there's no way you are worse than me, and I could keep up...so don't let it scare you. It's nice to be outside in the world and out of the studio even though Philadelphia refuses to acknowledge that it is spring, and let up with this cold weather. In fact it seems to be giving spring the middle finger ever time she tries to pop in for a few hours. But, she'll win out in the end (I hope), and Dutch is the perfect way to take advantage as the temperatures rise.

See you in class!



SAYEH'S LIVING HIGH WAISTED! 27 Mar 2013

Sayeh's Living Lithe

High Waisted!

What you need: Gloves! 
Props: Pom bands (the ones with handles), Calorie Trashers (if you got 'em)
Clothing Considerations: Cropped pants--lots of balancing, dont want to get tangled in too-long pants
Sweat Factor: Everyone in the room had a good sheen, but could also grab a drink after class without looking like they ran through a sprinkler a la Higher Power

If you've picked up a fashion magazine in the last couple of years, you've noticed the high waisted look is back, and I have to say that I've been wanting to get on board, but every time I eye a pair of high waisted jeans, images of poor Jessica Simpson flash before my eyes. You remember what I'm referring to, of course. The girl got skewered for wearing a pair of high waisted, so-called mom jeans. Now perhaps I have a soft spot for my fellow Texan, but I truly felt bad for her during that fiasco, and have no desire to repeat her fashion faux-pas. So, high waisted pencil skirts are more my speed. Although, every time I go to try one on, they present their own challenges too. Yes, they make me look little in the middle, but like I got much back...if you know what I'm saying. And highlight the saddlebag area to boot.

Enter, High Waisted the class. It works your entire body 360 degrees around your core down through your hips, saddle bags (not to mention full leg and arms and...wait that's your whole body). Most of the class is spent on one leg, balancing while lunging, raising up into liberty, arabesque, and folded over doing some pulses and kicks while using the pom bands for support and to keep your arms and back engaged. It requires some coordination, to be sure. Bari told us up front not to be discouraged if we felt a bit wobbly on one leg--that it takes about 3 classes to get the feel for the class--so that allowed me to relax and not pressure myself to feel like I needed to get it exactly right the first time. 

That said, the class was FUN, and actually not super crazy hard to get a hang of. It was definitely the first class that I really wished I had the Calorie Trashers because my range of motion is pretty crappy, and I could have really benefited from something to keep my muscles warm and increase my flexibility as I stood on one foot and folded over and kicked behind me. 

The class is upbeat, but not brutal in terms of cardio. It's the perfect combination of cardio and sculpting. At one point, a great song was blaring, we were combining all the moves we had just learned and I was in. the. zone. I woke up the next morning feeling sore in ways that I never have and eager to take the class again. A few more, and I'll be heading back to the racks for that pencil skirt minus the J. Simp flashbacks.

I highly recommend it. Let loose (literally) and have fun! 

And if you take High Waisted any time soon, I'll see you in class.

 

SAYEH'S LIVING PEELED! 6 Mar 2013

Sayeh's Living Lithe

Peeled!

What you need: Peeled Sleeves! (These are optional. You can bring your own, or order them at any studio. Once you pay for them ($10 or $12) they will arrive within 30 days.)
Props: 3lb, 5lb, 8lb weights, Hipster box, gliders (purple pads from Short Shorts for those not wearing arm warmers) Grapefruit essential oil spray
Clothing Considerations: Whatever you’re comfortable in
Sweat Factor: Pretty good sweat (but you should be presentable public after)

Recently, I was treated to a very sweet V-day gift of a facial. Growing up with a mom in the beauty industry, I got facials regularly. My mother would spy a blackhead on my nose and send me marching to the esthetician in her salon. (Tough life, I know.) But, as an adult, I can rarely justify the expense or make time for them, so this was a wonderful relaxing treat...until the peel. 

If you've never had a facial before, typically you lay on a massage table face up with your hair in a wrap away from your face, under a sheet with your shoulders and decollete exposed. The esthetician then cleanses your face of any makeup, dirt and oil. All the while, a neat device sprays gentle steam onto your face to loosen your pores and make your skin more pliable. Your skin is then examined under a giant magnifier with lights (your eyes are protected of course) and depending on your esthetician's style, she'll go to work cleaning you out--removing black heads and squeezing zits with various tools and sanitary techniques that minimize damage and scarring to the skin. After which, she usually applies masks and gels and lotions and peels...depending on what you request and are hoping to achieve. 

Now you may recall a certain episode of Sex and the City where Samantha gets a chemical peel right before a big PR event and ends up with a crazy blueberry face forcing her to wear a veil like Lydia from Beetlejuice to hide the damage. The peel I got was nothing like that. (Although I hear those peels can do wonders!) It was a slightly acidic concoction that my facialist made and applied to my face to help slough off the dull outer layer of my face to make room for a bright new, shiny glowy me. Sounds like a great plan right? After having your skin poked and prodded, it felt like she was applying lemon juice and salt onto my raw and tender skin. "Is it burning?" she asked. I replied that it stung a little to which she casually responded: "It will get more intense, so let me know if you can't take it anymore." 

What is this? I thought. A spa or Guantanamo Bay? After a few minutes of wiggling my toes and gripping the sheets in discomfort, she came to my rescue and removed the peel with gentle pads soaked in...something. SWEET RELIEF. She then massaged my face and neck into a blissful oblivion. I emerged from this appointment feeling an odd combination of relaxed and slightly abused. It wasn't until I saw my skin in the mirror that I realized it was all worth it. It looked SO CLEAN, and fresh and glowing. Literally. It was incredible. The results were SO immediate, I couldn't believe. Totally worth the few minutes of the total discomfort. 

This is exaclty how I would describe Peeled the class. Incredibly painful, while being kind of fun, and leaving you feeling sore in ways you never knew you could be sore, but also emerging with immediate results like definition in your arms that you KNOW wasn't there the day before. It's crazy. 

You begin the class by spraying Grapefruit oil on your arms for beneficial toning, circulation and diuretic effects and slide on your arm warmers, if you have them. Then you grab your 3lb weights and do a series of standing arm work which incorporates the lower half of your body too. This portion left me wanting to suck my thumb on the mat until it was over. Then you bump it up to 5lbs for another series of arm, chest and back killers which will have you wondering how you are still able to get your limbs to cooperate. From there you take a quick "break" from the weights and so some sliding ab and arm work using either your arm warmers to help you slide on the wood floor or the gliders if you don't have any. After that, you pick up the 8lb weights, throw them onto your shoulders and do various squats using the Hipster box to guide you (you never step up onto it). This part was my favorite because I could give my arms a break, which at this point were telling me to go F myself, and use my legs and butt instead. 

I walked out feeling incredibly sore right away, and am still feeling it in my shoulders chest and back 3 days later. BUT, my boyfriend went to touch me on the arm yesterday and said, "Whoa Schartzenegger! Take it easy!" and couldn't stop gripping my biceps and feeling them in disbelief. So was it kind of agonizing? YES. Was it worth it and did I see results basically 5 minutes later? YES. 

You know what they say. Beauty is pain. But, Peeled definitely qualifies as the good kind. 

See you in class!


SAYEH'S LIVING FREESTYLE! 6 Feb 2013

living lithe

Freestyle!

What you need: Gloves! (depending on the lineup this changes, but you should bring them since you won’t know ahead of time)
Props: Everything is game at anytime
Clothing Considerations: Whatever you’re comfortable in
Sweat Factor: Sweat-fest 2013

During high school, I went through a phase where I full on thought I was Aaliyah--the R&B protege of Timbaland and Missy Elliott who was allegedly romantically involved with R. Kelly when she was only 16--hence  her hit song, “Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number” (cuz a noun ain't nothing but a thang), in case you were curious about the logic. I wore Adidas track pants, and little white tank tops, hoop earrings and crispy white Adidas shell toes. I alternated this outfit with my Polo Sport getups and my Tommy Hilfiger overalls (one strap only) and CK One perfume/cologne. I hung out with a crew who also thought they were various R&B and hip hop stars. When we would all get together at a party or at a gas station (why did we hang out at gas stations?), the guys would inevitably battle each other in the form of freestyle rapping (it was the 90s, I have no other explanation). If this picture would lead you to believe that I grew up in a place straight out of the movie 8 Mile, guess again. We were as suburban as it gets. Don’t ask. Again, I blame the 90s.

During these rap freestyle battles, people would would oooh and ahhh over various vicious lyrics that were aimed at embarrassing the other rapper. We laughed and cheered while people’s mothers were bashed and every insecurity they never spoke of aloud was exposed for all to see.  And every once in a while, perhaps after one too many swigs of Fuzzy Navel wine coolers, some of the girls would jump in. I’m pretty sure one of the lyrics I “spit” (that’s what you do to lyrics) went something like: Step to me, girl, if you must. But if I were you, I’d make like Punky and increase your bust!” Ooooh buuuurn. Needless to say, I didn’t grow up to be a professional rapper or musician of any kind and was usually laughed out of the circle.

Thank God Lithe’s Freestyle has nothing to do with rapping, terrible malt liquor beverages or questionable 90s wardrobe choices. Although writing about Freestyle is equally challenging because it changes every week. It includes lineups from any number of Lithe classes, and keeps you guessing as to what’s coming next. When I took it this week, we used the dowel rod, pom bands, and did a combination of moves from High Waisted, Skinny Jeans, Thigh High & Split (that’s where I stopped counting).

Not knowing the sequence of events keeps class moving quickly. You’re not psyching yourself out about all the pain you know is coming next, so it’s a pleasant surprise when class is over before you know it. It’s also a great way to introduce yourself to classes that you haven’t taken yet. High Waisted, for example, is on the list of class I haven’t taken yet--but now that I’ve taken Freestyle I have an idea of what to expect when I do take it--making it feel less intimidating.

When you take Freestyle, you should come prepared for anything. You may stay on the mat most of the time; you may be up and jumping (so the instructors tell me). What I do know is that you will NOT have to bust out in a rap, or worse hear me rap. But I do think we should bring back one-strap overalls. Maybe a twist on the Calorie Trashers?

See you in class!

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