124 posts categorized " Sayeh's Living Lithe! "

SAYEH'S LIVING LITHE! 25 Feb 2015

Sayeh

I don't know about y'all, but this winter's been rough on me. No matter how many folks tell me spring is around the corner, or that this winter really hasn't been that bad, or at least we aren't enduring what the New England area has endured, I still can't help but feel a little bit like we are all characters in that movie Snow Piercer. Circumnavigating the world on a rickety train for the rest of eternity, forced to eat gelatinous bricks of protein and amino acids for nourishment, while the rest of the planet freeze dries during an extinction level snowpacolypse.

I'm slipping on ice. I'm ruining shoes. My back hurts from bracing myself against the wind and cold. I'm cranky. I don't want to cook. Even though I know I should be trying to incorporate foods that are purported to warm me up from the inside, I just don't FEEL like it because all I want to do is crawl under a blanket and complain about how I also don't feel like watching anything available on Netflix. In sum, the struggle is real, and it's time for a vacation to somewhere much warmer than here. In the meantime however, not surprisingly, my motivation levels to get into the studio have been as low as my mood. And that never helps.

I just want to eat MSG-laden dan dan noodles and greasy cumin lamb on top of steamed white rice (hello, Han Dynasty!) I want bechamel covered mac and cheese. I want to eat meatball hoagies on crusty bread that I dip into a plate of spaghetti. I want chili on top of everything. (There's a place in Texas, that I LOVE, that basically serves you ground up chili on top of chili on top of chili with a side of Saltines, and I can't stop thinking about it.) Not only do I want all of these rich, heavy foods, I want them in copious quantities. I want thirds. Pad thai or pad see ew? I'll take both. And throw in some spring rolls and any manner of dumpling you may have on the menu. Danke schoen.

Since good ol' Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow and I know I won't be warm again until mid-April, I realize this is not going to be a sustainable way to live. This means I need to find recipes for meals that stick to my ribs, but not my arteries. I tried to Google "hearty, healthy" meals, but Google assumes that I misspelled "heart" instead of "hearty" and is giving me lists of 25 foods approved by the American Heart Association. Which is all well and good, but not exactly what I'm looking for. (Yes, I know I should've put the terms in quotation marks. Whatever!)

Do you guys have anything you do to keep it together in the winter? Recipes to share? Tips to brave the cold and get to the studio? Or if you're feeling the same way, I'm certainly down to commiserate. Let me know, ladies! I need ya right now!

See you in class! (Tomorrow)

 

SAYEH'S LIVING B-SIDES! 11 Feb 2015

Sayeh's Living Lithe

B-Sides!

What you need: Wristbands (for your ankles)! Gloves!
Props: Thinny bands (the ones that Velcro around your ankles).
Clothing Considerations: Long pants make the ankle bands more comfortable. 
Sweat Factor: Very light sheen. You can go to happy hour after or get away with not showering before work. 

When I think of B-sides, I think of the white cassette tapes I purchased in the early '90s when my favorite group would release their newest single. My favorite song was on the A-side and often a not so great song, or an instrumental version of the A-side song would show up on the B-side. I'd usually give the B-side a quick chance, but quickly eject, flip the tape over and listen and rewind and listen and rewind the A-side. More music savvy consumers than I, collect records, the home of the original A and B-side, and there's much debate among collectors about the greatest B-sides of all time. Songs that may have been even better than the A-side that sold the album in the first place. 

I must say that Lithe's B-sides was a mix of this A-side vs B-side question for me. A mix of OH MAN THIS COULD BE A CLASSIC with a little WHAT THE...! I can start by saying if you like Thinny (which I love), I think you'll really enjoy B-Sides. It's grounded for most of the class, like Thinny is, and the bands are around your ankles like they are in Thinny. However, I think the comparisons really end there. B-sides is like a mix of A-List Abs, Waspie, and Stems. Just sculpt city USA.The thing that makes B-Sides a little bit discombobulating is how different it is than those classes too.

Because in addition to the Thinny bands around the ankles, you grab the same bands with your hands too. Not additional bands hanging from the ceiling. You grab the bands that are around your ankles, find a place where you have a little slack and pull them towards you. This resistance is a monster. You have to really engage your core to keep your feet on the ground as you pull them away from you with arms. This is where the discombobulation occurs at first. 

This is a class where you really need to listen to the cues your first few times. If you're a newbie, get to class early (especially at Rittenhouse) and get a mat with a good view of the instructor. Bari was my guide, and her cues were incredibly important. She explained what to do, and more importantly what NOT to do so that you don't accidentally strain your neck or something else as you wobble around at first. 

The other key to this class is PLACEMENT. Placement of yourself right under the bracket in the ceiling where the bands are coming from makes a huge difference. A fellow Lither saw me struggling and encouraged me to scoot my tuckus right underneath the bracket and VOILA, I was a pro! (Kinda.) The next placement to be mindful of? Where you place your hands along the bands. Where you grab the bands will need to change depending on the move. Sometimes you'll need more slack, sometimes less. Listen to cues and remember to move your hands around consistently. This is especially important when doing the standing vertical band work (my new fave). 

I have to say, although I've been a bit of a mess both times I've taken the class (improving every time), I absolutely love it. It's totally different than anything else, which I always welcome and which Lauren is so uncannily good at providing, and it's challenging. It's nice not to have muscle memory for something and have to work hard to get it right. And working hard is what you do. You quake, you shake, you tremble and you WERK IT. 

Sometimes a break from CCS is just what the doctor ordered, especially when you're not sacrificing burn or difficulty level (which I never you think you do with grounded classes but more skeptical folks will likely agree with me for B-sides.) I say take a friend and give it a shot, if you haven't already. Sit next to each other. Shoot each other WTF glances, let go, and get into it. I will make this a weekly staple as long as I can, that's for certain. 

See you in class!

 

SAYEH'S LIVING SIDELINE! 4 Feb 2015

Sayeh's Living Lithe

Sideline!

What you need: Gloves!
Props: Pom Bands
Clothing Considerations: Whatever you're comfortable in.
Sweat Factor: Ice Bucket Challenge Status

I'm going to be bold and proclaim something big right now. Sideline is the new Lithe class that will change your entire body. Fast. We all know the staples like Waspie, Skinny Jeans and Higher Power will whittle you into shape, and we take them religiously. Add Sideline to the list, sister girls. Add Sideline to the list.

It kicked my ever-loving butt in a thousand ways. Unlike its title may convey, this is not a class where you can hang out on the fringes and observe. You are in high gear from the jump, and don't let that intimidate you. It was the perfect mix of high-intensity CCS, but also slower-paced sculpting interspersed throughout using Vertical Band Sculpting. This is where you stand up and step on handles of the Pom bands instead of holding the handles with your hands. You then push and pull on the bands that now have incredible resistance since you are holding them extremely taught with your feet. (Where you place your feet matters...up too close to the ball of your foot, and you'll be in pain quick...go back towards your heels.)

The Vertical Band arms sequence in this class might be the most challenging arms sequence I've yet to encounter at Lithe. My shoulders, biceps and back were on FIRE. During the cardio sequences I was praying for them to be over, so we could cool it down with the sculpting, but the arms and back stuff was so intense, that I was quickly praying for the sculpting to be over so I could get back to jumping around (and I'm not a cardio lover). 

If you're trying to get your arms and back on point for any reason (wedding dress, just to be a badass) take this class. From butt to thighs to calves to waist to fingertips--you are working it out in Sideline. As I left, a fellow Lither and I agreed that taking that class on a consistent basis would whip us into shape in no time. 

See you in class!

Image of Sayeh Magaziner via Dom

 

SAYEH'S LIVING LITHE (TIGHT END!) RE-POST 4 Feb 2015

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Lithe's Tight End is one of our two featured glue-based workouts for Jan-March 2015.  Born late 2011, it combines our core cardio sequence with tall box work with Pom bands that make for a fantastic total-body workout with an emphasis on tightening and lifting that booty!  Here's a re-post from Sayeh: 

What you need: Gloves!
Props: Lithe’s Higher Power Band System (Pom Handles), Tall Box (from Hipster)
Clothing Considerations: Long pants (You place the pom handles around your ankles at one point.)
Sweat Factor: Imagine you are standing on a corner on a rainy day, and a giant SUV plows through a puddle near you, and mercilessly splashes you without so much as slowing down. Now, do that 10 times...and you might be close.

Growing up in Texas, I was a pretty big football fan. The Dallas Cowboys were winning Super Bowls, and I was going to my high school football games every Friday night. I fancied myself pretty knowledgeable about the sport. But, as the years have passed, I’ve become almost completely disconnected from what’s happening in the NFL. Eagles fans heckle me about another embarrassing Cowboys loss (as if they can talk, oooh buurrrrn), and I just shrug my shoulders because I haven’t the slightest clue what they’re talking about.

But in recent weeks, a phenomenon has swept the nation, and has brought football back into the forefront of my mind. Two words: Tim. Tebow. This man has single-handedly brought prayer back into public schools. Kids everywhere are having Tebow flash mobs--meaning they all take a knee simultaneously in some predetermined location, and feign ardent prayer. (Somebody oughta tell these kids that Rodin’s Thinker has been sportin this pose a century before Timmy hit the scene! DUH kids.) PRAYING flash mobs? Hopefully the trend will hit Philly soon, where the very mention of the term flash mob has shopkeepers and restaurant owners on South Street reaching for their baseball bats.

For those of you whose Facebook news feeds haven’t been inundated by Tebow-related attempts at comedy, Tim Tebow is the quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Extremely open about his religious beliefs, he is given to taking a knee on the field during games to say a quick prayer. Inevitably, it seems that despite his poor performance throughout these games, once he prays--things turn around and the Broncos come back and win in dramatic fashion. Case in point, last weekend when the Broncos ousted the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs. Tebow miraculously threw an 80-yard touch down pass to bring the score to 29-23 in overtime. The real crazy part? He threw for 316 yards that game. 3:16, Tebow’s favorite bible verse, which he often writes into the shoe polish under his eyes. Go fig.

And it’s because of all this Tebow mania that I almost fell to a knee to say my own prayer in Tight End last week. I was in so much pain that I almost pulled the girl off the box next to mine to make her kneel and chant with me: Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly fah. Fah fah away from here. Tight End is KILLER. Imagine that Weightless, Hipster and Sweet Cheeks got busy and made a little Lithe baby. That would be Tight End.

You begin the class by grabbing onto the pom handles and doing a cardio sequence similar to the fun, dance-cheer series in Weightless. The dance moves themselves are different, but super fun, and equally intense. Then, once your heart rate is pounding and your sweat is forming into little beads all over your body, you incorporate the tall box. Using the bands for support, you do a quad and glute-murdering series of squats, lunges and kicks.

Once you’re legs are giving way, and you’re considering consulting your lord above for support, you get down and go straight into another high octane cardio series. Once you can shake your rump no more, you get back on the box for some inverted work--a la Sweet Cheeks. Here you place the pom handle around your ankle and use the resistance to tap and lift your leg in a zillion different directions. The real crazy part? Lauren kept telling us that she was merely introducing us to Tight End basics--that soon the class will attempt to actually murder us with a lot more moves on the box, and a more ramped-up dance series during the cardio segments.

Tight End is a must-take for anyone looking to kick it up a notch and get their serious sweat on. And when you’re legs are quivering and the sweat is dripping off the end of your nose, just channel your inner Tebow, have faith...and believe. And hey, if you need to say a quick prayer to get through it, go for it. It’s working for the Broncos!

See you in class!

Image of Master Lithe Instructor Tif Nork via Lauren

25 THINGS! {KALIKA FAIL} 21 Jan 2015

K-1

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.

BEST OF FHH 2014! 29 Dec 2014

NHY

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,

 

25 NEW THINGS! {BY SAYEH} LITHE EDITION! 19 Dec 2014

Windshieldwiper_A

We all know Lauren as the brains (and the body) behind everything Lithe. From the constantly evolving classes, to the clean drinks she creates to compliment them, to the stylish, high performance gear she designs for us to wear during them (and out to dinner after we leave), she has carefully crafted an entire lifestyle for her clients. One that is without gimmick and that gains die-hard converts daily, because of one simple fact: it works. But aside from all of that (and that's a lot), one of the things I l love most about Lauren is the genuine joy she still gets when she watches how Lithe changes her clients' bodies and lives.

I'll never forget when I ran into her a couple of months after my initial Lithe Diving commitment. I had lost another 7 or 8 pounds and toned up quite a bit. She saw me, and just seemed overwhelmed by my results. She had this childlike delight and surprise – almost like she couldn't believe that it was she, herself who had created this thing that had worked so completely. It was a glimmer of something underneath that typically unwavering, fierce vision she has when it comes to Lithe – the almost preternatural confidence she has about what it can do for a woman who commits to it, and how much it will continue to grow. It was a brief flash of that side of her that still cries at every love letter and whose jaw still drops at every before and after picture and endless summer hashtag. The side that kind of still can't believe that her dream is coming true. This week, she brings us 25 NEW Things to share as she continues her constantly evolving journey to better herself, life, love, and Lithe. Like me, I'm sure you'll tip your hat at the screen a bit thinking about her skills, business acumen and the general bad-assery she's brought to our lives.

1. Being a mom has inspired me in so many ways. I'm working on two new projects for 2015 (one food and one fitness) that I think all the mom's out there will love! 

2. I can't believe that I'm saying this out loud ... I've been toying with the idea of possibly having another baby at some point. I've gone from never again, to maybe...

3. I'm developing two new incredible in-studio workouts for 2015 and even more content will be debuted online. For the many displaced Lithers who have been dying for VOD for all these years, we've heard your cries : )

4. I'm never idle. When you don't see me on the schedule, I'm where the business needs me: instructor training, working on my book, Lithe Foods, a project, or another aspect of the businessLithe is so much bigger than me and most days I go from 5AM to 12AM, just trying to chase it!

5. I don't have a favorite studio, but Rittenhouse is conveniently located two blocks away from my house, so to make my life easier, I prefer to teach there. Since having Mars, I've realized that my time is so incredibly valuable. I’ve really learned how to work smarter and not harder, as well as choose quality over quantity.

6. Teaching is my happy place. I'd always rather be teaching. 

7. I've been asked to be a ambassador/sponsor for many companies. I'm taking on my first one this year. The most important lesson I’ve learned when it comes to associating yourself with another brand is to be selective and to align yourself with something that you truly believe in. I believe that it's vital to work with companies that are harmonious with Lithe and myself. By being selective, I strengthen the connection with my fans as well as their confidence in me. At the end of the day, it’s really about authenticity and staying true to yourself and your brand.

8. Lithe is such a small business. We are a team of approximately 50 (and only three studios), but our brand is so much bigger than the business itself. I giggle at some of the things that I hear. Sometimes people assume we have "issues" because it takes us time to install mirrors, for example. It all boils down to being a small business. At our core, we are a workout. We're not a large company (yet!).  

9. At this point in my career, I feel like I have an MBA. I learned it all through experience and that is priceless.

10. When I opened our first studio in 2005, there were no boutique fitness options in Philly. I feel like Lithe (and Lithers!) are the pride of Philadelphia. In my opinion, the rise of the local fitness scene was due to Lithe. We put Philly on the map. The big box fitness brands wouldn't be here if we hadn't built and proved the market. I've enjoyed watching Philly grow and reach its full potential!  

11. Lithe is absolutely amazing. We're working towards a goal and every six months we're stronger and more united. Our current manangement team is phenomenal and I pinch myself every day. I work with such talented, hard-working people.  

12. Pepsi recently asked me what my proudest (business) moment has been so far. Honestly, it has to be having THREE men on the Lithe team. I couldn't be more proud of that and the direction that we're moving in.  

13. I'm striving for Lithe to make it on one of the best places to work list, and someday that will happen. Over the past year and a half we've completely changed our culture. I don't believe in your typical workplace seniority. A very smart business man taught me about the importance of horizontal organization charts.

14. Eventually, I will cut back to only one studio in Philadelphia. I look forward to shifting my focus and scaling the business in a different way.  I'm an entrepreneur at heart. 

15. When it comes to my leadership style, I'm a big believer in hiring great people, and then getting the hell out of their way. 

16. Don't believe everything you think and don't worry about what other people think.

17. Fit.Hip.Healthy turned seven this year! Because I have so many hats to wear, many aspiring bloggers want to know how I continue to blog and support each facet of my business effectively. It all boils down to time management and your team. I changed the type of staff I've had a lot over the past several years. I started with interns during the early days of 2008. Then, I worked with freelance contributors. Then, last year, I decided to go back to blogging by myself and now I only have a few Lithe-specific contributors posting on occasion. I feel like I've found the perfect balance that works best for me. 

18. Progress is impossible without change. So many people are afraid of change and become caught up in failure. Do not worry about failing. Its your failures that inspire you to go out and do something better. Missed opportunities open doors to better opportunities and help you recognize how you can improve in preparation for them.

19. I hate excuses. Our 6AMers have inspired me so much over the years. There's always a way to get your workout in!  When I find myself in a bit of a fitness slump, I realize that the best way to get back on the horse is to stop making excuses. When it comes to working out, we all set our own limitations. The truth of the matter is that if something is a priority, you will make time for it.  

20. Confidence is the key to happiness. Embrace your thighs and measure yourself in strength, not pounds. Allow yourself to be the best version of the person you really are!  

21. Working with 45+ females (and over 1,000 female Lithers) is fascinating. There are so many different personalities to manage and some women tend to be negative and gossip instead of support each other. When I catch wind of something negative that's happening in-studio, it changes the way that I think about that person. This quote has really stuck with me: If those words appeared on your skin, would you still be beautiful?

22. I still cry over every love letter that I receive.   

23. Yes, send us your before-and-after photos! I never tire of seeing Lithers' progress and results. It totally makes my day and makes me realize why I do what I'm doing. It's a true light bulb moment every time!

24. I'm an eternal cheerleader and I believe that everyone needs one. Whenever I'm overtired or just not feeling 100 percent, I pump myself up by watching this clip of USC's Sandstorm, and then I head out to face the world. Channel your alma mater!  I swear it works. 

25. I highly recommend having a fierce vision when it comes to yourself. There's nothing wrong with being a little egotistical! The best project you'll ever work on is you – the trickle down effect is profound. 

Image of Lauren for Prevention Mag wearing Michi NY, Lithe & Norma Kamali via Dom

 

SAYEH'S LIVING MERCY! 10 Dec 2014

Sayeh's Living Lithe

Mercy!

What you need: Wrist Bands! Gloves! (Not vital, but really helpful since your hands will get sweaty from holding weights the whole time (or socks or leg warmers). The new Thinny bands no longer have a foam cushion to protect your ankles (for sanitary reasons). 
Props: Twiggy Bands (the ones that Velcro around your wrists) 3 and 5 pound weights
Clothing Considerations: Whatever you're comfortable in. 
Sweat Factor: Sweaty Freddy (Some ladies were soaked. Others had an average sweat going. You may not want to go out in public right after for a drink, etc.)

Like most women my age, I had a massive crush on Uncle Jesse from Full House, so for me, the name of this class (Mercy) really invokes his signature catch phrase from the show: "Have Mercyyyy!" (Although, when I think about it, why was that his thing? And why did I laugh and think it was cute? That's the power of being HOT, for you.) (Although have you seen John Stamos's belly button?? It ain't pretty. Sorry, John Stamos. If you ever read this, I love you. And "Kokomo" was my favorite song as a kid because of you and that episode where you were in Hawaii with all the Tanners and played the bongos with the Beach Boys. Did I mention I love you? And your almost tail-like belly button, too? Rebecca Romijn was a fool to let you go! A fool, I say!)

Wooo! Ok, where was I? I saw the brief description on the blog which described Mercy as low impact cardio, requiring a coordination level of 2, and I thought this would be perfect for me as I continue to ease myself back into Lithing regularly.

Class begins by strapping into your Twiggy bands and grabbing your 3 pound weights. You start to warm up your muscles and work your abs by doing some familiar side-to-side flat back lunges. This begins a series of movements that incrementally raises your heart rate. You go from lunges to reach-throughs to some fun rolling snake movements to calf-pumps to the jack combos we do in most of our cardio classes. As soon as my stamina was waning, however, we got a brief reprieve from the cardio portion by doing some standing sculpting work.

Mercy distinguishes itself from other classes here. The band, weights, and barre-less leg work were done in combinations I've never had before at Lithe. In fact, despite being a coordination level 2, I found myself befuddled by how to get my arms and legs to do what everyone else's were doing. Not because the movements were complicated, but because they were brand new to me. I had zero muscle memory for them. Incorporating my biceps and triceps while doing standing foldover work was challenging, but also fresh and different. 

After doing the intense sculpting work, it was on to burpee push-ups with weights, building to another series of cardio, and then sculpting work on the other side.  

I'm not going to lie, I was a hot mess in Mercy. Full on. I couldn't coordinate, and I was having trouble with my balance and stamina. This was for a few reasons. 1. I'm out of practice, 2. This was completely new to me. 3. I went in with totally different expectations. I totally ignored the "get ready to sweat" part of the class description and figured coordination level of 2 and "low impact" meant that this was going to be a mellow-ish kind of class. I wasn't fully mentally prepared for how quick-paced the class was. And mental preparation, at least for me, is half the battle. 

That said, I really liked it. It was such a full body workout. My shoulders, arms, BACK, waist, butt, legs ... everything. All at once. I could feel myself whittling down with each precise movement. It was like Twiggy and Skinny Mini and Armistice got freaky and had an incredible baby personal trainer that's gonna whip your ass into shape. 

So, I'm definitely going to take it again (and again), but next time I'm going to 1. get to class early (especially at Rittenhouse) to get a good view of the instructor. It can be my instinct sometimes to want to hide in the back when I don't know a class yet, and that made things tougher for me in this case (I really encourage anyone new to Mercy to venture to the front for this one to get a good view of the instructor.) 2. Not to let low-impact fool me, and be ready to sweat!

For the days that you're not quite up for the non-stop cardio blast of classes like Weightless and Pom, but want to sculpt your body to a good sweat, this class is the perfect fit. Just imagine yourself on the beach with Michelle and DJ and imagine your tummy (and totally normal belly button) flattening with every move. Have. Mercy.

See you in class!

Image of Sayeh in Lithe via Dom

SAYEH'S LIVING LITHE! 3 Dec 2014

Sayeh

As we all recover from delicious cream and butter comas, it can feel like a challenge to get back to some semblance of healthy eating between the holiday parties and family celebrations on the horizon. That's why keeping it simple is key! This week, I share the salmon recipe that was my first baby step away from couch surfing and chip-dipping, and got me back into the swing of making good food choices. Whether or not you have your diet game together, this is an easy, yet boldly flavored dish to add to your repertoire.

Baby Steps Salmon

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • Four fresh salmon filets (choose fish that has a vibrant color rather than a milky, muted one and avoid the tail piece, so all filets cook evenly) 
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses (you can use a thick, syrupy balsamic and reduce the amount to a 1/4 cup, although the flavor profile is very different)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (you can adjust this to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (also adjustable)
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Directions

  • Place salmon filets in a large Ziploc bag with marinade ingredients and refrigerate for at least three hours. (If you do this in the morning, it will be full of flavor by dinnertime).
  • Once you are done marinating, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Gently remove filets from the bag, and place them skin-side down in a baking pan or glass baking dish and cover evenly with the rest of the marinade from the bag.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until the fish is opaque.

I served mine atop lightly sauteed French green beans, but it would also be delicious with couscous, a hearty lacinato kale salad, or fluffy brown rice (this is my favorite recipe for preparing it perfectly every time).

Hope you enjoy and see you in class!

 

SAYEH'S LIVING LITHE! 19 Nov 2014

Sayeh

Guys, I'm happy to report that I've actually made some good choices over the last couple of weeks. And shockingly for me, it wasn't the result of buying a new book, ditching everything in my refrigerator, or starting a cleanse. I made a little tiny baby step, and the domino affect has been pretty exciting. 

I'll begin by explaining that I've been having a slew of first world problems that have really been bogging me down lately. First, I got the two worst haircuts of all time. TWO. Back to back. My mom, who has always cut my hair, briefly lost her mind (love you, Mom) and chopped an entire foot off my hair and gave me the equivalent of the infamous (and terrible) Rachel haircut from 1994. It's one of those haircuts that people can't even TRY to make you feel better about. Even my mom. All she could say was: Oh my God. I don't know what happened. I'm so sorry. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED?? You don't. know. what. happened? Were you briefly kidnapped by aliens?? Do we need to do an exorcism of Emily Rose?? What do you mean you don't know what happened? How about that whole time when I was saying: Um, Mom. Mom. You're cutting a lot. Mom. I don't really want a ton of layers in the front like that. Mom. MOM, I don't want bangs! And you kept telling me to pipe down and that you were 'blending?' What about then?? No? Can't recall? Sweet.

This took place an hour before my flight back to Philly, where I quietly and completely ridiculously, sniffled back the streaming tears of a person who rationally knows that this not the worst thing that could befall a person, but just can't help it. Upon my return, instead of struggling with an awful 'do for months while waiting for it to grow out, I decided to try and get it fixed. Someone could do SOMETHING right?? Nope. I left the shop with a shorter, more shrunken version of the same exact haircut. Basically, I'm the man at the end of Beetlejuice with a shrunken head. I'm shrunken-head haircut woman. So now, I can barely put my hair up in a ponytail to hide its hideous-ness, and I hate the world. (Not you mom, except for maybe a little bit the first few minutes in the morning when I look in the mirror.)

Then. THEN. I leave the salon to go pick up my scooter which has been in the shop for 4 months. My beloved scooter, which is my only freedom from SEPTA in this world, trapped in a garage for the entire riding season. I think: Okay, I may look my absolute worst in the head area for a while, but at least I can finally take my scooter home. Hoorah! Except that a few short blocks into my glorious and much awaited ride, it DIES on me at Second and Girard. Trolley tracks everywhere. Cars honking. My layers flying in the wind and in my face. And me. With my dead scooter and horrible haircut sitting like a half-plucked duck in the middle of traffic for all to see and hate!

Does it end there? Oh no, my friends. I finally get home after this horrible ordeal in 35 degree weather, to plop down on the couch and have my favorite pants rip. That's right. Rip. Right along the seam in the back of the thigh. Why? Because I've been eating pizza and chips and hoagies and extra cheese, and not going to Lithe. And my pants, which have been hanging on for dear life throughout all this abuse, finally just told me to go F myself.

So I sat there, and had a good cry and basically re-enacted the scene in Overboard where Goldie Hawn freaks out and turns into a zombie and just keeps muttering buh buh buh buh buh over and over again. Once I got it together enough to call my husband, I did. He talked me off my ridiculous cliff, as he is so expertly does probably a little too often.  

After this ordeal, I was done feeling sorry for myself and decided to stop being a total mess in life – haircut notwithstanding. So, I went to the grocery store...without a plan. I didn't sit and toil over food blogs and recipe websites trying to plan a menu, as I'm wont to do, for hours. I didn't walk around agonizing over what to buy and not to buy. I bought a few fresh veggies. Some fresh fish. And called it a day. I went home, threw something together and sat by myself and had a home-cooked, healthy meal.

And it changed everything. 

I took the leftovers to work for a clean lunch. And felt lighter and happier throughout the work day. I filled up my water bottle four times that day in an effort to increase my water intake and get some much-needed hydration. On the way home, I stopped by the Reading Terminal, and picked up a few more things to make another healthy meal. Over a week later, and I'm still on a roll. Turning down cookies and folding laundry and just feeling more in control. 

My quick and delicious salmon meal (recipe next week) made me realize that when I'm in a rut, I don't have to get drastic to start seeing real change, real quick. My whole entire week doesn't have to be a wash if I can't plan a week's worth of meals and shop and prepare for them on Sunday. I don't have to be so hard on myself to do it all, all at once. One meal. One fresh, home-cooked meal. That's it. And during this upcoming time of parties and excess, it's something I'll be reminding myself of over and over again. I don't have to wait until January 1st to feel better about my choices – even though it'll probably be at least that long before I feel better about my hair. I can always just cook myself one good meal. It can be that simple. 

See you in class!

 

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