119 posts categorized " Sayeh's Living Lithe! "

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

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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 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!

 

SAYEH'S LIVING LITHE! 5 Nov 2014

Sayeh's Living Lithe

I'm not going to bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I am not keeping up with my workout or my diet at all these days. The weather has turned cold, and my tendency to gravitate toward the fried and cheesy and hearty has only been exacerbated. Every week I tell myself: this is the week! This is the week where I do a smoothie in the morning and bring my lunch to the office and workout after work, and eat lean and clean for dinner. But alas, I grab a Larabar on my way out of the house and give into my cravings when I eat out for both lunch and dinner. I can feel and see the effects everywhere. My body, my energy, my general unhappiness with my choices...you name it. In fact, it's not even smoothie weather anymore, so as a breakfast option, I've essentially waited it out so long, that making a smoothie in the morning doesn't even appeal to me now. But I've come to love them as a staple of my day when I'm eating well, so I poked around online and realized smoothies can be easily adapted to winter weather, and I thought I'd share the basic principles I learned. 

1. Skip the ice and use these liquids for a creamier smoothie instead:

  • organic milk 
  • nut milks
  • brewed chai
  • plain Greek yogurt

2. Use seasonal fruits

  • apples
  • pears
  • figs
  • cranberries
  • dates
  • bananas (good for warming smoothies even though they aren't seasonal in these parts)

3. Use warming spices

  • cardamom
  • cayenne
  • ginger
  • cinnamon
  • turmeric
  • cloves
  • nutmeg

If you don't have the time, like I often don't (or say I don't), Lithe's Lithe Cider and Apple Ginger BFF are perfect warming winter options you can buy on the fly on your way out of class. If a smoothie sounds a little too chilly for you, even with the warming substitutions, consider adding the following spices, herbs, and veggies to the foods you cook at home to warm yourself up from the inside: 

  • garlic
  • horseradish
  • onion
  • black pepper
  • leeks
  • kale
  • lentils
  • black beans
  • fresh water fish (according to Chinese medicine, ocean fish are cooling)
  • shrimp or mussels (exceptions to the ocean rule)
  • beef
  • chicken
  • turkey 
  • scallions
  • rosemary
  • chilies, chili powder

Here's hoping I pull it together! 

I will see you in class! I will see you in class! I will see you in class! I will see you in class!

 

SAYEH'S LIVING LITHE! 22 Oct 2014

Sayeh's Living Lithe

Lately, I've been feeling like a dinosaur. And not in the worrying about aging and crow's feet way, but in the world is moving so fast and I'm totally clueless about how anything works way. 

Thing is, I've never thought of myself as old-fashioned. Even the word 'old-fashioned' feels old-fashioned. I picture the ladies in Steel Magnolias saying it to their mothers who are scandalized by their off-the-shoulder dresses. But, I think I'm indeed old fashioned, or at the very least, I'm terrified of the future and like things to stay the same, and have always been slow to jump on the new developments of life. 

For example, when Myspace came out, right after I graduated from college, I was totally appalled by it. It seemed like the craziest, most narcissistic platform on the planet. Take a picture of...MYSELF?? By...MYSELF?? And put it on the INTERNET?? And then put lots of other pictures of everything ELSE I do on the Internet?? And tell people how I'm FEELING in the moment?? I'm feeling that it's none of your business how I'm feeling! But, a few of my less grumpy friends jumped right on it. This is great! What a great way to keep in touch and know what people are up to! They used HTML to decorate their pages with sparkly Chanel logos and made it so their profiles played songs like "Where Is the Love" by the Black Eyed Peas (when their boyfriends broke up with them.) I, of course, had no problem looking at people's pages and gawking at their willingness to share...until eventually, I warmed up to the idea and got a Myspace myself and subsequently spent hours looking for different 'skins' for my page. Skins. 

When checking in happened, I really thought about just shutting it all down. CHECKING IN?? CHECKING IN?? I'm going to tell everyone exactly where I'm am at the very moment that I'm there?? I won't even accept gum from people I don't know because of tales of razor blades in apples and LSD-laced Jolly Ranchers instilled in me from my trick-or-treating days, and YET, YET I'm going to tell the whole world where they can find me in case they want to do something terrible to me?? WHY does this make ANY SENSE? Lo and hold, however, many friends and acquaintances began checking-in as if it were entirely normal. (I still refuse to check-in, unless there's a discount incentive involved). Recently, I actually contemplated walking into Mr. Chow in NYC to "accidentally" to bump into Fredrik Eklund, my reality TV crush, when Instagram told me he was eating there with his hottie husband Derek Kaplan. I even told my cab driver to DIVERT DIVERT, but then got a hold of myself, and realized this was ludicrous behavior and went home instead. 

Twitter? It's been out for how long now? Almost a decade?? And I've only recently had to create an account for work, whereupon I told my colleague: Oh my God, have you been on this Twitter thing? It's actually super helpful and informative!! You can follow local organizations and know what they're up to and hear about sales and get news and hear from your favorite celebrities instantly! She looked at me as if I had just stepped out of the Delorean wearing a puffy, orange vest. 

Thing is, I want to be the person that has the foresight to hear about some new technology and think THIS IS THE FUTURE, I'm going to jump on that! But, I'm not. I'm the opposite. If I were at the meeting about Twitter, I would have scoffed and left to make calls on my Zack Morris cell phone. I recently toured a local high school whose students graduate knowing how to animate, code, create apps and have partnered with a local startup to learn how they developed a mobile DNA lab. Mobile. DNA. They are building an actual motorcycle that is controlled, while driving, by an iPhone app. I can't walk and text. 

HELP ME! 

You know what I was doing in high school?? Obsessing about my thighs and writing notes to my friends on actual paper which I folded into weird shapes that I was really proud of and physically HANDING them off between classes. That's what I was doing. 

I can't code. I can barely work my iPhone. I SUCK at Google. And to boot...it all terrifies me. When I told a friend about this school I visited, she said: Doesn't it make you feel great that there's a school in the city where kids are getting such an incredible education? I looked at her blankly. NO, it doesn't feel great! I'm a horrible, selfish person that is thinking about ME right now. ME. That's who! That tour made me realize that if I ever have kids, they are going to look at me the way I look at my mom when she can't figure out the remote control. 

Yet, there are folks my age and older in Silicon Valley and all over the world that are totally unafraid that the future is now, and that a 10th grader can swab the inside of my cheek and tell me if a child I conceive will be predisposed to any genetic abnormalities, during second period biology. I mean...I'm still getting over FaceTime. HELLO! We are looking at the people we are talking to on the phone. Not that long ago, that was something crazy sh*t that only the Jetsons could do, and we're all acting like it's old hat!

I usually wrap my columns up with some call to action for myself, or some solution or something to give myself a strategy to fix my problem...but I'm not sure I have one this time. Because even though I want to be cool and teach myself Photoshop and Final Cut Pro, I think I may have to just accept that I'm always going to be a bit leery of the next big thing.

See you in class! (But first, GET OFF MY LAWN!)

SAYEH'S LIVING LITHE! 8 Oct 2014

  Sayeh

Welp! It happened. I have officially screwed up the #sexierinsix Lithe transformation. For me it's been more like #sexierinacoupleofclassesandthenohyouknowwhatjustforgetit. I missed a day here, a day there, got hit with an unexpected trip back home to Dallas amid the Ebola scare (no one watch Outbreak right now), and I'm officially back to eating donuts at work and not scheduling myself any Lithe classes. Because as I've thoroughly documented, I can't ramp up the eating if my working out is falling off. Oh no. That would be too sensible. No class means, I'll take the fried chicken instead of the grilled and yes, yes I DO feel like ordering pizza tonight, and no I don't mind if I do eat an entire block of cheese while watching the Real Housewives of Melbourne reunion. 

But, aside from my trip, which would have made it tough to accomplish the challenge, I know there are a few things I could have done better to set myself up for success.

1. Schedule my classes ahead of time.

I usually do this to avoid wait lists and have my schedule set, but work has been so unpredictable lately that I've been racking up late cancellation fees, so I thought...I'll just schedule my classes on the day OF, so I can avoid those fees and the inevitable self-hate that comes along with having the late cancellation on my permanent Lithe record. And while this has helped me to save money, it has made it so that I have no reason to force myself to class. At the end of a long day, even when I get out of work in time to go to class, it's so much easier to go home than get on my app and schedule myself something. I underestimated how much the threat of late cancellation motivates me to Lithe. This is certainly a balancing act during crazy times at work–because I truly can't afford to pay late fees willy nilly, but I also can't afford–for mind and body–to continuously skip Lithe and fall into bad habits all around either. 

2. Clothes, clothes everywhere. 

Although this is cliche because it's on every workout tip list, I found it totally true this challenge go-round.  I need to have multiple sets of workout clothes at my disposal to ensure I'm ready to hit the studio when scheduled. At work, at home and I would have some in my car, if I owned one. I twice walked out of my house in a rush and realized I left my workout bag at the foot of my bed, making it impossible for me to go to class. And on one of the days that I remembered my clothes, I realized I hadn't packed my sports bra! (Thank God I was taking Armistice instead of Rock Steady that day and made it work, but it was touch and go there for a bit in terms of a wardrobe malfunction.) Had I had some clothes at work, I could have grabbed the extra sports bra, or still have gone to class on the days I forgot my bag. Don't get me wrong, I certainly can't afford 7 pairs of Wunder Unders to strew about town, but I do have a few less exciting sets of clothes that I can afford to have around in case of an emergency. 

3. Wake up, wake up, wake up

I KNOW that I have much less control of my afternoon than I do of my morning. I get pulled into 5 o'clock meetings which means I won't make my 5:45pm class, or the cable guy needs to come by and replace my box, or my girlfriends want to meet for happy hour, or I have to attend an event for work...the list goes on. I know that if I wake up early and get my workout in FIRST, then any unforeseen or foreseen circumstance won't bump Lithe down the list. I try to fit my entire life between the hours of 5 and 10pm–spending time with my husband, friends, cooking, working out, fulfilling work obligations, dealing with life in general (And I don't even have kids! God bless all my friends who do all of the above and are raising and scuttling multiple kids to all of their life things.) And it's too much to ask of those 5 hours. I need to add a couple hours in the morning to balance things out a bit. But GOD it's so much easier said than done. I'm a night owl, not a morning person and braving the darkness and the elements in the morning to make it to the studio seems downright impossible to me.

Overall, this has been a good learning experience for me. I'm going to keep on keeping on and will continue to strive to keep my priorities in order and hopefully work on all of the above to create less work and guilt for myself on the other end. I guess the key that I need to keep reminding myself is that doing so takes careful, considered and consistent effort which is ultimately why it's can be so hard to sustain at times.

See you in class!

SAYEH'S LIVING LITHE! 10 Sep 2014

Sayeh

This blog is meant to be read while listening to O-Town's "All or Nothing at All." (You remember O-Town. The O stood for Orlando. ORLANDO. While I'm sure Orlando has its rough and tumble sections...it's not exactly a town with tons of street cred. Although I did hear that they were considering it as the setting for the 6th season of The Wire, but thought the images of life-sized cartoon characters harassing bedraggled, sweat-drenched parents and sugar-amped, sticky kids at Disney World might be a little too graphic for HBO audiences.) 

I've always been an all or nothing kind of person. If I'm in, I buy the books, wear the t-shirts, drink the Kool-Aid and bust out of walls to convince other people to take a sip. Do it. It will make your eyes sparkle and your lips shine and your butt tight and help you get along better with your mom. I commit so fully, so fast and so intensely that it's completely unsustainable and I burn out. And when I fall off a wagon, I can fall so far off that it feels almost impossible to get back on.

Another all or nothing habit I have is the need to have a million ducks in a row before I feel ready to start something. In college, for example, I would need to study for a class, but before I could even consider studying, I would feel compelled to clean my room first. Because...how could I study in a dirty room? Week-old Jack in the Box bags (come on Philly, we need the Monster Taco and the Sourdough Jack here!) and piles of Wet Seal clothing and trucker hats everywhere is not exactly conducive to a clear mind. So I would begin to tidy up. Then tidying up would lead to deep cleaning and deep cleaning would lead to organizing that junk drawer I've been meaning to get to, and opening that mail I've been needing to open (you know all the bills for the credit cards I signed up for to get a free frisbee that ultimately ruined my life)...and before I knew it, it would be midnight, and I would be screwed for class the next day. And while yes, studying in a clean space is helpful, I could've gone to the library and left the room cleaning for another day, or just cleaned up a little and not gone so bat sh*t. But those seemingly so reasonable options would not enter my mind.

Fast forward to life now, and I have seemed to carry those habits with me. Particularly in terms of health and fitness. I am all in or all out. I'm either Lithing 4-6 times a week and eating lean and clean and feeling really good about myself or I miss one or two classes in a row and it sets off a domino effect of missing class for 2 weeks or more. Which leads to making terrible food choices. Which makes me feel like a lazy loser and affects my motivation to accomplish other things I need to accomplish. Which just well...effing sucks all around. 

When I'm in the midst of one of these breaks, I tell myself this weekend you will go to the grocery store. You will make like Lauren Boggi Goldenberg and all the other beautiful Lithe unicorns that do things like brush their hair in the morning and make their own chia pudding, and you will stock up on all the good-for-you-foods that you actually do know how to incorporate into your diet. MONDAY, you will start with a healthy breakfast, and you will pack your lunch, and you will prepare a light and delicious dinner that will nourish your body and impress your husband so much he'll want to buy you jewelry. You will be back in business!

But if for some reason, my weekend of baby showers and dinners with family and laundry and other plans don't allow me to get to the store...my beautiful plan for hot body and happy jewel-bearing husband totally falls apart. I feel completely at loose ends. And cue the aforementioned domino affect. 

But why?

Why can't I go to class anyway? What does grocery shopping have to do with it? Why can't I say, well my ducks aren't in a row like I'd hoped they'd be in time for the work week, and this is going to make things a bit tougher for me, but I can still order the healthful option at this restaurant instead of the not-so-great-for-me thing. Why must EVERYTHING fly out of the window with one misstep?

Why is it so difficult for me to be balanced about health and fitness? I feel almost incapable of thinking about things in terms of their net benefit or just evening things out. If I miss a class, a balanced approach would be to then to be mindful of my food choices. If I've missed two classes, I should make it a priority to not miss a third and keep the train moving forward. Why must one missed class inevitably mean 5?

And the answer is: I don't know. I don't know why I'm so easily jump-started and even more easily de-railed. Part of me thinks that going on kicks is part of what keeps me motivated. That I enjoy the methodical preparing and ramping up of something, but once the new thrill wears off, so does my desire to keep going. But another part of me thinks it might be deeper than that. That my desire to be fit and hot and healthy is directly at odds with my other desire to be lazy and indulgent and totally spontaneous.

That maybe having my ducks in a row or being all in or out is more about these two sides of me warring with one other. That needing to have all the right groceries before working out or waiting until Monday is a way for me to justify living in the right now space of wanting to eat the unhealthy thing or watch the 3 episodes of Breaking Bad when I get home from work, while the sun's still out and good-looking, fit people jog past my window taunting me. Maybe. And perhaps that's just who I am and perhaps that's ok. But I do aspire to have balance, not just in this aspect, but in most. And for those of you with the secret, I'm all ears!

See you in class!

SAYEH'S LIVING SALAD SHIRAZI! 20 Aug 2014

Sayehll

Despite the chill that's arrived in the air in the morning, and the leaves which are already changing color outside of my window, I refuse to accept that summer is over. We still have a month left, and I need to squeeze every last drop out of it to steel myself against the coats and scarves I'll be wearing before too long. And there's nothing that's more summer on a plate than this simple salad, named after a city in Iran, that's almost more condiment than salad. You can eat it with a hard boiled egg in the morning for a simple, fresh breakfast. Put it on top of a bed of quinoa with chickpeas for a clean, filling lunch, or serve it alongside a cool, greek-style yogurt, basmati rice and chicken kabobs for dinner. Any which way, it will be a reminder that summer is still here and fall can wait. 

Ingredients

2 large, ripe juicy tomatoes

4 small (or 3 medium) Persian cucumbers, or 1.5 English/hothouse cucumbers (don't go traditional, waxy cucumber here--it makes a major difference)

1 small-medium onion (any color works)

A generous splash of olive oil (2-3 tablespoons)

The juice of 2 limes

Dried mint (optional, but delish)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dice the tomato, cucumber, and onion to a 1/2 inch dice. Top with olive oil, lime juice, salt, pepper and a generous sprinkle of dried mint and toss well. You can eat it straight away, but I find that it's better after some time in the fridge, left to cool, and for the flavors to really marry, and get into the salad. 

See you in class!

SAYEH'S LIVING LITHE! 9 Jul 2014

Sayeh

I am a binger and purger. In almost every aspect of my life, other than my diet. (When it comes to food, I generally just binge.) If you've been following my column since the Lithe Diving Days (3 years now!), then you may remember my very first blog. In it, I admitted to being prone to going on kicks, making grandiose lifestyle altering gestures, buying the book, wearing the t-shirt, and preaching the sermon only to find myself rooting through drawers months later to find all of this aformentioned paraphernalia abandoned and forgotten.

This little (huge) habit? issue? of mine was brought into stark relief last week, when my husband and I moved into our new (to us) home. The cliche about moving was once again proven true--it was incredibly stressful, and seemingly never-ending. Having moved almost every year since I was 18, I'm all too familiar with those parts of the process, but there is one aspect of it I actually look forward to. Purging. My drawers, my closets, and any nook and cranny I can get a hold of. Rummaging through piles of papers or boxes that I haven't opened since the last move always proves fun, and leaves me feeling light and cleansed. Because although I'm known to hold onto the odd ticket stub or greeting card, I'm not super sentimental, and would much rather give things away to friends, donate them or trash them than have them floating around, taking up space in my life.

This time, as I prepared to rid my house of all unnecessary clutter before we moved into the new one, I didn't have that experience. Instead, the purge was horrifying. It was evidence of the polar opposite, the binge. My tendency to binge. And more than that, it was evidence of how fickle and flighty I can be. Everywhere I looked was a ridiculous purchase I made on a whim--most of it things I no longer like or use at ALL. Be it clothes, or random home goods...SUPPLEMENTS I was convinced would change my life...you name it. I found this gold little tray that I bought from Marshall's with the word NOEL on it. Each letter was made out of some Christmas object like a ribbon, or bell...what have you. It's hideous. WHY did I buy this thing? 

Clearing out my bookshelf, I found titles like YOU: On A Diet. The Flat Belly Diet. Skinny Bitch. Skinny Bitch in the Kitch. Clean Gut. Macrobiotic cookbooks. Vegan cookbooks. To be clear, my belly is neither flat, nor is my gut clean. I found a sack full of arts and crafts items I bought the ONE time I made something for my husband for Valentine's Day. In it, there was an embossing tool--a weird, fat pen that heats up glitter until it melts and looks like puff paint? WHY did I spend money on this?? WHY? I will never use it again.

The list goes on, and you get the picture. Sitting amongst the rubble of all my impulses, I couldn't help but think of all the money I had wasted on these things. How much more I could be saving or spending in other, more constructive places, and even more to the point, all of the effort and energy I had put into all of these things that I no longer use or even think about. The countless conversations I'd had extolling the virtues of the very things I was stuffing into donation bags to pass along to someone else. And as I was doing so, I couldn't help but think: What gives?

Yes, part of it is just me and how I've always been, but more than that, I'm beginning to realize that maybe this wake of fads past is actually my search for something. Perhaps that's why I do cleanses and buy books, and go to different doctors and pick up new hobbies. That maybe on some level I'm looking for a silver bullet for...something. Be it to feel a little more fulfilled or to feel more productive, to be healthier, more energetic, thinner, prettier, happier...or ultimately just more...in control. That maybe I will find something out there that I can do to feel a little less at the mercy of the whims of life and a body that modern medicine says can turn on me at any moment depending on the choices I make. 

Obviously, my rational self knows there is no silver bullet for...anything. Most wisdom dictates that, in fact, one should be wary of anything that claims to cure-all. And I think I have some work cut out for me to get to the bottom of my binge-purge tendencies. But, I will say, in all the reflecting I did as I was cleansing my home of the spoils of my spontaneity, I couldn't help but think about Lithe. That if I had to point to a panacea that has truly altered several aspects of my life, it is LitheThat it truly HAS stuck. To me, the teflon girl to which nothing, but my man, and a tan, has stuck so far. I never come across my wristbands and gloves in the back of some drawer. They are in my bag, everyday, reminding me that I have class in a few hours, or that I need to get my ass back in gear if I've let life get in the way. I've watched it change my body, and my mindset, and in turn, the domino effect has continued into all aspects of my life. That when I feel fit and strong--when I'm lithing--I do feel in control. And that perhaps the search for that thing is over--and has been for some time. 

See you in class!

 

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