Lithe Method in Philadelphia Combines Dance Cardio and Resistance Training, and Takes it to a Whole New Level

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From first glance it looks like an Aerial Yoga class, but it is not silks hanging from the ceiling it’s actually resistance bands, which increases the intensity of the class. Photo: Alison Mastrangelo

Lithe Method. What is it? It sounds like a new a new scientific formula. But it’s not! Lithe Method is a cool new workout that incorporates Pilates, cheer-leading and dance.

The great part is that the first class is free and you can register for classes online. The classes are very popular and can have a wait list, but they recommend to check the night before because some people cancel.

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Meredith Steinberg kindly demonstrating a few moves that one could see during a Pom Lithe Method Class. Photo: Alison Mastrangelo

 

Lithe Method clients have enjoyed the classes so much they have become trainers.

“I love Lithe. I started as a client before I started teaching. I found I loved the variety and loved how fun it was. I feel like there is a great community of women here who support each other and it’s such a nice motivating place to be, ” Meredith Steinberg, Lithe Trainer for  4 months said.

One of the main reason Lithe has been so popular is their workouts are always changing so that the clients never get bored.

“There is a lot of variety in the workouts. One day you will have a lot of jumping and sweating cardio and the next day you will be sculpting muscles that you didn’t know that you had, Steinberg explained. The next day you will be at the ballet bar or you could be working your arms using weights.”

Steinberg recommends that everyone come about ten minutes early before class and to make sure that you bring a water bottle and a workout towel. They will supply the mats, gloves, and resistance bands.

If you’re worried about trying it because you have been out of the gym for a while do not worry! Lithe Method is great for women of all ages.

“People who do Lithe have all kinds of backgrounds. There are modifications for everyone, this workout environment is very positive and free of judgment,” Steinberg said.

If anyone has any questions they can go online and read the descriptions of all the different classes or they can call the front desk who is extremely helpful and knowledgeable. There are also three Lithe Method Studios in Philadelphia and one coming soon to New York City.

 

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Lunge + Over head resistance bands = Total Body Workout Photo of Me: Alison Mastrangelo

As usual I tried this new hip fitness class. The Lithe Method staff recommend taking their 101 class to help introduce you to their movements and the choreography that they use. Unfortunately, I could not attend the 101 class, so I tried the Pom class which they said should not be to difficult for a beginner that practices Pilates weekly.  The trainers were right, I could follow along, however, I did  stumble through a few of the beginning choreographed parts but after a few minutes I could follow along more easily and really broke a sweat!

 

 

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Happy 2014! To Make a New Year Resolution or Set a Goal that is the Question

Happy New Year or is it Happy Resolution. It seems to me that the New Year  is always over shadowed by the daunting New Year Resolution. It almost feels like every time someone says Happy New Year it is immediately followed by the question, what is your New Year Resolution? Jeesh put me on the spot why don’t you. Honestly, I have never made ” a New Year resolution.” I set goals every year throughout the year and try to accomplish them.

A friend of mine made a good point about writing down work goals, personal goals, and spiritual goals you want to make throughout the year. This allows you to stay focused and realize what you have accomplished and what you have left. A big problem is some of us are too busy to realize that we may complete more goals throughout the year than we think. So make sure to write your goals down.

Finally, most of us regular gym goers dread the first two weeks of January because it will be crowded with new members who are trying to lose weight and get healthy for their New Year Resolution. Try not to be that person that puts down the new gym goers, yes it can be annoying but they are making the right step towards a healthy life. A little encouragement never hurt anyone. So be a gym buddy or show some one how to use the fitness equipment at the gym this year!

Hope you have a Happy and Healthy New Year.

ElliptiGO: It’s a Hybrid Between an Elliptical and a Bike and it Will Make People Stop and Stare as You Ride By

Need a break from running, but tired of the indoor bike or the elliptical at the gym. Well the ElliptiGO is the perfect solution.

I heard about an ElliptiGO from a friend who saw it and I did some research to find out where I could try it. The Harbor Bike Shop in Stone Harbor rents them for one hour for $25.00 plus tax. The only rules are that you cannot ride it on the sidewalk and do not ride the ElliptiGO on the beach. After that you are good to go!

One of the Harbor Bike Shop employees agreed that it is good exercise.

“It’s definitely a workout and it is very easy once you get it started. I rode it once and its pretty similar to the elliptical at the gym, however, you’re using it outside and not in the gym, Donna Olfert, 24, Harbor Bike shop employee said. You get to workout on the elliptical outside with the fresh air and sunshine.”

Make sure to wear comfortable sneakers, workout clothes, and bring a water bottle. Other than that enjoy the ride and have fun!

After my hour test ride I have to say that it is quite the workout. I enjoy working out on the elliptical at the gym; however, I find myself getting bored because I want to be moving and going somewhere or just want to be outside. I tore my ACL and meniscus about four years ago. I am an avid runner, but need to take a few days off for the knee every once in a while, that is when I incorporate the elliptical into my workout routine.

The ElliptiGO is the perfect solution for my elliptical boredom. I love being outdoors, running, biking, surfing, etc. Being able to ride the ELLIPTIGO outdoors was great.  So many people would stop and stare as I rode by. I even had a car slow down and drive along side me and ask me about it. They were curious and asked me about the ElliptiGO as I rode it. What’s it like? Is it easy to ride? Where can I rent one?

Similarities to an elliptical/bike:

  • The pedaling motion is almost identical to an elliptical machine and the upright standing position that you pedal.
  • The front of the ElliptiGO is exactly like a mountain bike with hand breaks and gears for you to use and change as you ride.
  • On an elliptical you can increase the resistance and on the ElliptiGO you have three different gear changes you can use one being the easiest gear and three being the hardest gear. (I started on gear one and quickly changed it to gear three to increase the intensity of my ride.)

Differences to an elliptical/bike:

  • With an ElliptiGO you need to use a lot more balance because you are moving on two wheels, it is almost impossible to remove your hands while using the ElliptiGO without falling. Unlike an elliptical where you can take you arms off and pedal forwards and backwards with ease you cannot on the ElliptiGO.
  • You are also battling the wind, sun glare and traffic.  On an elliptical you are indoors in a controlled environment.
  • The only difficult part was stopping and starting.

For example, to cross traffic if I had to stop my momentum it was a little difficult to start up the momentum again to get across the street quickly. So I had to make sure that when I had to cross traffic that I waited until there was no traffic coming so that I knew I had plenty of time to cross the street without causing traffic problems. Or I tried to make sure to just coast and not stop completely which would help prevent me from having a difficult time crossing the road.

The only downside to the ElliptiGO is if you really enjoyed riding it and wanted to buy one for yourself you can, however, it will cost you about $1,800. So with that I would highly recommend renting them and trying it a few times before you make the investment or find one used if you can, but it is a great workout so have fun!

ElliptiGO a nice change from the everyday elliptical! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

ElliptiGO a nice change from the everyday elliptical! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

Karen Applegate Explains More About Aerial Yoga at Future Fitness in Cherry Hill, New Jersey

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Karen Applegate, Aerial Yoga Instructor: Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

Karen Apple gate began her fitness career began in 1982 when she took her first aerobics class. She fell in love with it and shortly after got certified to teach.

As the fitness industry evolved, she stayed up to date with the latest fitness classes and got certified to teach most of them. Eventually, she added personal fitness training and earned certifications from the AFAA (Aerobics Fitness Association of America) and ACE (American Council on Exercise).

Her love of exercise and movement kept her in the business, and the demand for both yoga and pilates professionals grew so she ventured and studied both disciplines. Applegate is now a registered yoga teacher (with the yoga alliance) and is certified to teach mat pilates and pilates on studio equipment. Two months ago she was offered the opportunity to become an instructor of aerial yoga so she joined a group of talented instructors and began the study to develop our practice.

Just recently she went back to teaching spinning classes and who knows what is next. Fitness has been an important part of my life and a career that has allowed her the opportunity to schedule her work around the job of raising two beautiful daughters.

Q. How is aerial yoga different from regular yoga?

A. Aerial yoga uses a hammock made of soft fabric as a tool to assist the participant with traditional balancing postures to deepen stretches and encourage greater joint range of motion in postures that might not otherwise be achieved in a floor yoga practice. The hammock lifts and holds some of our body weight and takes pressure out of the wrist, hands, neck and shoulders. Participants naturally move into proper alignment, achieve inversions without straining their joints and relax/surrender more effectively in the fabric. While aerial yoga shares many of the traditions of other schools of yoga it offers new options, variety and playful fun.

Q. What are the benefits of aerial yoga?

A. Aerial offers wonderful decompression of the spine and joints, it loosens and lengthens muscles, creates natural alignment with suspension, encourages deepening in postures, and the fabric leans into pressure points which activates blood flow and the lymphatic system helping to bring your body’s energy into balance.

Q.  What should a beginner bring and know about aerial yoga before they try it?

A. New participants should wear a top that covers their under arms and bottoms that cover their legs. They should not wear jewelry because it can catch on the fabric and they should know that anyone can try to enjoy aerial when it is taught properly.

Q.  What is one misconception people have about aerial yoga?

A. That they are not capable of attempting it. This, however, is not true. The method can be tailored to multiple levels.

Q. Who do you recommend can do aerial yoga?

A. Anyone who would like to reap the benefits listed above and who would like to try a very fun, safe and yet challenging variety of assisted body movement and still postures.

Q. Any other additional information you would like to add?

A. Aerial yoga classes are available at a variety of times every day of the week for both members and non-members at Future Fitness in Cherry Hill NJ.

Dive in and Listen to Tammy Decker, Describe Aqua Spin Classes at the County Pool in Cape May Court House, New Jersey

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Tammy Decker Aqua Spin Fitness Instructor. Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

Do you enjoy your regular spin class, but not the stress and strain that it puts on your joints? Well now there is Aqua Spin. Aqua spin takes the normal strenuous spin workout into the water, without the bikes and the pain.

Tammy Decker has been teaching fitness classes for over 30 years. She teaches yoga, pilates and aqua spin. Decker instructs the aqua spin classes on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 8am at the Cape May County Special Services pool.  It’s five dollars for a walk-in and $80 for 20 sessions. The variety of individuals that take aqua spin ranges from teenagers all the way up to people in their eighties!

Decker puts her own twist on the aqua spin session; she teaches the class in the pool without spin bikes like other aqua spin classes. For resistance she uses hydro-fit cuffs which she says is the same as putting your bike on the hardest gear.

Decker tells clients to bring a bathing suit and a towel because you will sweat in her 45 minute aqua spin class without even realizing it due to the water.

During her interview Decker will talk about a major life event that inspired her to start teaching aqua spin classes and the shocking amount of  calories individuals can burn in one class!

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The aqua spin class warming up before class. The weights are pictured in front and they are used throughout the class. Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

 

5 Minutes of Grape Stomping, Surprising Workout at the Annual Stone Harbor Savor September Event

Buckets big enough to hold three people to grape stomp! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

Buckets big enough to hold three people to grape stomp! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

There are 36 pounds of grapes in each bucket ready to be stomped! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

On September 21st, 2013, from noon- 8pm the Stone Harbor Savor September event offered local wine and beer tastings, native cuisine, music and more.

As I walked around I noticed an area dedicated to team grape stomping and as a fitness guru I had to give it a try. I was thinking could grape stomping be the new leg workout?

First I needed to put together a team of three to four people. My team consisted of myself, my  mom and friend Tricia Stump.  Once you get your team together you compete against three other teams and stomp grapes for five minutes straight.

My grape stomping team. Pictured: Alison Mastrangelo, Frances Mastrangelo, Tricia Stump. Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

My grape stomping team. Pictured: Alison Mastrangelo, Frances Mastrangelo, Tricia Stump. Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

According to the volunteers the rules are quite simple.  You can only stomp with your feet not your hands, no shoes allowed, and only three people in a bucket at a time to stomp the grapes. The other person waits on the side and helps get the juice out and rotates into the grape stomping bucket.

Before I jumped into the event I needed to know what my strategy should be, so I asked one of the student volunteers to give me more insight on what was involved.

“I have been told the key to grape stomping is you want to use your feet and scrape the grapes towards the grate that flows the juice out of the container. The combination of scraping, stomping and tipping the bucket helps you get the most juice out,” said Brooke Herzog, 19, volunteer and student from University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Although Herzog was not competing she noticed that some competitors were getting a workout.

“Some of the teams are getting a leg workout and even an arm workout pushing themselves and even lifting themselves off the bucket. It just depends on how much you put into it,” said Herzog.

My team stomping away! Photo Credit: Bill Stump

My team stomping away! Photo Credit: Bill Stump

I must say that grape stomping is sticky, slimy and slippery. However, I did break a sweat. My feet were constantly sliding in the mashed up grapes and I had to keep using my legs and arms to prevent myself from falling in the grape mess. If I continued to stomp grapes for more than five minutes I could definitely see it being a great leg workout.

My team did not win, but we did break a sweat stomping grapes! Photo Credit: Alison Mastrangelo

WELCOME

My name is Alison Mastrangelo and I am a fitness model and fitness fanatic. I love trying the newest and latest fitness classes, sports and products. I often get bored easily and I am always looking to change up my fitness routine.

The goal of my blog FIT-nique is to introduce and show you the new and unusual fitness classes, activities and products and explain my view on them. I understand trying new fitness classes and products can be intimidating but the goal of this blog will be to inform you of everything you need and what to expect when you get there so that the intimidation factor is reduced.

Some examples of classes I will be covering are SUP Yoga, SURFSET Fitness and others. Throughout this blog if there is ever a time that you have a class or product that you think would be interesting for me to try, tweet it at @fit_nique or post a comment.