Your Ultimate Guide to Cathe’s New LITE Workout Series!
Updated: Nov 13, 2019
Wondering what the new low impact LITE workout series, from Cathe Friedrich, is all about and whether it’s a good fit for you and your fitness level? This guide will provide all of the details to help you decide and to get the most out of these new workouts.
(Each of the individual DVDs will also be reviewed separately and links to each review can be found at the end of this overview or on my Recent Posts page by clicking HERE. The bonus workouts are reviewed both at the end of this overview and on the review of the individual DVD on which they appear).
What is The LITE Series?
LITE stands for Low Impact Training Extreme and is aimed at intermediate exercisers. However, Cathe states that it will also provide a solid challenge for the advanced exerciser through ramped up bonus segments, higher weight options, and premixes. LITE is the sister version of ICE (Intermediate Conditioning Extreme) – Cathe’s other intermediate series released in 2015. Even though I am probably a low advanced exerciser, I really love the ICE series, so I was very much looking forward to seeing if this series would be just as good.
In case you haven’t heard of her, Cathe Friedrich is a veteran fitness professional who has created over 400 workouts and also offers a streaming service for both her DVDs and her live classes (that she broadcasts most Thursday's from her gym in Jersey). Cathe’s focus has always been on developing high quality, safe and effective workouts that emphasise form and sequencing of the best exercises in a way that makes the most of your time and delivers the best results.
What Is Included In The LITE Series?
The program contains 7 main workouts and one additional bonus workout. You can buy these as a 7 disc DVD (or download) bundle or as individual workouts (however, the downloads do not include premixes). The bonus workout is also sold as an individual DVD or download. Alternatively, you can use Cathe's On Demand streaming service to access all of the workouts and their premixes. The main workouts include:
1 Total body strength – PHA 2
1 Lower body strength – Strong Body Stacked Sets: Lower
1 Upper body strength - Strong Body Stacked Sets: Upper
2 Cardio workouts – Rev’d Up Rumble (kickboxing) and Cardio Party (boxing, Hi/Lo, blasts)
1 Metabolic total body workout – Metabolic Blast
1 Travel friendly total body workout – Body Weight & Bands
The bonus total body workout is also a pure strength routine – Pyramid Pump
In addition, there are a number of bonus add-ons that are included on the different dvds and are used in the premixes:
4 Cardio add-ons - Calorie Crush – Step blast, Band Blast & two High Intensity Blasts (ranging from 9 – 15 mins). These are all high impact.
6 Strength add-ons - Pyramid Pump sections – individual muscle group add-ons using the pyramid system – Lower Body, Back, Chest, Shoulders, Triceps & Biceps (the bonus total body workout Pyramid Pump puts all of these add-ons into one workout)
2 Core routines – 6 Pack Abs #1 & #2 – each 10 minutes
2 LITE Stretches – Extended Stretch #1 & #2 – that are 11 and 13 minutes respectively
There are over 170 different premixes, included in this series, that mix in the above elements, provide time-saver options and change the order of the exercises to provide multiple ways to enjoy these routines, depending on your own time, preferences and the energy you have on any given day. That is what I really like about Cathe – that she provides such a huge range of options that you really feel like you are getting your money’s worth on each DVD!
The series also comes with a digital User Guide, which breaks down each workout, provides a list of all of the premixes and contains workout cards for each of the strength workouts. It also details four workout rotations for the LITE series, one for the LITE series only and three combining the LITE series with other Cathe series (ICE, Ripped with Hiit and Strong & Sweaty). The user guide can be accessed HERE.
Note that each of the above workouts will be reviewed individually in separate posts and there are links, at the bottom of this overview, to each workout review in this program. The bonus add-ons are also reviewed at the end of this overview.
What Equipment Do You Need For The LITE Program?
Various equipment is used in the different workouts and the reviews of the individual workouts provide further details on the specifics for each routine. However, for the full program the equipment used is as follows (but you can substitute some elements if you don't have everything):
Various weighted dumbbells - Cathe uses 5-15#
Loaded barbell - Cathe uses 25 & 30# (however you can substitute dumbbells for all of the exercises if you don’t have a barbell. FYI – I used dumbbells for all of the workouts and had no issues)
Full size step with 3 risers each side
High Step with 3 risers each side (however you can substitute a full size step if you don't have a high step)
Stability ball (however you can substitute the step or floor for most of the exercises)
Resistance tubing (however you can substitute a resistance band for all of the exercises if you don’t have tubing)
A gliding device (paper plate, gliding disc, furniture sliders, wash cloth etc…)
A mat if you are exercising on a hard surface
Optional – weighted gloves or wrist weights for Rev’d Up Rumble (if you want to take the intensity up a notch. Cathe & crew don’t use them for this workout)
Optional – lifting gloves for the strength and band workouts
To find out what specific equipment you need for each workout just click on the link to that workout at the bottom of this post.
How Much Space Do You Need To Do The LITE Series Workouts?
You will need a reasonable amount of space to do all of the moves in these workouts effectively – particularly the cardio workouts (Rev’d Up Rumble & Cardio Party), as you will be moving forward and back, and side to side quite a bit in these workouts. The strength workouts require less space, as you are not moving about so much. An area of about 8x7 should give you enough room for all of the routines.
So What’s New?
The workouts in this series are generally shorter than her earlier dvds and are therefore more similar to many of her more recent live workouts, which are often express workouts. All of the main workouts in this series are under 45 minutes long (ranging from 35 minutes to 43 minutes) but obviously you can increase the time by selecting one of the many premixes.
Some of the workouts include new exercises, particularly, for example, in Metabolic Blast. In addition, in these workouts and others (including some of the strength workouts, such as, Strong Body Stacked Sets: Lower Body), you are often combining different movements into one sequence. These sequences are a number of different exercises combined together that are then repeated – some are familiar and some are new twists on more traditional exercises. An example would be doing alternating back lunges with overhead press, then side lunge and abduct outer leg, while reaching up 1 arm with the dumbbell or side lunge into crossback lunge and then side lunge again. These help to keep the heart rate up as you are constantly moving and engaging multiple muscle groups. However, this may mean in certain instances that you can’t go as heavy, with your weights, as you might if you were doing just one of those moves.
In addition, the series includes a travel friendly bodyweight and bands workout. Cathe mentioned that she was responding to all of the requests she receives for this type of workout and that is why she included it in this series. Now Cathe does have one other, specifically travel friendly workout, Travel Fit that was released many years ago. She also has a number of live workouts that are focused on using just your own bodyweight and resistance bands but this is the first one she has included in an actual series.
Finally, the bonus lifting add-ons are included all together in a bonus DVD, to allow you to do a full upper body, lower body or total body workout using these segments. This decision was in response to the numerous requests that the bonus Muscle Meltdowns, included in the ICE series (which were also by body part), were made available all on one DVD.
So What’s The Verdict?
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this series. Some of the video clips, especially for Cardio Party, seemed rather low intensity, particularly after the luxury of Cathe’s Low Impact Series, which was anything but low intensity. (If you have done Afterburn or Athletic Training then you know what I am talking about!)
Having reviewed the workouts now, without the bonuses, they are definitely more intermediate level (some are even more beginner – such as Cardio Party). Overall, they are much easier than Cathe’s usual more advanced workouts and obviously this is the way they have been designed. However, how challenging these workouts are depends entirely on the home exerciser and how they want to use these workouts. To make them less advanced than her usual workouts, Cathe does a number of things. Firstly, all of the moves are low impact and often less intense version of some of the low impact moves she often does (only the bonus Calorie Crush workouts are high impact). Also she doesn’t rep you out with the ‘blast’ moves like she does in other workouts. She also gives you more recovery moves in the cardio workouts, in order for you to catch your breath a little more and gives slightly more time between other exercises to re-group. This is not a big difference but maybe a few more seconds that usual. However, the biggest difference is the weights she uses. Cathe is lifting much lighter than usual for her. So if you stay with the same weights as her, you will definitely get an easier workout than normal. Therefore, if you are more advanced you may wish to increase the weights you use and for the pure strength workouts this is easy to do. However, for some of the more metabolic workouts (e.g. Metabolic Blast), many of the moves are compound and incorporate a number of different muscle groups so it may be a little more challenging to go too much higher (and as you move from one thing to the next, there is no time to change out your dumbbells) but you can certainly increase them a little.
My first time through for the strength workouts, I automatically grabbed heavier dumbbells, as I did for the ICE series. If you are more advanced this will probably be necessary for you to get an effective workout. In addition, I also included a number of the bonuses, when I did the workouts, made some of the moves higher impact, wore wrist weights for the cardio, and all of this helped to further increase the intensity of the workouts. I found adding the Calorie Crushes to the workouts did increase the intensity and took it up another level (for some to high intermediate or low advanced).
If I had to rate these workouts from easiest to hardest, I would say Cardio Party was definitely the easiest of the eight. (Keep in mind that this rating is based on how I did these workouts – using heavier dumbbells than Cathe but NOT including the bonuses so just the main workouts). Next easiest would be Body Weight & Bands, Metabolic Blast, Rev’d Up Rumble followed by the Strong Body Stacked Sets Upper & Lower, PHA 2 and finally Pyramid Pump, which is the hardest.
So will I be returning to these workouts? Some of them definitely! I really enjoyed Metabolic Blast, Rev'd Up Rumble, PHA 2 and the Strong Body Stacked Sets Upper & Lower. In addition, Pyramid Pump was extremely effective but there is quite a bit of dread factor for this one (although the choice of just Pyramid Up or Pyramid Down in the premixes helps!)
Who Is The LITE Series For?
These workouts, as they are performed (using the same weights as Cathe), are perfect for those just discovering Cathe and wanting to ease into her workouts a little more gently, those getting back into fitness after a break or those at an intermediate level looking for some new and fun workouts to add to their routine. The series allows the home exerciser to follow along with the modified moves without having to know how to take her more advanced routines down a level.
For the more advanced exercisers, some of the workouts in this series, using the right weights and adding some of the bonus segments will provide a solid workout and the chance to explore a number of different movement patterns and sequences, which provide a greater metabolic challenge. This is particularly in relation to Metabolic Blast, Rev'd Up Rumble and all of the pure strength workouts (Strong Body Stacked Sets: Upper & Lower, PHA 2 & Pyramid Pump). The strength workouts with the right weights will really challenge even the most advanced exerciser, as they all contain traditional and highly effective moves.
In addition, as it is Cathe and with the magic of her Workout Blender (the amazing online tool Cathe offers free with her OnDemand streaming service) you can blend any chapter of any of her workouts together in whatever way you want to (and can think of!) This gives you almost unlimited ways to use these workouts (or parts of them) to adjust the intensity and level to whatever you desire.
How Do You Approach These Workouts?
There are numerous ways you can do these workouts. As mentioned, the series comes with a digital User Guide that provides a number of different rotations for these workouts, including just using LITE and combining LITE with other Cathe series. These rotations set out exactly which workouts to do each day and provide an easy option for scheduling these routines into your daily activities.
Alternatively, you can just build them into your own / existing rotation or select individual workouts that appeal to you and do them however works best. This is what I did, as I rarely do full rotations, as I tend to get bored quite easily! This worked very well for me and provided the variety I needed. I addition, with the 170+ premixes, you can also adapt these workouts to suit your schedule, preferences and mood on any given day. The premixes almost make it feel like you have a whole host of different workouts to choose from!
The LITE Series Reviews
As mentioned, each of the main workouts will be reviewed individually, as will the bonus elements, but obviously bear in mind that the DVDs offer the chance to incorporate these bonuses into the workouts pretty much however you want to. Therefore, the reviews will focus on the main workouts as they are presented in the program.
For the main workouts you can access the detailed reviews by clicking on the links below (or go to my Recent Posts Page HERE).
The bonus add-ons are reviewed below.
The Bonus Workouts
Pyramid Pump Bonuses – are lifting add-ons that utilize the full pyramid system to maximize your results in the shortest amount of time possible. These bonuses are broken down by body part for upper (Back, Chest, Triceps, Biceps and Shoulders – approx. 6 minutes each body part) and then one bonus for all of lower body (approx. 38 minutes). They are available as short individual muscle group Pyramid Pump Bonuses, on some of the main workouts, or alternatively you can buy the additional Pyramid Pump DVD to have them all in one place.
Pyramid training is a stepped approach to sets and repetitions. In this case you start with a lighter weight and gradually increase the weight, whilst decreasing the reps, for 3 sets of each exercise (pyramid up) then you reverse that starting heavy and going lighter, whilst increasing the reps, for 2 sets of each exercise (pyramid down). Therefore, you will do a total of 5 sets of each exercise.
You will need dumbbells, a high step with 3 risers, a gliding device, a stability ball and a mat for these bonuses.
All of the Pyramid Pump bonuses are excellent and can be any level you want them to be, depending on the weights you choose. They are perfect as add-ons to finish off a workout or if you have the bonus Pyramid Pump DVD you can do all upper, lower or total body for a more comprehensive strength workout.
The full Pyramid Pump Bonus DVD is reviewed HERE.
Calorie Crush Add-Ons – are cardio bonuses for an added higher impact intensity burst on days when you want to take your workout to the next level. There are four different Calorie Crush add-ons, included in the program, and they are incorporated on some of the DVDs through the premixes.
Step Blast – Is 15 minutes long and is included with the Cardio Party workout. This blast is like a mini IMAX (Interval Max) – so a step combo that is repeated six times and followed by an interval blast. There are 4 sets of these in this blast. The choreography is fairly complicated, for the step combos, and will definitely take a few times through to get it down perfectly. The blasts all use the step and are often a few moves repeated for a set number of repetitions. You get longer breaks in this routine, with marching & knee lifts on the step, than in any of the other Calorie Crushes. It did get my heart rate up but was the least intense of all of these add-ons.
Band Blast – is 8:30 minutes long and is included with Body Weight & Bands workout. This is a cardio blast using the resistance loop and includes lots of high impact moves, such as air jacks, snowboards and traveling scissors. This is an excellent cardio add-on and flows from one move straight into the next. All of the moves use the resistance loop and that really helps to keep the heart rate high throughout.
High Intensity Blast #1 – is 8:30 minutes long and is included with Rev’d Up Rumble workout. This consists of 9 blasts with brief recoveries in between. This is an excellent add-on that will have you breathing hard from the outset. The moves are often two different moves combined and repeated (e.g. 4 air jacks & 4 football runs). This will definitely get your heart rate up!
High Intensity Blast #2 - is 11 minutes long and is included with Metabolic Blast workout. This consists of 8 blasts with brief recoveries in between. This section starts a little slower than the one above with more steady state cardio drills. However, it really picks up after a few moves and suddenly you are doing 1 legged tuck jumps and mogul burpees! There is no choreography involved here, the intervals are generally one or two moves repeated. Another excellent calorie crush add-on that I found had me breathing hard!
6 Pack Abs – are bonus core workouts designed to be done separately or as add-ons to your workout to tighten and tone that core. There are two bonus core workouts included as part of the LITE series. Both of these workouts do not require any equipment except for a mat to lie on, if you are on a hard surface.
6 Pack Abs #1 – is 10 minutes long with no warm-up and includes a quick stretch at the end.
This is a good little bonus that works the core pretty well and finishes off any workout nicely. The routine is boxing inspired and includes some new moves and some more familiar moves with a new twist. The moves flow from one to the next with little rest. This is a nice, fun routine that isn't too tough. I found this easier than 6 Pack Abs # 2.
6 Pack Abs #2 – is 10 minutes long with no warm-up and includes a quick stretch at the end. This is a really nice bonus and works the core well. There are 8 moves and most of them are done lying on the mat except the last two, which are plank moves. The routine includes several new moves or twists on more familiar moves but they are all very doable and there are no awkward moves. I really enjoyed this bonus and will use it often!
LITE Stretch – are extended stretch segments to add on to your workouts to provide a more comprehensive stretch and help lengthen and relax hard worked muscles. There are two Extended Stretch bonuses.
Extended Stretch #1 is 13 minutes long and Extended Stretch #2 is 11 minutes long. You need a mat for each of the stretch segments and both provide a nice addition when you want to spend a little more time stretching out that body – particularly after doing the strength training routines. The moves are all familiar stretches and flow from one move to the next. None of the moves are held too long but are just enough to stretch out the body nicely. I really enjoyed these add-ons and will definitely be incorporating them into my weekly routine. They provide a nice relaxing way to end any workout or even as a standalone segment, when you want a little more stretching.
These workouts are available as a bundle or individually on DVD (including on Amazon HERE), download or through Cathe’s On Demand streaming service ($19.99 per month, which also includes access to all of the Cathe Live archived classes).
Check out my reviews of each of the other workouts in this series by visiting my Recent Posts Page HERE.
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