Fit Forever with Kathy!

Posts in the exercise to lose weight category

Light Your Fire!

by Kathy Smith

Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.

Flat Abs Are Calling!

by Kathy Smith

Take pride in your midsection, and make it the focal point of your routine this week. Not just because your abs will look a lot better, but because if your core is unhealthy, it will compromise the health of your entire system. It’s the place where all movement is initiated, and the source of your body’s deepest powers. It’s also the factor that determines whether you move freely and with ease, or whether you’re weighed down by aches and pains. A strong core makes everything easier…each bike ride, run, and walk.

Remember, having flat abs isn’t just about vanity. Extra weight around your tummy triggers greater amounts of inflammation, putting your body at an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.

By adding metabolic acceleration to your routine, you burn more belly fat than with a standard routine. Why the great results with metabolic acceleration? The word ‘metabolic’ translates to the breaking down of food into energy. During metabolic bursts, you burn more calories working at peak levels, alternating between active rest periods. The added benefit is the residual calorie burn after the workout—referred to as the EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).

As your cells continue to need more oxygen, they are increasing your caloric expenditure and working harder after the workout. There’s a buzz around Metabolic acceleration, since it’s being used in programs such as CrossFit, P90X, and Tabata training. These metabolic workouts push you out of your comfort zone… and that’s when change starts to happen…in your workouts, your body, and your weight.
Let’s get started with this 1-min metabolic acceleration warm up!

 

Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.

Dr. Julie Reil & Kathy Smith: Don’t Ignore Your Pelvic Floor

by Kathy Smith

Kathy Smith: Julie, welcome to the show.  

Julie Reil: Thank you, Kathy. Thank you for just having a heart for education for women. Because every woman out there eventually does have to think and address some issues that happen with aging and the pelvic floor. I think every time we have an opportunity to discuss this is a natural part of aging and that there are some things you can be proactive with, I think it’s just another step forward for us. 

Kathy Smith: Let’s just dive in. What prompted your interest in this particular part of a woman’s body? Had you seen, have you been told, do people come in? When I was visiting you in Montana–and by the way we had a lovely visit. It’s been a while now. Maybe a couple of years ago. It was just so much fun to spend time with you in Montana and to see you in your clinic and to hear some of the stories about how women’s lives, even though sometimes we think about it as just the sexual part of our bodies, so many other things are going on down there. As it ages, it really can cause problems. What prompted your interest? 

Julie Reil: My board certifications are in family medicine and also in obstetrics. So, delivering babies for 10 years, of course, firsthand you’re seeing women through the process of childbirth which is probably the number one way that the pelvic floor loses tone of course. Then, also seeing women in their maturing years and helping them through menopause, which is the second basically insult or hit against the body in the pelvic floor area.  

So, childbirth is easy to understand because the area stretches. You don’t get complete rebound. Sometimes there’s extensive tearing in other extenuating circumstances. Menopause is kind of a little-known facts, so whether you’ve had babies or not, once your body is no longer making its own estrogen and you’re officially menopause, you now have 50% less thickness and tone of your entire pelvic floor. That entire hammock of muscles is thin as well as the connective tissue and skin thins out.  

So, your aging scenario going into your golden years is really quite tenuous. So, you’re at a lot of risk for not just urinary incontinence but loss of vaginal wall tone, loss of anal and rectal tone so that is responsible for holding gas and stool and, then the fourth function of the pelvic floor is low back pain and posture. So, all of those actually are important for just everyday life. 

Kathy Smith: Give us a little anatomy lesson when we’re talking about the pelvic floor.  

Julie Reil: It’s very much like a hammock. The front of the hammock is your pubic bone. The back of the hammock is your tailbone. So, in between there is some side attachments to the pelvic wall to your sitz bones and the very center of your hammock is basically that perineal body or the muscle that either is torn or gets cut. But it’s compromised no matter what when you give birth naturally. So, the very center of your hammock of that nice group of muscles that are anchored is already sitting lower and has less support after just one baby – one natural birth. 

So, ultimately, toning those muscles, toning the side wall supports and all the anchoring structures of that entire hammock becomes our goal. So, how do we basically keep those muscles in shape? How do we get them back in shape, for instance, after you have a childbirth? 

Kathy Smith: Of course, we’re taught at every Lamaze class, every Bradly Cat class that you go to and every workout that you go to now about Kegels. Talk to me about – because I know you have a point of view on Kegels and how to do them and their efficacy. 

Julie Reil: Again, Kegels can be helpful, but they’re not always helpful. First of all, if you have urge incontinence, which means you’re getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or all day long you’re going back and forth to the bathroom, so you have urgent or frequent urges, Kegels can make that worse.  

So, you have to know that Kegels are specifically for people that are having more trouble with leaking urine when they sneeze or cough or do exercise. That’s called stress incontinence, which means basically the seal isn’t as tight as it used to be and you can leak and pressure can overcome that.  

Kegels can be helpful, so really you need to be directed towards the right exercise for you. Then, there’s been some advancements of Kegels which are basically some very basic exercises put together by Dr. Arnold Kegel in 1961.  

Now, there’s a program called Beyond Kegels. There are some other things out there that are basically optimizing the things that you know about, Kathy which is what types of muscles are we working on? Are these big muscles? Are these tiny, intrinsic muscles? Yes, they’re tiny muscles. Are they slow twitch? Are they fast twitch? Yes, they’re a little bit of both.  

So, the more advanced toning programs are really helping people to optimize their position, optimize the way they do their exercises to get the most out of them. Then, also, educating women that this is not like working out in the gym. These muscles are very unique and basically when people say, ‘I’ve tried Kegels. It didn’t work.’ Most likely, they haven’t tried something that’s tailored for them, because most everybody thinks a simple Kegel is just squeeze those muscles and you’re out of there. But there’s a lot more that needs to go on in order to effectively tone your pelvic floor. 

Kathy Smith: Let’s talk about it and maybe we can give the listeners one thing to try, because typically you’re told if you want to understand a Kegel, try when you’re urinating, stopping the flow of urine and those muscles that you’re using to do that are the ones you’re trying to tighten. 

Julie Reil: Yes, it’s similar to that, but we don’t recommend you do them during urination. But, yes, you’re right, those are the same muscles that will stop the flow of urine. 

Kathy Smith: I know that when I was doing my Moving Through Menopause book and video, I taught different exercises like the flutter or the elevator exercise where you would imagine that you’re in an elevator and if you imagine your vagina and going up the wall, it would be first floor, second floor, third floor. You get to the penthouse, you hold and then release one at a time.  

Another one is that you just, instead of long squeezes, it would be almost like flutter kicks like squeeze, release, squeeze, release. So, things like that. But what’s interesting when we were together and you were showing me some of the postures, maybe just explain the one of where you lift your hips up and perhaps place them on a pillow or place them in a position so you change the position of your lower body. Explain why that’s effective. 

Julie Reil: Ultimately, who needs Kegels the most, really, are women who had a baby. Those muscles are no longer nice and tight. They don’t communicate and they’re not as effective as they used to be, so you’re trying to accomplish some toning of muscles, but you’re challenged because you’re not starting off with the ideal that you used to have before having babies is those muscles are a little bit stretched apart, almost like fabric that is no longer completely in tone.  

So, what’s interesting is people who need the Kegels also have typically given birth vaginally, so sitting up and doing a Kegel or sitting at a stop sign and saying, ‘Oh, every time I stop in my car, I just do my Kegels.’ First and foremost, this is not the position to do them in because everything sits lower in the abdomen and the pelvis once you’ve given birth even once. So, you want to be in a neutral, laying down position. Ideally, if there’s something you can prop under your lower back, that elevates the hips a little bit, now, you even have less gravity working against you. 

So, sitting up, no. Laying down, better. That’s kind of a neutral. But, then, a little bit of a prop underneath the lower back where the hips kind of almost curve forward. I don’t know what you call that but if you were just doing a little bit of a flexing of the hips forward that is a very nice position because, now, you’ll eliminate gravity and even save tissues that are sitting lower, and you can really work through those full range of motion of what you’re trying to accomplish with your pelvic floor. That’s one position. 

Kathy Smith: Ok. Did you have another one you wanted to share?  

Julie Reil: I was going to say if you were to do one thing besides that position, it would be to do a combination like you mentioned, Kathy, of kind of a long-held isometric, like I’m going to pretend there’s a marble in the vagina. I’m going to squeeze around that marble and I’m going to pull it up towards my belly button and I hold, hold, hold. Count slowly to five and hold it. I call that more of an isometric, like a long-held contraction. Then, rest and do the same thing but do what you mentioned – the flutters – where you lift the marble up, you let it go, you lift the marble up, you let it go.  

So, for most people that have tried to do Kegels in the past, they usually do them in one way. And I think most people do it in kind of a long-held fashion. I’m not sure. But when they do the combination which, then, is allowing you to work both the slow twitch and the fast twitch muscles down there, which are basically there’s 40% of one and 60% of the other – almost half and half – you’re going to be toning the muscles more effectively and getting more out of your exercises if you do that combo.  

Kathy Smith:  I love those combos…and you’re right, it’s so important to switch up your kegel exercisses to work both the fast twitch and slow twitch muscles! Just like any other muscle in the body, the PC (pubococcygius) muscle, which is the muscle you work while kegeling,  needs regular exercise to remain firm. And having a strong pelvic floor is extremely important because when done correctly, “Kegeling” can alleviate up to 90 percent of stress incontinence. And of course, it’s going to heighten pleasure and sensitivity during intercourse! What are some other ways women can be proactive about keeping their pelvic floor strong?  

Julie Reil: It certainly wouldn’t hurt. Exactly. First and foremost, you’ve got your four functions of your pelvic floor. So, urination and having bowel movements or stooling, that’s a necessary part of life every day. And it also has issues of dignity. So, that’s so important that we, as we’re aging and living longer, that we maintain and be able to have the pelvic health that we can. Because it does affect your cardiovascular fitness and activities you do, for instance. So, if you can keep those muscles strong and not be someone who’s leaking urine or unable to control gas or stool, which happens as people get into their 60s and beyond, that’s really important.  

But vaginal wall tone becomes quite important, not only structurally so that you’re not having things sagging and falling out and that discomfort, but to be able to basically enjoy sex more and, then, be able to, I guess, be a little bit more proactive too, because this is an area where if you use it and continue to be able to use it, even through the drying, aging scenario for a pelvic floor is that you have less thickness of the skin. You also have less moisture.  

So, that’s a little bit of the flower that withers away and dries up. So, you have to be proactive to make sure your flower doesn’t wither away and dry up. There’s some things you can do medically, but the tone is probably the cornerstone of it all. Then, using some other strategies to keep things – the mucus glands active and working. So, you had said once, I think, in a question, ‘Is this an area where if you don’t use it, you will lose it?’ There is some truth to that. This is ideally an area where you need to continue to use it, which becomes a challenge when you don’t have a partner. But there are ways that you can keep the area working and keep it from thinning so dramatically. 

Kathy Smith: Exactly…if you don’t use it, you lose it! But if you don’t have a partner, you don’t have to feel left out! There’s all kinds of techniques that will help you everything stay active and toned…including vibrators. It’s nothing to be ashamed of…One out of every three people that go into nursing facilities go in because of incontinence. At one point, if you cannot maintain and hold your urine and your bowels, then life becomes very difficult and it’s not just something that happens in very old age. Women in their 30s start to leak when they jumprope or jog. And a lot of women suffer in silence. It affects their relationships, their self esteem, their sex lives. It’s an important thing to address. So, that’s why it’s never too early to start being proactive. 

Julie Reil: Absolutely. And, again, so in the last 10 years, it’s a thrill to know that I think because of our wonderful, younger generation – these millenniums – they will talk about things. They’re taking the taboo out of a lot of subjects, and women in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s–I treat women in their 90s–they’re realizing they’re not alone. This is actually a fairly normal part of giving birth as well as aging and they can be proactive.  

It’s a very personal subject. It involves matters of dignity, truly. But to empower women to realize, well, there really are some things you can do. It may not be in your mainstream medical doctor’s office yet, but there’s some treatments and there’s combining exercises with, say, bioidentical estrogen cream, used very conservatively. There’s a lot of things where if you do the stuff over the long run, if you started in your 40s, 50s, continue on, your preservation of your pelvic floor and its function will be so much better, of course, than if you just let things go.  

Kathy Smith: Yeah, optimizing that. 

Julie Reil: These young women are saying, ‘Tell me what to do.’ It’s important to them. They don’t want to lose their, let’s say, sexual abilities, their attractiveness but, also, their functional issues and their dignity. They’re looking around, going, ‘Whoa, that could happen to me.’  

I love the fact that people are becoming proactive, and I love that fact that 90-year olds come in. Ninety-year olds are interested in not getting up and down and peeing all night, not having leaking but more than that, they want to feel as young and beautiful down there as they do anywhere else in their body. 

Kathy Smith: Yeah, it makes so much sense. 

Julie Reil: Yes, it’s beautiful.  

Kathy Smith:  And it turns out that engaging in intercourse and other sexual activities that stretch the vagina can actually preserve elasticity by preventing contracting and over-tightening of the tissue in the area. But yet, around 50-60% of women report problems with vaginal dryness. What’s happening in a woman’s body and hormone levels that cause this dryness, and how can we prevent that atrophy…especially during or after menopause?  

Julie Reil: Naturally, in terms of vaginal dryness, what’s happening structurally, physiologically is your pelvic floor is very dependent upon estrogen. When you no longer make your own estrogen and, say, you are officially in menopause, which means you haven’t had a period for 12 months, you are basically already – because of the lack of estrogen influence on those tissues – at least 50 percent thinner than when you were having your menstrual cycle. So, that means the skin, the connective tissue in the muscle are all thinning out. They’re becoming weaker. So, estrogen naturally supports the thickness, the turgor and the elasticity. So, it’s a big deal when you go into menopause.  

If you take systemic hormone replacement, there’s some improvement, but typically people will still have atrophy and they will still have vaginal dryness as well as some difficulty with the stretch of intercourse. That might be felt during intercourse or what we call afterburn. It seems like it’s going fine but, then, when you’re all done, it’s really uncomfortable because those tissues did not stretch well.  

Your strategies really do come down, ideally, ultimately that if you can replace a little bit of that estrogen topically. One of the best things that happened for women, in my opinion, in 2010, the American College of Oncologists, the cancer doctors, issued a position statement reassuring women that use of an estrogen cream on your pelvic floor, on your vaginal walls is not putting you at risk of systemic cancers and long-term risk of heart disease and stroke and things that we know that come from taking systemic hormones over the long term.  

There’s a couple of reasons for that. First of all, you don’t need much in terms of the dose. Second of all, you only dose it three times a week and it’s typically just a little wheel of cream. I have my patients just rub it in like you would a lotion. Interestingly is, that little bit makes a huge difference to preserve some thickness, some elasticity and how to guard against the ultimate withering away and drying up of the flower. You want to preserve the thickness and the blood supply and the stretchability of that area. So, estrogen is your number one thing.  

So, is there natural forms of estrogen? Personally, I like to prescribe Estriol, which is compounded. It has to be prescribed, but it is 100% bioidentical to what’s in the human body. It’s only one subtype of estrogen, but it’s about 85% specific for the pelvic floor. So, you don’t have people talking about breast tenderness, a kind of systemic effect of the hormone, because it’s really just being used three times a week, about 1 ML, which is a small dosing. It takes care topically, or locally, what you need, but it’s not going throughout your whole system. Does that make sense? 

Kathy Smith: It does. Totally. With the product, then, it’s going to help with dryness, with thickness and a little bit of the elasticity and the shape? 

Julie Reil: The tissues that are essentially estrogen dependent, we’re talking the entire hammock of your pelvic floor is skin-connected tissue, and those fine intrinsic muscles all respond a little bit to that estrogen. So, it’s not just like the very surface of the skin becomes less wrinkly. No, it’s actually giving a small, functional improvement.  

It doesn’t suddenly make you re-toned, but we’re talking about the marathon, not the sprint here. So, if you go into menopause – on average 50, 55 – and you’re going to live another 45, 50 years, you’ve got a lot of years where you really want to prevent, which would be the ultimate–which is kind of the withering away of those tissues. When I examine women in their elder years who haven’t had any estrogen, it’s as thin as wet tissue paper. So, you’re talking about an area that really becomes somewhat non-functional. 

Kathy Smith: Because it can tear so easily. 

Julie Reil: Yeah, with hardly any pressure. Imagine sitting in a wet pad, then, having that pliable, fragile tissue. It really behooves us to just become aware of how we can use every possible strategy to make this area preserved and maintained as well as possible. 

Kathy Smith: Right. And also, it’s interesting to note that when estrogen leaves the body, so does important bacteria that lives in the vagina. This changes the pH, and makes the area more acidic and vulnerable to infection. Because of this, combined with the loss of elasticity, little tiny tears form making the vagina more susceptible to infections. And not the infections of the yeast infections we used to get when we were younger but more so, even more bacterial infections. 

Julie Reil: Absolutely. And bladder infections, for sure. 

Kathy Smith: And bladder infections. So, yeah, it really is something to pay attention to. Well, then, for one of the things that–I know in your introduction, I talked about it–but it’s a procedure called Genityte. I know it’s a procedure that helps with the pelvic floor. It helps with all the things we’re talking about.  

Can you talk a little bit – because I know these things are popping up across the country and there’s different claims that are being made for different procedures – can you talk about Genityte? But, also, just in a broader view of a lot of claims that are being made for products out there of how they can tighten, shift, change and which ones work and which ones don’t. 

Julie Reil: Ok, well, good. Essentially, what is out there are different, let’s say, machines or mechanical ways to potentially add a little more tone to the vaginal walls. CO2 laser can be used, radio frequency, electricity. I don’t think ultrasound’s been used successfully.  

What I use in a Genityte procedure is infrared light. It’s light, not heat and it’s a very gentle approach. Because it can go directly in and around the clitoris, the anus, very, very sensitive, highly innervated areas, we’re able to accomplish toning of the entire pelvic floor – pubic bone all the way back to the tailbone and everything in between including the vaginal walls. What I love about Genityte is the four functions of the pelvic floor – urination, having babies, the vaginal wall tone which is our sexual function too, having bowel movements or passing gas and stooling as well as lower back pain and posture are all improved. Therefore, the ability to Kegel, to use those muscles and to return better structural tone by exercising them, all that, then, becomes possible.  

Other than that, the things that are out there are using pretty intense heat or electricity or radio frequency, that can only be used in the vaginal walls where you don’t have a lot of nerve supply; otherwise, you would literally damage nerves to the clitoris or to the anus in which people would never tolerate and, certainly, we can’t risk.  

I think the best of the best things out there because Genityte was something developed right here where I practice myself. The other things have kind of just come as a little bit of a spinoff, if you will. I think the best things that can be accomplished, you just have to work one on one with your physician in terms of what’s safe for you. What you don’t want to risk, of course, with any of those thing is that something might get worse.  

There is a difference between urgent incontinence and there’s a difference between stress incontinence and, then, there’s a difference between vaginal wall prolapse. The person doing the procedure needs to be a physician, and they need to know how to actively diagnose and, then, steer you in the right direction.  

There are some home product, which you might be referring to as well. There’s something now that can help you, let’s say, optimize your Kegeling ability and it connects to your iPhone. I think it costs only about $150. It’s essentially a biofeedback device. It’s used by the physical therapists, and it can give you feedback as to how well you’re squeezing those muscles. I think that’s kind of exciting. It’s something you can actively do along with your Kegeling program at home and give you a sense of are you making strides, are the muscles getting stronger, are you registering, on your biofeedback scale, a higher score? 

Kathy Smith: Is that called a dilator? Just for the audience, what would they look for? I’ve read about them. I’m actually going to order one. That’s a great idea. I read about them.  

Julie Reil: They came out in Europe first, but I know the physician in Vancouver has been using it, meaning recommending it to patients and feeling like it’s a little bit of a step up. Certainly, it’s affordable, which is nice. The other units I’ve seen that are available to order off the internet in the U.S. look more like a vibrator. You insert it. But they’re a little bit bulky and, then, they don’t have the blue tooth. So, what I like about the one he was talking about–I think it’s called eFIT or something. I’m going to look it up and see if I can find it on my phone. 

Kathy Smith: We’ll track it down and we’ll put it in the liner notes here.  

Julie Reil: Yes, because of the affordability, first of all, I think that’s amazing. And, then, the fact that most everybody has an iPhone now or some kind of a blue tooth device, so it just seems like it would be easy to use and, then, have some immediate feedback as to how you’re doing. 

Kathy Smith: So, I guess the message is start with a program to strengthen the pelvic floor, to strengthen the muscles of the vaginal wall. Think about the dryness element of where you are on the spectrum and whether you need a little bit of estrogen cream.  You might also try vaginal moisturizers, which are called “face cream” for the vagina. They work by binding vaginal cells and holding water.  

Then, if things are to the point where you’re finding you’re embarrassed because you can’t hold your urine or your bowels, then the idea is instead of just going out and getting the Depends or getting a pad or something to stop the leakage  – or to not even stop it but to catch the leakage – the idea is to now start to go to a doctor, to perhaps go to even your website, which is ShilohMedicalClinic.com or subscribe to Women’s Voices Magazine, and start to get more information about what are some of these techniques that you can do now to really help with the strengthening of this area. Because it’s a fascinating brave new world, and I encourage everybody to listen up, not be embarrassed about it and perhaps start the dialogue with your girlfriends or even with yourself or with your doctor.  

Julie Reil: Right. 

Kathy Smith: Any last parting words before I have to let you go? 

Julie Reil: No. Once again, Kathy, I just applaud you because you are so proactive for women. You’re broaching topics here, I think, everybody needs to hear about. But the common denominator is these are really embarrassing topics, and I think people are often not reaching out for the help they need because of the embarrassment. So, everything that we can do to encourage each other as women and let them know there are other things.  

Doctors like myself, I’m nothing wonderful but I certainly have a heart for women. Because of my women’s health category, I’m just one of many out there who are trying to make life better. I just want to thank you again for what you do for women. I think just continuing to be a resource for women as to what’s coming out, what’s coming down the pike. I think there’s a lot of interesting things out there and everything has to be taken with a grain of salt. I think looking at things critically, talking with your doctor, making sure things are safe, number one. Then, beyond that, just being proactive for yourself and your own health is what it’s all about these days. 

Kathy Smith: So well put. On another note or just to add to that, I would love to track down the Kegel exercises you’ve mentioned. We’ll also put all those in the liner notes just so people know where they have access to find these newer techniques. 

Julie Reil: Absolutely. The website that you can research is called PhoenixCoreSolutions.com. This is a physical therapist from Missoula, Montana who did this research a good 30 years ago. A very successful program called Beyond Kegels and little things like the wedge to prop under your lower back is all available on here site and the books and what not. She is an interesting woman who basically has done very well as a physical therapist and she said, “In my younger years, I said I’m going to make a million dollars.” Well, then, after she made a million dollars, her next goal was to help a million women.  

That’s what Beyond Kegels has been about. It has been just kind of her giving back to women. I think it’s the best program out there and the easiest to do. She has research to back it up and I would say have hundreds of patients to also credential that it’s something that is realistic, you can do it at home, it works and it can fit into anybody’s everyday life. And you only do it three times a week, which is another helpful thing, so it’s not laborious to do this. 

Kathy Smith: It sounds like a remarkable woman. Once again, it’s great. I’m going to have to fly out to Montana. I need a Dr. Reil fix, so I’ll have to come see you. Thank you so much. 

 

Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.

Body Boomers 4-Min Video Clip

by Kathy Smith

In 1985, I had just began a national advertising campaign with Tickets, which landed a photo of me on a billboard on Sunset Blvd. It was later taken down, because police officers said it was causing too many traffic accidents (true story!!).

For the same campaign, I had the honor of shooting a photo with Mitch Gaylord… who led the ’84 gold-medal-winning U.S. men’s gymnastics team, becoming the first American gymnast to score a perfect 10.00 in the Olympics. He also won the silver medal in vault, the bronze in parallel bars and the bronze in the rings. In addition to his individual accolades, Gaylord led the US men’s gymnastics team to a gold medal in the team competition for the first and only time in Olympics history.

At the time, low-impact aerobics were all the craze, which led me to create the Body Basics workout. This routine was pure fun…from the leg warmers to the shoulder shimmies. Now, it’s a classic.

I smiled from ear to ear this morning as I saw these comments on my Facebook page about the workout…

Own Kathy Smith's Body Boomer's Workout on DVD!

“Body Basics took me from a size 12 to a size 6 after my second child! I’ve maintained the size 6 for 25 years!!!!!” – Amy

“Best workout ever!” – Trina

“OMG! I wore out this VHS tape! It was my favorite!” – Rita

Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.

Is Decision Fatigue Making You Fat?

by Kathy Smith

The complete Barre Body Lift workout

No matter what time you choose to workout throughout the week, what’s most important is to have a routine so you don’t fall victim to decision fatigue and miss your exercise session.

Studies show that as you navigate through a world of choices, it’s natural that your mental capacity starts to wear down.

As you increase the number of decisions you make throughout the day, the more tired your brain becomes, and it warps your judgment. But, you may not notice when this is happening to you, because when you’re running low on mental energy, your mind isn’t consciously aware of being tired.

Here’s an interesting study reported in the New York Times…

“…Studies show that people with the best self-control are the ones who structure their lives so as to conserve willpower. They don’t schedule endless back-to-back meetings. They avoid temptations like all-you-can-eat buffets, and they establish habits that eliminate the mental effort of making choices. Instead of deciding every morning whether or not to force themselves to exercise, they set up regular appointments to work out with a friend. Instead of counting on willpower to remain robust all day, they conserve it so that it’s available for emergencies and important decisions.”

So, if you like to exercise in the mornings, then set your alarm clock knowing what you’re doing when you wake up in the morning…whether it’s a walk or a yoga routine. Or, if you prefer to workout in the afternoon, then schedule a new class at the gym after work with a friend. This way, you’ve made the decision ahead of time and won’t have to rely on willpower to get moving.

And before you start your workout, don’t forget the importance of a warm-ups. Try this 5-minute gentle and invigorating warm-up video…it’s is like a latte for your mind. A simple warm-up will increase the oxygen in your brain and help you concentrate better, recall information more quickly, and focus more throughout the day.

Own it on DVD for only $11.99!

Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.

The Best Workout For Your Body Type

by Kathy Smith

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We come in all shapes and sizes. The system of body types (also called somatotypes) commonly used in scientific and medical circles was developed in the 1950s by W. H. Sheldon and provides a convenient way of classifying the structural and performance differences between people. According to this system, there are three basic types: the slender ectomorph, the athletic mesomorph, and the soft endomorph. Each has its strengths and limits.

Most people don’t fit perfectly into any one type. However, as you read through the descriptions, I’ll bet you’ll be able to relate characteristics of one or more types to yourself or someone you know.

The Ectomorph: Thin, Little Fat or Muscle

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 4.25.40 PMEctomorphs have long, narrow, lean, lithe, angular bodies. Their muscles and connective tissues are loose, allowing more flexibility and mobility than other body types, and this general looseness and lack of muscle makes them more likely to have poor posture. Proportionately, ectomorphs are fine-boned, with narrow shoulders, a flat chest, and long limbs. What little fat they carry accumulates in the hips and thighs.


Ectomorphs tend to have inefficient cardiovascular systems and may have problems with low blood pressure, high heart rate, poor circulation, dizziness on standing, and poor endurance. They gain muscle slowly and with difficulty.

A well-developed and efficient nervous system makes ectomorphs highly sensitive and adept at activities requiring speed of movement. On the other hand, they have inefficient digestive systems, which helps them to stay thin but may leave them prone to hypoglycemia. There’s also some evidence that ectomorphs may be particularly susceptible to low back pain and osteoporosis.

The Mesomorph: Athletic and Muscular


Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 4.28.10 PMMesomorphs are high-energy people, with high levels of adrenaline and an efficient cardiovascular system. In general, they excel at strength and endurance activities and, men especially, tend to bulk up when they lift weights.Mesomorphs are nature’s athletes, with hard, muscular bodies and a solid, square appearance. They’re sturdily built, and their tight, short muscles and strong connective tissue give them a very upright posture, but limit their flexibility. They’re medium-to-large-boned, with shoulders broader than hips, short torsos, and a well-proportioned distribution of weight.

Depending on their diet and activity level, mesomorphs can gain or lose weight easily. Although they get into shape quickly and can eat large amounts of calories as long as they stay active, they can also lose muscle quickly and gain fat through lack of training. When they’re inactive, their blood pressure and heart rate rise. That, combined with a greater concentration of fat near the middle of the body, makes them more prone to heart disease and stroke.

The Endomorph: Excess Body Fat

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Endomorphs have soft, rounded, naturally curvy bodies, with excess body fat and underdeveloped muscles. Their shoulders are slightly wider than their hips, but this often goes unnoticed because they carry excess fat at their waist, buttocks, and thighs. Their posture is fairly good, and their muscles and cardiovascular system are more efficient than those of the ectomorph, though less so than the mesomorph. This gives them natural potential for strength, endurance, and flexibility. However, an overly developed digestive system and a naturally low metabolism cause them to gain weight easily and lose it slowly. The endomorph usually has a slow heart rate and low blood pressure, and can relax and fall asleep easily. 

Mix and Match

You hardly ever see anyone who is a perfect ecto, meso, or endo. Most of us have traits of at least two types: Usually, we tend toward one while having traces of the others. A good pole vaulter, for instance, might be an ecto-meso, since long limbs (ectomorph) are desirable for speed and grip height, while strong upper body muscles (mesomorph) are important in levering the body over the bar.

I classify myself as an ecto-meso. Although I have the mesomorph’s capacity to gain muscle and be athletic, my body’s natural tendency is toward thinness.

By the way, other physical characteristics such as height, weight, or fitness level do not affect what type you are. You can be a meso, ecto, or endo of any dress size. Likewise, exercise won’t change your body type. You might go from an overweight endomorph to a more slender one; from a willowy ectomorph to a more contoured one, but the changes you experience will occur relative to your own physiology.

Body Type Self-Test

Here’s a quick way to gauge your body type: Take the middle finger and thumb of one hand, and encircle the wrist of the other hand. This is a simple way of making a length-versus-width comparison of the bones in your body. This ratio gives a clue as to which category you might fall into:

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Ectomorphs, endomorphs, and mesomorphs are like that game of rock, paper, scissors. Each can do something the others can’t, so there’s no better or worse type to be. And since your type was decided before you were born, your only job now is to accept and enjoy your body for its unique abilities, and learn to make the most of them.

The Mesomorph Myth

There seems to be a bias in our society in favor of the mesomorph. Most people feel that a more muscular, proportional physique is the ideal. The bias doesn’t stop there, though. Studies show we actually judge people with meso physiques more favorably than others.

In one experiment, a group of psychotherapists and grad students at Midwestern State University were shown drawings of three clients’ body types. Based on nothing but the outlines of the bodies, the subjects rated the clients according to various personal characteristics. Students and professionals alike all rated the mesomorphs more favorably than the others.

It’s true that mesomorphs have a definite edge in most physical pursuits. However, looking beyond athletics, the other body types have edges of their own. An ectomorph’s highly active nervous system may make her an exciting concert violinist. Likewise, an endomorph’s slow, relaxed demeanor may make her a more approachable and reassuring presence as a school counselor.

Even in the physical realm, though, each type has its strengths. The strengths and limitations of your body type (as well as your individual goals) help determine the type of training that’s right for you.

Here’s a summary and some training recommendations…

Training Considerations for Each Body Type

My program is designed to help everyone—no matter how you’re built—develop strength, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility. However, two people can have very different responses to the same training program. It helps to be as familiar as you can with your own body’s natural tendencies, so you know how to focus your efforts and assess your progress.

Ectomorph Focus

If you’re an ectomorph, you may have memories of leaving most of your elementary school classmates in the dust in the 50- yard dash. Ectomorphs are good sprinters, can become very flexible, and excel at sports involving quickness and agility. They’re not gifted in the strength or endurance departments, however, and while they don’t usually need to work to stay thin, they do need to work to stay strong.

The Role of Strength Training:

Ectomorphs need strength training to improve posture, create contour, protect joints from injury, and keep bones strong against osteoporosis.

While the ecto can improve muscle strength and endurance, the improvements may not be as great or come as fast as with the other types. An ectomorph trying to build muscle may feel at times like someone trying to grow vegetables in the desert. This is all the more reason why it’s so important for ectomorphs to train, and train consistently.

As for other aspects of training, ectos can usually maintain flexibility with minimal effort. And because they are often high-strung, they may benefit from relaxation and stress-reduction techniques.

Mesomorph Focus

If you’re a mesomorph, you’ve probably done well at most physical activities you’ve tried. If you haven’t been very active up to this point, you’ll probably find that your body responds quickly to training. Excess weight shouldn’t be a problem as long as you stay active and eat sensibly. Because mesomorphs tend to carry fat around the center of the body, they face a greater risk of heart problems than other types if they allow their weight to climb. The right combination of strength training, cardio, and a low-fat diet will minimize this risk and keep you looking your best.

The Role of Strength Training:

Your challenge is to find a level of strength training that allows you to tone up without building more muscle than you want. Weight lifting is a must for fighting age-related muscle loss and keeping your weight down, but you may want to do it at a lower intensity (using lighter weights, according to the guidelines in Chapter 5) to avoid building unwanted bulk. Since your muscles and connective tissues tend to be tightly strung together, you’ll probably need to spend extra time stretching in order to stay flexible.

Endomorph Focus

If you’re an endomorph, you may have memories of bringing up the rear when your classmates ran the track. Physical activity does not come easily for you, and you may find physical challenges frustrating. The main difficulty, though, is usually excess weight. Endomorphs, because of their tendency to store fat, may not seem to be natural athletes. But, surprisingly, they have the potential to develop strength and endurance more easily than the ectomorph.

With proper training, there’s no reason an endomorph can’t be toned and fit. Endos may tend to be a bit more voluptuous than other body types, but it’s possible to be voluptuous and be in great shape!

The Role of Strength Training:

The endomorph’s big challenge is her constant struggle with excess weight. Aerobic work, attention to diet, and strength training will all help. Strength training is vital, and will accomplish two things: First, it will help strengthen your joints and connective tissues to make your cardio work easier and less stressful. And second, it will help raise your metabolism so you can burn fat that much faster. Over the long run, you may want to do a little extra work on your upper body to help create a more symmetrical look. When it comes to cardio, start with low-impact varieties to minimize stress on the joints: good choices include walking or treadmill, swimming (or aqua aerobics), low-impact aerobics, bicycling on fairly level ground, or a stationary bike with low tension.

Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.

THIS IS YOGA FOR INFLEXIBLE PEOPLE

by Kathy Smith

 

Full workout here!

THIS IS YOGA FOR INFLEXIBLE PEOPLE. So you don’t think you’re flexible? You’re not alone! There are reasons why you may be less bendy…from genetics, to how cold it is outside, to your age.

But just because you haven’t passed the Flexibility 101 course doesn’t mean you should rule yoga out of your practice.

Today, I want to guide you through a 5 minute gentle yoga video routine for inflexible people to help you feel more peaceful, have a better sleep tonight, and yes…improve your flexibility 

The good news is, you don’t even have to be able to touch your toes to do these poses.

Today’s video is a clip from my newly-released video, YOGA BASICS: GENTLE YOGA!

Own it on DVD HERE!

Product Description:

If you want to feel the revitalizing benefits of yoga, this DVD is the place to start! This complete experience includes both standing and floor poses to help you release tension, improve flexibility, increase core strength, and create space and tranquility in your body. As you start to link fluid movement with breath, you’ll discover for yourself yoga’s time-honored power to restore the balance of mind and body.

Clear and effective 55-minute routine gives the beginner a complete yoga foundation; Floor poses to increase flexibility, especially in the lower back; Standing poses to build strength and improve alignment; Breathing techniques for more energy and vitality; Guided relaxation session to dissolve unwanted stress; Developed with Rod Stryker, one of the country’s leading yoga instructors and lecturers; Easy-to-follow. The DVD contains: Floor poses; Standing poses; Guided relaxation.

Kathy says “Welcome to my Timeless Collection! I hope you’ll enjoy these DVDs containing my favorite and most memorable workouts from the past. What was great then is still effective today, and I think you’ll agree that this transformative workout is indeed timeless!”

This Yoga routine includes:

  • Floor poses: 22 minutes
  • Standing poses: 22 minutes
  • Guided relaxation: 10 minutes
  • Total workout: Approx. 55 minutes

Kathy Smith, New York Times bestselling author, has stood at the forefront of the fitness and health industries for over 30 years. The numbers speak for themselves: Kathy has sold more than 20 million exercise DVDs - landing her in the Video Hall of Fame - and $500 million in Kathy Smith products. With her revolutionary approach to fitness, Smith has touched millions of people, inspiring them to move, live, and love.

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