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3 Meditations To Nourish Your Heart

by Kathy Smith

In the simplest sense, meditation can help banish negative thoughts by clearing your mind entirely. One popular meditation technique is to focus on a positive idea or happy moment. As soon as a negative thought bubbles to the happy, calm surface you created, think of it as a duck that is paddling away from you and return your focus to happier thoughts. It’s not always easy to erase negative thought patterns, but meditation can at least help you become more conscious of them, and that’s the first step.

As if happier thoughts aren’t enough of a benefit, research is showing that meditation can help restructure the brain in ways that lead to more enhanced concentration, boosted immunity, and increased compassion. Even the most basic attempts at meditation have been shown to have immediate positive results.

If you haven’t begun a meditation practice, or are looking to take your practice to the next level, then stay tuned. Today, I’ll guide you through three meditation styles to enhance your life and recharge your batteries.

1. Nature Meditation

One of my favorite ways to change my mental state is to meditate deeply on a part of nature. Take five minutes to look closely at a flower. Study the details of its texture and the structure. By observing the smallest features of a flower or any object, you develop a sense of reverence. The flower becomes a little miracle. You begin to see how complete and fully alive the natural world is at all levels. Meditating on nature can be calming, fascinating, and inspiring all at once.

2. Gratitude Meditation

I love what Oprah said about gratitude, “I know for sure that appreciating whatever shows up for you in life changes your personal vibration. You radiate and generate more goodness for yourself when you’re aware of all you have and not focusing on your have-nots.”

Every morning, I start my day by making a gratitude list. It gets me moving on a positive track!

So take a few minutes today meditating on all the things in your life that you’re thankful for. You might even think about taking out your phone, opening the notes, and writing your daily list.

3. Breathing Meditation

Slow, deep breathing is one of the best stress busters there is. Focus your attention on the breath entering your body, your breath flowing out, and the spaces in between the breath. Several minutes of this can lower your pulse, reduce your blood pressure, and relax much of the muscular tension in your body.

This popular breathing method is one of the easiest and most effective forms for the uninitiated to attempt. Try it during stressful situations throughout your day. Within minutes, you’ll see how it helps you stay present in the moment, and yet separated from the situation that created stress in the first place.

Remember, as you work through these three meditations negative messages may surface. It’s o.k. (and very common) if they do. Your meditation practice will become more profound as you turn your focus back to nature, what you’re grateful for, or your breath. Like anything new, the more you practice, the easier it becomes to switch your mindset.

Here’s to your health and happiness!

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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Epigenetics Proves It: Negative Thoughts and Emotions Harm Your Health

by Kathy Smith

For decades we’ve heard talk of the mind-body connection, but what does it really mean?

Traditionally, the mind-body connection related to the notion that emotions, thoughts, social activities, spiritual practices, and behavior can affect our health. Today, thanks to some intrepid geneticists, we not only know this is true, but also the reason it occurs.

Ever since the discovery of genes, scientists have followed the path of genetic disposition and have strived to fight or prevent disease based on an individual’s genetic code. But, the new science of epigenetics has scientists looking at a much bigger picture.

Let’s take a look at what epigenetics means. Genetics is the study of heredity, or how the characteristics of living things are transmitted from one generation to the next. Every living thing contains the genetic material that makes up DNA molecules. This material is passed on when organisms reproduce. The prefix epi is derived from a Greek word that means “on, upon, at, by, near, over, on top of, toward, against, among.” Now, when we combine the prefix epi with the word genetics, we are referring to what occurs uponover or on top of the expression of genes.

Biologists studying epigenetics understand that environmental factors, such as stress and nutrition, to name a few, affect your genetic expression. And, what these biologists know with certainty is that the expression of your genes, not the genes themselves, dictates whether you develop certain diseases or age prematurely. In other words, one may have the “obesity gene,” but if nothing in the environment triggers that gene, it will never express as obesity.

This means that how you respond to what’s happening in your environment—whether it’s stress at work, final exams, or emotional or physical abuse—has a far greater effect than the event itself. In other words, when it comes to your body, perception is reality.

If you are chronically forlorn, for example, this negative emotion will influence the expression of your genes and thus impact your risk of developing disease. Conversely, there are many obese people, and even heavy smokers, who lead optimistic, balanced lives who are in much better health than their lean or non-smoking, but pessimistic, counterparts.

Dawson Church, in his book, The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention, reports that heart surgery patients who have a strong social support network and spiritual practice have one-seventh the mortality rate of those who don’t.

So, how do you start feeling optimistic when you’re feeling everything but? Well, you can start by recognizing that pessimism is nothing more than a habit—a learned response. And, the good news in that is that habits can be changed.

Habits are formed by the brain when we do something consistently over time. The brain recognizes the pattern and builds a neuropathway. Then, whenever the situation presents itself again, your brain takes that same neuropathway, which is now the path of least resistance. Neuropathways that are used regularly get stronger, and those that aren’t used at all disconnect.

So, the trick to changing habits is consistently doing the positive, new behavior you want until it forms a new neuropathway. Sound like a lot of time and effort? It doesn’t have to be. Since the brain doesn’t know the difference between real and imagined, and because time doesn’t exist at the other-than-conscious level of the mind, visualization can help you form new habits quickly and comfortably. This is where braintapping comes in. With proven technology-enhanced meditation that uses brain wave algorithms and visualization, you can quickly form the positive new habits that will give you a happier life and help safeguard your health.

And, if that’s not enough to convince you, a May 2014 study by the Institute of Science in Society showed that the relaxation response, as achieved through meditative practices, has been shown to positively affect at least 2,209 genes.

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.

Don’t Resist The Resistance Bands!

by Kathy Smith

What’s long, can stretch from head to toe, and will help you look fab in your summer tanks? That’s right…a resistance band!  You already know that they’re one of the best ways to increase your strength, because they’re inexpensive, small enough to travel with, and they make it easy to target specific muscle groups.

But what you might not know is that unlike dumbbells, tubes also provide what’s called linear variable resistance. Basically, this means that as you increase a move’s range of motion, the tension of the elastic also intensifies.
Imagine you’re doing a bicep curl. As you curl your arms up to a ninety-degree angle, the resistance provided by the tube gets stronger. Because the tube is made out of elastic, it provides more workload as it stretches. This can’t be done with dumbbells or other forms of free-weights.
Another reason linear variable resistance is so beneficial is because the elastic tubing better mimics the way a muscle’s strength changes throughout a movement. Until a certain point, most muscles increase in strength over the range of motion. For example, during a bicep curl, the muscle is weakest at the beginning, and at the halfway point the muscle is the most strong.

When you perform a bicep curl with a dumbbell, you’re limited to how much tension you can use based off of how strong your muscle is at the weakest point. This hinders the strongest part of your muscles from receiving adequate training.

But, try this same bicep curl with a tube, and the workload increases as the strength of your muscle increases.
Moral of the story…don’t resist the resistance tube!

To get started, try this 5-minute video designed to strengthen your lower body with a tube!

 

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.

Green Queen Juice

by Kathy Smith

Green smoothie with heart of seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 crown broccoli
  • 1 green apple
  • 1 bunch green grapes
  • 2 handfuls spinach
  • 2 large leaves of collard greens

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.

By Collage Video | | Kathy Smith, live long, live strong, Recipe, Weekly Blog | 0 comments | Read more

Tropical Dream Protein Shake Recipe

by Kathy Smith

Ingredients:
  • 8 oz unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 serving vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 Cup frozen pineapple or mango
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 handful dark, leafy greens

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy 

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.

Maximize Your Snack Break

by Kathy Smith

  1. Whole-grain bread with 1/8 avocado spread on top. Choose from a variety of toppings including: sliced tomato, basil, vinaigrette, asparagus, black pepper, chives, baby greens, toasted walnuts, mango, raspberries, cucumber, almonds.
  2. Seedlander crackers of Flackers topped with cashew cheese
  3. Apple slices with 1 tablespoon almond butter and raisins
  4. Celery sticks filled with 1 tablespoon almond butter and raisins
  5. 1/2 avocado and 1 small tomato, shopped, with a squeeze of lemon
  6. 1/2 avocado with salsa and diced jicama
  7. Handful of raw almonds with 1/2 cup blackberries
  8. Handful of brazil nuts with a pear
  9. Handful of cashews with an orange
  10. 2 Lettuce leaves spread with 1 tablespoon hummus and raw vegetables wrapped up
  11. 2 Tablespoons hummus with celery sticks and bell pepper strips
  12. 3/4 Cup cooked shelled edamae

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.

Ultimate Approach To Staying Young

by Kathy Smith

Spot some room for improvement? The more areas you found that need improving, the more you’ve got to gain!

But remember, making major lifestyle changes can seem pretty overwhelming. All all of a sudden, you’re supposed to sleep more, drink less soda, eat more veggies, and cut down on your sugar intake. But let’s be honest…you just can’t do everything at once. You could pull it off for a week or two, but soon you’d start feeling deprived of your old, familiar habits, and you’d feel yanked in a million directions. Eventually, you’d probably want to run from it all and just plop down on the couch with the remote control.

That, of course, isn’t the answer. Success comes down to one word…focus. The one surefire strategy is to focus your energy on one single healthy habit at a time. That way, you can learn why that particular habit is so important, and practice adapting it to your own tastes and preferences. After a while, you’ll incorporate that new healthy habit into your life without extra effort. It’ll just become second nature! Once you conquer one coal…whether it’s having more probiotics for healthy digestion, or strengthening your abs…you’ll be inspired to tackle another, and another. It’s like a domino effect. But a good one. Before you know it, you’ll have generated enough momentum to carry you through a complete transformation of your exercise and eating habits.

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.

By Collage Video | | health, Healthy, healthy aging, Kathy Smith, live long, live strong | 0 comments | Read more

The Best Workout For Your Body Type

by Kathy Smith

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 4.53.50 PM

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

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 4.28.43 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 4.31.22 PM

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.

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