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Posts in the Motivation category

Peel Years Off Your Neck!

by Kathy Smith

Giraffe closeup portrait with blue sky as background

What ages you faster than any part of your body? Surprisingly, it’s not your face. It’s your neck. Often left out of sunscreen application and the victim of additional reflected sun, your neck’s wrinkles and slack skin often look years older than the face you protected with SPF and a wide-brimmed hat.

Your skin is the first thing people see when they look at you. It’s considered the largest organ in the human body — right up there with the intestines, lungs, and liver. It serves many purposes, including acting as our first defense against germs and the environment, and converting sunlight to vitamin D. The layer of fat under the skin’s surface helps ensure that the important fluids inside our bodies stay inside our bodies.

The ironic thing about skin is that when people are young, their biggest concern about their skin may be how to get a tan. But as we get older, our top skin priority becomes firming the muscles in the face and preventing wrinkles.

The epidermis – top layer of skin – on your neck is very delicate with only a thin layer of fat under it. A thinner fat layer means fewer oil glands so your neck also doesn’t get as much natural moisture as your face. And it often doesn’t get its share of topical moisturizers. On top of all this, “tech neck,” which you might be susceptible to if you are frequently looking down at mobile devices, helps set deep lines in your neck.

Although you may rarely hear about exercising your neck, those delicate muscles need movement just like the rest of your body and I’m going to show them to you in today’s video.

One way to naturally firm your neck muscles is with a technique called neck yoga. These simple exercises can help reduce wrinkling, and make your neck look younger.

 


Let’s start by stretching your neck.

This stretch involves bending the head forward and downward, toward the floor. It is important that your posture is straight and correct. In a normal range of motion, your chin should be able to touch your chest, without opening your jaw.

And now, let’s do a Lateral Flexion…which means “to the side.”

1. Tilting the head, moving your ears toward your shoulders, is the basis of this stretch. Be sure to keep your shoulders flat and do not lift them during this stretch. Normally, your head, while looking forward, should be at a rough 45-degree angle from your shoulders.

Now that the neck is stretched, let’s start working those muscles with three exercises.

1. Begin by placing one or both hands on your forehead.

2. Push your head against your hand(s) while providing resistance with your hand(s) so your head does not move beyond its original position.. You should feel your neck muscles working. Hold for 10 seconds

3. Place your right hand against the right side of your head and push your head to the right, maintaining that same resistance so your head doesn’t move from its original position. Hold for 10 seconds.

4. Repeat with the left hand on the left side of your head, pushing to the left. Hold for 10 seconds.

5. Finally, clasp your hands behind your head, and push your head backward against your hands to create pressure, and again hold for about ten seconds.

Now for the second exercise, stand with your back straight and shoulders relaxed.

1. Open you mouth in an “O” and cover your teeth with your lips.

2. Gently tilt your head back about 45 degrees. You should not feel any pain.

3. Now open and close your mouth 10 times. Take a break and repeat.

The third exercise involves your kissing muscles.

1. Tilt your head back, looking at the ceiling.

2. Now start kissing the ceiling, being sure to really purse and push your lips toward the ceiling. Complete two cycles of 10 kisses each.

Oh, don’t those simple exercises make your neck feel tighter already? Do them twice a day and you’ll start seeing results! Here’s to your health.

Kathy

By Collage Video | | fitness, goals, Healthy, Motivation, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

The 3 F’s Of Fitness

by Kathy Smith

Exercise can be categorized as 3 F’s:

Fun – dancing, hoola-hooping, or playing a sport.
Formal – specific cardio and strength training routines.
Functional – everyday activities like walking, carrying groceries, climbing stairs, etc.

In the weight loss world, every little step counts, and you don’t have to be at the gym to increase your calorie burn.

FUN

When it comes to the FUN stuff, spring is a perfect time to explore new types of movement.  My daughter Kate called me from San Francisco to announce her new passion:  Ultimate Frisbee!  While running has always been her competitive sport of choice, she was looking for something new, and decided on a whim to join a friend for a huge Ultimate Frisbee competition in the park. Since she’s a pretty hardcore athlete, she wasn’t expecting much of a challenge, but she was amazed that, after an hour of playing, she got what she dubbed “the workout of a lifetime.”  If you’re in a rut, you’ll be amazed at the results when you try a new type of movement.

So this spring, jump into your own game of Ultimate Frisbee, head to the tennis courts with a friend, or consider adding a few new new dance moves to your weekly routine. 

FORMAL

While this might not seem as enjoyable (or even practical) as the other stuff, make no mistake: jazzing up your regimen can transform your workouts from a tired chore to a ton of fun.  So call up a friend and start a buddy system to meet for workouts – you’ll exchange tips, ideas, and keep each other motivated.  Jump into a new kettlebell or bootcamp class you’ve never tried.  Make an awesome workout play list on your phone that inspires you to push it to the next level.  Or try working with a personal trainer: many gyms offer one complimentary session, and it’s a great way to learn new techniques and jumpstart your routine.  And, of course, you don’t have to  leave  the comfort of your home.

Remember, having the right tools on hand is the key to success! Your at-home fitness space can be the corner of a room, filled with kettlebells, a step, and a stretching strap

FUNCTIONAL

Maybe you’ve never before thought of housecleaning as an exercise, but the next time you dread it just shift your mind-set.  Fact is, if you clean vigorously—dusting with a passion, vacuuming with diligence, washing floors enthusiastically—you’ll burn about 60 calories every 15 minutes.

This is a great example of functional exercise, meaning you’d have to do these activities anyway but now you get to think of them as helpful to your health.  Other examples include gardening, parking a little further away from work, or walking to do your errands.

I recommend mixing up formal, functional and fun exercising.  It keeps things interesting, and helps work a variety of muscle groups.  But even if you’re getting little or no exercise, and you’re just not thrilled by the idea of a four-mile jog, it’s easy to find something that burns calories and moves your limbs. Here are 15 ways from Harvard Health Beat to burn 150 calories in fun, functional and formal ways!

When fitness is your goal, at some point you’ll need to mix in fun and functional activities with the formal.  The fun and functional don’t usually give you enough of a cardiovascular workout by themselves.  But they’ll keep your interest level high and help you on days when formal exercise isn’t an option.  They may even lead you into whole new fitness horizons.

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 | | exercise, fitness, goals, Healthy, Kathy Smith, Motivation, practice, tips, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

New Science: How Yoga Boosts Your Immune System

by Kathy Smith

After age 40, a strong immune system is more important than ever before. And new research is showing that practicing yoga 1-2 times a week can help.

The study showed that women fit in a regular yoga routine had “significantly lower blood levels of the inflammatory protein interleukin-6” than the non-yogis did. And, if you have lower levels of inflammatory cells, you’re less subject to the inflammation that damages the immune system.

Here’s why this is critical…

After age 40, your immune system steadily begins to decline, because the number of T lymphocytes drops by tenfold. (T lymphocytes are the white blood cells that help your body fight viruses and bacteria.)

Then once you reach 50, your production of new T lymphocytes is minuscule, making you more susceptible to unfamiliar bugs.

Today, I’ll guide you through an 8-min yoga video. This variety of continuous poses will flow from downward dog to chair pose to forward fold…all while boosting your immune system :)

Buy entire workout here!!!

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 | | exercise, fitness, Healthy, Kathy Smith, Motivation, practice, tips, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

3 Afternoon Techniques To Spark Your Energy

by Kathy Smith

What I find during the holidays is that with everything going on, it’s easy to go full-steam ahead in the morning, and then quickly feel your energy slipping, and get lazy after lunchtime. You know how it goes…your mind starts wandering, your brain gets foggy, and you find yourself begging for a nap.

One of my favorite ways to spark my energy is to head into the snowy outdoors with my family! The pic above is me and my oldest daughter Kate Grace and I enjoying one of our favorite activities….butt sledding! We hike up a mountain, and then sled all the way down!

If you’re feeling sluggish in the afternoon, don’t worry…it’s pretty natural. Lona Sandon, RD, MEd, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association and an assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center says, “There seems to be a natural rhythm or set clock in our bodies, so many people tend to feel a little sleepy around 2 or 3 in the afternoon.”

But don’t let your circadian rhythms be an excuse! Your habits throughout the day can also cause you to feel a crash in energy.

So if you’re in need of an energy spark, here are my 3 top techniques for full-body energizing…

  • Squeeze Time

    Lie down flat on your back, with your palms turned upward. Beginning on the left side, inhale and contract and tense your foot.  Squeeze and hold for 5 seconds and then exhale and release.  Repeat on the right foot and follow that pattern all the way up your body (from foot to calf to thigh, etc).  Inhaling, squeezing, exhaling and releasing – and go all the way from toe to head!

  • Full-Body Explosion 

    Then, do a full-body squeeze: Tense all your muscles at once, from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet, and hold it for about 5 seconds.  Release, take a few breaths, repeat the “full-body squeeze” two or three more times and head out the door.  Trust me – after this little rejuvenating exercise, you’ll be ready to go!

  • See Things Upside Down

Lie on your back with your legs straight up the wall. If possible, have your sitbones touching the wall. Soften your belly and relax your inner groin. Then, take long, deep breaths, and hold for one minute, focusing on stillness and letting go.  This pose is the queen of yoga poses when it comes to  rejuvenating.

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, mindfulness, Motivation, Weekly Blog | 0 comments | Read more

What Happens To Your Skin When You Don’t Sleep

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.

By Collage Video | | Healthy, Kathy Smith, Motivation, practice, Recipe, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

4 Best Toning Moves For Women

by Kathy Smith

Exciting news…Women’s Day just rated my NEW Total Body Toning DVD as one of the top workouts for getting back in shape. They said…
If your goal is to be stronger in the new year, Total Body Toning is the DVD for you. Its focus is on strength training—you can choose whether you want to do an upper body workout, a lower body workout, an abs and back routine, or a quickie 10-minute total body workout. But don’t think you have to already be super buff to jump in: This workout is designed for people of any fitness level—though you will need some equipment for it, like a stretch band and exercise ball.
What makes this workout so powerful is it includes 4 of the best toning moves for women. Check out the video above to see the top moves that not only will strengthen your upper body, lower body and core, but also improve stability and coordination.

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 | | Abs, cardio, exercise, Healthy, Kathy Smith, Motivation, practice, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

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.

TIGHTEN The Lower Belly Pooch

by Kathy Smith

NEW Formula To TIGHTEN The Lower Belly Pooch  (VIDEO!)

The elusive toned lower tummy can be a challenge to achieve as you age. So if it seems as if no matter how much training you do and your lower-belly pooch won’t tighten, here’s why… Changes in your hormones encourage extra calories to make a beeline for your belly, where they’re then stored as fat.

When it comes to losing the pooch, the solution is a two-part equation. The first step is to tone the stuff you can cinch (muscle), and the next step is to burn the stuff you can pinch (fat).

Remember, when you’re trying to tighten your lower abs, not all strengthening moves are created equal. The truth is, most routines fall short when trying to reach those tough-to-get-to muscles in the lower part of the tummy.

Today, I’ll  show you a BRAND NEW video with a few moves that I learned in NYC this week that hit that sweet spot in the lower part of your torso. In fact, I’m challenging you to incorporate this effective barre-style workout combo into your ab routine 3 times this week!

Ready to say “see ya” to those Spanx? The moves in this new video will leave your abdominals feeling tight, toned and strong…

Part two in the slim-abs equation is to burn the fat that tends to creep around your midsection as you age.

Listen to this…a study from the University of Vermont tested 178 women ages 20-60, each within a healthy weight range. Results showed that the oldest participant had 55% more abdominal fat than the youngest!
We all have two types of fat… subcutaneous, which is underneath the skin, and visceral fat,which is marbled through the organs and muscles (that’s the most dangerous type). The best way to get rid of both kinds is is to keep your body guessing and strike a balance between moderately-paced workouts, and HIIT workouts.

Here’s day-by-day calendar of what workout to do each day to supercharge your results and incinerate tummy fat before summer!

Sunday – hiking or interval walking
Monday – yoga
Tuesday – circuit training
Wednesday – wild card
Thursday – pilates
Friday – strength training
Saturday – spinning

Wednesday is the “Wild Card” day because your freebie day – not you “day off” from exercising, but a day to do anything and everything you might want. That might mean an exciting new class, whether it’s dancing or indoor rowing – or it might mean another day of cardio, strength training, yoga, or pilates, depending on what my body needs, and what will “surprise” it. On my Wild Card day this week, I tried Bergen’s Cardio Fusion class at Exhale in NYC. This 45-minute class was an intense mix of kickboxing and plyometric moves, high-intensity intervals…it definitely got my heart pumping! Sweat factor: 5/5.

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 | | fitness, goals, Kathy Smith, Motivation, tips, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Cardio That Boosts Your Buns

by Kathy Smith

Full workout available here

If you want to add shape to your rear while blasting calories with cardio, the perfect bun-boosting workout for you is just a kick away.

Kickboxing routines pack in a quadruple-punch, because they incinerate calories while tightening strengthening your glutes, abs and arms! Because kickboxing includes a variety of different kicks… high, side, front and back, all the muscles in your buns will feel the burn.

It’s time to get into knockout shape with this 5-minute booty-focused kickboxing workout! I developed this routine (from the Cardio Knockout DVD) with five time Martial Arts US World Champion, Keith Cooke to ensure true-to-form martial arts moves.

Click Here To Order 

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.

10 Ways To Save Hundreds of Calories This Weekend

by Kathy Smith

1 – GET NUTTY!

Instead of going for a side of potato chips at this weekend’s potluck, instead, help yourself to a handful of nuts. Although nuts can be high on the calorie scale, they’re rich in protein and fatty acids, which help balance your blood sugar and curb your appetite so you’re not constantly nibbling.

2 – JUST KEEP CHEWING

You already know that whole foods are at the top of the charts when it comes to best foods for your waistline. It turns out, people who ate foods that require you to chew had significantly leaner waistlines than those who generally consumed processed, easy to chew foods.

3 – EAT YOUR FRUIT JUICES

Compare this…drinking one cup of apple juice contains 117 calories, 27 grams of sugar, and zero fiber.  But, one whole apple 95 calories, 19 grams of sugar, and over 4 grams of fiber.  Fewer calories, and more fiber to slow the sugar flow into your bloodstream is a win-win combination.

4 – BE AN EARLY BIRD

Early birds, rejoice! A study found that people who exercise BEFORE breakfast burn between 260 and 280 more calories throughout the day than people who exercise at other times of the day. Set that alarm clock, and head outside for a walk!

5 – GET ON VODKA’S SIDE

When you do decide to indulge in a cocktail, it’s important to understand that your choices – right down to the mixer – can determine whether or not you’re adding dozens of empty calories to your day. Traditional margaritas are among the worst offenders, packing a whopping 700+ calorie count, and often much of those calories are coming from high-fructose-corn-syrup-laden sweet & sour mix. Instead, try a vodka with club soda and just a squirt of cranberry juice for a touch of sweetness.

6 – GET SASSY!

Jazz up a party with a few pitchers of infused water, or have a gallon in your refrigerator at home. I love drinking water, but sometimes get a little bored with the flavor. I like this recipe, when I keep a pitcher around, I’m constantly sipping on the water, and less likely to snack on empty calories.

Sassy Water
8 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 medium cucumber, sliced thin
1 medium lemon, sliced thin
12 leaves spearmint

7 – EAT MINDFULLY

Eating mindfully and with a purpose doesn’t need to be anything complicated, formulaic, or even religious. Simply inhale — express appreciation for the meal — and exhale with the same sense of gratitude. Rather than leap in to your meal, pause, be thoughtful, and purposeful. It will help you eat less.

8 – LET ZZZ BE YOUR FAVORITE LETTER

Yes, bedtime have does have an impact on eating. Research shows that the most detrimental snacking happens late at night. Also, lack of sleep causes stress, and is linked to greater weight gain. You can fight stress and eat less by getting to bed earlier.

9 – QUENCH YOUR APPETITE

Getting water into your system is the perfect way to slash your appetite in half. If you fill up on a glass of water at least 30 minutes before your meal, you’re virtually guaranteed to eat less.

10 – GIVE YOURSELF A LINE

If you’re tempted to break your healthy habits, sometimes all you need to stay on track is a repeating sound advice to yourself. Some of my favorite mantras to repeat aloud are:

“Progress, not perfection!”
“I can do hard things.”
“Slow and steady wins the race.”
“I may not be where I want to be, but I’m better than yesterday.”

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 | | exercise, Healthy, Kathy Smith, Motivation, practice, Weekly Blog, Wellness | 0 comments | Read more
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