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Simple 3-Step Flat-Belly Plan (Yes, Please!)

by Kathy Smith

FineLivingPRSHOTS 009

 Two-piece. Cutouts. Bring it on!

The truth is, no matter what article of clothing you’re aiming to sport this summer, every woman wants to look and feel confident. And when it comes to our midsections, women tend to get shy. In fact, a recent study showed that 72% of women listed their belly as the part of their body they’re most uncomfortable with.

When it comes to abs, it all simmers down to this: the stuff you can pinch (fat) and the stuff you can cinch (muscle) and you can tackle both!

Even if you’re spending time in the gym, using this simple approach will ensure that the fat stores in your waistline will shrink.

The end result? You’ll be on your way to abs you LOVE!

Step 1: To Know Your Abs Is To Love Them

5art_artMLet’s start with the rectus abdomonis. These muscles flow from your ribcage to your pelvis, and those are your crunching muscles (what gives you those 6-pack abs!).The first step to flaunt-able, flat abs is to train the muscles. Your abdominals are made up of three different sets of muscles: the rectus abodminis, obliques, and transverse abdominis.

Then, we have obliques (internal and external). Whenever you do twisting motions, you’re using your obliques!

The last set of muscles is your transverse abdominis. The transverse abdomonis are your posture muscles, and they run across your body. Think of them as your built-in Spanx! Properly trained transverse muscles keeps your belly tightened inward. You use these muscles when you have to squeeze in your tightest pair of jeans without getting pinched!

TRAINING-THE-TRANSVERSE

 

Look what happens when I’m not engaging my transverse muscles (see photo on right). If I just let my muscles hang out, I get a little belly! Being in this position puts pressure on my lower back, and notice how my poor posture makes me look older and thicker! The trick is to engage your transverse muscles…even when you’re standing! You don’t have to be doing exercises on the floor to be working your abdominals and engaging your transverse muscles gives you an instant confidence boost!

 

 

Step 2. Burn off the fat!

We all have two types of fat – subcutaneous, which is underneath your skin, and visceral fat, which is marbled through your organs and muscles. The best way to get rid of both kinds is to do HIIT workouts.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a simple concept. After warming up, you push yourself with bursts of high intensity, then pull back the intensity to a steady state. Burst…then pull back, and repeat. This type of training will help burn the fat on your body, including your belly, in time for summer fashions.


Step 3. Hello, Abs!

The only way to burn off belly fat is to get moving! Adding a simple core workout, like the one above, will shrink your waistline and take your workout up a notch!

Incorporating this workout into your daily routine will help you achieve a trimmer waistline to look amazing and feel confident in your summer clothes.

Here’s to your health!

Kathy

Lift Weights To Lose Weight (seriously!)

by Kathy Smith

Kathy Smith Lift Weights To Lose Weight

As the years go by, life seems to be a little sweeter, doesn’t it? There’s the true joy you feel as you watch your children take tentative steps on their own paths and then develop the confidence to fly. And with each new day, you begin to appreciate the chirping birds and the sound of the rain on the roof. As wonderful as this time of life is, we all seem to be realizing that the more birthday candles you blow out, the more difficult it is to lose weight.

Here’s what happens…In your youth, estrogen surges and your body naturally stores protective fat around your hips and buns to prepare for pregnancy. Then as you reach your 40s and 50s, that fat moves up your body, settling around your midsection. The dreaded middle age spread.

It’s time to forget the idea that those pesky pounds are stuck right where they are. The good news is that even though shedding unwanted weight may seem difficult as you age, lifting weights can help you lose inches in record time. It may sound like an oxymoron, but when you strength train you not only tone your tush and tighten your tummy, you also shed pounds. Strength training helps you create a lean, mean metabolism-boosting machine, so you burn more fat, more easily, in less time.

So if you have any misconceptions about strength training that are preventing you from reaping all these benefits, let’s nip that in the bud right now. Time to bust a few myths of strength training….

MYTH 1. You must have weights

Pushup-on-ballDumbbells are the classic weights that are used in weight loss strength training and you’ll see me use them in my workouts, but you have plenty of other options, too. Kettlebells and tubing can both be part of a fabulous weight-loss workout. But the really great news is that your body weight is all you need for some of the most effective strength training moves there are, like pushups, planks, or wall sits. By supporting your own body weight, you create natural resistance, which forces your muscles to engage deeper and the result is a firm, toned body that burns fuel more efficiently.


MYTH 2. Concentrate on one move at a time

For more effective results, it’s better to work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, sometimes called functional movements. Working with kettlebells, for example, allows you to incorporate full-body moves that not only save time and burn calories more efficiently, but they also tone the shoulders, arms, abs, buns, and legs….at the same time! Functional movements also help you keep your heart rate up during a strength training workout to burn fat while you tone.


MYTH 3. It’s all about lifting

Actually, that’s only half the battle. Strength training involves BOTH lifting (the concentric movement that happens when muscles shorten and contract) AND lowering (the eccentric movement that happens when muscles lengthen). When done properly, it’s the lowering motion that provides resistance training. So on your next set of bicep curls, don’t cheat yourself by putting all the effort in the curl up and then dropping the weights back down; slowly lower back to the starting position, so that you feel the tension throughout the entire movement.


MYTH 4. You’re going to get big and bulky

No worries here. Women just don’t have enough testosterone to develop a bodybuilder’s physique. Most of the bulked up folks you see at the gym are spending hours lifting heavy weights and following a specific regimen of supplements. For the rest of us, strength training with moderate weights has a very different effect – strong, lean muscles that give us the sculpted, toned look we all want.


MYTH 5. Muscles grow while you’re working out

Have you heard of “tear and repair”? Believe it or not, muscle change takes place after exercising. During a workout you’re trying to push your muscles to the point that actual microscopic tears occur (don’t worry – your body appreciates the process, I promise!). When your body repairs the tears, the muscle is stronger than before. That’s why it’s important to limit strength training to every other day and to provide your body with nutritious fuel, so it has everything it needs for healthy recovery.


MYTH 6. Strength training is only for the young

Who said there’s an age limit to improving muscle tone? We lose muscle mass as we age, so staying strong becomes even MORE important with every single year. In addition, strong muscles also support and protect aging bones and help you maintain good balance.

Sure, a sculpted upper body looks great in short sleeves or a bathing suit, but don’t forget those muscles do more than look good. They also help with everyday activities, like carrying groceries, twisting lids off jars, and picking up little ones. And the benefits don’t stop there; strength training also can burn fat, lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures.

You deserve a strong and lean body that makes you feel empowered, confident, and energized…So start lifting weights to lose weight today!

Purchase Lift Weights to Lose Weight by clicking HERE

Kathy

By Collage Video | | fitness, goals, Healthy, Kathy Smith, practice, tips, Weekly Blog, wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Good Posture Keeps Your Body Young!

by Kathy Smith

Slouching Makes You Sad…

good-posture-keeps-your-body-young

I get a lot of compliments on my posture, and it makes me realize what a strong impression posture makes. When you stand and sit with good posture, you’re less likely to injure yourself in daily activity. Your internal organs have room to breathe. You radiate confidence and command respect. Your clothes fit better, and you get through the day with less fatigue.

Best of all, improving your posture makes you instantly look slimmer.

You only have to look around you to see the effect that aging can have on our bodies. I’m always shocked by the appearance of people who, after years of bone loss and poor posture, seem to stand in a permanent cringe. That’s why I urge you to start putting effort into your posture now.

It takes only a few minutes a week. The 2 quick moves below are specifically designed help you build strength for better posture. Don’t let gravity have the last word!

1. Midback Strengthener

Screenshot 2015-03-06 11.50.32

Targets: Upper back postural strength and flexibility of the front of the shoulder.

Setup: Stand with your back to a wall, touching heels, buttocks, upper back, and head. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and lift them to your sides at shoulder height. Press your elbows and hands against the wall. If you have tight shoulders, you may not be able to touch the wall with your hands, elbows, or both—focus on your effort.

Move: Widen your clavicles, funnel your ribs down toward your waist, and press your navel toward your spine. Keeping your elbows and hands against the wall, if possible, slide your arms overhead. Continuing to maintain pressure and effort, slide back down to shoulder level. Repeat six to eight times.

Focus: Maintain a neutral spine (your low back is not pressing against the wall, but your abdominals are engaged, pulling your navel toward your spine).

Comments: The effort in the postural muscles in your upper back will help stretch the front of your shoulders, enabling you to have the flexibility and strength to maintain or improve your posture.

2. Superman

Screenshot 2015-03-06 11.53.28

Targets: Low back (erector spinae, quadratus lumborum), buttocks (gluteals), and hamstrings.

Setup: Lie prone, with your neck in a neutral position. Pull your navel toward your spine

Move: With your arms stretched overhead, lift your arms/shoulders and feet/legs. Hold for a count of five, then release down. Do eight to twelve repetitions.

Focus: Focus on lengthening rather than lifting high. Try to keep your navel lifted off the floor.

Comments: If the exercise is too difficult, you could also break it into two exercise by lifting your arms and shoulders only—keeping your feet and legs on the floor—then doing the second set by keeping your arms and shoulders on the floor, lifting just your legs.

Kathy

The TRUTH About Cellulite

by Kathy Smith

Tabloids love to expose celebrities’ less-than-perfect derrieres or thighs because they, like a lot of people, have cellulite. Of course, no one wants to have cellulite, but chances are most of us do, at least to some degree.

Just because so many of us have cellulite doesn’t mean everyone knows what it is, much less why it occurs. But even more importantly, do you know what to do about it? It can be confusing because there are a lot of myths and misnomers out there.

Well, it’s time to know the truth about cellulite.


What Is Cellulite?

Screenshot 2015-02-19 12.28.46

First of all, it’s not a medical condition. Cellulite is nothing more than fat lying directly beneath the skin. What happens is there’s only so much room for these fat cells and they get pushed up toward the skin. This action puts pressure on the surrounding fascia.

Fascia is a web of connective tissue surrounding muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Think of it like the netting of a tennis racket with the strings representing the fascia. Over time, though, those strings or tissues lose their collagen and elasticity or too much fat develops and the fat gets pushed through the netting. That’s what gives a dimpled appearance, or what we call cellulite.

Cellulite doesn’t just appear. There are different grades or degrees:

• Grade 1: Detection at this stage is nearly impossible with the naked eye because it’s happening on a microscopic level.

• Grade 2: Some symptoms appear, such as a loss of elasticity in the skin and a cooler temperature to the touch.

• Grade 3: This is the look we most commonly associate with cellulite because there’s visible dimpling, but it has the other characteristics, too.


What Causes Cellulite?

There’s no one answer to this question, but here’s a list of contributors:

• Hormones:
The naturally occurring chemicals estrogen, insulin, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones, and prolactin have been linked to cellulite creation.

• Genetics:
Did your mother, aunts, grandmothers have cellulite? Then chances are you are predisposed to it, too.

• Lifestyle:
The more sedentary you are the greater the likelihood of developing cellulite. Also, smokers run a higher risk for cellulite.

• Diet:
Because cellulite involves fat cells, it only makes sense that what you eat would contribute to its buildup. Too much fat, carbohydrates, and salt, which leads to water retention, are the biggest culprits.


How Do I Banish Cellulite?

There’s an entire multimillion-dollar industry of creams, pills, and procedures claiming to remove cellulite; however, none of these has passed the scientific community’s standards. In fact, some are designed to treat unrelated conditions, like asthma, and others may cause serious side effects, like allergic reactions. Some methods, like massage, have temporary benefits, and others simply hide the cellulite, like compression garments. The keys words here are “temporary” and “hide.”

The good news is that there are three key ways to effectively minimize cellulite for the long-term:

1. Increase circulation

2. Maintain a healthy weight

3. Eat high-fiber and diuretic foods

• Increase circulation

Let’s face it, we just sit too much. In fact, sitting is the new smoking!

It’s not enough to work out for 30 to 60 minutes at a time, we need to keep blood flowing to the lower body throughout the day. If your job demands you sit at a desk, get up to walk around every 20 minutes to increase you circulation. Or, swap out your chair for a stability ball. Just sitting on the inflated ball requires you to engage your core, but with every slight movement, you have to shift to regain your balance. This constant balance challenge gets your body moving much more than sitting in a traditional office chair that does the balancing for you.

Kathy Smith Squat and Reach

Body-weight training keeps cellulite from settling in, too. Because it tends to form in the buttocks and thighs, I like the Pop Squat: Lower into squat position as if you’re sitting down in a chair, abs engaged and making sure your knees don’t pop out past your toes. Push yourself to standing, but don’t stop there: Without locking your knees, add a little jump into the air. When you land, lower yourself right back down into the squat. Grab weights for added difficulty. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Also, certain foods help boost blood flow. Circulation Journal reported that dark chocolate (yes, chocolate), which is full of natural flavonoids, improved blood circulation compared with white chocolate. Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are known to increase circulation, too.

If you have time and money, get a massage to restore the fluid state of your connected tissue. In between massages, use a foam roller to help support the tissue on a daily basis.

• Maintain a healthy weight

The more weight you carry the more fat cells pushing through the fascia. Losing weight can result in a noticeable reduction of cellulite.

• Eat high-fiber and diuretic foods

salmon-salad

When the body holds onto extra fluids, it adds more pressure to the fascia. If I’m feeling bloated before a photo shoot, I eat something I know will help my body get rid of extra water—my favorite is egg whites and asparagus. Well, if you’re feeling like your cellulite is more noticeable or you’re getting ready to wear something that shows a little skin and you want to minimize dimpling, then fill your plate with foods high in fiber or natural diuretics.

Fiber-rich foods take longer to digest and will keep you feeling full longer so you’re less likely to reach for a sugary or fatty, salty snack. Diuretics help the body release excess water, usually through urination. Some foods serve double duty, both high in fiber and a diuretic, such as steel-cut oats and artichokes. Even flavor enhancers, like parsley, ginger and garlic, assist the body in getting rid of water. Finally, green tea, one of my all-time favorite beverages, can give relief from bloating.

On the other hand, not enough fluids or dehydration also contribute to cellulite.  Most studies show that about 2/3 of us are dehydrated and need to drink more water…so stay hydrated throughout the day! I aim to drink a gallon of water a day (yes…a gallon!). Although this may be a hefty goal for you, aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. To achieve this goal, set an alarm on your phone every hour on the hour from 8 am to 5 pm. When the alarm goes off, it’s time to get up, get your blood circulating, and drink a glass of water.

Remember, while you may not erase cellulite completely, being active and eating healthfully is the best way to control it.

Kathy

By Collage Video | | fitness, goals, Healthy, practice, tips, Weekly Blog, wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Challenge Your Workout In 2015!

by Kathy Smith

2015 is the year of strong arms, tight abs, and perky buns. 

So get started today with a look-slim-instantly routine that uses just one piece of equipment—a resistance band.

The 90-second shoulder, arm and back workout video in today’s blog makes it easy to squeeze in a sweat session anywhere, anytime. Whether on the road or in the comfort of your own home, there’s no room for excuses in 2015! New year…New you.

Kathy

 

By Collage Video | | exercise, fitness, Kathy Smith, practice, tips, Weekly Blog, wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Too Tired To Workout? Try These Proven Ways To Amp Up Energy

You may have figured out already that there’s more to getting energized than a morning cup of coffee. You’re right! How invigorated and engaged you feel is determined by what you do throughout the day. Little habits can either bog you down or boost you up! Patterns like multi-tasking can suck up your energy. So here are a few proven fixes that send your stamina soaring throughout the day.

Get Enough Sleep

A good night’s sleep prepares you for more stamina the next day. Set yourself up for a restful sleep by following these tips:

  • Disconnect from you electronics by 7 pm
  • Remove any LED lights from your room
  • Adjust the room’s temperature to make it comfortable
  • Think about your mental attitude. If you’re feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, try a simple yoga routine to help you transition to a good night’s sleep.

Beware Of Energy Vampires

Does your liveliness seem to be sucked away throughout the day? When this happens, look for energy vampires. These can be things like:

  • Constant Indecision 
    “Making choices pushes us back and forth, which is energy zapping,” says Kathleen Vohs, PhD, lead author of a recent study at the University of Minnesota. When people were asked to choose from a variety of things they could buy, they had less stamina and scored worse on math problems than those who were asked simply to look at the options.
  • Toxic relationships
    Steer clear of relationships that bring you down. Instead, call a friend or spend a few minutes on your favorite social network. Researchers have shown that when we’re around loved ones, we release a chemical called oxytocin that promotes feelings of calm and well-being.
  • Multi-tasking nightmare
    Take a time-out from technology! A British experiment found that when people tried to juggle work and simultaneously keep up with their email, their measured IQs dipped 10 points. Find a few times throughout the day to close your e-mail and power off your phone. Also, set a 1-hour technology-free window when you first get home from work. Although the work will still be there, you’ll have increased energy to handle it…stress free.

Shake Off The Sugar

Food, and the types of foods we eat, trigger the sugar, or glucose, in our blood. And when our blood sugar levels rise or fall too dramatically or too frequently over the course of the day, we’re suddenly stuck in a vicious cycle. Our energy levels are quickly depleted, we become prone to fuzzy thinking, and we start to crave sugary foods. We reach for those foods, get a quick sugar boost, and suddenly it all begins again.

The best way to get off this roller coaster is to re-program your system with the right combination of foods to curb your cravings and balance out blood sugar. That means filling up on protein – which can inhibit sugar’s negative effects – and fiber, which slows down digestion and helps your body avoid those undesirable spikes.

Multiply Your Magnesium

A study from the Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center confirmed that women with low magnesium levels have to work harder at physical tasks than they do when their magnesium levels are up to par. Of course, working harder can leave you feeling depleted, so having an adequate amount of magnesium in your system is important.

Magnesium is used for breaking down glucose into energy. It’s recommended that women have 300 mg a day, and men have 350 mg a day. Two  easy ways to increase your magnesium levels are by adding a handful of cashews or almonds into your diet and eating more fish (particularly halibut).

Go For Five

Everyone may need something different to get over that initial hump of a workout. But for most everyone the first five minutes are the hardest. Once you get the circulation going and the heart beating faster, the body takes over! It’s like the law of inertia: A body in action tends to stay in motion.

Remember, even if you’re feeling tired, working out will give you more energy. So tie up your shoelaces, get moving, and you’ll notice that your energy levels will pick right back up again.

By Collage Video | | exercise, fitness, Kathy Smith, practice, Weekly Blog, wellness | 0 comments | Read more

3 Moves To Tone Every Inch

by Kathy Smith

Attention: The holidays are almost here! But don’t sweat it. You still have time to rev up your metabolism if you turn up the volume on your fitness routine today! And that’s why I can’t wait to show you the 3 moves (below) that will tone every inch of your body. So get your light weights ready, and start bumping up your caloric burn and toning from head to toe in order to keep your metabolism intensified 24/7. Let’s get started!

Move 1: Twisting Squat Squat With Rotating Twist

Move 1

How to do it:

Stand with feet hip distance apart, holding light weights in each hand. Push your hips back until your knees are bent to about a 90-degree angle, pulling weights to the chest. As you rise keep the left foot and hip parallel but pivot on the right toe, turning your whole body to the left. As you pivot on the right toe, squeeze the right glute while bringing the weights overhead toward your left side.

Repetitions: 12 with your right toe pivoting and 12 with your left.

Tips:

  • As you squat sit back into your heels and keep your chest up.
  • As you pivot squeeze your glute.
  • As the weights go overhead make sure that you remain in control. Do not let your back arch or round. Keep your core braced.

Move 2: Rolling Plank Rolling Plank

Move 2

How to do it:

Start in a modifi ed push-up position with your forearms and feet on the floor. Have your feet about 12 inches apart. Pull the navel in toward the spine and keep it there as you breathe in and out for about 15 seconds. Roll to your right forearm, turning both your feet onto their sides. With your left arm in the air, squeeze the shoulder blades together, opening your chest. Hold this for 15 seconds. Then roll to the left forearm, lifting your right arm into the air. Squeeze the shoulder blades together again and open the chest. Hold for 15 seconds.

Repetitions: 1 in the plank, 1 on right forearm, 1 on left forearm.

Tips:

  • Keep your abdominal muscles lifted and your navel pulled in toward your spine.
  • Hips should stay lifted when rolling to a side.
  • Pull the shoulder blades together when you lift one arm off the floor.
  • As you do these moves, keep your body stiff and tight in the position.

Move 3: Lunge from 9 to 3 Lung to 9 to 3

How to do it:

Stand with feet together, holding a light weight in each hand. Take a wide step to the right, pressing the weight in your left hand in front of your body at shoulder height. Return to starting position, then lunge to the left, pressing the weight in your right hand in front of your body at shoulder height.

Repetitions: 12 on each side.

Tips:

  • Make sure your stance is wide enough. Your knee should be over the ankle in the lowest part of the lunge.
  • As you drop your hips into the lunge, keep your weight in your heel. Do not let your weight shift into your toes.
  • Keep your chest open and your shoulders back.

Kathy

 

By Collage Video | | exercise, fitness, Kathy Smith, practice, tips, Weekly Blog, wellness | 0 comments | Read more

Bridge with Weights on Hips

by Kathy Smith

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent. Hold a light to medium weight on the crease between the leg and the hips.
  2. Lift your hips off the floor.
  3. Lift your right leg off the floor and then lift and lower the hips 15 times.
  4. Repeat with your left leg off the floor.

Repetitions: 15 on each side.

Tips:

  • In the bridge keep your thighs, hips, and ribs in a straight line.
  • Keep your abdominal muscles pulled in.
  • If the exercise is too difficult, do it with both feet on the floor.

Kathy

 

By Collage Video | | Kathy Smith, practice, Weekly Blog, wellness | 0 comments | Read more

3 Reasons Why I Love Stepping

by Kathy Smith

It’s time to say “goodbye” to inner thigh jiggle and say “hello” to the best buns on the block (yours!). When women tell me they’d like to focus on lifting and tightening their assets, I recommend that they break out the step. The lifting and sculpting aspects of a great step workout provide better butt benefits than anything I’ve ever experienced. Today, I’ll show you 3 reasons why stepping ranks at the top of my all-time favorite workouts. 

Pink Kick

1. It’s Time An Incline! When it comes to a toned tush, it’s all about inclines. Anytime you step up onto a platform or move uphill, you engage the glutes and hamstrings – and the higher the step, the greater the engagement of muscles.

2. Aced The Test Of Time If you think step workouts are a thing of the past, think again. There are fitness fads that comes and go, but this one’s here to stay. And for good reason: A 130-pound woman can burn over 260 calories in 30 minutes during a moderate step workout. I still love to do step workouts regularly – because in all my years of running, climbing, weight lifting, pilates, TRX, Crossfit, cycling and more, NOTHING sculpts and tones the glutes and thighs quite like stepping. It targets the lower body from every possible angle – and you just can’t beat that feeling when that music kicks in and you start to recall that classic choreography.

3. Double Duty Stepping is a double-duty workout that burns massive amounts of calories while toning your lower body. Simply by using your own body weight, you create natural resistance while stepping, which means you’ll have a firm, toned backside in record time!

Kathy

 

By Collage Video | | Kathy Smith, practice, tips, Weekly Blog, wellness | 0 comments | Read more

4 Moves For A Total-Body Workout In Less Than 15 Minutes

by Kathy Smith

For flat abs, try:

crunch-on-ball

 

For strong arms, try:

tricep-extension

 

For a toned butt, try:

weighted-bridge

 

For increased flexibility, try:

 

 

 

downdog

Kathy

 

By Collage Video | | Abs, exercise, fitness, goals, Kathy Smith, practice, tips, Weekly Blog, wellness | 0 comments | Read more

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