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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

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1 Simple Way To Burn Calories Hours After Your Workout

by Kathy Smith

You probably have heard of the “afterburn effect,” or how some exercises can help you burn calories for hours after your workout (if not, it’s time to learn!).

The question is…which exercise will best power-up your post-workout afterburn?

Well, it all comes down to oxygen.

Simply put, exercise afterburn, also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption), is the number of calories that are burned after your sweat-session is over.

Not to get too technical, but while you’re exercising, your oxygen consumption increases, allowing your body to support its energy needs. Your body then requires extra oxygen to to your muscle tissues following vigorous exercise. As you exercise harder, you’re not taking in enough oxygen for aerobic metabolism, so your body requires extra oxygen to your muscle tissues. EPOC represents the replacement of the oxygen stores that were depleted during your intense bout of exercise workout.

Basically, you want to find an activity that allows your body to work at 75-90% of its maximum level for short periods of time.

Walking intervals allow you to torch extra calories during and after your walk.

While on your walk, expend regular periods of short bursts of high-intensity intervals.This means that after walking at a regular pace for 3 minutes, amp up your intensity to 75-90% of your capacity for 1 minute. This method  is an easy way to blast calories and torch fat for hours after your workout! For example, your walk may look something like this:

  • 5 minute Warm-Up Pace
  • 1 minute Anaerobic Interval - For one minute, walk as fast as you possibly can! On a scale from 1-10, you should be pushing yourself from a 7-9.
  • 3 minute Recovery Interval – Walk at a comfortable pace
  • 1 minute Anaerobic Interval - The word “anaerobic” means “without sufficient oxygen.” Anaerobic exercises are more intense but of shorter duration. They quickly push you past your aerobic threshold, leaving you breathless. 
  • 3 minute Recovery Interval
  • 1 minute Anaerobic Interval
  • 3 minute Recovery Interval
  • 5 minutes Cool-Down Pace

With interval walking, there’s absolutely no boredom factor! Not only will you be on your way to a lighter and leaner you, but  you’ll also be burning calories after you unlace your workout shoes.

My new DVD, Fat Burning Walking Workout, is the easiest way to walk away the pounds!

Kathy

 

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The ULTIMATE Pre-Bed Meal (Try This Tonight!)

by Kathy Smith

4-best-foods-to-eat-before-bed

My good friend and top nutritionist Joel has let the cat out of the bag on what is undoubtedly the BEST pre-bed meal.

As I’ve discussed several times before in my newsletter articles, it is not necessary to avoid eating in the evening hours to lose flab. In fact, the right night-time meal can often positively affect your results and recovery from exercise by feeding your muscles with quality nutrition as you sleep.

The trick, as always, is choosing the RIGHT foods before bed, and knowing which foods those are. Here are Joel’s general “rules” to creating the ultimate pre-bed meal:

1. Avoid carbs and insulin.

Because consuming carbohydrates will result in a significant insulin release (which will in turn put the breaks on fat-burning), carbs are ill-advised for a pre-bed meal. Carbs are also much more easily stored as fat in the evening hours when metabolism is naturally slowing in preparation for sleep. Besides, you have very little opportunity to burn off that energy when consuming carbs at night — sleep isn’t a very calorically expensive activity!

In addition to carbs, certain animal proteins have been shown to yield a significant insulin response as well, such as red meat and certain fish. While these protein foods are OK for a pre-bed meal, there are better choices, like those mentioned below.


2. Choose slow digesting proteins.

Maqui Berry Protein shake

Slow digesting proteins, like white meat proteins such as turkey and chicken, are great night-time meal choices as they digest slowly and fail to produce a significant insulin response.

Another great choice is the milk protein casein, found in cottage cheese. Casein coats the stomach, digests slowly, and provides quality nutrition to your muscles over several hours…very ideal as a pre-bedtime protein source!


3. Add fat.

Quality, healthy fats such as nuts, oils, and nut butters are great additions to a pre-bedtime meal as they will help to further slow gastric emptying and digestion while increasing fullness and satiety so you don’t wind up snacking all night long.

Just follow these 3 simple rules for night-time snacking (slow digesting protein, low carb, add fat) and you’ll be in great shape…give it a try with an evening snack tonight!

Kathy

 

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Flatten Your Tummy in 5 Mins a Day

by Kathy Smith

Crunches, crunches, crunches!

What if everything you’ve ever learned about toning your tummy is wrong? 

Studies are continuing to show that the secret  to strengthening your core and tightening your tummy is about doing the right exercises…not spending doing traditional crunches.

In today’s blog, I've developed a science-based ab routine to help you create the abs you want in only 5 minutes a day! I’ll show you the exact exercises to lose fat and inches around your waistline, tone up your abs, and increase your confidence!

Here’s how to do it: Repeat each move for 30 seconds. Repeat twice.

 

cannonball

Cannonball

What it does:

  • This move is sometimes called the ˙banana,” because of the slightly-curved line your body forms at the start of the exercise. But no matter what you call it, this full-body core-strengthener is a surefire way to fire up the entire abdominal wall.

How to do it:

  • Start lying on your back, with your arms reaching out overhead, legs lifted slightly off the floor, and toes pointed. Even here, at the start of the move, you’re activating core muscles by stretching them out. Keep pressing the lower back into the mat or floor to ensure the back doesn’t arch. If this feels like too much tension on the back, try lifting the legs a little further away from the floor.
  • Imagine that, as you’re stretching the fingers and toes away from each other, the core is a strong magnet working to pull them back in. Using the force of that imaginary magnet, bring the knees in toward the chest. At the same time, reach your arms toward the legs.

Beginners:

  • Start by doing this move just one leg at a time. Resting your left leg on the floor, perform the move as described above using only the right leg. Do 10 repetitions and repeat on the left side.

Advanced:

  • At the top of the move, when you’re in ˙cannonball” position, wrap your arms around the shins. The objective is to find your balance point. To do that, you need to strongly engage your core muscles when you hit the top of the movement. Coordinating the arms and legs to hit that balance point is the challenge. 

 Ceiling Stap

ceiling-stamp

Here’s how to do it:

  • Lying on your back, squeeze your abdominals and lift your legs off the floor. Extend them up straight, feet facing the ceiling.
  • With your hands on the floor for balance, use your lower abdominal strength to push your feet up 1-2 inches toward the ceiling (meaning your hips come 1-2 inches further away from the floor simultaneously). It’s a quick movement, almost a ˙pulse,” as if you’re stamping the ceiling with the bottom of your feet (hence the title).

Forearm Plank With Swivel

Forearm-Plank-With-Swivel

  1. Start in plank position, but this time, rest on your elbows instead of your hands. Be sure to keep the shoulders depressed back and down and the neck nice and long throughout the movement.
  2. Keeping your abs engaged, slowly swivel the hips underneath you to the right. Feel your obliques driving this motion as you swivel to the other side with a slow, controlled motion.

Kathy

 

Are You At Risk? Secrets About Your Heart That You MUST Know

by Kathy Smith

February is American Heart Month…a personal subject for me. And this Friday, look for me on Fox News in Utah shouting from the rooftops for all women to GO RED, and raise awareness of heart disease. 

When I was 17, my dad died of a sudden heart attack. Needless to say, it was devastating, and one of the few effective coping mechanisms that I found for the pain and confusion I experienced was running. It was therapeutic for me; after my runs, I’d feel like some of the weight on my shoulders had lifted.

Over time, the fog began to clear and life began to feel more manageable. And my love of fitness and its powerful effect on our lives was born. But there was another important consequence that resulted from losing my dad. I became acutely aware of the importance of heart health, and the active role we can play in protecting it.

The numbers are tough to digest: 42 million women in the U.S. are currently living with or at risk for heart disease; 1 woman dies every minute from cardiovascular disease; and 64% of those women had no previous symptoms. But all women face the threat of heart disease.

Did you know that women’s heart attack signs may be different from men’s? In fact, many female heart attack survivors report absolutely no chest pain.

Some of the warning signs include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Cold sweat
  • Sense of foreboding
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest discomfort

But here’s the good news: cardiovascular diseases can usually be prevented and even reversed. 

The greatest advice in our education is that heart disease can be virtually eliminated by controlling three factors:

  1. Cholesterol
  2. Smoking
  3. Blood pressure

In other words, what we put into our bodies and how we move them are the greatest weapons in our battle against this #1 killer of women.

Kathy

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How To Overcome Emotional Eating

by Kathy Smith

Is emotional eating your enemy, especially at night? Does the gloomy winter weather sap your motivation, just leaving you wanting to watch TV on a comfy couch and overeat junk food? 

Sometimes when you have had a stressful or exhausting day, you arrive home, and in attempt to lift your spirits, you head to the kitchen for the sugary treats and crunchy chips. Sound familiar? Eating isn’t always about hunger. Mood eating is one of the most overwhelming issues for any weight-conscious person. Today, I’ll show you 6 simple steps for how to overcome emotional eating.

We often turn to comfort foods for reasons other than fuel, and distinguishing the physical need from the emotional need—especially in the heat of the moment—can be one of the hardest things to do. Boredom, loneliness, anger, sadness, anxiety, frustration, and fatigue are all controlling emotions. The key is to strike a balance between knowing what you eat and understanding how you feel.

Emotional Overeating Tip #1: Leave Out The Last Few Bites

When you’re eating a meal, choose to eat only part of the food on your plate. Whether you’re at home or at a restaurant, pretend that the last few or several bites aren’t there at all. Give yourself ten minutes or so to let what food you’ve eaten settle, then ask yourself if you’re satisfied yet and whether you actually want the remaining portion.

What a lot of people don’t understand is that the stomach’s signal to the brain indicating that its’ full lags several minutes behind swallowing. So if you are indeed satisfied, then you’ve learned a valuable lesson: your body didn’t need as much as you thought, so now it doesn’t have to store those excess calories as fat.

Emotional Overeating Tip #1: Identify What You’re Feeling

This is when keeping a journal becomes critical. I have led many groups through weight loss programs, and I account much of their success to their dedication in keeping food-mood entries. Everyone recorded how they felt before and after they ate. Take time to write about the following points:

  • What do you feel the moment you sense that you want to head to the kitchen for some out-of-control eating? Are you tired, lonely, bored, upset? Which emotion is taking over?
  • Does the emotion above emotion connect with a particular food or need for a particular taste sensation?
  • Are you truly hungry or just looking for a way to deal with the emotion?
  • How is life affecting your eating habits?
  • When in the past have you veered off track and responded to being angry, lonely, bored, or tired with food?

Answering the questions above will help you come to a better understanding of your personal connection between mood and food. As you continue to fill your journal, you will gain self-awareness to help you make better decisions when the same mood pattern repeats.

Emotional Eating Tip #3: Reach For Protein

If you’re encountering late-night hunger, first take a look at what you’re eating for dinner and throughout the day, and make sure you’re eating enough to feel balanced and satisfied. If you’ve been eating satisfying and balanced meals, but you’re still hungry, it’s always best to reach for some protein. A few almonds or slices of lean beef or chicken are good choices. If that’s not enough, add a vegetable to the protein.

If you’re wanting something sweet, try indulging in 2 small squares of dark chocolate (about 75 calories). Another go-to evening treat for me is strawberries or raspberries with a dollop of yogurt and some shaved chocolate on top. Be sure to put it in an attractive dish, then sit down and enjoy!

Emotional Eating Tip #4: Relax!

Relax! Isn’t that what the evening is all about anyway? Ask yourself if you’re truly hungry, or if you’re just looking for something comforting to help you wind down. Remember, “Downtime” doesn’t always mean “Chowtime.” A hot bath, good book, and cup of chamomile tea might just do the trick.

Emotional Eating Tip #5: Snack Wisely!

When you eat is as important as what you eat, especially when it comes to avoiding emotional eating. In order to balance blood sugar levels, it’s important to stay on schedule, eating a small 400-calorie meal or 200-calorie snack every 3 to 4 hours. Do this consistently, and you’ll experience fewer hunger pangs, steadier blood sugar and energy levels, and you’ll be less tempted to emotionally eat, thus improving your chances of success. Choose snacks that make you feel satisfied emotionally, but also help balance your blood sugar levels. When you’re emotionally charged, having too much sugar puts you on the blood sugar roller-coaster, and triggers more cravings. So choose snacks that have a good source of protein and fiber, such as:

  • Small Apple Crisp protein shake If you’re not in the area, blend together 1 apple, 1/2 C. spinach, 2 Tbsp almond butter, 1 serving vanilla whey protein, 8 oz unsweetened almond milk, a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of cinnamon!
  • 1/2 C. plain icelandic or greek yogurt with 1/4 C. fresh berries and 1 Tbsp. walnuts
  • 3/4 C. cooked shelled edamame
  • Wrap 4 steamed asparagus spears with 4 oz lean beef or chicken
  • Cucumber boat with tuna and cranberries

Kathy

 

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11 Essential Foods To Lose Weight Fast

by Kathy Smith

11-essentail-foods-to-lose-weight-fast

Proteins play a key role in your ability to lose weight, plus it helps keep you satisfied, build muscle mass, and boost metabolism. And, they’re the most important nutritional element for molding your body into the shape you desire. Proteins are broken down by the body into amino acids, the “building blocks of life.” They repair and rebuild muscle tissues, grow hair and nails, create enzymes and hormones, and maintain the health of internal organs and blood.

That being said, here are your best bets when it comes to high protein foods that will assist in weight loss:

Eggs

    Eggs are the perfect protein! One large egg adds 6 grams of healthy protein to your diet. And remember, they’re a great on-the-go food. You can hard boil a few eggs at the beginning of the week, and easily grab them in the morning. Eggs are not only high in protein, but they also include small proteins of many essential vitamins and minerals.

    Lean meats

    You can get 16-20g of protein in different selections of lean meat, like ground turkey, beef and chicken. Try to choose the cuts of beef that are lower in fat, and limit your serving size to 4-6 oz per meal depending on your weight and activity levels.

    salmon-salad

    Fish

    Tuna, salmon, halibut, tilapia and anchovies all contain between 26-29 g of protein per 4 oz serving. Salmon and other types of cold-water fish are not only packed with protein, but contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

    Milk

    One glass of milk gives you 8 grams of protein. If you’re lactose intolerant, try unsweetened soy milk which has apx 8 grams of protein per serving. A good way to incorporate milk into your diet is by adding it as a base to your protein shakes.

    Yogurt

    When it comes to yogurt, you can get the most protein if you opt for greek style yogurt. This thick and creamy bowl will provide 16 g of protein in a single serving size. Top with walnuts or berries to add in even more nutrients.

    Cheese

    1 oz of cheese will give you the same amount of protein as 1 oz of chicken. But keep in mind that the calories in cheese can add up quickly…since it includes 100 calories per ounce.

    Beans and legumes

    1/2 C cooked kidney beans will give you the same amount of protein as 1 oz of lean chicken or cheese. And the good news is the beans can be added to soups and stews.

    Low-fat cottage cheese

    One of the winners when it comes to protein content is cottage cheese! Only ½ C will give you 14 g of protein.

    Lentils

    ½ C will give you 9 g of protein. There are several types to choose from, and they are sold in many colors. This healthy legume has helped aid in the reduction of cholesterol as well as lowering risk of heart attack and stroke.

    Pack your plate with these veggies!

    Nuts

    1 oz of nuts contains 7 g protein. Sprinkle almonds or walnuts on your salads, or take a handful in a baggie for an afternoon snack.

    Vegetables

    If you opt for protein veggies such as spinach, chickpeas or broccoli, you’ll enjoy 6 g of protein per 1/2 cup serving. If you want more protein, eating larger portions will do the trick. Since plant proteins are incomplete proteins, meaning they don’t contain all of the essential amino acids, combine them with a whole grain to make sure you’re getting a complete protein.

    As you can see, there’s a lot of ways to meet your protein requirements throughout the day. Try eating a variety of foods to receive not only protein, but a variety of vitamins and minerals that are packed into these nutrient dense foods.

    I’m heading to Tampa, Florida this weekend for a summit and workshop. Thank you for all of your support, and thank you for taking the time to read this blog. And, thank you for commenting! By the way…what’s your favorite protein? And, what kind of recipes are you looking for (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?

    Kathy

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    Three Tips to De-Stress Your Life

    by Kathy Smith

    We’re all looking for a way to de-stress. With the economy, kids, relationship and career woes, stress is simply a part of life for all of us. Stress relief, however, often seems out of our reach.

    When we experience anxiety, our body releases the hormone adrenaline (which increases energy, blood pressure, and heart rate) and cortisol, a complex alarm system that increases the release of sugar into the bloodstream, which of course can lead to weight gain. In our everyday lives, these hormones are not good for our bodies.

    But now it’s time for the good news. There are a few simple steps we can all take to de-stress and decompress:

    1) Simplify Your Stress Away. When it comes to de-stressing, we can’t underestimate the power of clearing the clutter. That might mean literal clutter: You don’t have to be a feng shui expert to know that cleaning up your physical space (at home and at work) doesn’t just look neater – it affects the way you feel, and makes it easier to take on new tasks.

    And you can de-stress by cleaning up metaphorical clutter, too – whether that means simplifying your schedule by saying “no” to some things, or eliminating toxic relationships from your life. We all have the ability to start de-stressing now – we simply have to take the time to do it.

    2) Have a BLT. Next time you need a quick de-stresser, try my Breathing Listening Technique. Close your eyes (unless you’re driving – which of course is a whole other source of stress). And take a long, deep inhale on a count of six. Now Hold your breath for six counts and listen to the sounds around you. Try and name them: An air conditioner. A dog barking. A car honking. Then, slowly exhale. Repeat this cycle six times, and you’ll be amazed at the results.

    3) Get moving. When we exercise, our brains are bathed in dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that improve mood and actually help us de-stress and relax. I’ve always found that cardio lifts my spirits, resistance training boosts my mood and sense of well-being, and yoga, of course (the ultimate de-stresser) makes me calm and centered.

    Remember, we all have stress in our lives. The trick is in how we handle it.

    Kathy

     

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    5 Sneaky Ways To Tighten Your Backside

    Put your rear into high gear, and work your way towards a “Brazilian Butt!” Instead of wishing those extra pounds away, now you can tighten and tone your backside with  5 sneaky tricks designed to work the muscles from every angle to give you the best lower-body ever!

    Trick #1: Go Deep in Your Lunges!

    When doing a lunge, lower your body until your knees are at a 90 degree angle. For increased effectiveness in your lunges, also try out these four tips:

    • Keep your shoulders over your hips
    • Slightly bend your back knee
    • Keep your front knee in alignment with your front toes
    • Feel your weight in your front heel as you push yourself to standing

    Practice your 90 degree angle with this move: Lunge With Tricep Kickback

    Kathy Smith Lunge with Tricep Kickback

    What it does:

    • This version of the lunge is an excellent sculptor for the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, triceps and core. This is a true functional move because it combines so many muscle groups in one movement.

    How to do it:

    • Holding a dumbbell in each hand, step your left foot directly behind you, taking a wide stance, and bend your legs, lowering your torso down into a lunge. Be sure and maintain that core stability to prevent injury.
    • While in lunge position, keep your shoulders over your hips, back knee slightly bent, front knee in alignment with your front toes, shoulders back and down.
    • Feel your weight in your right (front) heel as you push yourself to standing.
    • As you return to standing, do a tricep kickback: Reach your arms back behind you and extend, feeling a squeeze in the tricep.

    Trick #2: Be Fit For A Royal With The Curtsy

    There’s nothing old-fashioned about this curtsy! The curtsy squat is one of my go-to moves because it targets the quads and outer thighs. Try the curtsy squat below to take the glute-and-leg toning action of a squat while adding a core balance challenge that sculpts the shoulders and obliques.

    Kathy Smith's Curtsy Squat With Cross-Punch

    How to do it:

    • Rest dumbbells on your hips as you place your left foot behind you. Instead of stepping directly back, the left foot should move diagonally back, with the back knee bending down directly outside the right foot.
    • Fire up the core muscles as you squat down with the right leg, feeling the emphasis on your right glute (weight placed firmly in the right heel) as the left foot lightly supports you.
    • As you return to standing, bring the left foot forward, landing with a wide stance.
    • Punch the right hand across your body, toward the left wall, allowing your right foot to rotate as your torso twists to the left, engaging your right glute.

    Beginners:

    • Remember, it’s best to master the form of the exercise before adding the resistance challenge of dumbbells.

    Advanced:

    • Keep the majority of your weight in the front foot, especially the heel, and use the back foot mainly for balance.

    Trick #3: Go Wide!

    To tighten your backside, squats are key! Switch up your routine by changing the width of of your squat to a wider stance. This simple change is an all-around lower body tightener, working the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps, as well as the inner and outer thighs.

    Try this move: Sumo Squat With Cross-Chop

    sumo-squat-with-cross-chop

    How to do it:

    • Take a wide stance with your toes turned slightly out, holding dumbbells pressed together at chest level.
    • Lower down into a sumo squat, making sure those abs are engaged, weights hanging straight down in front of you.
    • As you push back up to standing, feel the inner thighs, glutes and core muscles working together to control the movement.
    • At the same time, bring the weights toward your chest with a bicep curl.
    • Rotate to your right: Keeping your wide stance and core engaged, feel your weight planted in the right foot and let the left foot pivot as your torso rotates to the right. You should feel as if this entire movement is driven by obliques.
    • Bring the weights down toward the ground in a controlled chopping motion, just behind your right hip. Squeeze your left glute as you chop.
    • Curl the weights back toward the chest as you rotate the torso back to your starting position.

    Trick #4: Shift Your Weight

    When performing squats, proper form should be in the forefront of your mind. Squatting with good form can make the difference between fast, safe, and great-looking results, and frustration (and sometimes even injury). To get the most benefit from your squat, always remember to shift your weight into your heels and slightly lift your toes off the floor.

    Here’s how to do a perfect squat:

    1. To begin, grab a chair and position yourself in front of it.
    2. Sit down, just brushing your butt on the end of the chair and stand back up.
    3. Repeat and keep your knees and weight back
    4. The further and lower you get down in the squat, the more you’ll feel it in your butt.
    5. Click here for a video demonstration

    Kathy Smith Squat and Reach

     How to do it:

    • Standing with feet hip-width apart, stabilize the midsection and imagine knitting the ribcage in by squeezing your abdominals throughout the movement. Squat down as if you’re going to sit in a chair behind you, sinking the hips back and keeping the knees parallel to the toes. With your weight in your heels, use your glutes and core to push you back up to standing.
    • As you stand, reach your arms up over your head and lift up on your toes.

    Beginners:

    • Remember, your core is your center of gravity. By stabilizing your trunk muscles during the squat, you maintain your balance, preventing you from falling backward or forward. Start by mastering the form, slowly and purposefully, before adding toe lifts.

    TRICK #5: Add Resistance!

    One of the most basic ways to tighten your backside is by weight training. There are various ways to create resistance, one of the most familiar is with resistance bands, like ankle cuffs. Ankle cuffs help provide increased results in less time, and they can fit in your suitcase or underneath your desk.

    Try this move to firm up your glutes and hamstrings:

    Kathy Smith Hamstring Curls

    How to do it:

    • Attach ankle cuffs to your legs and position one arm lightly onto a chair for balance
    • Lift your left leg behind you, heel pointed toward the ceiling.
    • Bring the leg back to center, trying to not let your foot touch the floor.
    • Repeat.
    • Remember to squeeze your glutes!
    By Collage Video | | exercise, fitness, Kathy Smith, 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

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