Fit Forever with Kathy!

4 Tiny Game-Changers To Help You Lose Winter Weight

by Kathy Smith

4-tiny-game-changers

1. Consider Your Past Habits

You’re sitting on the couch with your friends and family watching television when a bag of salted chips comes your way. You ask yourself, “Should I have one?” You know that each chip is only about 10 calories, and that isn’t much. This is when you need to recall previous times you were in the same situation. Did you eat just one? If you didn’t — and you ate half a bag, which is 600 calories, then the best decision today is to pass the bag to someone else.

2. Detach Mood From Food

Sometimes when you’ve had a really bad/stressful/exhausting/boring day, you arrive home and all you want is to eat a pint of ice cream and a bag of barbecue potato chips. Sound familiar? Sometimes eating is not about hunger. Mood eating is one of the most overwhelming issues for any weight-conscious person. 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.

3. Make Your Home A Healthy Environment

Your environment should support your healthy eating habits. Create a positive energy in your kitchen with how you stock and organize it, just as you create a certain energy in your home with your choice and placement of furniture. Start by doing an inventory of your kitchen, then discard items that don’t fit your healthy lifestyle and may sabotage your weight loss goals.

4.  Go for the gold (and red and green)

I always tell people that the key to grocery shopping in a way that maximizes micronutrients is to stick to the perimeter. A typical supermarket layout has central aisles filled with packaged foods– the cookies, the crackers, the sodas and chips. These are, of course, the foods highest in sugar, trans fats and preservatives – and largely void of any of the micronutrients our bodies are really cravings.

Look to the perimeter, however, and the scene completely changes. Suddenly you’re faced with a rainbow of colors: The stunning scarlet of fresh tomatoes and strawberries. The gorgeous green of kale, spinach, cucumbers and celery. The deep purple hue of eggplants and grapes. The summery orange of tangerines and bell peppers.

When you’re eating vegetables and fruits that are packed with color, you’re filling your body up with disease-fighting plant compounds. If you need a fun way to amp up your veggie intake, turn your eating habits into a little game, and designate each day of the week to a color. Mondays are red, Tuesdays are yellow, Wednesdays are green, and so on. So on Monday, pack a sliced red pepper or grapefruit in your bag to snack on throughout the day.

What little game changers are on your New Year’s Resolution list? Tell me in the comments below.

Here’s to your health!

Kathy

 

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

Is Yoga A Good Way To Lose Weight?

The answer might surprise you.

Is-yoga-a-good-way-to-lose-weight

I get asked all the time, “Does yoga help you lose weight?” Well, it all depends on the type of yoga you’re doing. There are slow, fluid classes that are more about stretching, and there are other classes that are more about power, speed and strength. All yoga is beneficial to your health and your mind, but which style you choose will determine how many calories you’ll burn.

If you’re looking to lose weight with yoga, here are 3 reasons why it’s a good idea to start today:

To burn the most calories during yoga, pay attention to the labels! “Vinyasa Flow” classes earn 3 times as many calories than traditional “Hatha” yoga!

It’s a fact — yoga burns calories. To burn the most calories, find a yoga class that focuses on strength, fluidity, flow or power. Typically, these classes will be called “Vinyasa Flow” or “Power Yoga.” When you choose these classes, you’ll not only burn calories, but you’ll also increase your heart rate throughout the class. You can burn up to 597 calories in a Vinyasa Flow class, and only 189 in “Hatha” yoga, a term that describes a class that’s more relaxin and focuses on flexibility.


To reduce your caloric intake throughout the day, take mindfulness off the mat and into your life. 

Research shows that the mindfulness side of yoga has a strong correlation with weight loss. This is because the mindfulness that you practice in yoga is carried on into your daily life. The stillness of being in the moment will help you make healthier decisions throughout the day, especially when you’re faced with a choice like, “Should I have a brownie or should I have some strawberries?” Making decisions like this become easier when you practice yoga, because you’ll learn balance, confidence, and relaxation so you can stay in-the-moment and make decisions that are beneficial to your health.


To burn more calories after class, perform strength-training poses.

Yoga helps develop strength. Some yoga poses require you to hold your own body weight while using your breath. While you’re bearing this weight,  you build muscle in your entire body…from your arms to your core to your calves! As you gain this strength, everyday tasks (like running up a flight of stairs) become a little easier. This increased muscle mass will help you move more efficiently throughout the day, which helps burn extra calories!

Remember, yoga will not only help you lose weight, it will improve your balance, strength, coordination, flexibility, cardiovascular health and physical confidence. It’s a must for anyone suffering from aches, pains or too much tension, or if you’re looking to drop a few pounds. Here’s to your health!

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

What’s The Best Time Of Day To Workout?

by Kathy Smith

There are benefits for both morning and evening workouts, so call on your natural body rhythms. 

What’s the best time of day to workout? It’s a classic conundrum; once people have tackled the old “I don’t have time to exercise excuse (the “dog ate my homework” of reasons not to work out), the next question is, naturally, when to do it.

First of all, you need to find a time that works for your schedule, of course. But you also have to find a time that works for your body – and in order to that, you’ve first got to try and understand your body’s own natural energy cycles and rhythms. You’re probably familiar with the terms “larks” and “owls,” and probably know someone (maybe even yourself) who fits the classic description of a morning or night person. Truth is, though, most of us are not extreme larks or tend to rise somewhere between 7 and 8 A.M., get sleepy around ten at night, and fall asleep by midnight, with variations of up to an hour or two either way.

More important is the fact that, whatever hours we keep, we tend to follow a consistent pattern of energy and bodily function over the course of the day. This inner clock is governed by chemical processes in the human body that synchronize themselves to the light-dark cycle of the environment. Coming to terms with your cycle will help you in everything you do, including making your exercise schedule more consistent.

If you took your temperature every four hours around the clock, you would probably find that it rose and fell by a few tenths of a degree over a twenty-four-hour period. You’d also find that the periods of higher temperature would correspond with periods of higher energy and mental alertness, while the dips in temperature would correspond with sleep, or with that slump period during the day when you feel the need to rest and recharge.

The standard energy cycle for most of us is:

  • Upon waking: Body temperature and metabolic rate rise.
  • Midmorning: Highly alert. Best time for activities requiring critical thinking and concentration.
  • After lunch/early afternoon: Energy and alertness plummet as body temperature drops. For many, an afternoon nap is a refreshing, natural response.
  • Mid to late afternoon: Body temperature and energy rise again. Mental faculties return.
  • Late afternoon: Metabolic peak; a good time to exercise and then eat dinner.
  • After dinner, about two hours before bed: Energy and metabolism drops, melatonin levels rise, preparing us for sleep.
  • Pre-dawn Deep sleep; body temperature is at its lowest. Studies show that one-vehicle accidents, as well as industrial shift worker accidents, happen during this period.

Most of us have an intuitive sense of our energy profile. Still, it’s uncanny how we try to fight it – to work, eat, or drive when we should be sleeping; or, conversely, to squander our most valuable brain time on activities that could easily be done during less alert periods.

So whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, there are benefits to working out during all times of day. Below are a few benefits for working out both in the morning and in the afternoon.

4 Benefits of working out in the morning:

  • Amps up your metabolism in preparation for the day
  • Balances blood sugar levels
  • Improves focus and energy
  • Workout is DONE for the day!

4 Benefits of workout in the afternoon:

  • Transitions your day from afternoon to evening so you can de-stress after a long day
  • Boosts mid-day energy levels
  • Relaxes and rejuvenates you for the evening
  • Easier to find a workout partner in the afternoon than early in the morning!

Knowing and, more importantly, respecting your body’s daily energy map is an invigorating way to make yourself more productive, improve the effectiveness of exercise, reduce the likelihood of accidents, improve your sexual performance, and, in general, increase your enjoyment of life. Here’s to your health!

Kathy

 

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

Eat These, Drop Pounds!

by Kathy Smith

Foods That Shred Fat…Naturally

Here’s good news to kick off your Friday – certain foods you allow your body to work tirelessly to help you burn calories and torch fat. This means you can literally torch calories as you chew. Some foods do this by their thermogenic effect, and others with their nutrient capacity. See which foods feed your metabolism’s fire below.

Go For Green Tea

Here’s a little secret about me…green tea is my no-penalty pleasure. Not only does its natural caffeine levels speed up your heart rate, but a new study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that due to the EGEC levels in green tea, drinking four cups of green tea a day helped participants lose six pounds in 8 weeks.

Stock Up On Salmon

salmon-saladOf all the lessons you learn today, I hope you take this one seriously. Fat is the preferred fuel of human metabolism, and it always has been. We need fat for insulation, protection, energy, and even to think. In fact about two-thirds of the brain is composed of fat, and the protective sheath that covers communicating neurons is 70 percent fat. But not all fats are equal. The king of fats are essential omega-3s, which are found in foods like salmon. The omega-3 levels in salmon boost your metabolism by lowering the leptin (a hormone) in your body. Many recent studies suggest that leptin directly influences your metabolism, determining whether you burn calories or store them as fat. If you don’t like fish, simply take a fish oil pill.

Lean protein (chicken, turkey, lean beef)

Keep on cooking those chicken breasts, because they’re firing up your metabolism! It works like this: When your body digests protein, it takes more energy than if it were to digest carbs. This means that the more lean protein you eat, the harder your body is working, and the more calories it’s burning. Because protein has a high thermogenic effect, it allows your body to burn approximately 30% of its calories during digestion. This means that if you ate a 200-calorie chicken breast, you would burn 60 calories by simply breaking it down.

Jump On The Jalepenos (and other hot peppers)

It’s surprisingly simple — hot peppers include a compound called “capsaicin,” which heats up your body, helping boost your metabolism by up to 25%, for up to three hours after you eat. So if an omelette is on the menu today, load it up with jalepenos, cayenne, or hot sauce.

Take Turmeric

TumericIn the spice game, turmeric is a true all-star. This powerful anti-inflammatory is usually associated with spicy Indian dishes – but there’s so much more to it than that. The key ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which may just work wonders for the body. Studies suggest that curcumin can not only help speed up your metabolism but also improve your insulin production, aids in proper carbohydrate absorption, and helps clear the plaque in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s.

Also, take into consideration these fat-burning foods:

  • Almonds (with skins)
  • Eggs
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Lentils
  • Greek or Icelandic yogurt
  • Quinoa
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado

Here’s to your health, and a speedy metabolism!

Kathy

 

By Collage Video | | fitness, fitness success, Kathy Smith, 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

The Shortest Path To Happiness

by Kathy Smith

Thanksgiving is more than just a cultural tradition. Practicing gratitude can truly elevate our levels of happiness….in fact, studies show that it makes us 25% happier! Gratitude has the strongest link with mental well-being than any other character trait.

Here are some of my favorite gratitude quotes. Take them with you on a walk, or during the gentle stretching routine below.

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

- John F. Kennedy

"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was,’thank you,’ that would suffice."

- Meister Eckhart

"Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all."

- William Faulkner

Kathy

 

By Collage Video | | exercise, Kathy Smith, tips, 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

Rear Dip Lunge With Tricep Kickback

by Kathy Smith

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.

Beginners:

Practice the lunge and tricep kickback movements separately and without weights at first.

Advanced:

When you come to standing, use your core muscles to lift the back leg off the floor and extend it behind you, squeezing the glutes as you perform the tricep kickback

Kathy

 

By Collage Video | | fitness, goals, Healthy, Kathy Smith, tips, Weekly Blog | 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

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