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Expert Q and A: Kathy Smith’s Fitness Secrets

An interview with fitness guru Kathy Smith.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Fitness icon Kathy Smith says these two questions are your key to losing weight, toning up, and getting healthy:

  • What gets you going?
  • And more importantly, what keeps you coming back for more?

"Find a passion ... and attack it," says Smith, whose motto is "Dream it. Believe it. Achieve it."

Smith, president of Kathy Smith Lifestyles in Los Angeles, has sold more than 16 million of her workout videos worldwide since 1980. She shared her exercise secrets with WebMD.

What is your personal fitness routine in an average week?

I've always adhered to the triangle approach: strength/cardio/flexibility.  And I alternate those types of workouts throughout the week.  

  • Cardio is not only great for circulation and calorie-burning, but it gives me tons of energy.
  • Strength training keeps me toned and sculpted, giving me a sense of empowerment.  
  • Flexibility helps keep me feeling lean and light and keeps me composed on those days when a sense of balance seems near-impossible.

I've been doing all three of these disciplines for more than 30 years and constantly tweak or modify my weekly workouts depending on where I think I need a little extra support.

What advice do you give to people just starting to exercise or who haven't exercised in a long time?

Getting to know your own energy cycles is so important: Are you a lark who bounds out of bed in the morning, or an owl who comes alive in the evening?

Once you determine the best time of day for you to exercise, put it on your schedule -- just like you would any meeting or appointment. And make sure you’re getting enough rest the night before. 

When you’re new to exercise, a good night’s sleep can be your best friend. 

Another important step is to find a workout buddy. 

Whether it’s joining a walking group or meeting a friend for a spinning class or strength training workout, exercising with a partner not only keeps you motivated and accountable (so that you’ll show up when you say you will), but you might even have some fun in the process.

How can someone who doesn't like to exercise learn to like, or at least tolerate, it?

It's important to regain a sense of playing in our lives, and exercise is often a great way to do that.  

If you start with something you love, or at least something you've always wanted to try, you're much more likely to come back for more.  

Finding a Latin dance class that really gets you into the groove, discovering a new hiking trail with some friends --  any way you can find to connect your passion to movement.

What's the best kind of exercise to do for weight loss?

We can't underestimate the power of strength training.  

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