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Expert Q and A: Kathy Smith’s Fitness Secrets

An interview with fitness guru Kathy Smith.

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

Starting around age 30, we experience what I call "The Great Decline," as we begin to lose muscle mass at an ever-increasing rate.  Not only does this affect our bone density and risk for chronic diseases, but it becomes more difficult to maintain our shape, tone, and vitality.  

Too many people, especially women concerned with weight loss, associate muscle mass with bulk.  

The more lean muscle we have on our bodies, the greater number of calories we burn per day -- many of them when we're sitting still and even sleeping.  

If you're not ready to start bench pressing and hitting the squat rack at the gym, any type of resistance training is still effective.  I love resistance tubes because they're adjustable, versatile, and so lightweight that you can bring them with you virtually everywhere.  

What are some healthy foods/snacks you recommend for people who don't have a lot of time to cook?

"Not enough time" is the No. 1 excuse I hear as to why people don't exercise or eat right. But a healthy diet doesn't have to involve a ton of time cooking.

The key is preparation. Spend a Sunday night stocking up for the week at the grocery store, and preparing everything so that you have an easy grab-and-go situation for the remainder of the week.  

Bake a tray of skinless chicken breasts with your favorite spices so that they're ready to throw on salads anytime you want.  Chop up bell peppers and other veggies ... so you have easily accessible snacks.  

Make a big pot of steel-cut oatmeal that you can refrigerate and pull out every morning for breakfast. Throw in some fresh berries, stir in some protein powder and a splash of skim or almond milk, and you've got a perfectly balanced morning meal.

 

What's your guilty splurge food?

Blueberry pie a la mode; Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream; and I love chocolate.

If someone has just 20 minutes a day to exercise, what should they focus on?

[Be] consistent. ... Twenty minutes really adds up when you're doing it six days a week year-round, but doesn't amount to much if you're only doing it a couple times a week.

Start with 20 minutes of something you love to do, and build on that. So if you feel like dancing, dance.  If you'd like to try yoga, start there.  

The other key aspect is intensity. It's important to make those 20 minutes count.

Compound exercises that work upper body, lower body, and core simultaneously not only save time, but they send your calorie burn through the roof.  

If you're pushing yourself, 20 minutes can actually be more effective than a longer, less intense workout.

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