Kathy Smith - Celebrity Fitness Instructor & Workout Video Star

Q.Kathy, women all over the world own your DVDs. How has fitness stardom affected your life?

I like to think that I have the best of both worlds. I've had enough
"celebrity" to get the opportunity to meet some amazing people, from
the President  of the United States to Ken Cooper (the doctor who started the whole aerobic movement). I have met countless celebrities in all fields from Jay Leno to Deepak Chopra, Tom Cruise to Barbara Streisand.

But I'm also not so famous that it impacts my day-to-day life, so I don't have to worry too much about anonymity, and I don't feel pressure to uphold some unrealistic image, the way that some big stars might.

Q.At what point in your life did you become interested in pursuing a career in fitness?

When I first moved to LA, I started taking a class called BodyDesign by Gilda. It was amazing - any given day, I'd have Barbra Streisand on one side of me in the class, and Jane Fonda on the other. But it was all calisthenics, and didn't have a real aerobic component. So I decided to combine the two and start teaching my own class.

There was a record promoter named Toni Profera in my class, who approached me about doing an exercise album. Yes, an actual record, with my voice and a poster with pictures you could follow along as you did the exercises. That eventually led to another album, which led to my first VHS, and the rest, as they say...

Q.I was very sorry to read about how you lost your parents. What influence have they had on YOU, your fitness and healing?

That loss was really the beginning of my relationship with fitness. I
had a boyfriend at the time who was on the football team (we were 19
and in college in Hawaii), and I started joining him on his runs at
the track. I was amazed at the therapeutic effect running had on me.
It was a big revelation: that what we do with our bodies affects our
minds and emotions. And so my passion for fitness was born.

Q.I know you mix things up when it comes to exercise and love
outdoor fitness but what’s your favorite workout ever?

I often joke that that's like asking me to choose my favorite child -
it's just impossible to answer! I love all types of movement, like
running, yoga, strength training, dancing and snow skiing. But hiking does have a special place in my heart. It's why I moved to Park City, Utah - the mountains here provide an opportunity to combine my loves of hiking and being in the outdoors.

Q.What’s your take on fitness machines? Stairmaster, the bike,
the elliptical, etc?

They're great - my recommendation is when you're on the machine really use it - i see too many people multi-tasking reading catching up texting - if you can casually leaf thru a magazine chances are you're not taking full advantage of the machine and all its capabilities.

Q.Your Total Body Turnaround DVD is amazing and the name
is catchy too. What kind of women need to get it?

I called it "Total Body Turnaround" because this routine focuses on
"turning back the clock" - not just for the body, but also for the
mind and attitude. I created this workout for women 45 and older that
really want to regain their sense of vitality, so that they can live
their lives to the fullest maintaining a vibrant, healthy body.

Another hit fitness dvd by Kathy: Ageless with Kathy Smith: Staying Strong.

Q.Do you believe in juice cleansing?

I think the real value of cleansing is that it helps to balance out
cravings, increases energy by giving your digestive system a rest from having to process solid foods, increases mental alertness, and just acts as a good reset button for your body - but I don't believe people should look to cleansing solely as a weight loss solution, even though that may be a side benefit of doing it.

Q.What’s the 1 thing you absolutely need to have for a good workout?

This pre-workout shake:

  • 8 ounces of almond milk
  • Nanogreens
  • Vega vanilla chai protein powder
  • Frozen mixed berries
  • flaxseed oil
Q.When it comes to fitness fashion, what are you wearing?

I've worn active wear by Elisabetta Rogiani for about 90% of my DVD
covers. I also love Lululemon for their jackets and tops. And my new
favorite is Green Apple, which I wore for my Kettlebell Solution
packaging. Their soft cottons and silhouettes create a comfort level
that's off the charts.

Q.You’ve seen a lot of fitness trends come and go through the years, what's been the most life-changing?

It was exciting to join the yoga movement in its early years (at least in the United States). Back then, some people viewed it as new age-y, and a little too "out there." So it's amazing now to see how it has been welcomed into the American mainstream.

Q.There are NEW players emerging in the fitness world. Are there any that you’d like to see really make it the way you have?

My friend Jackie Mendes, who ran my business for many years and is
currently working with RealRyder, is a real inspiration. Her passion
always lights up a room.

And I worked with Shaun Thompson on a project years ago, so it's been delightful to see his success with "Hip Hop Abs" and "Insanity." And I love Rebecca Kordecki's "BootySlide" workout!

Q.What advice do you have for rising fitness DVD stars producing their own DVD's?

Do some test shoots first. Before I go into production, we always
do something known as the "backyard workout" - a bare-bones version of the new routine shot in my backyard on a home video camera or iPhone. It's a great way to capture the essence of what the routine is.

Also, ask your friends to try it and see if they can follow along so you can get a sense of whether the choreography and instruction are clear and doable.

Q.I've gotta ask...how often do you work out to your own videos/DVDs?

I don't do it often, but sometimes when i'm traveling I'll pop in a
DVD in my hotel room before an event. I've also had a ball doing my
Latin Rhythm Workout routine with friends. We'll have food, margaritas and a dance party where everybody follows along to me as I follow the video. 



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