Ageless with Kathy Smith Total Body Turnaround

Kathy Smith
Year Released: 2010

Categories: Athletic Stretch , Ballet/Barre, Circuit Training (cardio and weights)

This is the first Kathy Smith exercise video that I have used in a long time: when I was more of an exercise beginner, she was a reliable part of my fitness collection, but as I became more experienced (I now considered myself to be high intermediate), I moved on to other instructors. However, I have been curious about her "Ageless" series, especially now that I am getting older (mid-40s).

TOTAL BODY TURNAROUND is a DVD offering 3 20-minute workout options. The Main Menu of the DVD brings up the following options:

Workout Options
Bonus Features (short clips from two other Acacia DVDs)
Also from Acacia (other DVDs)
Subtitles ON/OFF

Selecting the "Workout Options" brings you to a submenu with choices for Play All, Total Circuit, Total Balance, or Total Energy. For each of the workouts, Smith is exercising alone in a large, open, mostly white studio with a few colored vases accenting the background. She instructs live, offers mirrored cuing, and occasionally (mainly during the first two workouts) gives little enthusiastic yelps. I have described the three workouts in detail below.

TOTAL CIRCUIT (actually 23.5 minutes)
In this workout, Smith alternates 3 minutes of cardio with 3-minute weights segments. She begins with a simple (3m) warm-up that includes side steps, heel touches, and knee ups. However, she manages to significantly increase the heart rate by adding in a long series of repeater knees as well as the option of side-to-side hops. (Note that all of the impact moves are optional in this workout.) The first weights section consists of bent over lat rows; Smith holds two 8# weights in one hand (although she drops one weight halfway through) and rests the other hand on the seat of a chair (the only time the chair is used during the workout. The first cardio segment begins with side steps, adding in forward motion and bow and arrow arms. Next come side-to-side lunges with various arm movements (single, then double), again with the option of adding in a hop. For the second weights segment, Smith performs bicep curls, adding in pulse. She completes the set with alternating overhead presses. The last cardio pattern begins with a simple step knee forward, alternating sides. Smith then moves on to step repeaters (both to the rear and to the side), squats, and small squat jumps. The final few weights moves concentrate on the legs, although Smith notes that these moves can be performed without weights as well (I actually did them with my heavy kettlebell). The first is a one-legged deadlift, and she moves from that right into a one-legged squat (which she calls "picking up a penny off the floor"). She then picks up lighter weights for triceps work (extensions, lifts, and pulses) before moving to the floor for both regular and triceps push-ups. Smith concludes this workout with a quick (1m) stretch consisting of cat/cow, down dog, and standing forward bend. Overall, I really liked this workout; Smith gets a lot done in just over 20 minutes. I do wish she'd given just a bit more time for the transition to the weight weight, especially because most people probably won't want to use the same set of weights throughout as she does.

TOTAL BALANCE (20 minutes)
Smith performs this segment barefoot. It is a flowing workout that will still get your heart rate up at times while adding in balance work. The warm-up consists of simple side-to-side steps, bringing the moves front-and-back and adding in single and double arm swings. Smith begins the balance work by moving from a rear lunge to a knee balance, then bringing the leg to the front and balancing while pointing and flexing the foot. She flows back into side-to-side steps, this time raising the back leg in a brief balance and then balancing further by lifting one leg on each side. This is followed by a plie series (the balance work here includes work on the toes) and a very brief series in first position. As in the first workout, Smith performs a step knee pattern that moves into rear and side repeater knees, but this time, she holds to the side, slowing bringing the knee in and out while balancing. Side squats are next, coming up into a knee balance and ending with little front kicks. The final series consists of a brief mini curtsey to the rear, raising up to a knee balance. Smith concludes the workout with a short (2m) series of warrior stretches (warrior 1, warrior 2, side angle, lunge) performed all on one side, then repeated on the other side.

TOTAL ENERGY (19.5 minutes)
Smith again works out barefoot for this section, which is sort of a cross between yoga-like stretches and joint mobility exercises. Although I generally enjoy this type of work, Smith's sequencing felt awkward to me (i.e., she performs stretches on one side, does some work on the stomach, and FINALLY returns to the other side), and so this was my least favorite of the three workouts. Smith begins in a standing position, stretching the shoulders and moving into a chair/ragdoll flow. Coming down to the floor, she starts with a brief cat/cow and then moves into the one-sided work that I mentioned earlier. This includes bird dog (adding in an extra shoulder stretch), hip rolls in a kneeing position, one legged seated forward bend, one legged seated twist, and seated Figure 4 stretch. Rather than moving on to the other side, Smith continues with butterfly and then comes onto the back for a brief series of back extensions before finally returning to do the second side (also, I believe that there were a few editing errors on the second side). Following this sequence, Smith rolls down on her back for some reclined twists. Smith returns to standing for the last 5 minutes or so of this workout. Here she performs additional joint mobility-type stretches, targeting the shoulders, hands, wrists, and hips.

My main concern about trying this DVD was that it might be too easy for me, and that was definitely not the case--in fact (at least in the first workout), it was a bit of a challenge to keep up with Smith at times, and she is probably at least 10 years older than me! For this reason, I think that this DVD is best suited to those who are already experienced exercisers, NOT for beginners. So, if you already work out and are looking to continue to keep active as you get older, this DVD just might fit the bill.

Instructor Comments:
Kathy is a bit toned down here from here "Lift Weights to Lose Weights" series, although I still wish that she wouldn't "whoop" at all! ;) However, she is an excellent instructor who cues well and gives excellent form pointers throughout--and obviously, she looks amazing, especially at her age (older than me!).

Beth C (aka toaster)