Ageless with Kathy Smith – Total Body Turnaround

Kathy Smith
Year Released: 2010

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

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When this was offered through the Amazon Vine program, I snapped it up. I usually don't get something near and dear to my heart as an exercise video through this reviewing program. This is a workout I had considered getting, but had thought better of multiple times. But, I kept coming back to it. After trying it, I'm glad I got it for free because I won't be keeping it.

This DVD offers 3 20-minute workout options. From the main menu, you can select Workout Options and that brings you to a submenu with choices for Play All, Total Circuit, Total Balance, or Total Energy. I wish that you were able to program the DVD and choose more than one option, but less than all three, but that is not an option. You can choose Play All and then skip sections you don't want.

In all of these workouts, Kathy exercises alone in a large area that I thought looked like a living room, or what was supposed to look like a living room. I don't even remember the music and would have noticed if it was missing, so it apparently was not memorable and I don't remember it adding to the workout. Kathy is one of the best, most experienced, most practial instructors around and that shows in her instruction, details that she points out about the moves, form pointers she gives, comments that display a total understanding of the home exerciser, options she gives for different levels of exercisers, etc. She also can be rather hyper. Her demeanor in these workouts was pretty calm for Kathy, although she did give some whoops I could live without.

Here are some details about the workouts themselves:

In this workout, Kathy alternates cardio segments and strength moves. She gives recommendations for weights to use for the different segments and I found that useful. She didn't give much time to pick up or put down the weights as she transitioned between segments. I kept having to pause the workout to catch up. Overall, I liked this workout because she accomplishes a lot in 20 minutes.

This is the kind of workout I SHOULD do, but don't really enjoy. It is a flowing workout done barefoot that adds a cardio aspect to the balance work. Mostly, they are moves that have you do a move (like a lunge) and then come up to a balance move.

This is another barefoot section and sort of a yoga-ish, stretchy kind of workout that does a lot and not much of any one thing. It felt good, but is the kind of workout I just won't come back to as other stretches/yoga workouts seem to flow better and which seem to have more of a point to it.

I can see how the right exerciser would like this workout. It's just not for me.

Instructor Comments:
I think Kathy is one of the most professional instructors in the business (well, except for those occasional whoops). She is just good at what she does and she is less hyper in this workout than in some previous ones.

Laura S.


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)


MAIN MENU – Introduction, Workout Options, Bonus Features, Also from Acacia, Subtitles On Off, Credits

INTRODUCTION – Kathy explains the workout, what it’s supposed to do, then explains each individual 20-minute workout—Total Circuit, Total Balance, Total Energy. She also notes the options for doing the whole workout or individual segments.

WORKOUT OPTIONS – You can choose any of the three 20-minute workouts, or select Play All. I did the first Total Circuit Workout which didn’t stop at the end—it just continued on into the Total Balance section. No problem; I just hit the menu button to take me back to the Workout Options menu.

BONUS FEATURES – Contains a Kathy Smith Q & A, written Kathy Smith Bio, selection from Exhale Core Fusion: Lean & Toned, and a selection from Yoga for Beginners. I watched the Q & A—it was like chatting with Kathy over coffee. She talked about the creation of the workout, balance in life, and some of the people who have been an inspiration to her. This was a fun segment and I wished it would have been longer, but I liked the informal feel of it. She makes a cute reference to cat stretches as part of her inspiration for the Total Energy Workout.

TOTAL CIRCUIT WORKOUT — Kathy alternates 3 minutes of cardio with strength training. Standard non-obtrusive funky instrumental workout music, just the right sound level—not too loud, not too soft.

Cardio Segment 1/Warm Up: Standard marching, side to side, heel digs, knee lifts, etc. Starts off low impact, then Kathy gives the option of adding some impact with some side to side hops. She goes through the series on one side, then repeats on the other side.
Strength Segment 1: Kathy uses two 8-pound dumbbells and does bent over one arm dumbbell rows using a chair for support. She gives great form pointers throughout, using single count and pulse lifts. She switches to the other side using her leg for support, but she gives the option to continue using the chair for support (which is what I did).
Cardio Segment 2: Tapping side to side, adding arms including her trademark “bow and arrow” (don’t know if she came up with that term, but I always associate Kathy Smith with the bow and arrow arms). The moves go up in intensity with side to side turning lunges, adding arms in increasingly intense patterns—single arms to the side, over head, and finally both arms over head. She repeats the tapping to lunge sequence.
Strength Segment 2: Once again using the 8-pound dumbbells, she does double biceps curls, single count lifts combined with pulses. Single arm shoulder presses come next, all single count.
Cardio Segment 3: Step-knee combinations. She gives the option for “popping” the knee up to add some impact. Does some repeaters to the back and side, and ends with squats to the side. Single count, then pulses. The squat segment ends with “pop ups,” which are essentially plyo squats. Repeat series on the other side.
Strength Segment 3: One legged deadlifts; Kathy gives the option of using weights or just body weight (she uses weights). “Penny-in-your-pocket” to the floor lunges (pretend you’re picking up a penny and putting it in your pocket), same leg, weighted or body weight—your choice. Repeat series on other leg. Kathy gives great form pointers for both the deadlifts and the penny lunges. Triceps work; Kathy uses 5-pounders, she suggests starting with 3-pounders. Leaning over double triceps extensions, single counts and pulses. In extended position, she has you squeeze the arms together. Then she combines the extension with the squeeze, and finishes off with pulse extensions—burn time! To the floor for pushups, 16 single count. Child pose stretch. Triceps pushups, hands closer to chest, another 16 count—Kathy gives options for making this section easier. Another child pose stretch. Cat stretch. Up on toes and back down for a downward dog-type stretch, walk feet in. Hang like a rag doll, bend knees, shake out, round up to standing. Clasp arms behind back to stretch chest.

I love this workout! It manages to hit everything in a little over 20 minutes (with the exception of abs, but I’m not big on ab isolation work anyway since the abs are worked by stabilization during most workouts), all with using normal movements. Due to back issues, I subbed one legged balance dips in place of the one legged deadlifts. This works the same muscle groups without compromising the lower back. Kathy is so relaxed and low key during the workout, and is constantly giving great directions and form pointers. This is basically the strength workout I’ve been looking for at this time in my life. It moves slowly enough that any size dumbbells can be used, so it can grow with you as you get stronger. It would go wonderfully with a walking program.


Kathy doesn’t wear shoes for this segment. Side to side moves for the warm up with arms naturally moving with the legs. Side to side heel digs--this has a dancy, very flowy feel to it. Tall bend and reach on tip toes and stretch. Dips with knee ups for balance. Bend and straighten leg straight out in front, point and flex foot. Repeat dips/bend leg sequence on other leg. Marching and moving to the side and tap. Reach out long with the arm and leg, gradually sinking more into the leg that you aren’t tapping with, finally lifting other leg out to the side. Increase arm lift and eventually lift up on the toes with this same movement. One leg moves in, other leg lifts out to the side with arm lifting up. Side to side move, repeat one leg in, other leg lifts out on the other side. Move side to side. Long plie series. Lots of reps, pulses, alternating heels off the floor. Then BOTH heels off the floor and balance! Shake legs and hips out. First position, up on toes, down and up—Kathy says to use a chair for balance if needed. Pelvic tucks in down position, then move hips side to side. March then alternate knee ups and repeater knees (similar to the Total Strength Workout). Leg out to the side, bring knee across, balancing on the other leg the whole time. Repeat march knee ups repeater knees leg out to the side on other leg. Double squats to the side, then lift knee up and balance after the second squat. Hold knee up, then bend and straighten leg as you lift it low, medium, high. Repeat double squat series on other leg. Cross leg behind like a curtsy lunge, pulse, bring leg up and balance, holding arms up high. Repeat cross leg balance on other leg. Stretch out leg behind in Warrior position, repeat on other side. Open up into Warrior 2 position, stretch arm overhead, come down to the floor, spinal twist, lift up to ceiling. Slide leg in, round up, shake out shoulders. Repeat Warrior 2 stretches on other leg. Shoulder rolls then chest stretch with arms clasped behind back.

I haven’t done this workout yet, but it definitely has a ballet-inspired feel to it. Kathy gives her usual great form pointers throughout, and is very upbeat during the workout. The workout obviously focuses more on the legs and lower body due to the balance emphasis. Music is slightly different from the circuit workout, but has the similar funky feel.


No shoes again for this workout. Feet shoulder width apart, inhale exhale with arms up and down. Stretch arms behind back for chest stretch. Roll down with hands on thighs and back up. Chair pose. Drop down to rag doll, round up. Arms overhead then chest stretch. Shake out like rag doll, drop down, walk out to hands and knees. Inhale, exhale, round back for cat stretch. Rib circle stretches in both directions. Opposite arm, opposite leg stretch. Arm behind head, drop elbow to opposite arm. Pick up bent leg and make leg circles in both directions. Take leg straight out to side, drop it down, shake hips side to side. Seated position, one leg bent, other leg straight, walk arms out to stretch leg. Take bent leg and move up for spinal twist. Place bent leg on straight leg, find comfortable position, and move both legs around. Butterfly stretch. Walk arms forward, bending over legs. Move body to lay down on stomach. Lift upper body up and down on arms into low cobra position. Hold in cobra position. Back down on stomach, then do alternate arm and leg lifts on both sides. Legs down, lift both arms up in cactus position, then lower down. Move back into wide leg child pose. On all fours again. Repeat opposite arm/opposite leg stretch sequence on other side up to butterfly stretch. Grab thighs, roll down, bring knees into chest, grab knees, rock side to side. Straighten one leg on floor, lift other leg straight up. Stretch leg out to side, lift up, then stretch it across body. Bend both legs, bend knee of the stretching leg over the other leg. Stretch to both sides. Repeat the straight leg stretches on other side. Bend legs and do spinal rocks. Cross legs and come up to standing. Swing arms around side to side very loosely. Bring arms to shoulder level, swinging, turning body at the waist the whole time. Swim arms back, sway side to side. Bend elbows while swimming, bring arms forward, squeeze and release hands. Bend and release arms. Repeat a few times. Bend arms into “goal” position, open and close arms. Reach up and pull down. Straight arms slightly out to side, thumbs in, thumbs out as arms rotate—good for posture. Arms up to shoulder level, palms up, pulse back. Diagonal arms side to side. Both arms up, down, and round body up. Repeat a few times. Shoulder rolls. Side to side ribs. Side, front, side, back ribs both sides. Side, front, side, back with hips both sides. Do this including more of the leg as you move the hips in the same side, front, side, back motion. Inhale up, grasp wrist, drop arm down, side stretch. Repeat on other side. Come back to center. Chest stretch with arms clasped behind back. In this position, do neck stretch to both sides. End workout with circling wrists while moving hips and raising arms—kind of like a slow belly dance move.

I haven’t done this workout. The jury is out on how my body will react to some of the leg stretches. I tend to be pretty inflexible and have to be careful how lower body stretches affect my back. Kathy gives many form pointers and modifications for stretches throughout the workout. Her amazing flexibility attests to the years of yoga she has practiced! The music for this workout is low-key jazz which is perfect for the relaxing, yet not put-to-sleep feel of the routine.

There is a lot of variety on this DVD! I plan on keeping it and trying the last two workouts. The DVD is worth it to me for the first workout alone, so the other workouts will be bonus ones if I end up liking them. I recommend this for anyone who would like shorter workouts to add to their collection, and personally highly recommend the circuit workout.

Instructor Comments:
Kathy is both relaxed and upbeat during all three workouts. She "whoos" a bit in the Total Balance Workout, but not so much that it's a major distraction. She gives good directions and form pointers throughout; however, some of her cuing is right on the change, so it may be a bit awkward transitioning the first few times through the workout. Due to the easygoing feel of the routines, Kathy is perfect to work out with in the morning. :)

Rebecca (blueskies)