STRONGER THAN EVER AT AGE 70
Kathy Smith isn’t just the face of fitness, she’s the spark of a million lifestyle transformations through fitness and dance—and she continues to spread her “Stay Strong, Stay Young” mantra.
Captivating audiences worldwide for more than 30 years isn’t just a highlight of Kathy Smith’s career, it’s a responsibility she has to all her fans and anyone looking for help to live a healthier, fitter life. With over a million followers with podcasts, members, newsletters and social media, Kathy Smith’s fan base keeps growing!
Kathy’s journey began with tragedy forcing her to find strength in fitness after the death of her parents. She quickly became the face of fitness for the stay-at-home mom and fitness enthusiast, landing on the cover of books and magazines and frequently being invited onto national television, all while running her own empire—and with her 70th birthday coming this year, she’s showing no signs of slowing down!
In fact, she’s fitter than most people half her age and she’s constantly helping others reach their goals in their 40's, 50's, 60's and beyond.
When she moved to Los Angeles 35 years ago, she knew she had this passion for exercise but was still figuring out what to do with it. She said she’d heard about one exercise studio. “I started teaching, people started showing up for classes and it grew from there! We were doing combos with jumping jacks and knee kicks and twisties. And there were both men and women in the class,” said Smith.
“The real turning point in my career was when a woman named Toni Proferra approached me after one of my classes and suggested we make an exercise album. Now remember, this is pre-VHS – so it was actually an LP album that you’d listen to on your record player, with a poster of me demonstrating the moves so you could follow along,” Smith continued. “The album was a big success, so as soon as VHS came around, I started creating exercise videos. I shot my first 5 workouts in Minneapolis. I eventually shot over 100 video workouts.”
Throughout the decades, fitness has continually evolved! It started with workouts from the ‘80s that launched her career as well as the fitness revolution. She started with high impact, low impact, leg warmers and leotards. Each decade she created new workout videos with different styles of movement… from step to functional fitness. From pilates to yoga, from walking to barre. By the time the 2000’s rolled around, Smith was focused on strength training, HIIT training, and matrix workouts.
In the past decade, the industry has been harnessing technology to help boost performance. That’s why she is excited about B Strong Blood Flow Restriction Training.
“As I look back at the past 40 years, not only have fitness trends kept changing, but technology has continued evolving from LPs to VHS to DVDs to apps to livestream workouts. Being able to adapt has been an exciting part of my career. I now work with thousands of people through our kathysmith.com, and all of our social media platforms, with Fitness Over 40, 50, 60 and Beyond, through books like my New Cook Book One Meal At A Time, through my podcast The Art of Living, and in many special events. Just like your body has to keep evolving with age, so does the way in which you reach people to enhance health and fitness - just keep on moving!”
Benefits of BFR Training
The benefits of BFR training lead to better health and wellness for the entire population – young and old alike. It can be done anywhere, anytime, regardless of your starting fitness level and remarkable improvement is possible.
B STRONG Training Systems is the safest BFR technology on the market. B STRONG bands are designed for safety. Their patented air-baffle inflating design ensures the bands cannot occlude blood flow. Without this unique design/safety feature, restricting blood flow can be an extremely dangerous. The B Strong Training System is the only BFR tool designed by an Olympic physician and MD with expertise in the cardiovascular and circulatory systems, and decades of experience in athlete and overall human performance. The B Strong Training System was designed to be safe for everyone from age 8 to 103 and all fitness levels to improve overall health and performance.
Gain all the benefits of traditional training without incurring the damage. Get stronger, leaner, improve performance, recover faster. The B STRONG Training System uses a safe, natural and physiological manipulation of your body’s circulatory system to produce quick and significant gains in strength and fitness! In other words, your brain is tricked into thinking you are working hard, lifting extremely heavy weights in response to the restricted blood flow to the banded muscle. Your brain turns on a cascade hormonal response to support the “overworked” muscle initiating muscle hypertrophy (growth) without ever actually overworking the muscle. And the benefits are systemic – not just the banded muscle is impacted, with B Strong Training the entire body and all working muscles benefit. You gain all the benefits, leaner stronger muscle growth without ever actually tearing or over straining the working muscle. The benefits are immediate and measurable, in half the time of traditional workouts.
After years of studying BFR devices in use in throughout Asia in the 1990’s, Dr. Stray-Gundersen defined the mechanism and physiological response that elicits the immediate benefits of BFR training, and developed and patented the B STRONG Training System to simplify BFR Training for all. The initial devices used in Asia cost thousands of dollars, were cumbersome and were not safe to use without trained supervision.The devices did not allow for unimpeded activity, as you were tethered to a pressure device. Recently, the availability of BFR tourniquets, elastic wraps and cuffs common in the bodybuilding world and available inexpensively online, are extremely dangerous and can cause permanent damage to muscle and tendons (and much worse) and should not be used. The B Strong Training System was specifically designed to bring an affordable, safe and easy to use BFR device to market for all to use for measurable improvements to overall health and fitness levels.
THE SECRET IS OUT!
For years, this training modality was only made available to Olympic Athletes and the few NFL, MLS, MBA and select collegiate teams for whom Dr. Stray-Gundersen consulted. The secret is out, and our science-based training platforms and sport-specific protocols offer organizations at the elite level the opportunity to enhance performance beyond each athlete's PR. Dr. Stray-Gundersen has developed the system so Strength & Conditioning Coaches can assign players to use BFR Training on an individual or team basis, and know their program is being followed whether athletes are on the road or at their home facility. B STRONG training enhances normal training programs, simply incorporate the B STRONG training system during weight training, running, skills/drills training or as an adjunct to any training program. Consistent BFR Training equals measurable strength, power, velocity improvements with endurance as a measurable bonus.
Leaner, Faster, Stronger
Fitness Icon, Kathy Smith, shares why training with Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) is giving her an advantage.
Why BFR Training works
The benefits of proper B STRONG training cannot be over emphasized. B STRONG BFR training is an exercise technique that safely manipulates the body's circulatory system, and when combined with exercise, produces rapid gains in strength and fitness using light loads in a very short period of time. Its use triggers a natural hormonal response in the body generating Human Growth Hormone (HGH) which has been noted to produce an anti-aging effect, and contribute to the building of stronger bones, increase lean muscle mass, and reduce body fat. The efficiency of BFR Training creates a paradigm shift in fitness! Now, weight training with half the weights in half the time can illicit remarkable whole body results.
How BFR Training works
What you commonly hear referred to as “No Pain/No Gain” refers to the traditional weight training model — ultimately tearing muscle to build new muscle and increase strength.
What that means
For an individual to achieve muscle fatigue from a traditional training session, he/she would have to lift heavy weights or push oneself for a long period of time to illicit the growth hormonal response needed to make strength gains or overall improvement.
When following B STRONG banded protocols, lifting lighter weights ‘tricks’ the muscle to fatigue, the athlete (young or old/fit or unfit) gets the desired physiologic response quickly without having to break down and tear muscle, inducing Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to all tissues and working muscles of the body. This strong yet non-damaging muscle fatigue triggers a natural, robust, hormonal cascade which in turn produces hypertrophy and strength gains on par with traditional weightlifting. The hormones circulating in the blood stream benefit all areas of the body that were working not only the banded limbs, which we refer to as the "systemic effect." B STRONG Training is not limited to weight-bearing exercises.
B STRONG bands can be used in any* training or fitness protocol including walking, running, cycling, swimming sport-specific skills/drills training and most fitness classes where heavy weights are not involved.
GET FIT AND READY FOR YOUR NEXT 50 YEARS
Baby Boomers need to get and stay in shape to live a successful and high-quality life, their next 50 years. But millions aren’t ready physically for longer life expectancy, which today can reach over 100 years.
Now Boomers can train with the same method used by Olympic athletes in a safe, effective and inexpensive way. They can gain muscle and strength using gentle movements, light weights and no excessive exercise.
Sounds too good to be true — but it works. It is called Blood Flow Restriction Training or BFR, and it will change the way we think of, and benefit from, exercise at any age.
Olympic physician and sports science researcher, Dr. Jim Stray-Gundersen has been at the forefront of this revolutionary modality of exercise in the US and Europe based on the techniques he has developed working with Olympians.
“Over my 30-year career in working to maximize human performance at all levels of fitness, I have not come across anything as impactful in improving strength, power, lean body mass, and overall fitness, than BFR,” says Dr. Stray-Gundersen.
As a result, Stray-Gundersen partnered with a Stanford Engineer, Sean Whalen in launching a patented product for the consumer called B Strong Blood Flow Restriction Training.
“B Strong BFR will blow your mind,” says Fitness Icon Kathy Smith now 68 years old. “I started using B Strong BFR about two years ago under the direction of Dr. Stray-Gundersen, and the results to my overall fitness and lean body mass have been so astounding. I am stronger, leaner, and more explosive! I know other boomers will love it!”
Blood Flow Restriction Training has been gaining popularity with an increasing amount of attention in the last 5-12 years in the US. However, work has focused on rehabilitation from musculo-skeletal injuries and improvement in strength and fitness for Olympic and Professional athletes. Most recognize that regular exercise and good nutritional practices are the “prescriptions” for health and fitness. We can take the lessons from Olympians and incorporate them into our busy lives. We know that regular exercise mitigates the effects of many chronic diseases, but to do so, requires “doses” of exercise that many find impossible to do on a regular basis. With every population, there are a million reasons why we don’t incorporate regular exercise into our busy lives.
BFR Training is well suited to providing “doable,” safe and effective, robust exercise in a short period of time (15 to 20 minutes), anywhere, anytime for all age groups. Regular BFR Training is the solution for many of the chronic health problems as we age.
Dr. Jim Stray-Gundersen calls BFR “anti-aging” medicine. B Strong uses a unique method of blood flow restriction (BFR) that improves blood flow, strengthens muscles and helps injuries heal more quickly -- without the strain and risk of traditional training like lifting heavy weights.
Olympic athletes like Bode Miller, America’s most-successful male Alpine skier, Ted Ligety, five-time World Champion Giant Slalom skier, Mikaela Shiffrin, Olympic Gold Medalist, and Sarah Hendrickson, winner of the first women’s World Cup in ski jumping, use B Strong BFR on a daily basis.
“It’s effective, there’s no doubt about it,” says Luke Bodensteiner, former executive vice president of athletics for USSA, which oversees 14 winter Olympic sports including Alpine skiing, ice skating, snow boarding and cross-country skiing.
SIMPLE BFR MOVES THAT REALLY WORK!
Try these two simple moves to see and feel results using B Strong bands. Then read about the creator of this innovative system that proves to work for anyone at any fitness level and age.
From a standing position (1), move right to a lateral lunge (2), maintaining proper position push off right leg to a balance position (3). 7 to 10 Reps each side for a total of 3 Sets
SQUAT TO CURTSY SQUAT
From a wide leg "duck foot" position stance arm over head holding light weights (1), slowly drop to a wide leg squat maintaining proper form (2) hold for a count of one, press up returning to standing position (1), shift weight to your right while placing your left leg behind the right leg in a curtsy position for a count of one (3), slowly return to a standing position (1). Repeat 7 to 10 times each side for 3 sets.
Follow Kathy Smith on Instagram and Facebook for additional workouts, recipes, and motivation.
Dr. Stray-Gundersen has been the pioneer of the application and mechanism of the use of blood flow restriction training in the US and Europe. Board Certified in General Surgery, Stray-Gundersen's background is both academic and athletic. His past “day job” has been as research faculty in Cardiology and Orthopedics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas. He has also worked for 35+ years in Olympic and Professional Sports, focusing on winter and summer endurance sports including a 30 year relationship with track and field, NIKE Oregon Project, and as physician, physiologist and nutritionist for United States, Norwegian, German and Canadian National teams in the sports of track and field, cycling, swimming, all types of skiing, speed skating, and biathlon, as well as work with NASA and Navy Seals.
Stray-Gundersen has served on international medical committees that include the International Olympic Committee, FIFA, International Biathlon Committee, International Ski Federation and the International Skating Union. Jim currently serves as the sports science advisor for the US Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA), and is the founder of the SG Performance Medicine Center in Park City, Utah.
His current focus is understanding and application of Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) Training and has developed the customer and physical therapist BFR Training system called B Strong.
"B Strong BFR is a paradigm shift in fitness training. It is a game changer when it comes to maximizing exercise for all fitness levels for strength, fitness, recovery. I have used it on my Olympians with tremendous success. We wanted everyone to enjoy the benefits so we created a product for the consumer to use at home, in a safe and effective way. Whether you walk, jog, ride a bike, or do body building, B Strong can augment your daily routine."
- DR. JIM STRAY-GUNDERSEN