DVD Divas

Jessica Smith Changed Her Life with 10-Minute Workouts

Jessica Smith

Charity reminded me yesterday that I once described Jessica Smith as "my favorite ever on camera exercise teacher." I stand by that statement. I'll tell you why: Whenever I press play on a workout DVD, I'm always (and for good reason) fearful that the the tiny instructor on my TV is going to be perky and annoying and really love box-steps and slouch socks. Jessica Smith is not perky or annoying. She's positive, good at queuing, and the exercises she tells me to do have a purpose. So I was pretty thrilled to interview her. First, because as stated, I love her. Second, because she's a normal woman who started her fitness journey on a rusty 1970s stationary bike, 40 pounds heavier than she is now, and went from there all the way to having her own Wii game. Her thoughts on getting in shape a few minutes at a time, her favorite home workouts, and info on her new website, after the jump. 

I've read that you struggled with your weight. Is that how your career in fitness started?   I got into fitness when I was about 40 pounds heavier than I am today, and my fitness journey literally started with a 10-minute workout. I was unhappy with my body, and my life at the time, and I just decided one day to make a new choice. Instead of snacking, I headed out to our back porch (in the 90+ degree Florida humidity) and rode my Dad’s old, rusty 1970s stationary bike instead. I told myself I only needed to do it for 10 minutes, and then I could stop. Eventually, I started riding it more often, building up my duration each time, and I began to feel better. That led to making better choices with my eating, and adding more activity in my life. Eventually, I joined a gym and everything sort of evolved from there! I always say that its so perfect that I now get to work with 10 Minute Solutions, because I know for a fact you truly can get fit 10 minutes at a time.

Now, I see myself as an example of a “real” person in fitness – my body fat/weight is in the more normal range, especially compared with some of my lean and developed colleagues. Even now, I still have some weight fluctuations, but it certainly helps to have a DVD shoot to motivate you even more!

Of all your DVDs, do you have a super-duper-special-favorite? Hmmm… that’s a good question! I love, love kickboxing, and my favorite program is Martial Fusion by Guillermo Gomez. I do that one a lot! I also love Stephanie Vitorino, Chris Freytag and Cathe Friedrich- they are all incredible at what they do. And no one is more motivating than Denise Austin! When she says “you can do it!” I still think, “yes I can!”

DVDs are the special love of my life, but there’s definitely a disadvantage to not having an instructor there to correct your form.  What should people keep in mind to keep from accidentally doing more harm than good to their bodies?  You are right on about this one — the advice I would offer is to pay attention to your body. Stay aware of how the movement feels. Usually, when you aren’t in proper alignment, it doesn’t feel good or right. Use all of your senses to stay safe. Visually mirror your instructor, listen carefully for their cues, and stay conscious of your body. And above all, if something is hurting in a bad way – stop! 


What is LivingInThin, and what kind of guidance can people get from your coaches?  Living in Thin is a website that I created as a resource for anyone looking to get their LIFE in shape. I believe that “dieting” and “working out” can become overwhelming at times, and that by turning your focus onto taking care of your LIFE (doing what you love, getting organized, caring for and cleaning up your home environment, etc), it can really help you maintain a much more lasting, healthy weight loss and overall lifestyle. I have seen the scale tip in both ways — some people can get almost obsessive about dieting and working out, while others neglect to think about in any way. I think both scenarios can lead to an out of balance and unhealthy state of being. Living in Thin is a way of living in harmony with who you are, which includes movement and nourishing food.