Is exercise during menopause confusing you? Why are you doing it? What have you been doing? How is that working? The right exercise during menopause requires some questions, some reflection, and some honesty.
Honestly, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing what you’ve always done. You know the end of this sentence. Most of the time the end of that sentence is, “getting the same results you’ve always gotten.” Except in this situation you don’t. Exercise during menopause either amplifies symptoms like fatigue and fat storage or those like energy and focus.
If you’re doing what has always worked for you, you’re probably not getting the same results. If you’re trying to do more of what’s not working, how well do you think that’sgoing to work? But that’s often the intuitive thing to do isn’t it?
Frustrating, I know. There’s good news. Exercise during menopause can be more enjoyable, less frustrating, and even less time consuming than you’ve ever exercised before.
You, dear woman, were a part of the early “club scene” after all. You were a part of the movement into gyms and health clubs. Sure, there were men in the weight room but you were there in that aerobics studio.
There are a lot of copycat programs created from something one trainer saw another trainer do.
A mere 39% of all sports medicine and exercise research features women. A fraction of that features women in peri-menopause, menopause, and beyond.
What worked for one woman will not work for another.
You don’t need a one-size-fits all guarantee, you need a blueprint to find the right balance for your needs.
You’re not all in. You’re testing a program, trying to learn why it won’t work. You’ll tweak it and convince yourself it doesn’t work (because a proven program tweaked doesn’t).
Here’s new research on exercise during menopause:
Studies show meals with 30 grams of high quality protein is optimal for muscle protein synthesis. Many of those studies were included in You Still Got It, Girl.
Once you assess your personal signs and symptoms that you want or need to change you can find your fitness formula.
After 50 Fitness Formula
Rest & Recovery
Weight lifting to fatigue
High Quality protein with EAA timed right
Based on status
Short low Intensity
Short interval training
Long Low intensity
Plants + Support
Are you tired? Do you get breathless easily? Do you simply suffer from fatigue such that when you wake up in the morning even with a good night you don’t feel rested?
Then you don’t pass go, collect your $200, or start exercising vigorously or frequently before you restore.
Rest and Recovery come first in this formula because we’ve been brainwashed. We’ve been told (and I’ve said it), “energy creates energy.” It does, but only if you have some in the first place. You can have a match but with no wood you’ve got no fire. “No pain, no gain” memes suggest you should just get on with no matter how bad it feels. Fitness and health pros even are showing images of their maximum lifts and recording their mileage on social media. That’s not helpful if you’re too far from that place yourself.
What you don’t see and what they often don’t share is adrenal fatigue they suffered before they figured it out. Or, potentially if you haven’t seen images of those inspiring people recently, check in on them. You too are human. Your life, your work, your worry, as well as your nutrition and exercise all determine collectively your need to do more, or do less, in order to feel better.
Step 2 & 3:
Weight lifting to fatigue combined with protein timed carefully before and or after should be thoughtfully planned for adults over 50 (when muscle protein synthesis – MPS- decreases).
Reduced MPS means you don’t utilize the protein from food you eat as well as you once did. Weight training done properly has been shown to help boost MPS.
Muscle breakdown has the potential to occur at faster rates than build up after age 25 when muscle mass naturally peaks. If you haven’t been lifting weights, and or have had a diet insufficient in high quality protein, you have some catching up to do.
Muscle mass loss is not inevitable. Slowing metabolism is not inevitable. Though hormones can get wonky for anyone, from athlete to the deconditioned they don’t discriminate, it’s possible to reprogram your GPS as soon as you get those signals you’re at a dead end.
You do need to lift weights. You’re not going to increase your lean muscle mass doing barre classes or Pilates or yoga. You may get to the point of muscle failure and you may boost your mood. If you have time, include these types of activity but if you little time, focus on your major muscles, which are in charge of metabolism first. These types of activity can be a first step, or an extra-curricula step after you’ve initiated metabolically active muscle, I’m not throwing them out. If you only have so much time however, you want to think about your biggest reward. What do you love? What will keep you motivated?
Yes you need to breath a little harder. That is harder than you do at rest. If you are in need of restore in Step 1, you do less heavy breathing, less duration. You would never write checks on an empty bank account, right? If you have tons of energy, you’re sleeping well, one or two short duration high intensity interval training sessions a week and longer lighter activity once or twice can serve you.
What doesn’t serve you is what, as a Strength and Conditioning coach, I call zone 3. That’s No Benefits Zone (NBZ). That’s where you may have been exercising your entire adult life.
That’s the heart rate check in aerobics back in the day to see if you were in your optimal heart rate training zone. I did it. I was that fitness instructor making you stop and check your pulse before Fit Bit or Garmin were on your wrist.
But guess what? More than 15 years ago I stopped doing that and stopped two dozen trainers on my staff from doing that because unless you’ve been tested we don’t know what that number should be for a group of people who just stumbled into a group fitness class because it was the right time of day for them. Predicted heart rate calculations either over or under estimate where adults should be, and most often for adults over 40 they under estimate you.
The world underestimates you.
So let’s just raise a few eyebrows and set them straight.
We have to lead the way. Get off the scale. Treat yourself as something more valuable and important than that number. Don’t let that stereotypical chronic dieter be the right image. Show them a strong woman with goals and value making waves in the world and at starting lines and bottom (and tops) of mountains.
Exercise during menopause shouldn’t be about your heart rate. It isn’t about calories. It is about hormones. How you feel doesn’t lie. You can be “in the zone” and feel terrible! You can be “in the normal range” of hormone testing according to western medicine and feel terrible.
How you feel counts far more than an arbitrary, imposed number. Do not waste time or energy trying to be in some “zone” of exercise for some quota of minutes. The game has changed.
Change your strategy and exercise during menopause becomes more enjoyable, even fun, and more rewarding and beneficial.
Join me for a LIVE Facebook this Friday at 4:30pm MST. I’m going to answer questions about exercise during (or before or long after) menopause. Post your questions below. Turn on your notifications for facebook.com/flipping50tv so you get notified when I go on live.
Welcome to Your Virtual Spa Day to Reverse Aging!
She had me at, Reverse aging naturally in one visit.
We’re taking you on a virtual visit to Santa Fe Soul Center for Optimal Health.
I’m so excited! I’ve put on my robe and slippers… hearing water trickle off the little waterfall, sipping infused water, and I am ready for a spa day with Robyn Benson.
For 26 years, Robyn Benson, Dr. of Oriental medicine has applied her knowledge of acupuncture, herbs, IV therapies, regenerative therapies and leading-edge energy medicine to help patients get out of pain and solve their most pressing health challenges. Dr. Robyn founded and built Santa Fe Soul Center for Optimal Health and pioneered the Self-Care Revolution and is the creator of Amplified Regenerative Therapies (ART).
You may remember Robyn! She’s a returning Flipping 50 guest (because she reverses aging, who doesn’t love that?!) and bestselling author of Travel With Vitality: 7 Simple Solutions to Sleeping Well, Staying Fit and Avoiding Illness.
To start our spa day Robyn is going to greet us at the door and we’re going to be enveloped in rejuvenating display of art as we go from treatment room to treatment room.
During our visit to the Sane Fe Soul Center for Optimal Health Robyn Benson Shares the intel on several treatments she offers and who and why you might want to consider them. They include:
All to benefit common concerns of:
My biggest take-away is that this is not your mother’s spa day, not even the spa day you had 10 years ago. Sure, you will come away rejuvenated and restored. But it’s a two-for-one in that you can also use a few hours to lose a few years off your face, body, and the stressors life has thrown at you.
What’s your biggest take-away?
Connect with Robyn and grab your free gift!
Start reversing aging with metabolism boosting muscle! Need help doing that safely in minutes vs. hours a day, right at home?
or if you’ve got 20 or more pounds to lose?
Then Fit-U is made for you!
Learn more about the science of exercise for better living after 50 (all of the second half!) by joining our community for special announcements, reports, and opportunities I only share via email:
Got plans to get fit this summer? It’s a perfect time to do it! More hours of sunlight and easy, breezy ways to move without tons of layers and mittens may inspire you. But then there’s the Moscow Mules and campfires, the wedding cakes, and long brunches. You can get fit without sabotaging yourself this summer with this simple 10 ways to get fit (and avoid sabotage).
Protein + fiber kill cravings. Fact. So include them both at every meal. In fact, if you missed my podcast with Dr. Gabrielle Lyons click here. You need more than most women are getting. The first place to look is breakfast. Don’t skip and don’t have that orange juice! Listen here.
Special listener-only protein special will help you stock up with a clean protein free of ingredients (in many protein shakes) that actually make you store fat easier. Use: propod for 10% off your first order
If you tend to binge on the “baked chips” the “bean chips” or the frozen coconut dessert pints, or popcorn that readily turns to sugar and stores itself on your thighs…don’t bring them into the house.
If you bring them in you intend to eat them.
Who needs it? Doesn’t it cost more to eat it and zap you of energy than it does to discard? If you’re really committed to get fit this summer they have to go.
Cook once and eat many times. Grill 2 pounds of chicken breasts instead of one. Make a one-pot meal in the oven while you’re in the kitchen anyway and then freeze it all.
That said, don’t let yourself get bored or stale. To apply these 10 ways to get fit this summer you’re going to need variety!
Include your freezer made-ahead- meals or consider a roasted chicken from the store occasionally.
I love frozen cooked shrimp. Thaw in minutes for a cold shrimp salad, grill or stir-fry in 5 more minutes.
Pull out the beans, pre-cooked quinoa, and combine with your made-ahead taco meat or make an omelet occasionally.
Most of us are terrible at following through with rewards for ourselves so it’s no wonder we’re terrible at following through! This is a self-worth thing. Deal with it.
Invest with your time, money, and energy. Otherwise it will not happen. All three are required.
The last of these 10 ways to get fit this summer is about accountability. Tell a friend. Better yet, get an acquaintance! Someone you know but barely know is a better accountability partner than someone who will love you even if you screw up! Make sure your buddy is dependent on you as well as you on her.
Coming up next this week (Thursday) on the podcast it’s a special virtual Spa Day with Robyn Benson where she’s sharing the short and long -term benefits of the vampire facial, and explaining the O-shot, P-shot and other feel-younger practices you don’t want to miss!
New cellulite solutions exist that are based on the same principles that bring good health. It’s just all about how you sequence them. This episode is all about assessing what’s going on and getting motivated by solving the root cause of fatigue and creating a plan that integrates it all.
Today’s question comes from Katie who writes,“ I’ve always exercised and tried to eat as healthy as possible. I’ve never had a weight problem but over the last 5 years I’ve been losing my motivation. I’ve put on 10 lbs. and I’m noticing loose skin and cellulite getting worse every year.
I’m plain tired a lot. I take yoga and Pilates class once a week and try to get my walks in. I know I’ve got to get more cardio and weights. I feel like I’m having a hard time getting a plan into action.
The loose skin in triceps area and cellulite are really bugging me – it’s even on my arms. I need some motivation and energy.”
I’ve got new cellulite solutions for Katie, but first we assess signs and symptoms that leave clues about what’s under the weight gain and the lack of motivation. Katie’s flipping scorecard looks like this:
My quick recommendations for Katie include:
When lifting weights, always do a full body routine. You want to reach fatigue. Follow this sequence:
You’re doing them anyway but sequence matters. Learn more in Muscles in Minutes.
New cellulite solutions for Katies include 8 weeks of strength training 3x a week using a sequence that specifically targets areas where you’ve got cellulite. Here’s a leg series:
1. Cardio Warm up: kicks, ham curls, knee lifts
3.Roll the muscles
4.Stretch the muscles
While you’re changing your exercise you want to make a few changes in the kitchen.
A few simple tricks can buff your diet so you’ve got the right fuel going in -to beat fatigue- and to help with new cellulite solutions you’re adding to your exercise.
Fatigue can squelch motivation. Resolving the cause of fatigue is the first step. Then knowing that the steps you take are linked to the outcome you want is key. It’s hard to be motivated if you don’t have confidence in the plan.
Commit to a small step that makes you feel successful as you go toward bigger goals. When you see and feel progress, motivation increases.
Join the Flipping 50 CAFÉ and get the inside scoop on recent cellulite research Commit to the days and times you’re going to do what serves your goals. Then report! Once a week we’ll check in on how you’re doing! First 10 Flipping 50 TV viewers will also get The Bone Health mini course free too! Just check out and then send me your receipt.
May 27 and 28!! Order your protein shakes (all three varieties and 2 flavors!) to stock up on protein for more tone, firm, Flipping 50 this summer!
PROMO Code: memday18
This post is full of osteoarthritis exercise tips and is sponsored by the good folks at Sleep Number. As always, all thoughts are my own.
May is Arthritis Awareness month, but osteoarthritis affects millions of adults every day. If you’re one of them, the very things recommended to reduce arthritis pain may feel impossible. But take heart! These osteoarthritis exercise tips can help.
Three things are imperative to improve your life with arthritis: sleep, nutrition, and exercise. Some simple changes can make a big difference in how you feel.
Before you dive into exercises at the gym, your heavy lifting should be done in the kitchen. There are many foods that can cause inflammation, but there are also delicious ways to reduce your inflammation at every meal! Here’s a quick tip list to reduce foods that turn inflammation on and increase those that turn if off.
Foods that turn inflammation on:
Foods that turn inflammation off:
There are many reasons to make sleep a priority if you live with arthritis.
If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, there are a handful of tips and tricks that can help. Even small amounts of physical activity enhance sleep quality. As your sleep improves, you can increase the exercise you do as you gain strength and endurance, all while recovering during REM sleep to recharge, repair and refresh your body. Exercise will positively influence your life with arthritis. If your sleep is not leaving you rested, start with small increases in activity and make sleep, not the exercise, your priority. Once you’re feeling more rested, and in potentially less pain, you can shift your focus to more movement.
By exercising in a way that helps you sleep better, you’ll make better health decisions all day.
Sleep on It
Having a mattress that fully supports and continually adjusts to you makes all the difference in the world. Sleep Number has designed a mattress that contours to your neck, shoulders, back and hips – all the hot spots for joint pain. The result is proper spinal alignment and a body that feels good in the morning. If you have never laid on a Sleep Number bed, you seriously need to visit a store!
I take my sleep seriously. I went a step beyond a great mattress by adding temperature control with a DualTemp layer. I can make my bed 35% warmer or cooler any time I want. Cold winter nights don’t leave me stiff , and warm (inflamed joints, or hormones!, etc.) don’t keep me from getting a good night’s rest. When you wake up refreshed, you’ll feel more ready for exercise. So where do you start?
These exercises are easy on joints and a perfect place to begin:
Vary any activity you do. If you swim, for instance, mix up the types of strokes you use. This reduces the amount of repetitive stress to the joints involved in activity. If you usually walk try biking or an elliptical on alternate days. Pilates provides an excellent example of doing a variety of exercises. In most instances, no one exercise is done more than 10 repetitions.
Weight Training Tips
Weight training strengthens the muscles surrounding joints and removes stress from the joint itself. The guidelines for you are different than for those who don’t have joint pain, however.
Follow these suggestions:
Follow these osteoarthritis exercise tips and progress slowly and safely. You’ll feel, and sleep, better.
Do you know now much is enough? While most adults know protein is important a large percent polled randomly while grocery shopping don’t know if they’re getting enough protein.
We’re diving into high quality protein needs for flipping 50 on this episode. So whether you’re a vegan or love meat, whether you’re struggling to see tone and lose fat, or you want to avoid becoming frail as you age (or help parents do the same), this episode is for you.
~Dr. Gabrielle Lyon
Flipping 50 guest, Dr. Gabrielle Lyon is a functional medicine physician specializing in Muscle-Centric Medicine. She leverages evidence-based medicine with emerging cutting-edge science to restore metabolism, balance hormones, and optimize body composition.
Questions about quality protein we answered in this episode:
“When you’re younger your body is driven by hormones. When you’re older you’re driven by protein.”
~Dr. Gabrielle Lyon
Quality Protein Need Facts we review/myths we bust:
You’ll hear Dr. Gabrielle’s every-woman comment about the deeper value of muscle, protein, strength training, and inner strength:
Connect with Dr. Grabrielle Lyon here:
Follow her on Instagram!
Exclusive for Flipping 50 Podcast listeners!!
Exclusive Podcast Listener’s Promo Code: Propod
Boost Your Metabolism: Shop Now
Take 10% off your first order of protein (Your Whey*, or Paleo Power, or Plant Power)
*the most concentrated source of Essential Amino Acids
For the best results, pair your high quality protein with strength training twice a week.
Need help with strength training that increases muscle without injury or hours?
Osteoarthritis can be a painful limiter to the activities you love. It can even prevent you from doing some of the exercises that will reduce pain. There are exercises that are beneficial without causing pain or discomfort, however, along with dietary changes that can also reduce inflammation.
Today’s question comes from 61-year old Cheryl, who writes,
“My biggest challenge is how to stay motivated and fit while dealing with osteoarthritis.”
She’s tried water aerobics and doesn’t love it or the instructor. She’d rather float on top of the water instead of be in it. She’s got issues with her wrists, her feet, and the arthritis is advancing into her spine. Her main concern is inflammation and how to stop it.
Cheryl’s wise about the need to reduce inflammation so that her osteoarthritis is less an issue. Whether you like Cheryl have osteoarthritis, or you’re simply concerned about living as actively as possible in this second half of life, this episode is for you!
In this episode I focused on how to exercise with osteoporosis and still be inclusive of your other flipping 50 goals. Truly, Hot, Not Bothered (by joints in this case)!
In this episode’s Minute Made Meals I shared how to reduce inflammation so you can feel better exercising. Several nutrients are important and some ingredients in foods can make inflammation worse.
Muscles in Minutes
Do a simple weight training sequence (with 15 up to 20 repetitions) and stop short of fatigue. In other words, you want to feel you could have done a few more. This is unique to exercise with osteoarthritis. Where ordinarily with healthy joints you do want to reach fatigue, to give joints TLC and still strengthen the muscles surrounding them, walk away feeling like you could have done more.
Water, even though Cheryl isn’t crazy about it, deep water with a belt or shallow between navel and nipple depth walking is wonderful for removing the effects of gravity and allowing full range of motion with some resistance from the water.
You don’t need an instructor, you just need to locate a warm water pool and determine what depth of water you have access to. You may find you start loving the water if it leaves you feeling better.
Get your best rest to help reduce inflammation too! Pain causes fatigue. A few simple tricks can help. Soak in Epsom salt baths. Relax muscles that may become tense when joints with osteoarthritis are causing pain and you compensate. If you struggle with your sleep, the magnesium may help. You’ll absorb what you need across your skin.
Have you got a great mattress? Get one! My Sleep Number is a lifesaver.
Flipping 50 TV Episode 9 offers even more insight for on how to reduce inflammation so you can move and exercise with osteoarthritis more comfortably. You’ll find a score card in that show to see how you’re doing daily with habits that influence your inflammation.
I’ve got two ways for you to give TLC to your joints. Start strengthening muscles around joints. The Whole Flip 4-DVD set comes with a DVD dedicated entirely to supporting range of motion, and strengthening muscles surrounding joints to reduce stress on the joints. You’ll find support for the upper back, neck, as well as knees, hips and more. The cardio is all joint friendly. If you love and prefer DVDs this is for you!
Then this! It’s my new Knee-Friendly 5-Day Flip is coming soon. Get the first cardio video right away and give it a try! You can move – in a way that meets your goals – without pain of high impact exercise. Thank you for watching this Flipping 50 TV episode! Spread the word about the possibilities and what we CAN do to PRO-actively age.
Send me your question (this is the only way we can review and accept submissions for a future episode)! Flipping50tv.com
Two more episodes about joint health you might like:
Are you a Flipping 50 insider? Every new episode brings specials and opportunities I only share on email. Join us here!
Fitness myths have been abundant since fitness was a “thing.” For women in midlife dealing with hormone changes, some possible joint issues or conditions, and old thoughts and beliefs, they can really be the obstacle between feeling lousy and feeling amazing!
I bust 5 of the most common fitness myths – that are of concern for women flipping 50 in this episode.
Twice a week is wise and three times a week for adults over 50 can be both over and under kill.
Here’s a perfect example you may be relate to: I’ve trained fitness clients for 34 years. I began training and teaching on a college campus in what we call the Exercise Clinic that serves faculty, staff, and community members on the University campus. Sixty percent of those participants were over 50 and many of the others were heading that direction in the near future. When I began 3 sets of 10 was enough.
What hasn’t changed is many older adults were students like me who learned this, kept teaching it and training their clients this way… and we’ve not
Hormone balance may dictate that working with your hormones – exercising high intensity early and doing calming exercise later in the day supports you best.
If you’re waking feeling hungover- without having had the fun… trying to exercise – or spending time feeling guilty about not exercise – can sabotage you. Exercise lightly and for short stints outdoors if possible. Restore and recharge your batteries before you can get stronger.
The weight you have been struggling may fall off you when you put down some stress and truly rest.
Reach a point of maintenance with the weight but then other variables have to change.
Fitness myths sometimes cause a progam-hopping syndrome. You look for the next.best program for you now. It’s hard to have progression when you do that frequently. You make lateral moves but don’t climb up to the next step.
“High protein diets are for body builders and are hard on kidneys.”
Protein increase is not “high protein” it’s simply higher than you’ve been taking in. Your need for protein changes. You don’t synthesize protein as well as you did 20 and 10 years ago. You can overcome that. By changing the amount, the type, and the timing of protein.
You’re not doomed unless you keep doing what worked when you were 20 or 30. When your metabolism and body composition were governed more by hormones. Now that they’re (hormones) not doing the same kind of job has moved into the metabolism control spotlight.
Among the fitness myths that hold older adults back this nutrition-related myth is a big one. Protein is the building block of muscle. Essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein. There’s no research showing risk to kidneys in healthy adults and in fact as an upcoming podcast reveals it can improve kidney function.
Timing after exercise matters. Wait at least 60 and have a high protein meal within 60-120 minutes. Bump to 30 grams per three meals on a daily basis. The quality of that protein matters. I’ll link to an upcoming podcast here with Dr. Gabrielle Lyon where we talk about quality and essential amino acid.
20-30 gram range is not intuitive. You need more if you are sedentary and less if you are active.
In regards to recovery from exercise for older adults, or for slow-gainers who can’t get toned no matter what they’re doing, even more protein – 35-40 grams post exercise has been shown to boost lean muscle repair so that 70-year old men had results comparable to what happens in 20 year olds.
The myth in this statement is the More exercise = more weight loss.
If you spike cortisol and flirt with adrenal fatigue, whether with long endurance exercise, high intensity exercise too frequently or both your efforts will backfire. In fact, you may gain weight and belly fat. Less exercise, like restorative yoga, or walking can actually help you drop weight.
I get 5 emails or Flipping 50 TV applications a week from women who share a statement like this almost verbatim. What they don’t realize – or you don’t if you’re saying this – is exactly why you’re not losing weight. You’re causing the problem. It’s quite unintuitive but this is one of the most common fitness myths.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this podcast on fitness myths. Got others you’ve heard? Share them with me and I’ll address them in an upcoming episode.
It’s Arthritis awareness month and we’re releasing the Knee-Friendly 5 Day Flip this month! Our subscribers are the first to get access and notifications.
Join Us Here: Flippingfifty.com/active-aging-secrets
=>Contest going on right now with Nutribulletand we want to show off your inspiring pictures!
Exercise is all about what happens outside the gym… not about getting better at exercise.
We want to see your pictures…of cartwheels on the beach, ziplining in Costa Rica, running hometown races, standing on a podium…Or swinging a golf club or grandchildren!
Need help with Hormones and Testing so you can get your exercise right?
Join us for a special Flipping 50 webinar with Dr Alan Hopkins, anti-aging expert (I’ve yet to tell him we’re PRO aging!)
Thank you for your rating in iTunes!
What is a Keto diet? I’m so glad you found Flipping 50 TV! This is the opening episode for season III! Share your comments with me and share the episode with friends!
In this episode I answer 61-year-old Catherine’s question, “How do nutrition requirements differ when training for an endurance event?”
Specifically, Catherine has been following a Keto diet.
A Keto diet is also called low carb, high fat – about 60-80% of calories from fat
About 10% of calories come from carbs, 20% from protein, and the remainder from fat. From person to person carb intakes vary- or should – so Catherine’s carb intake while training for triathlon will need to be higher than someone less active.
She’ll want to be sure to keep the carbs around her training times- pre, during, and post. Otherwise her diet can remain relatively the same, if she has already shifted her diet and low intensity training for a period of time that allowed her body to use fat at higher intensities.
Proper hydration and mineral balance – for anyone, an athlete at high heat and humidity this is a definite concern.
Side effects of a Keto diet can include constipation, fatigue, and frequent urination,
Weight loss is nearly immediate because you will shed water weight when you don’t eat carbs: for every 1-part carb you eat, you store about 3-parts water. As soon as you limit carbs you begin to shed that water.
If you teach your body to shift- (gradually) to a fat burning at higher levels of intensity common digestive issues and the need to fuel during exercise are reduced.
The body prefers carbs or the glycogen stored in your muscles from carbs during exercise. That said, shifting can be uncomfortable and a slow process, but it can be done. At low levels of activity you use fat. Right now… at rest, you’re burning nearly 100% fat for fuel. The harder you exercise the more the body naturally uses glycogen first.
When we feed the body regularly there’s no reason for it to burn fat. Those 5-6 small meals a day? If you want to lose fat, they’re getting in the way. There’s zero evidence that those mini meals – or grazing and snacking – burn more fat. There is plenty of evidence that shows frequent eating increases fat storage and halts fat burning.
How many more people stop at fast food restaurants when drive-through was installed? They didn’t want to take time or make the effort to go in… but as soon as it was easy to drive through or get delivery fast food sales tripled. It’s the same for your body.
If you’re exercise progressively increases the biggest change is to pre-during-and post exercise needs. During the 24 hours following significantly hard or long workouts an increase in protein can help repair muscles.
My recommendations for exercise and nutrition … for women who are eating a balanced diet but want to lose fat or optimize their lean:
Triathlon and hiking don’t have the same kind of fuel needs. You’re going to be exercising at much higher overall intensity to complete a triathlon. Fuel appropriately.
The more restrictive a diet is the more micronutrients through food alone are restricted. A well-formulated supplement regimen can be imperative for preventing long term depletion, adrenal fatigue, or disease.
Catherine is currently doing a daily multivitamin for over 50, calcium supplement with D, and collagen. She may want to upgrade to a multivitamin with non-compete technology at a minimum for any active woman. Catherine’s additional needs are based on her daily micronutrient “depleters.”
Exercise depletes micronutrients:
A, B, C E, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, zinc, alpha-lipoic acid, CoQ10
A Keto diet depletes micronutrients: B vitamins, calcium, magnesium
Stress depletes micronutrients: A, B vitamins, calcium, selenium, zinc, iron, magnesium, omega 3 and a few others
*This is just a partial list of micronutrients depleted to illustrate the common denominators.
Frequent training at high levels, or for long duration, both increase cortisol. Low level over 75 minutes or high intensity 45-60 minutes, begin to increase cortisol in a negative way. Overall stress reduction is really important for a midlife or older woman training for endurance events.
If retirement finds Catherine able to train with low stress elsewhere in her life, with time not training spent resting and she’s able to meet increased sleep needs she’ll experience less stress than someone working and training so that’s on her side.
Catherine reports signs of fatigue. That’s common for someone doing an endurance event. It’s tricky to balance training progression, rest & recovery, and listen to your body. As a coach, I always want someone undertrained vs. overtrained. When in doubt, rest. Fatigue could be insufficient nutrients and or hormone imbalance.
Goals, Micronutrients, and Meals
Catherine’s goals are to reduce inflammation and time nutrition so that she has plenty of energy during training and race day. She wants to recover quickly from each workout so she’s ready for the next. Long term she would want to focus on maintaining lean muscle and bone density.
Based on the earlier assessment Catherine might want to consider how to bump the following micronutrients:
Nutrition timing post exercise for most older adults should be 60 to 120 minutes. For Catherine’s increased frequency and intensity of training her post-exercise smoothie or high protein meal can come sooner.
She needs 20-35 grams of protein to prevent muscle loss, moderate carbs, and fat for replenishing and antioxidants & antioxidants to reduce inflammation. Research shows older adults can benefit from exercise comparably to younger subjects if they have almost double the protein (40 gm compared to 20).
My favorite recovery smoothie is packed with all of the above. Every ingredient has anti-inflammatory properties.
Regularly check in with your level of fatigue. If training leaves you wanting to rest and recovery the rest of the day or sleep changes such that you don’t want to get up, or can’t stay asleep: these are signs of over training in someone who normally sleeps well and wakes rested. Get all my favorite (and Flipping 50 community favorite) smoothie recipes PLUS the guide to extra superfood additions.
Above all whether you’re exercising or training for an event you want to avoid adrenal fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a risk if following a training program too rigidly. Listen to your body’s need for more rest between sessions and or reduce the volume and increase intensity of specific workouts.
Training for endurance events in a traditional way – with significant volume – as an older adult, along with altering nutrition – is a lot of change, potentially a lot of stress on your body, at once.
During my most recent Ironman training I wrote my own program that allowed me to keep cortisol to a minimum, and maintain body density and muscle mass, as well as balance hormones through six months of progressive training. Here’s a link to my schedule.
Make sure you keep up with some strength training both for injury prevention and bone loss from increased biking and swimming. They’re both great for muscles and health but remove the bone benefits of weight bearing activity.
Track how well you recover. This will tell you how well your nutrition is meeting your needs. Slow recovery signs include constant soreness, or fatigue, or reduced capacity to exercise without feeling increasing difficulty.
Take a simple resting heart rate each morning while you’re still lying in bed. Monitor what happens after long training days, rest days, and moderate days. A heart rate elevated by 5 beats over your normal for more than a few days is in indication you need to back off training and have a big recovery week.
You can also monitor heart rate variability, in other words, measure between heart-beats.
Say you have a resting heart rate of 60 bpm. You might think the time between each beat is a second, but it’s not. In fact, the more variability you have between heartbeats the better. It could be .8, 1.2 seconds and so on. The more predictable your heart rate variability the more you will do best with a recovery day instead of a training day.
It requires a special monitor and app. Both are taken first thing in the morning. Start with resting heart rate.
Another simple option is to track your sleep number, or your Sleep IQ, like I do with my Sleep Number bed. I prefer it to a wearable device. Resting heart rate, heart rate variability, and your Sleep IQ help you target your rest and training both. The first step is listening to fatigue, but if it’s daily and it’s cumulative it’s a good idea to start looking at a better balance between rest and training.
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If you’re a woman who is approaching 50 or who’s turned the corner on 50 and you want to have more energy and vitality during your second half this is the place for you to be. Exercise that builds you up, provides the opportunity for more muscle and reduces fat provides your best now and your best later.
If you’ve been serving so many others, working constantly, and it’s time to take care of you, whether you’re starting or restarting, the way you used to exercise or once learned how, isn’t going to work for you now. Hormones have changed the rules. Where they once managed your metabolism easily, now as hormones change or after they’ve changed you have to depend on changing your type and timing of exercise, and the habits you have that support it. You can boost your metabolism at any age if you follow the right path.
You can look and feel as good or better than you did in your 30’s as long as you don’t exercise like you did in your 30’s.
Just a small peek of what’s coming in the next few episodes!
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