Hormone balancing exercise is not just “any” exercise. Nor is it any time of day. Your specific signs and symptoms dictate the right exercise prescription. You, however, are not sick. But the signs in this case are… inability to lose weight, exhaustion when you wake, inability to sleep, belly fat, signs of cellulite and water retention. That’s not an all-inclusive list, by the way.

Those signs tell me as a hormone balancing fitness expert how to help you. Your current exercise program can use tweaking and I know how to do it if I know how you’re feeling.

What else might be helpful to know before we start if we’re working together or you’re in a group program?

Because, this needs to be said:

It can help or hurt. Exercise can definitely help your hormone balance. If you make changes in a routine that’s not working.

We female humans have a tendency to do more of what’s already not working.

Guilty?

Me too. Because I LIKE exercise. We who do often need the most support!

Here’s the truth though… trainers notoriously will TELL you to do that. (work harder, do another workout between our sessions, etc) It’s a bit of an ego hit for a trainer when clients aren’t getting results. Even they (who are not tuned into to Hormone Balancing Fitness programming) will tell you… work harder, do another class a week, get in more activity, eat less, etc. All things that could cause further hormone imbalance, which is likely the obstacle between you and better results.

General Midlife Exercise to Help Your Hormone Balance

Weight training with adequate intensity for short duration boosts testosterone, growth hormone, and optimizes cortisol

Sprint intervals and HIIT (Sprint Intervals are edging out HIIT) for short duration and done safely to avoid injury boost testosterone and optimize cortisol levels

But you’ve got to KNOW.

You can’t guess. If you’ve been dealing with fatigue, lack of motivation, or frustrating weight gain for too long – with what you’d call “good habits” it’s time for another step.

First, I always advocate getting more knowledge about what is truly hormone balancing. Get those habits changed. The 28-Day Kickstart is a good place to begin. If you’re not sleeping, pooping, eating, or exercising RIGHT, then exercise will not help you.

Next, you’ve done that and you still struggle a little with compliance (don’t we all?) Or you’re want to consider a boost from HRT, then testing is a must.

Take Control: Test Your Hormone Levels

Here’s a last chance to watch a replay video and take advantage of a super Flipping 50 special so you can go over lab results and get answers. It will not be available forever. If you’re seeing this after the special… the information in this video is still KILLER! Watch it! (click to watch this private video – only available for a short time except for our Cafe members)

 

[If you’re interested in testing, stop the video as it plays to catch the URL and learn more or get it. But don’t wait. I partner with Yourlabwork specific times of the year for crazy specials like this, so if you’re a member of the Flipping 50 community, you’re set, these announcements are something I only share on email]

Less Exercise

Less exercise is so often the answer. Lower intensity, consistent, but shorter duration exercise is best if you’re really suffering from the “I’m always tired,” syndrome. Next, add intense strength training. Still short. Next, add intervals or sprints (watch for a special edition post about Sprint Interval Training coming very soon!)

Your brain is going to say, “Wait a minute! Less exercise, no you don’t understand… I HAVE to exercise!”

You, sister, are the one who needs to step back most.

Where are my endurance girls? My gotta-have-an-exercise fix before work gals?

I know you’re out there. But… that thing you’re hooked on is socially acceptable yet probably keeping you from feeling good and getting your mojo back.

Do get some exercise… just walk instead of run. Get outside instead of doing the dreadmill. Go lighter or shorter or both. Then do some yoga or stretching or get in the sauna. It feels like you’re doing something, you’re just doing it differently. It’s temporary, tell yourself.

 

It’s Not Forever

When you feel good then you can increase again. Test what works for you. That’s a little trial and error. Some of us thrive on endurance (it’s genetic). But even I who have that long-slow gene.. HAVE to do intervals to keep fast twitch muscle fibers. It’s how we keep our metabolism and reaction skills.

Want to avoid both belly fat now and falls later? Move quickly for a few minutes during each workout or lift with power (a wee bit of speed when you lift but always in control).

Assess your own workout (and your daily habits with the You Still Got It, Girl! checklist. Download it from flippingfifty.com top of the page. Print it and check your score. Focus on anything that surprises you, areas where you’re not doing well… and get it right! It matters. These are the habits that support natural hormone balance.

Exercise can help your hormone balance. As can the right nutrition before and after exercise. The sleep you get makes exercise better by assuring the right hormones are in place at the levels you need them.

Links to the resources mentioned:

28 Day Kickstart
Lab Tests You Need to Know
Flipping 50 Specialist (for trainers and health coaches)

5 Mindset Shifts for Better Fitness in Menopause

Mindset shifts are a must if you’re pursuing better fitness during menopause or after. You had socialization and conditioning that influenced you heavily at a time when, well, you were easily influenced.

Gone But Not Forgotten

You potentially buried yourself between then and now under the business of life. My students and clients tell me that they were busy in their careers and or families, not eating all that well, not finding time for exercise, and not feeling they needed it. I say that because as women sometimes we equate the need for exercise with the need to lose weight or get rid of calories or find ourselves more desirable.

Why Mindset Matters are a Challenge

Really buying into exercise as a lifestyle- the kind of exercise very different from your 20’s and 30’s – about hormone balancing not burning calories, or fat, or basically in other words, you, requires a shift from the “others” oriented moms we watched.

A midlife woman under stress responds quite differently to “more exercise, less food.” In fact, she is likely to slow her metabolism to a crawl and threaten her energy with adrenal fatigue if she does that for long.

“You really have to make up your mindset.”

It’s going to take some mindset shifts to rid yourself of those decades-old thoughts. I’ve got them right here in this post. First though before I dive in I want to begin letting you, my podcast listeners know that the Flipping 50 Café is the sponsor of this podcast and right now is the time to jump before the rate go up in July. The sooner you’re in the better your rate. Some of our founding members are in at the lowest rates and they’ll stay right there – grandfathered in –because I so appreciate them!

Here’s why now is the time to join…

We listened. I know that navigating that was once easy, gets challenging with more content. So we’ve organized it with this in mind. We’ve revamped our platform and curated mini courses in 8 areas that our members tell us are the hottest sources of frustration:

  • Weight loss
  • How to start exercise/eating for right now
  • Joint health (arthritis, ortho issues)
  • Bone density
  • Strength training
  • Motivation
  • And more (the extensive hormone course in the works)

I’m going to share a little sneak peek of the Cafe members area.  I’ll link to a video of the Café behind the scenes … though I won’t let you see the dozens of workout videos, and the How-to library, or the actual challenges in fairness to our Café members!

Enough about the Café, I could go on and on about that… let’s talk mindset shifts. (Much of the research about mindset was relayed in a book perfect for parents, coaches, and teachers in Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck)

The Status Quo Mindset

Fixed mindset says…“I’m bad at that.”

Growth mindset says…”I don’t know if I’m good or bad, I’ve never really put in much effort at it. But I know women who didn’t start running until they were 46 or doing triathlons until they were 60.

The “Natural” Mindset

Fixed mindset says…”I used to be good at that. I don’t know what happened.”

Growth mindset says…”I really just had a certain level of success naturally and never put any work into getting better. I think it’s time to try again.”

Perfect Time Mindset

Fixed mindset says…”I just don’t have time to do this right now. It’s too much to add to my plate.”

Growth mindset says…”I am busy for sure. And because of it I need this more than ever. I’m going to reach down deep and find something else to give up or say no to so I have time to take this step.”

Weight Mindset

Fixed mindset says…”If I don’t lose weight this will be another failure.”

Growth mindset says…”No matter if I lose weight or not I know learning the right way to do this will make me happier and healthier right now.”

Age-Related Mindset

Fixed mindset says…”I’m getting older, it makes sense I’m slowing down and gaining weight.”

Growth mindset says…”I don’t have to be a victim of age unless I chose not to workout and eat smarter to compensate.” It’s what Michael Jordan did. It’s possible for anyone.

Have you noticed that those naturally talented who didn’t work for it have faded? No one hears about them or remembers them.

What We Love

My client Jennifer hasn’t gotten to the pinnacle of her own fitness destination yet (I doubt she ever will- she keeps getting inspired to set new goals!). But when she posts people love it. She isn’t thin, winning, but she is OUT there.

My friend Susan, couldn’t swim when she registered for her first Ironman. She made it out of the water with 30 seconds to spare after swimming from kayak to kayak. Once it’s over no one looks at the time. She’s DNF’d many times in triathlons because she panicked in the water. She’s got tons of followers and she’s a sponsored athlete. Why? Because we like her spirit.

We like fighters. We like persistence. Sometimes we like it better than poor winners.

Do you remember the Nancy Kerrigan story, tennis star John McEnroe, or coach Bobby Knight? Those were memorable, for sure, but what kind of emotion do they evoke in you? Not likely as positive. They don’t inspire.

But it’s interesting that we might hold ourselves accountable to different standards than the ones we love in others.

Last note on Mindset Shifts

Mindset shifts are sometimes far harder than going for a walk. But when you can make them you will change everything. Not just your fitness, but your life. You can convert from fixed to growth mindset.

For listeners:

Both Jennifer and Susan have been prior guests on Flipping 50 podcast.

Jennifer

Susan 

A commitment to radical self care during stress got me through the first six months of 2019. As easy as it is to skimp or skip altogether those habits during times of stress or “extra” things (to do or on your mind) they are most critical then.

Before I tell you a little about how I handled my super-stress, I’ll share a secret.

The private clients I’ve worked with for over 20 years have left me clues. Students in group programs have too. The ones who want to cancel or postpone because they’re busy are the ones who struggle most.

When You Most Need It

Listen. No one needs a coach when they’re on the path going in an accelerated way to where they want to be! You most need it (and I most need it: yes, I work with a coach for many reasons business or new sport goal and I will until I die because I hope that’s the only time I won’t want to do something better faster than I could on my own).

I remember, about 15 years ago, I competed in a small local triathlon over the 4thof July weekend while I was back home. A triathlon starts early, athletes are there earlier, and it’s a very early wake up call for any spectators. So my son and mom stayed in bed. I had a “podium” finish and placed in my age group (did I mention s-m-a-l-l?). When I let them know on the way home how I’d done my mother’s reaction was this:

“If I’d have known you were going to win I’d have come!”

Smooth Sailing is Easy Solo

I just smiled. The words I was thinking, and may or may not have said, are that, I would have needed you more if I was last! I can celebrate easily, but the need to keep going, to think about the right things happens when it’s not going well!

Even my son, then about 12 understood that. Sure it’s great to have people watching when you make those three-pointers or you chip it in, but you want to ride home with your family when it all goes sideways.

So it’s key for you and I to dig into commitment when it’s hardest to do so. Its not really commitment if you don’t, right? It’s relying on willpower and motivation. I’ve spoken and written many times about the difference. You don’t willpower your way through anything for long. You’re committed to anything you truly want to be successful.

It’s Not Hard, It’s Just Easy to Keep Going

It’s hard, until it’s not. Someone spoke those words to me recently. I’ve made major changes because of it. The “hard” part is the resistance. You and I resist change. We see ourselves a certain way and we get really comfortable seeing that image, even if we see ourselves in a struggle.

You may accept your role as one who will always struggle. If you’ve accepted that you’ll always struggle with your weight or that you have bad genes or whatever story you’re telling yourself, until you change that thought pattern, you will certainly struggle.

You may have believed something for so long that it’s hard to change that core belief. We like to be right. So if you’ve gone down a wrong path for a long time you’re possibly committed to that and continue to make more wrong choices for yourself.

Rerouting Your GPS

Is it time to do a u-turn?

As women, we struggle with radical self care at any time, let alone radical self care during stress times. In fact, if you know a woman who does it, you may secretly (if you admit it) think she’s selfish. We confuse those words self care and selfish.

It makes sense. Most of us didn’t see our mothers or grandmothers (depending on your birth order) observe a strong commitment to self care or hear them encourage it. In fact, I’ve learned much from watching my niece and younger generations.

Teaching Radical Self Care During Stress

But if we’re to support future generations, it’s our role to have the “stress talk” with them. Share with them that self care is like a vitamin, or insurance. You wouldn’t think of cancelling your insurance in your 50s would you? (You might think about it, but you wouldn’t do it). Neither should you skip self care (or a vitamin – you can’t “eat healthy” enough to overcome micronutrient gaps that kill your metabolism, hormones, and energy).

You may need to realize that the level of self care you observe now and what you believe to be self care will change. Like a “hard” workout at first some day will become your warm up, you’ll level up. What you think of as radical self care may be your daily habits later.

My Radical Self Care During Stress

There were certain things I actually needed to do the last 6 months that were necessary. I had to take glutathione and a binder to support mold detox in my body. That was non-negotiable.

But other things I had to commit to as I worked on decreasing mold exposure and the detox from my body were more pleasant.

A Healing Touch

I had a weekly massage for the last two months. That may have been more or less, as I opted for 90 minute massage one week and 60 two weeks and skipped the 4thsometimes, but the idea is the same. I dedicated time to reducing tension before the tension became another source of stress.

A Plan

I committed to a workout schedule that kept me on track around a positive goal. While it’s easy to say, I don’t have time to train for that now, the training kept me focused on a positive goal. That suggested to me, that this stress will end, and then on the other side I’ll be where I want to be. There were days I decreased, swapped a long run for a hike, or made other adjustments. But I created the plan and worked the plan first. Random acts of anything get random results at best.

Daily Infrared Sauna

I used my sauna daily when I wasn’t traveling and until I’d packed it for the move. While it’s amazing for metabolism and recovery from exercise (not immediately after!) it is also supporting natural detox. I needed all the boost there I could from mold exposure. Even without mold we are all exposed so much to environmental toxins that an infrared sauna is an excellent practice.

Outdoors

I hiked. As the weather finally made it more conducive to get on paths I said my goodbyes to several familiar trails and a few new ones.

Food Choices

I remained committed to high quality food that I need. Right until the end and in the cooler I packed for the car on the way to a new location. At gas stations, I grabbed water, sunflower seeds, and veggies and tossed the ranch dressing. The grocery store was a first stop. I “camped” the last night in my house in Boulder because I was packed and loaded. I “camped” the first two nights in my Scottsdale house. You can really get by on so very little. It’s refreshing in fact to do it.

From Discipline to Daily Habits

It takes some discipline to do anything at first that is out of your normal routine. That is the definition of radical self care during stress or anytime.

In the Café (Flipping 50’s members-only area) I’m asking members to choose what their self care would look like this month. The difference is deciding.You probably know what your radical self care is but you’re not doing it. It’s something you know you need and want to do, you want having done it to describe you, but you can’t seem to commit.

It could be…

I encourage you to make a shift and commit.

Your Turn

I’d love to hear what this is for you.

This has nothing to do with money, expense and investment. It happens in your brain. Your mindset shift to doing it and justifying it as important as anything else on your to-do list.

So while massage may feel like an expense you can’t invest time or money in. You could substitute stretching, or yoga at home using videos or a self-practice.

Share your comments. You’ll inspire someone else. I know it. Someone else needs to hear how you’re going to take radical self care during stress or any time. When you’ve got lots of speed bumps it may look different than when things go well. Remember radical self care during stress is more, not less important.

You need more resilience, and more support, and you get to be in charge of deciding what that is. (Psst, it’s not really another glass of wine.)

Think Weight Loss Success After 50 is Impossible? Think again!

If you’re in midlife and don’t love your weight, energy, or your life it’s never too late. My guest today is proof. She shares her own midlife weight loss success and how it spiraled into a new career path.

Beate Probst is the founder & CEO of Be-At-Ease Solutions and she helps women reverse their body’s aging process with the help of real nutrition, exercise, support, motivation, and accountability. She lives by her motto “Train in any mood, Lift at any age & Live to tell what happens”

Beate walked her talk. She lost 50 lbs. and kept it off for over a decade which she says has helped her develop tools to overcome stubborn weight gain especially during hormonal changes, that she is now passing on to her clients who are each crushing their weight loss journey.

In addition to being a Holistic Weigh Loss Expert and personal online trainer, she’s a mindset mentor. She empowers woman to embark on a journey of self-awareness and self-love recognizing that their weight loss is a side effect of an already beautiful woman.

Beate shared this with me:

This happened to me when I was 50 years old. I was a personal training client, discovering my own potential of maintaining my weigh loss success and learning new strategies to overcome hormonal stubborn weight gain. And that is where I realized so few woman have the confidence or the drive to do the same.

So it was then I started to change my career to be a health, fitness, and nutrition expert. It was after seeing so many woman around me feeling helpless and intimidated to start exercising and looking for answers, support, and validation that they are still able to increase their quality of life even though going through all the changes that their body is making.  

Questions we answer in this episode:

  • You’ve got a weight loss success story, spawned perhaps by a stinging remark by an ex-husband. That seems like a juicy way to get started.
  • What were your personal obstacles to optimal health and weight loss success?
  • In spite of that significant weight loss success you rode a hormone roller coaster that knocked you off track, tell us about that.
  • How do you think your recent personal journey influences your ability to support other women?
  • Are you specifically focused on weight loss for midlife women?
  • What’s your advice for weight loss success to women just starting?

Take Beate’s Real-Age Quiz  

Connect with Beate on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beate.probst.9

Please leave a rating in iTunes! It really helps!

  1. Visit Flipping 50 on iTunes
  2. Click listen in iTunes
  3. Click ratings and reviews
  4. Leave your 5 star rating (seriously I’d love it, but your authentic comments are what I need to grow and give you more of what you want and less of what you can leave!)
  5. Know how much I appreciate you doing this!

Do you have 20 or more pounds to lose? Weight loss, specifically fat loss after 50 (or peri-menopause is different!). Not impossible but if you’re trying to “eat less and exercise more” your body is stressed and holding every calorie.

There’s a better way. Watch this– it’s a master class I did to explain the rules (they’ve changed!) for fat loss after 50 and share details about my Fit-U program. You’ll know if it’s a fit. And you’ll know if it’s not.

What’s the connection between estrogen levels and exercise? Whether you assess estrogen levels by labs or messages your body sends you, estrogen status is an important consideration in your exercise plan. If you want to feel better, sleep better, and avoid fat deposits and find optimal weight, your exercise choices matter. This post will give you insight for making the best hormone balancing fitness plan.

 

 

Effects of Exercise on Estrogen

There are three types of estrogen to be familiar with:

Estradiol – most common in non-pregnant women

Estrone – post menopause

Estriol – major role in pregnancy

The role of estrogen in weight and fat

You need estrogen for weight loss. It helps regulate fat metabolism. When you’ve got adequate estrogen in cells there’s less chance for fat to move in. So let’s look at this!

Low Estrogen Levels & Exercise

Reducing the volume of exercise can help increase low estrogen levels, whereas extreme exercise can cause a decrease in estrogen. You’ve got to find your Goldilocks.

It’s important to consider your individual need and response to exercise. Yet, if you have low estrogen levels even if you love exercise, it’s wise to listen to the fact your body is telling you, “Not right now.”

Overtraining and Estrogen

If you can’t relax or enjoy yourself if you don’t exercise, if it gets in the way of you doing other things in your life or you do it at the expense of your health then exercise has become something other than a healthy part of life.

For example, Jamie was extremely obsessed with food and exercise for much of her life. After a diagnosis of low bone density in her late 30’s she was under treatment yet still running miles though told not to due to risk of fracture.

Overtraining is linked to low estrogen levels that contribute to bone loss. Overtraining and under recovery both are to blame. That is, you may be doing too much too soon for your body and or you can be getting too little sleep, rest, and nutrition to support your workouts. That’s as common among weight loss seekers as it is athletes.

Assess Your Estrogen Levels

Begin with the signs and symptoms your body is sending you. If you haven’t done “labs”you can still learn much from your body. If you have done labs, you still want that intel from your body combined with labs.

You may have low estrogen levels if you respond “yes” to several of those.

You may have high estrogen levels if you respond “yes” to several of those.

For low estrogen levels:

For high or “estrogen dominance”:

Remember, It’s Relative

“High estrogen” often seems a little confounding when you’re in menopause. You’re losing estrogen and it’s why you’re in menopause, after all! So what’s up with that?

It’s the relationship between your hormones that give way to the term “hormone balance.”

So, if you liken it to cholesterol, which we readily accept as both numbers and most importantly the ratio of good: total cholesterol. It’s about that relationship, even if your total number may be a little higher than ideal. So it is with hormones.

If your estrogen and progesterone levels aren’t in balance with each other, typically it’s due to high cortisol. Cortisol blocks progesterone. That contributes to more angst, less calm, and mood swings. But you’re also more likely to deposit fat in your belly when estrogen is “low” (compared to progesterone”) and cortisol is high.

Like when you have aging parents, kids still at home or in college, career or relationship changes happening. And you, possibly are a woman who does too much. For everyone else. Or ruminates about doing too much for everyone else. And you exercise to negate stress. Too much. Or ruminate about exercising and don’t. At all.

Hello, midlife.

Move Right for You Right Now

Make the move to move right. Enough, but not too much. Not for your friend, your spouse, or younger you. The right exercise at the right time supports your hormone balance naturally. Whether you choose to do hormone supplementation or you don’t, your exercise and other lifestyle habits optimize or sabotage your hormone balance.

If you’ve “got this,” and you’re feeling great in the second half congrats!

And if you’d like support, there are some ways I can help.  Grab my “checklist of successful Flipping 50 habits” and see how you’re doing.

And if you’re really serious about getting long lasting support one of these is the perfect start:

Resources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21903887
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22614972
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30071893
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23652373

You might also like:

Hormone Balancing Fitness Plan

The Hormone-Exercise Connection to Lose Weight and Boost Energy

5 Simple Steps that Your Balance Hormones

You’re going to want to grab this new book. I’ll just say it straight up! Dr. Brooke Kalanick joins me to talk about her new book, steps that balance your hormones. She’s got a title that is just badass!

About Dr. Brooke:

A licensed Naturopathic (ND) and Functional Medicine doctor, Dr. Brooke attended Seattle, Washington’s Bastyr University. She earned a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and Masters in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Dr. Brooke’s postdoctoral training in women’s health and functional endocrinology as well as her personal battle with PCOS led her to specialize in female hormone issues. Those include menopause, hypothyroidism (including Hashimoto’s), autoimmunity and endometriosis and of course, PCOS.

She helps women reset their hormones, their heads, and their habits, so they can finally feel at home in their bodies.  She is also the co-host of the Sarah & Dr Brooke Show. Plus, she’s co-author of Hangry: Balance Your Hormones and Rediscover Your Joy In Five Simple Steps (St Martin’s Press, June 2019).

Questions we cover in this episode:  

  • What’s the first step to take when you feel overwhelmed with all the health, diet and fitness information out there?
  • What do you suggest our listeners do to filter the plethora of advice out there and determine whether it will work for them or not?
  • Why do women specifically need to take a full body or complete hormonal system approach to their wellness, even more so than men?
  • Why did do you put estrogen and progesterone imbalances at the bottom of the priority list for women since those are obviously key female hormones?
  • What sneaky hormonal disruptor are many women unfamiliar with yet may be struggling with unknowingly? (histamine intolerance)
  • You and I both place such an importance on managing stress and cortisol for better overall health! What advice can you share about making that easier?
  • And don’t miss R.A.M.P.

Get the book:

www.sarahanddrbrooke.com/hangry-book

Connect with Dr. Brooke on social

Facebook and Instagram @betterbydrbrooke

Link to the podcast I did with Brooke and Sarah at Better By Dr. Brooke

https://betterbydrbrooke.com/podcast/better-everyday-40-debra-atkinson-training-nutrition-50/

Welcome to the Core Challenge episode!

Is your core challenging? It’s time for a core challenge!

The what, why and how of core exercise after 50 (or at any age) is the topic of this short episode.

This really isn’t an episode as much as it’s an INVITATION. If you’re on track for core exercise and you “get it” great! If you need some support, join the core challenge by adding your name and best email below.

Get your FREE podcast cheatsheet!

I’ll give you the access to the free At-Home Core exercise chart. You’ll have over 35 exercises you can do – all but one at home – and possibly that one too depending on what you have to use.

<If you missed the live challenge in June 2019, never fear! You can access the core exercises any time!>

Putting them together for daily 3-5 minutes gives you infinite variety and diverse ways to use your core muscles. You can use it as a reference with me or on your own. You can use it now and forever.

If you want some guidance – and some fun! Join me. I’ll be adding some live Facebook.com/flipping50TV videos to encourage you and demonstrate and answer questions.

Plus… we’re going to make a friendly competition and game out of it. I’ll send lucky winners who participate books and even special short coaching sessions live with me 1:1.

What are you waiting for!

Join flippingfifty.com/any-age(I’ll announce it there!)

And… or go to flippingfifty.com/corechallengeto join this core challenge specifically!

Can’t wait to see you there!

Hormone Balancing Fitness

In this post I include the intel on 1) hormones that balance each other 2) hormones that influence energy and your exercise (ability and results), and 3) how your exercise influences your hormone balance, and a 4) quick summary of how to modify exercise to support the hormones mentioned. 

Note: this post includes what happens IF you choose not to change things with daily habits and exercise. The research included studies what IS. Consider what happens if you don’t do what others have done and don’t accept what has happened in the past to be your future. If you don’t take on the “normal” “average” habits you won’t settle for “normal” and “average” results. 

Important Hormone Relationships

We’ve gotten so good at generalizing. You may make statements like, “It’s my hormones,” or read or hear that hormone imbalance is to blame. But, you’re not a victim, there are things you can do. While you’re busy, while you’re working, traveling, being you. You don’t have to go to bed hoping for a good night sleep, fewer hot flashes, or more energy. You can make it happen.

If you’re ready to understand more about the hormones that need to be in balance with each other (and how that might happen with shifts in exercise toward a hormone balancing fitness plan) keep reading. There’s definitely an integration of many hormones involved in the energy, the weight, the way you think, but some hormones have a stronger relationship.

HPA axis

In a Flipping 50 Café master class some time ago (and this recording is a bonus part of The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women) I addressed Adrenal Fatigue. Though adrenal fatigue isn’t recognized by all medical professionals, HPA axis is accepted. It stands for the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis.

Your endocrine, nervous, and immune systems interact. The endocrine system is hormone central. Your nervous system is related to your brain messaging everything else. Your immune system of course keeps you well or not and potentially all of them either decelerate or accelerate aging.

When you have HPA axis dysfunction your stress response isn’t working correctly.

That’s also referred to as adrenal fatigue.

What was a healthy dose of exercise isn’t when you’re experiencing adrenal fatigue. The hormone balancing fitness you need involves what I call “restore, before more.” Exercise that is optimal for you leaves you feeling optimally. That’s news to a lot of women. It’s not punishment.

Hello Menopause

When your hormone levels are changing it’s not just all highs and lows. There’s a shift in the interactions among hormones. They don’t play as well together. Poor stress response results if your HPA axis can’t’ adjust to stressors. Stress causes more inflammation and oxidation. You age faster.

Exercise for burning calorie’s sake is the opposite of a hormone balancing fitness plan. In fact, that kind of focus can push you deeper into hormone imbalance. Sure, you may feel better temporarily but look for signs you’re overall not responding, feeling worse not better.

DHEA is produced by the adrenal gland and it’s a pre-cursor to the sex hormones. Similar to muscle mass which peaks at about 25, so does DHEA and it progressively decreases over time.

DHEA is one of the key hormones in balancing effects of cortisol. So think about this. You’re at a time in your life sandwiched between older adults and younger dependents, at a peak of your career or an apex of change in jobs, relationships, and status. There’s a bit more stress than ever before. And there’s less support in your system for dealing with it.

Not ideal.

Faster than a Chunky Child Drops on a Teeter Totter

Age-related declines can disrupt the cortisol- DHEA balance. Guess what happens? You lose muscle among other things, like wanting to scream, sleep for days, or eat a bag of chips and wash it down with chunky monkey.

Guess what? Cortisol is a bitch. She doesn’t experience declines with aging. This is a perfect storm, right? What can appear to be higher cortisol levels as we get older could in fact be the declining DHEA to balance it. It’s not higher than it was it’s just higher relative to other hormones that are now lower.

More bad news

You don’t just lose muscle mass easier when cortisol is higher relative to DHEA. You lose bone density and your marbles. Yes, You lose cognition, memory, and ability to focus. We’re all calling it brain fog or menopause mind. It’s got science behind it.

Estrogen

The change in the ratio between estrogen and other hormones (progesterone and testosterone) alters your metabolic, physiological and neurological systems. The result? Your metabolism slows, your body composition changes for the worse, and you can’t remember where you left the phone (in your hand).

Estrogen loss plays a part in greater inflammation, less muscle, memory loss and poor stress response (compared to younger you or to same age men).

Progesterone and estrogen are ideal at a similar level. Cortisol however when higher (or relatively higher (see last section) blocks progesterone. So your calm, serene side has gone to Tahiti. Without you. You’ve got “estrogen dominance” even as estrogen levels are lower than in your past. High estrogen, high cortisol, and insulin make it easy to deposit fat right in the middle.

But the good news is, hormone balancing fitness can support estrogen and so too can certain things you eat. A couple tablespoons of ground flax seed daily can help you get rid of excess estrogen as can adding fiber to your diet, for example.

Testosterone

This hormone declines steadily with age. Loss of muscle and accompanying strength are due to waning testosterone. So too is decreasing libido.

Here’s the scoop though. Declining levels of testosterone are a result of declining health more than the opposite. Your health and libido potentially are not declining because of testosterone lows. If you aren’t taking care of yourself or working on intimacy intentionally, you’ll suffer more than most.

If you think you’re “pretty healthy,” consider this. Do you really rest fully? Have you defined what “healthy eating” is for you now vs. in the past? Is your exercise something you love? Do you make time for friends and fun? What makes you truly happy? Is it into your life regularly? Self care goes beyond not being sick.

Flip: Some research shows age had no effect on testosterone levels but by comparison obesity did. Lifestyle factors (like strength training) play a part in what happens to your hormone balance.

You’re not a victim of your hormones as much as your hormones are victim of your lifestyle habits.

You learned things. You learned them decades ago and they may not be true any more. You acquired habits. But you’ve not learned the science that helps you replace those habits with better things.

The Question Lingers: Is Age Just a Number?

Unfair treatment of the response to that question only looks at polls and surveys of a decline that’s happened in now 65-74 year-olds or those over 75. That means only that their lifestyle habits – what every they were – contributed. I think it’s fair to say that they didn’t have the science we have to day. They did the best they did with the knowledge they had.

But you, girlfriend, have more and better and we know that aging is either accelerated or decelerated based on your daily choices.Every single one of them matters.

Growth Hormone

For more muscle (and not fat) you need growth hormone (GH). Growth hormone is secreted and stimulates insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-1). They work together to prompt muscle growth. IGF-1 is responsible for muscle repair.

That’s important. In You Still Got It, Girl! I first pointed out that one of the biggest challenges women flipping 50 have is their own mind. The solution to better fitness is not more exercise, it is in fact better recovery after adequate exercise stimulus.

If you don’t have enough IGF-1 you may be tearing down, breaking down and not repairing muscle in every workout. Thus, even an exerciser can lose muscle – potentially faster than a non-exerciser.

Both GH and IGF-1 decline as you age. This is partially the cause of frailty. Sarcopenia is the term used to describe muscle loss associated with age.

Cortisol and GH

Cortisol is up remember? It has a poor effect on body composition. While GH has a positive effect. Researchers have connected a strengthened effect of GH in the presence of cortisol. This has a huge impact on your ideal exercise routine.

Your ideal routine imposes calculated stress (cortisol-inducing) on your system while negating the negative effects of too much or blah-blah exercise. Using high intensity intervals (for short durations) and weight training has the most optimal effects on GH (as well as testosterone). What sabotages your exercise and hormone balance?

If you’re still doing an “hour of power” on the dreadmill or hours on the Stairmaster or elliptical every week, flip your routine. Short higher or short lower intensity cardio and short high intensity (heavy is best; to fatigue with lighter weight is second best) resistance training does the most good.

Your Hormone Balancing Fitness Plan

The positive effect that the RIGHT exercise has on hormones can offset age-related hormonal changes.

Your plan in action:

Resistance train twice a week. Start light and progress over a period of weeks (up to two months). Reach fatigue in each set. Collectively consider your bone and joint needs, history of exercise or injury, conditions, stress level, nutrition adequacy, and sleep in designing an exercise program. Seek support of a hormone balancing fitness expert if this is beyond your scope.

Reduce or eliminate long endurance sessions lasting an hour or more. Shift toward 1-2 short sessions of high intensity intervals per week complimented by low to moderate short activities.

Create a hormone balancing fitness plan you will enjoy. Include activities you love.

If you’re tired every day take a full week to restore before more. Move but don’t exercise. Get your sleep, stress, and nutrition dialed in. At the end of a week, assess. Continue the restore if you don’t feel better. Gradually begin to strength train in small regular doses first when you add more.

To offset muscle loss that would happen if you weren’t making the shifts above, and to amplify positive results, protein is a must for older adults. Read more about your protein needs now derived from 10 recent studies.

You might also like:

Adrenal Fatigue to Adrenal Reset

Adrenal Fatigue, Exercise, and Weight Loss Success

Make the Hormone-Exercise Connection

5 Mindset Shifts for Better Fitness in Menopause

Mindset shifts are a must if you’re pursuing better fitness during menopause or after. You had socialization and conditioning that influenced you heavily at a time when, well, you were easily influenced.

You potentially buried yourself between then and now under the business of life. My students and clients tell me that they were busy in their careers and or families, not eating all that well, not finding time for exercise, and not feeling they needed it. I say that because as women sometimes we equate the need for exercise with the need to lose weight or get rid of calories or find ourselves more desirable.

Really buying into exercise as a lifestyle- the kind of exercise very different from your 20’s and 30’s – about hormone balancing not burning calories, or fat, or basically in other words, you.

A midlife woman under stress responds quite differently to “more exercise, less food.” In fact, she is likely to slow her metabolism to a crawl and threaten her energy with adrenal fatigue if she does that for long.

It’s going to take some mindset shifts to rid yourself of those decades-old thoughts. I’ve got them right here in this post. First though before I dive in I want to begin letting you, my podcast listeners know that the Flipping 50 Café is the sponsor of this podcast and right now is the time to jump before the rate go up in July. The sooner you’re in the better your rate. Some of our founding members are in at the lowest rates and they’ll stay right there – grandfathered in –because I so appreciate them!

Here’s some of the changes we’re making…

We’ve revamped our platform and curated mini courses in 7 areas that our members tell us are the hottest sources of frustration:

  • Weight loss
  • How to start exercise/eating for right now
  • Joint health (arthritis, ortho issues)
  • Bone density
  • Strength training
  • And more

I’m going to share a little sneak peek behind the scene.  I’ll link to a video of the Café behind the scenes … though I won’t let you see the dozens of workout videos, and the How-to library, or the actual challenges in fairness to our Café members!

Cafe Sneak Peek 

Enough about the Café, I could go on and on about that… let’s talk mindset shifts.

The Status Quo Mindset

Fixed mindset says…“I’m bad at that.” 

Growth mindset says…”I don’t know if I’m good or bad, I’ve never really put in much effort at it. But I know women who didn’t start running until they were 46 or doing triathlons until they were 60.”

The “Natural” Mindset

Fixed mindset says…”I used to be good at that. I don’t know what happened.”

Growth mindset says…”I really just had a certain level of success naturally and never put any work into getting better. I think it’s time to try again.”

Perfect Time Mindset

Fixed mindset says…”I just don’t have time to do this right now. It’s too much to add to my plate.”

Growth mindset says…”I am busy for sure. And because of it I need this more than ever. I’m going to reach down deep and find something else to give up or say no to so I have time to take this step.”

Weight Mindset

Fixed mindset says…”If I don’t lose weight this will be another failure.”

Growth mindset says…”No matter if I lose weight or not I know learning the right way to do this will make me happier and healthier right now.” 

Age-Related Mindset

Fixed mindset says…”I’m getting older, it makes sense I’m slowing down and gaining weight.”

Growth mindset says…”I don’t have to be a victim of age unless I chose not to workout and eat smarter to compensate.” It’s what Michael Jordan did. It’s possible for anyone.

Have you noticed that those naturally talented who didn’t work for it have faded? No one hears about them or remembers them.

My client Jennifer hasn’t gotten to the pinnacle of her own fitness destination yet (I doubt she ever will- she keeps getting inspired to set new goals!). But when she posts people love it. She isn’t thin, winning, but she is OUT there.

My friend Susan, couldn’t swim when she registered for her first Ironman. She made it out of the water with 30 seconds to spare after swimming from kayak to kayak. Once it’s over no one looks at the time. She’s DNF’d many times in triathlons because she panicked in the water. She’s got tons of followers and she’s a sponsored athlete. Why? Because we like her spirit.

We like fighters. We like persistence. Sometimes we like it better than poor winners.

Do you remember the Nancy Kerrigan story, tennis star John McEnroe, or coach Bobby Knight? Those were memorable right, but what kind of emotion do they evoke in you? Not likely as positive. They don’t inspire.

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Essential Oils for Weight Loss: Is It Too Good to Be True?

The essential oils for weight loss? Sounds too good to be true, right? To all my essential oil lovers listening, this is for you! To those not yet indoctrinated into essential oils for optimal weight, energy, overall health, avoiding toxins and the list goes on, this is for you too! And I’ve got a fantastic guest for delivering this message.

The author of the National Bestseller, The Healing Power of Essential Oils, Dr. Eric Zielinskihas pioneered natural living and Biblical health education since 2003. Knowing what it’s like to be sick from a young age and having recovered from several chronic diseases in his early 20s, he has been on a mission to share the evidence-based approach to natural living that empowered him to regain control of his health with the world.

You’ll recognize Dr Z from the prior episode with Mama Z. This dynamic duo lives and breathes the testimonial of essential oils for weight loss and a myriad of other benefits. The couple team up to deliver natural living solutions to toxicity that causes health issues.

Learn more about essential oils for weight loss, energy, support of chronic conditions, right here.

Questions we answer in this episode:

  1. In your new book The Essential Oils Dietyou say that people are asking the wrong questions when it comes to weight loss. What are the right questions?
  2. In your opinion, why are Americans so overweight?
  3. How can essential oils help people get past the bad habits and traps that they know are preventing them from living their best lives?
  4. In your book you say, “Slow Metabolism is not a scapegoat.” What do you mean by this?
  5. Are there essential oils that can support a healthy metabolism?
  6. What are bioactive-rich foods and how do they relate to essential oils?
  7. How do you know your essential oil is good and pure?
  8. Which oils can be safely ingested?
  9. Can essential oils help to curve cravings and food addictions?
  10. Any last thoughts or juicy insider tips you’d like to share about The Essential Oils Diet and what else can people discover from your book?

Get the book! EssentialOilsdiet.com

URL:https://naturallivingfamily.com/

Social Media: Facebook// Instagram

Other Podcasts you might like:

Boost Energy and Kill Cravings with Essential Oils

Natural Remedies for Hormone Health and Optimal Weight (with Mama Z)

Reset Your Hormones Naturally with Essential Oils

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