I'm Debra Atkinson. I help women in menopause and beyond get the energy and the vitality they want, need, and deserve in the second (and better) half!
My team and I provide hormone balancing exercise & lifestyle support designed exclusively for women in midlife (approaching and beyond 50) and their unique hormones, body composition, metabolism... using only research featuring them.
If you feel betrayed or frustrated by (what seems like) the inevitable “slowing” of your metabolism after 50, I’m here to bust that myth.
Why I'm here
I want to take a minute and introduce myself, and the question you are probably are, or should be, asking: “Who is Debra Atkinson?” I’m a fitness professional who spent decades hearing client’s talk about getting older and their metabolism slowing. Not yet 50+, and not anywhere near menopause at the time, I gave them the best science available.
I perfectly fit the fitness instructor/trainer stereotype of “exercising all day.” Then in my early 40s I cut my physical activity teaching load by 6 hours a week! Talk about bad timing. I began doing more lecturing and fewer activity labs.
Even though I wasn’t exercising nearly as much any more, my job as a personal training director still had me actively moving around much of the day.
Call me crazy, but at 49 I stopped doing that too and began sitting behind a desk for 10-14 hours a day. You know, the dream of your own business and that relaxed pace… Let’s just say, call me before you do it.
On top of that I had about 8 major life stressors occur in about 14 months. Suddenly I was getting my front row seat to what perimenopause, aging, stress, sitting, and not sleeping could do to someone who until moments ago was in good shape. It wasn’t pretty and I didn’t feel pretty. I didn’t feel like myself.
You could say I earned my MBA in hormones, perimenopause, the aging process, sleep, stress and how it’s all affected by exercise and nutrition… through the school we all hate: hard knocks.
I was not willing to settle. I had colleagues in their 50s, and 60s who looked fantastic and had no problem staying fit. I had role models who were older than that still competing in triathlons. I decided I was going to figure it out, whatever it took.
It wasn’t exactly easy to “figure it out.” The real “break” came when I was chained to my desk.
The less I exercised, the better I felt…
I was the most shocked of all. Here I was, an avid runner, fitness instructor, triathlete whose idea of fun was to go for a 7-mile run or spending the afternoon on a bike.
…and I dropped weight and inches exercising less. Much less. Barely able to fit it in some days I would detach myself from the computer for at least 20 minutes. Some days that was it. Some days it was 20 in the morning and 20 in the evening but rarely for 18 months was there more.
What I stumbled on accidentally about myself began to ring true as I poured over research and began coaching clients and saw the same kind of results. It’s not all what you’re thinking: it’s not all high intensity exercise. Nope, the results were astounding and the signs and symptoms of each client pointed to a unique combination for each client. Some only did yoga. (Listen to My TEDx talk for more)
I have now come to believe something that I think is very important…
If you don’t understand all the factors that play into health and weight loss for midlife women, then you’re probably going to walk through life feeling like you’re stuck with a “slowing metabolism”. It’s not an easy thing to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it – and who has been told for decades to do more exercise and eat less (BIG MISTAKE), but I’ll bet that you can appreciate what I’m talking about.
On the other hand, if you DO know how to work with your body as it ages, you’re going to have an inner confidence and “radiance” that other people can sense.
They’ll be like, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
My Professional Experience
Debra has been speaking on fitness and life-enhancing topics for more than 30 years. As a prior member of the National Speakers Association she has spoken to hundreds of audiences of all types and sizes including church groups, women’s groups, bankers, professional fitness associations, sheriffs associations (hold the fire!), insurance groups, Health Care Associations, and Golf Pros. Personal responsibility for physical activity and nutrition is the common theme in her message, whether that message is for greater productivity at work, decreasing stress levels or improving life satisfaction. She’s a Barely Boomer and speaks frequently on Active Aging, Menopause fitness, and Hormone Balancing Exercise.
Debra is a Certified CoachU Graduate. She coaches clients in the areas of wellness, personal relationships, academic choices, career moves, and growing their personal training business; ultimately creating the changes they want to create the life that they want. As a coach, she’s not one to step over many things. She hears what you don’t say. You could find it irritating if you prefer to stay stuck. If you’re ready to move and get where you’re going, you’ll get along famously. In 2013 she was Live Healthy Iowa’s Dream Team coach. She is America’s Boomer Babe Fitness Expert.
Debra’s first lemonade stand included an assortment of broken, discarded toys pulled from the dark confines of her closet. Her mother set her up with a muffin tin and coins to make change for customers. While business was slow she dropped the quarter she was fiddling with into the grass and lost it forever. She proceeded to the Bank-of-Mom to ask for a replacement. Mom informed her that that’s not how it works and she realized this being in business stuff was hard! Since closing the stand, she’s run a profitable in-home personal training business, led a team of over 20 trainers at three facilities to their best seven years ever in the worst economy ever by applying marketing and sales training techniques that work, and knowing that never was there a time that people needed the positive attitude and environment fitness provides more. She is the creator of the first and only menopause fitness membership designed exclusively based on research featuring women in menopause+.
Getting what you want requires energy management. Debra knows a little about that. She is an eight-time Ironman starter and a six-time Ironman finisher. She completed an Ironman (with a smile) in the same year her first book was published and she traveled to and attended all of her son’s golf matches during the summer and fall as he went through the college recruiting process, led a team of trainers to the best year of personal training and record breaking months; in addition to being a single mom and tending to all the daily details we have in running a household. Knowing when to embrace chaos and when to work and when not to work, both with intention, is her key.
Debra earned both her B.S. and M.S. in Exercise Science and Exercise & Sports Psychology, respectively, from Iowa State University where she later served as a Senior Lecturer for 15 years. She taught core courses for Kinesiology majors that prepared students for leadership roles in fitness and continued to supervise internships for Kinesiology majors after she left the classroom.
She is certified by the American Council on Exercise, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and has been an international presenter at events including: IDEA Personal Training Institute, Congress, World, and Fact Fest (‘02, ‘03, ‘04, ‘07, ‘12, ’14), Can-Fit-Pro (‘05, ‘06, ’19) and National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Personal Training Congress (’08, ‘09) and National Conference (’15). She’s presented for the International Council On Active Aging (’13, ’14, and ’15 and more) and Athletic Business Conference, and MedFit and SCW and FitnessFest multiple years. Debra is an ACE Faculty CEC provider specializing in … of course Hormone Balancing Exercise Prescription via the Flipping 50 Fitness Specialist along with customer service, marketing and sales for advancing the business of personal training. She was honored as selection committee member for Personal Trainer of the Year award for IDEA, and a Subject Matter Expert and item writer for ACE’s Medical Exercise Specialist exam, and Health Coach, and Personal Trainer certifications. When she is not presenting, she makes a point of attending to listen to her peer colleagues and is a life long student.
Debra co-authored and was featured in the Dvd How to Grow Your Personal Training Business Today (Championship Books and Videos) and authored the text book companion Live Right: How to Cope with Stress in College and Beyond (Benjamin-Cummings). Her book is Dollars and Sense of Selling Exercise: Promoting Personal Training with Integrity was published by Healthy Learning (2011) and she created two additional dvds in 2013. She has authored hundreds of articles locally, online and nationally for the fitness industry. She was invited to serve on the NSCA Personal Training conference planning committee in 2013 and published Navigating Fitness After 50: Your GPS for Choosing Programs and Professionals You Can Trust.
Her newest books:
- You Still Got It, Girl! The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women
- Hot, Not Bothered: 99 Daily Flips for Slimmer, Fitter, Faster So You Can Master Metabolism Before, During, and (Long) After Menopause
- You Still Got It, Girl! A Collection of Blog posts
- How to Make Every Woman Over 50 Want You: A Trainer’s Guide to Hormone Balancing Fitness
Debra first online created and published works began at Prevent Back Pain with Five Steps hosted on Udemy. Today, she is most excited about The Flipping Virtual Gym Membership: the first and only, exclusively dedicated to women in menopause fitness membership where women can learn to Eat More, Exercise Less, Heal Hormones and Boost Energy Naturally for Whole -You Wellness.
Next? She is thrilled to be supporting trainers and health coaches rebuild their businesses post-pandemic with the BYB mastermind and Flipping 50 Fitness Specialist, so they can better serve you.
Her signature courses The After 50 Fitness Formula For Women online course, Fit-U, and exercise videos (including a DVD product she never imagined she’d need in 2016!) provide menopause options available at flippingfifty.com. It’s a suite of services so you can find just the level of participation you want.
View her insightful TEDx talk here.