Fitness is so much more than what size you wear or your resting heart rate. It’s not about how fast or far you can go. It’s not a matter of what workout you’re going to do.
Your fitness after 50 has the ability to decrease your risk of disease, increase your longevity and the number of years you live healthfully (your healthspan). It’s dependent on so much more than whether you go for a walk or lift weights today. This is the big picture. Your fitness after 50 will be influenced not just by exercise but by so many more things. I’m including a comprehensive list here.
I encourage you to go through this list and see really consider how well you’re doing each. Here’s the Cliff notes list in case you’re in a hurry. You can jump down to read details about the ones that interest you most below.
Your fitness after 50 depends on muscle. Muscle is now recognized as a key factor in bone density- or prevention of osteoporosis, as well as increased metabolism, and necessary for thriving in life rather than simply preventing frailty.
Increases in muscle through overload improve body composition.
It is no longer about the amount of time spent lifting weights.
The longer your weight lifting session the longer the rest between exercises and it is not about time it is about the intensity of the load.
Bone doesn’t benefit from “more” repetitions of lighter weight – only from heavy weight you can lift few times.
Quality not quantity matters. That is, reaching fatigue, not the number of repetitions nor how long you do it matters. Like we’ve seen results from as little as 6 minutes of high intensity exercise a week (intervals) we have seen muscle-fatigue-inducing strength exercises in minutes reap better results than hour-long classes.
Strength and endurance benefits is necessary for the ability to do additional work of interval training that you will see offers big benefits. Weight lifting also increases bone density so that additional beneficial activity is safe. Any cardiovascular exercise is good for the circulatory system, but only weight training targets the skeletal system in a way specific to improving bone density.
In studies of weight training, interval training, and combined training weight training increases muscle mass and strength most.
Your fitness after 50 has less to do with cardio than you might think. Make cardio about your mitochondria and hormone balancing. Use your DNA.Studies show that men age 70 can reverse aging with mitochondria regeneration comparable to subjects in their 20s. Why is mitochondria important?
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of energy in the body. The aging process – if you do nothing – will negatively affect the production of mitochondria. Small doses of high intensity exercise have proven to support mitochondria function – by as much as double in three or four months in minutes a week.
You will spend more energy all day by doing 2 training sessions a week than either one or three training sessions. That’s two sessions of strength, two sessions of intervals, and some additional exercise that’s more endurance based or simply a lot of movement daily.
Samples of Intervals:
Perform 8 seconds on and 12 seconds of recovery 20 times. This is easiest to do on a bike, but it’s a challenge with almost any kind of exercise because it’s a very short amount of time to increase your work capacity to full out. Be sure your well warmed up before you begin. That’s a little over 2 and a half minutes of high intensity exercise. It’s been proven to increase fitness (in women in midlife).
In the Wingate Test protocol you do 30 seconds of all out exercise and 2 minutes of recovery 4 times for a total of 2 minutes of work. You can run or power walk up hill or an incline, go as hard as possible on an elliptical or bike or do it in a pool.
You can reduce time needed to exercise by doing these types of interval training sessions for 20 minutes twice a week (in addition to strength training twice a week), in order to have more energy for being active all day. The result is greater overall energy expenditure and reduced obesity and overweight. That’s less exercise and more movement.
If all you had to do was sleep more to lose weight would you go to bed sooner? Long sleepers compared to short sleepers lost more weight and more of the weight lost was fat (less muscle loss that is a natural occurrence with weight loss). Perimenopausal women all in the same weight loss program with similar status were subjects. So yes, it applies to you.
The regeneration of the mind and the body that takes place at night is the glue that holds all your other positive habits together. Pad your sleep time like bookends with habits – a routine – that prepares you for better sleep every night. If you’re not sleeping at night, tell yourself it’s just that you haven’t prioritized it.
Tell yourself that you haven’t yet found the right habits. Tell yourself that it’s possible to recondition and reset your circadian clock for better sleep.
Hormones responsible for decreasing stress (cortisol and melatonin) and promoting lean muscle tissue (growth hormone and testosterone) require deep restful sleep.
Eat carbohydrates later in the day, close the kitchen after dinner, get exposure to sunlight early in the day, and exercise – even 10 minutes daily improves sleep – just not too close to bedtime.
Your fitness after 50 will be limited or supported by your sleep.
If you have a rich life full of family, work, and activities you love, you’ve got stress. There’s no way around it. So this is no empty “lower your stress” advice. Embrace it!
The only time you won’t have any, you’re close to dead. Your fitness after 50 is a dance between exercise stress and other stress in your life.
By increasing physical strength with the right exercise you enhance resilience
Increasing the joy factor (laughter, love, relationships, experiences)
Decreasing the toxic exposure (chemical exposure>food, water, air, products)
Physical stress from toxins, lack of sleep, dieting or over exercise, as well as emotional stress all contribute to your stress load. Control what you can. Small daily actions add up.
What you’re taking out and what you put in both matter. Know that some of us do handle stress better than others naturally, but it’s also possible to adapt so you can handle stress better. If you have a strong “why,” what I call a “cry why,” that makes it all worthwhile, it helps. Make sure there is purpose to your life in ways you need it. Exercise is a big part of increasing your resilience to all kinds of stressors.
Boost removal of toxins stored in your body by gradually adding more fiber. Start with this healthy chia pudding recipe. Use this base or start getting creative with your own ideas.
Pour the chia seeds into a bowl. Blend the protein powder and milk until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the chia seeds. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Enjoy. This high protein pudding can double as a breakfast or a post-workout snack, depending on your goals and needs. Either way, it’s a craving killer that can satisfy you for hours. Make a couple and take one with you when you travel. Pop it into an insulated bag. Don’t forget the spoon!
Socialize with people doing what you do or want to do, thinking the way you think or want to, you soon change your thinking>actions>habits and life
We know it to be true of cults and in scientific experiments.
Research tells us that resistance to change both internal and external is one of the greatest obstacles we have. When you’re surrounded by peopledoing what you’re doing or what you want to be doing you are more successful.
If you have kids you know this one well. Remember how important it was that your kid’s friends were good kids? It’s no different for you.
It’s not that you won’t have resistance to change, but when you have more people going the same direction around you that resistance has less chance of stopping you. Your fitness after 50 is a factor of who you surround yourself with. Who do you spend the most time with?
You’ve first got to identify that you have thinking that’s holding you back. That’s part of joining a community or having a coach. How else would you know?
Next, you have to want to change. In the past 25 years many women (who were only doing body weight exercise) ask about body weight exercises for bone density and changes in body composition. When I share the science there are about 50% that will respond, I’m going to stick to my body weight exercises, thank you.
Your fitness after 50 can’t be better than the expectations you have for it.
If you believe something is true, the biology of that belief, (it’s not just a thought), has the potential to change the expression of your DNA. If there is any tendency for it to happen genetically, your belief will be fertilizing it. Or you can pull a bad weed by believing and acting in a way that won’t allow a genetic predisposition to occur.
I’m sharing the example of the famous hotel maids study in our masterclass to illustrate this.
The thought that a good habit is good for you (like going for a walk every day) makes it more beneficial. If you remind yourself that by being busy at work even if you have a fairly sedentary job is good for your brain health and lifting weights over your lunch hour three days a week is keeping you fit the affirmation and belief has the potential to enhance your memory and the benefits of strength training sessions.
If we could test you for 8 weeks with your normal habits, and then test again after 8 weeks of thinking it was true, science has proven that you would experience all the benefits of weight training (strength, endurance, decreased body fat, increased muscle tissue) more significantly during the second eight weeks.
That famous hotel maids study illustrates this point perfectly, too. (Are you getting invites to join my free monthly masterclass? You can get the juicy stuff I only share via email here.)
Your fitness after 50, therefore, can improve without more time and energy, so long as you’re already employing good habits.
Almost anything you eat out of convenience (with a few exceptions popping up) is going to have more sodium, sugar, and saturated fat than you would cook at home. Further, even the salad bar is not safe with chemicals added to the greens to preserve them.
On average eating out increases caloric intake by 200 more calories per meal. If you eat out the average 5.8 times a week, that’s 1160 more calories a week – of more saturated fats, sodium, and sugar. Your fitness after 50 will be enhanced by the right nutrition and sabotaged by poor nutrition.
In addition to cooking at home, eat slow. Eating fast – the 20-30 minutes per meal Americans spend on average… often rushed, checking email, means you don’t even have the enzymes to digest food, leading to digestion and elimination issues.
Nearly every excuse you give for not exercising is a reason to exercise. You have achy joints and muscles… exercise. You are afraid of falling or getting injured… exercise. You never have enough time… exercise. You are too tired… exercise.
Ask, do I want that to be true?
I’ve been there. Married with kids, jobs, and a dog. Single parent with a house, a yard, two jobs, constant contact to hundreds of clients and students, writing a book, training for an Ironman, at every golf meet. I know about busy. Don’t talk to me about busy. You just decide.
If you were sick and needed lifesaving medicine, you wouldn’t dream of not taking it. Exercise prevents nearly every major disease. Why get it in the first place?
The terms Exercise is Medicine, and Food is Medicine have both become not just mantras and memes but scientific solutions to contemporary problems.
If you develop a daily regime of movement your fitness after 50 will improve. Your commitment to the exercise gets easier. When adults who exercise regularly don’t get their regular dose, they don’t feel as good, sleep as well, think as clearly or handle stress as well.
You can become one of those people.
When you’re not getting results from your current exercise program, there is no logic whatsoever in doing MORE of it. Increasing frequency and or duration of exercise is often the first default. Women assume that it’s their fault and they need to exercise more. But more exercise that isn’t already making you feel good… is certainly not going to make you feel great.
If you’re not seeing and feeling better from the exercise you do now, don’t increase the frequency of it expecting to see better results.
Improving your fitness after 50 isn’t about doing “more” if it’s going in the wrong direction. Check in with your exercise prescription now and be sure it is in alignment with your needs and not based on some arbitrary governmental recommendation or you 20 years ago.
If you’re exercising all the time, you may need to stop! Doing less can be smarter. Figure out some other way to pacify or calm yourself.
It is no longer a grams per kilogram body weight, or a total at the end of the day, or worse a percent of your total diet. It’s a much more user-friendly meal-based number of grams of protein.
Early and continued research by Rasmussen and Jones and now an expanding number of protein experts both from exercise science and nutrition are coming together on this.
Much of this research compared younger and older adults to each other. Older adults actually needed more, not less, due to decreased muscle protein synthesis. Your fitness after 50 is dependent on muscle. No matter what else you want to do or measure of fitness you want to improve you’ve got to have protein, the building block of muscle in order to enjoy optimal fitness.
Your stress level, prior eating history, exercise, exposure to foods that cause inflammation all influence your personal ability to breakdown food and digest it optimally.
While it’s true few individuals have Celiac disease, many functional doctors who work with women in midlife recommend omitting dairy and gluten because they find that 90% of their female patients feel better when they do.
You can test for yourself on several levels. Your body never lies. So removing and reintroduction is a step I recommend every woman do. Lab testing can confirm or reveal additional information. DNA testing can show what may be true of you and encourage greater commitment to solutions. Testing:
Use“Genes” for DNA testing 20% off (ends Dec. 20)
“28for10” for the 28-Day Kickstart January
“Flipping50” for $20 off your Micronutrient testing at yourlabwork.com/flipping-50
The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women is about optimal hormone balance. A 2 x 2 program following a foundation of hormone reset optimally improves fitness and negates the negative effects of stress that can occur from exercise.
From your DNA, and your personal preference or dread, you can determine the best way to spend your exercise time to get optimal results. Your fitness after 50 journey should be fun, uplifting, and exciting. If you haven’t found those activities or motivators keep looking!
What’s referred to as “wired and tired” can be avoided by avoiding the feast or famine adrenalin rollercoaster most of us are on during the day.
If you’re constantly in fight-or-flight mode your body can lose the ability to rest-and-relax. Those systems, your sympathetic and parasympathetic system are meant to balance and in contemporary life, unless you override the constant on call and unplug, they fail to work correctly.
Fight-or-flight will eventually begin to store fat for you to protect you. Rest-and-relax won’t work at night if you’ve not balanced that on and off switch during the day.
It works occasionally: it was meant to, but unfortunately, we’ve turned life into constant flight-or-flight.
Reaching for sugar and caffeine to wind up and wine to wind down or numb yourself all increase your weight, interfere with your sleep, and accelerate aging.
Caffeine consumption – if it’s abundant – is actually related to weight gain. It increases insulin resistance and signals your body to crave glucose-containing foods because it reduces blood sugar.
The simple advice is this. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re no longer hungry. Sleep when you’re tired. Drink before you’re thirsty. When you’re upset with someone have the difficult conversation.
If you’re not doing that, start. If you’ve ignored the urge to go to the bathroom, the need to drink more water, the need for sleep you’ll need to retrain your brain to pay attention.
One more energy placebo is adrenalin. You know you’re operating on adrenalin if you’re always waiting ‘til the last minute, or adding something to your to-do list, you’ve always got a dozen projects and your pushing to get something done. You’re always running late, or close to it. You might complain about it, but you actually don’t know how to exist with sustained stable energy.
Unlearning your old habits and replacing them with new ones can reverse aging, increase energy and you can start feeling it in days or weeks.
Have you got a story to tell about your fitness after 50 journey? I love to hear from you. Our community is inspired to hear real stories of people defying old limiting beliefs!
Ever wonder why you train and you eat right but you’re not seeing that reflection in the mirror you want? This post is about results of my DNA test and how it’s given me – even a 34-year medical fitness expert and strength & conditioning coach– insight into exercise, nutrition, and recovery habits – that have in a very short time boosted my fitness level.
Get fit faster, in less time. That’s the dream for so many of my clients. Granted you may really enjoy exercise and like training but there’s a better chance that until you turn a corner on feeling better you aren’t quite there yet
Whether you are a woman who wants to reclaim her body or you are one who wants to see what her body is capable of in this second (and make-it-better) half, this is for you!
If you find yourself dealing with a chronic injury or one after the other and stuck in a rut repeating the same kind of exercise and nutrition habits without better results, this is for you too.
Before I dive in, I want to remind you who I am. I do love exercise. I wish I had more time to not have to “bookend” workouts with appointments and obligations. I do though. That’s just the moment I’m in and I choose it, so it’s OK! That said, if you don’t have the time to exercise, maybe don’t love it, this makes me a little more like you. I don’t love a lot of things about exercise right now: the shoving it in when I’ve got too many other things to do; the fact that it seems like a chore instead of a pleasure some times. I know and have for 36 years that I never regret it and always feel better/work better/am me better after. Even then I suppose I’m tied to doing rather than being, which… is an entire other post for another day.
I’ve studied exercise physiology, kinesiology, and hormones, and I’ve listened to myself for 34 years. (exercise & sport psychologists tend to be good at that) And I had a lot of things right. But there is more.
I’ve learned from a simple swab on the inside of my cheeks that either confirmed things I was doing already, informed me of things I should be doing, and suggested things that will make my 2019 the most fit year of my life.
Are you, by the way, interested in having your fittest year too? (Hop down to the bottom of the post!)
And since September when I began applying changes? I’ve lost a few pounds and enhanced my energy level… without much effort. (Oddly, sometimes I find myself thinking, huh… usually I’m tired about now… and I’m just not!)
Can you tell which one of these I share DNA with?
>>I “rise & rest early.”
Yes, yes, I do. Always have. I smile in fact when people tell me, “I’ve been up since 5:30 this morning…” or even, “I woke at 4 today…” because I’m like… and? I’ve always liked getting a head start on the day. On the flip side, I have been known to go to bed before it’s completely dark in summer.
>>My current supplements D3, Omega 3, Probiotics, C, and multivitamin of choice are right on target. They’re related to metabolism and stress so it makes sense for women in midlife to be aware of possible deficiencies.
>>I need a little more D (it comes up in several areas of my DNA results) so my habit of taking 3000 IU daily I’m actually bumping up during winter months. Though there’s ample sunshine here, I tend not to get out nearly as much in the winter so I’ll be missing D from sunshine.
>>I am predisposed to gluten sensitivity. This has helped me feel committed not crazy. Know what I mean? You have the suspicion you feel so much better without it but no confirmation on that …and its harder to follow through. Now it’s easy. I thought this for a long time and it will inevitably creep in because I don’t have Celiac I don’t have to be so careful, but I know now to ask and be more careful.
>>Carbs of choice for me (as for all women flipping 50) are important. For me there’s higher risk of obesity due to insulin response. Supplementing with Conjugated ALA supports insulin so I can keep an eye on a few things. If for example I had belly fat not budging in spite of quality sleep and exercise for instance, I would consider supplementing.
>The best way to enhance my fitness level is … endurance activity. So in spite of interval training benefits and anaerobic (weights) training, which science tells us balance hormones optimally (by negating negative effects of cortisol while working magic), I personally want to slide that to a smaller percentage of my exercise time. Longer bikes, hikes, runs and swims will do my body a fitter faster good. For someone who did a single sprint triathlon, two Olympic-distance tris, and then moved right on to Ironman distance and never looked back? This is no surprise.
>My sleep habits are right on target! Excusing myself early from parties is smart! I have a higher sensitivity to blue light. Since I am predisposed to a shorter sleep length and deep sleep (which was one big surprise my DNA results delivered: this confirms my habits make this no problem at all: win!) The blue light glasses I got my son for Christmas should likely be on my own list. Done.
>>Even though I deal with stress like a “warrior” and endurance exercise is my jam, I am predisposed to oxidative stress and more prone to ligament and tendon injury. What’s that tell me? Fit the yoga in girl. Keep up with strength training. Warm up and cool down like a boss. Doing hills? (hello, I live in the mountains) longer warm up and occasionally a drive to a flat is not silly, it’s smart. I also want to increase antioxidants in my life. Keep taking that vitamin C and collagen.
>>A high fat diet is not my best friend. For me there is an increased association of saturated fat and obesity. Along that thread high protein and more carbs (resistant starches and plant-based nutrition) will fill my energy needs. I’ve never had a problem with a higher carbohydrate diet as long as protein was also higher. The place where this resolves the most confusion is during longer training. I do better with a higher protein and carb combination than I do one too high in fat. Though I’ve experimented with shifting my ability to use fat at higher levels of intensity, my body’s preference is carb. A hike? Fats are fine. A long run or bike ride? I’m going to need carbs.
>>I have a predisposition for choline deficiency. Interestingly this is tied to liver enzyme levels.Last year mine were off for reasons we never really detected given my lifestyle doesn’t suggest anything that would contribute. Supplementing with choline however wasn’t suggested. I did stop drinking tap water which could have heavy metals in it, and used infrared sauna regularly (gladly!) I will keep tabs on my choline and liver enzymes and have this information to use if needed.
>>I’m more subject to oxidative stress. Taking conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) can benefit me in a few ways. Reducing oxidative stress I can decrease risk of injury. CLA also supports a decrease in body fat.
>My higher homocysteine levels revealed in my recent lab tests are genetic. I have less frustration now over why I would have these levels given my healthy habits. So I’m adding probiotics, folate, and Betaine HCL to my regime consistently to see if a focused effort for three months will reduce homocysteine (an inflammation marker).
>>A twice annually micronutrients test will be helpful to determine my levels in order to adjust my micronutrients. Since I already order a full panel of tests annually and this is such a simple daily habit to enhance lifetime health, I’m in. I’ll test again at the beginning of the year, adjust if needed, and retest in the summer.
>>I want to check my B vitamins, D levels, Omega fat ratios, and magnesium levels specifically.
The goal is to take supplements I need and eliminate those you don’t. It’s not a one and done kind of thing however, your body’s needs changes with activity, stress, rest in this integrated thing called life. Your body simply can’t have a thriving metabolism or balanced hormones if you’re not getting or absorbing micronutrients.
It’s two months since getting my results and implementing changes (or simply following through better with existing habits). I’ve lost a few pounds without really trying and my fitness level has improved, not measured from testing but in energy. So much energy.
I’m not done though. Beginning January 1, 2019 will be my fittest year. I’m committing to it and to myself. I want to see what difference a year of focused training makes at 54-55 on speed, VO2, body fat, lean muscle, and cholesterol, heart rate and of course, hormone levels.
I’ll assess my fitness, health, and wellness throughout the year, including hormones, micronutrients, VO2, body composition, and health markers so I can adjust as needed. I’ll be posting about it in so many ways, beginning January 1.
Want to join me and create your fittest year ever with me as your coach? Here’s how to get started.
Or skip to the order form.
Register for I’m all in or (12) monthly installments.(contact me for no-interest 12 pay)
P.S.I hear your resistance because I’ve got it too. If you’re thinking this just sounds like a long list of supplements I have to take, it does. I think it’s fair to ask why we don’t question the increased toxic exposure we have, the increased pace of life, and decreased time to relax and yet still think we don’t need a little help from the positive side.
The elephant in the room… no one ever said to me, “I love taking supplements.” But I’ve heard hundreds of thousands of women say, “I like feeling good,” or “I want to feel good.” Testing helps you see what’s true right now about why you don’t feel as good as you could. Whether it’s a complete panel, micronutrients, food sensitivity, or it’s DNA or all of them, when you know better you do better.
Are you flipping this second half with me? I’d love to hear which tools (DNA testing, full lab panels, micronutrient testing, food sensitivity testing you’re using to stop guessing and get great results!)
Ready to Test? This Month it’s a great gift for yourself or someone else! Choose from GOLD, PLATINUM, or ELITE. Click here or the image to learn more about each. use code: genes for 20% off right now!! Includes a personalized results form and full session with me to go over recommendations. Limited time offer!
When you have a long list of desire for energy, vitality, tone, balance, strength, better memory, and little time you want the best exercises for getting the most results in the least amount of time. That’s what this post is all about. I’ve selected some big needle movers that should be a part of your workouts.
These strength exercises earn the title as best exercises based on results. They are three exercises that provide the most return on investment (ROI). You get the most results in the least amount of time. If you’re a Flipping 50 TV fan you know that’s the mission of all my recommendations. Time is the most often sited obstacle to exercise for any of us.
These exercises provide bone density (when weight selected is heavy enough for overload), and a metabolism – boost through fat loss and lean muscle increase. Collectively, those benefits add up to longevity with your health in tact. We’re not just looking for a longer lifespan, after all. We’re looking for a longer “healthspan.”
It’s typical for a fitness professional or a doctor perhaps to recommend 8-10 exercises for your 8-10 major muscle groups. Yet, if you dig deeper often those recommendations are based on decades-old text book recommendations and position statements.
Today we know that exercising one muscle group in an exercise is isolating muscle groups. That’s like a solo performance.
In life your muscles perform like an orchestra. No one instrument sounds good without the other. So it is for your muscles. You’ve got to have the whole thing functioning. So while isolating muscles going from one machine to the next machine can be a good place to start, moving on to a new way of moving more muscles at one time provides the best return on investment.
I always, always, include these best exercises for strength in my personal strength workouts and in workouts I design for adults over 50. I also do functional movements but I never do variety for variety’s sake.
You’ve noticed, if you follow Flipping 50 blogs or the podcast regularly, that I don’t do exercises that come with a poor risk: reward ratio. With dozens of exercises to choose from there’s no reason to do that.
Don’t start with heavy weight, even if you’re without joint issues and able to go heavy later. Begin with weight you can do 15-20 times at least. Follow the ABCs below over a period of weeks (even 2-3 months is optimal).
We lose fast twitch muscles twice as fast as we do our slow twitch muscle fibers. They’re important for reaction skills. When you almost slip, almost being the optimal word, your fast twitch muscles help you respond and right yourself. When the sidewalk is a little icy, you have to put on the brake quickly while driving, or you catch something about to fall off the counter… thank your fast twitch muscles.
But if you haven’t been training them on purpose you’ve lost some of them between 30 and whatever age you are now. You can reverse losses and get them back. Here are three ways. This list is by no means all-inclusive, it’s just a few you can begin with. All you need is 2-3 minutes a day of quick moves.
If you dance, you know this is a foxtrot. Nothing against the waltz but the slow controlled flow of waltz is not helpful for your fast twitch muscles. Stand beside a ladder (tape one on the floor, use one in the gym, or imagine one) and step two feet into the ladder then out on the other side using the quick-quick-slow rhythm.
Imagine stepping into the squares of a ladder on the floor. The trick though is to practice leading with your non-dominant side. Does it feel awkward? You need it more.
Imagine facing a ladder on the floor from the side. The length of the ladder is spread out to your right. Step in to a square with your right, then left foot. Step back with your right then left foot. Then do the same in the next square to the right, and continue all the way down the ladder. Do the same on your left foot.
Feeling unstable? You don’t want to risk a fall trying to prevent one! So do any of these drills in the water where you’ll still activate fast twitch muscles without any risk of falling.
You go to yoga to improve balance. You don’t worry about falling in yoga. Why not? Because it’s quiet, calm, with no distractions so you can just focus on balance. That’s really not helpful. You’ll fall when there are tons of distraction from moving people or objects, noise, obstacles on the ground or people bumping into you. So create it once you’re really ready to improve your balance in real life. Three ways to take any standing yoga pose further:
Flip: Falls rarely occur when it’s quiet and you have no distractions. Be on an uneven surface, not always in shoes or flooring designed to make it easy.
If you’ve got a history of falling in your recent past or your balance isn’t optimal, you want to keep yourself safe. It could be you with an inner ear or vestibular challenge, an injury, or it could be a parent.
I observed my mom this week attempting to do two things at once while we were out and about. Why wouldn’t she? It’s what we do, right? We multitask. Yet, when it’s less the norm than the exception and you’re defaulting to something you used to do but don’t so regularly any more, these situations present an increased risk. For example:
Include the strength exercises in your fitness routine twice a week. (contrary to popular belief, more is not better) Include the fast twitch fiber exercises every time you exercise as “finishers” in the last few minutes. Also include balance nearly every day for a few minutes either at the end of a workout or just random times when you’re waiting in line at the store or the bank, when you’re doing your bicep curls or triceps press at the gym.
Are you on Instagram? Follow me for IGTV videos coming with exercises and the WHY they’ll help you and how to do them.
Prefer YouTube? You’ll find lots of videos there, too.
If you like your videos organized into programs for you, check out this blog about the Flipping 50 exercise video options.
Strength training is beneficial at any age. Strength training after 50 should be mandatory. Health concerns that result in medical costs, loss of independence, and early decline could be avoided or reduced with weight training.
The list of issues that plagues many adults over 50, including women going through menopause, is almost exactly opposite the list of weight training benefits well documented in research. Sleep issues, weigh gain, joint pain, depression, anxiety, blood pressure, cholesterol, bone density, loss of stamina, strength and endurance, low back pain, and digestive issues are common complaints among older adults.
The answer for avoiding or improving any of those issues requires a low investment of time, money, and energy compared to the cost of living with any of them.
“More and more research is finding that it is, in fact, the only type of exercise that can substantially slow, and even reverse, the declines in muscle mass, bone density, and strength that were once considered unavoidable parts of aging.”
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has fitness guidelines specific to weight training for adults over 50. The guidelines state lifting weights 2 or 3 times a week for 8-10 major muscle groups with a weight heavy enough to fatigue muscles in 10 to 15 repetitions.
Reductions in bone density, and even improvements once thought not possible, occur with weight training though not with cardiovascular training. I’ve stated many times that you can’t outrun, out-Zumba, osteoporosis. Avid runners – both enthusiasts and elite athletes are prone to fractures if they are not lifting weights.
You also can’t hope that Barre, Pilates, or Yoga will increase your bone health as effectively as weight training. There will be small gains for anyone coming off the couch, or new to the exercises but all three (and the infinite variations of fusion that exist) lack both the weight bearing and weight load necessary for optimal bone density. The bottom line is if bone density is a concern and it should be given lifespan is extending and losses begin at about age 30, your return from 20 minutes of weight training twice a week is significantly greater than other exercise.
Weight training works on bones in two ways. The increased muscle pull on bones and the increased stress to the bone from the load on the skeleton during lifting both support increased bone density.
For a small investment of 40 to 60 minutes of your week the returns are significant. Impressive improvements in sleep, appetite, blood sugar control, arthritis, injury reduction, fewer falls and improved immunity are a few of the benefits.
Metabolism often decreases with age, due in part to a loss of muscle, which in turn contributes to less activity and it begins to spiral downward from there. Weight training is one of the best ways to stimulate metabolism long term by preventing muscle loss and increasing lean tissue. See below for more on improving metabolism by reducing fat and increasing lean tissue.
You can look at strength training two ways. It will indeed prevent some of the once-assumed “normal” degenerative issues associated with aging. That approach of avoidance however is not a tremendous motivator for most of us. The bigger win is related to enjoying benefits as opposed to not suffering from disease or decline. You can enjoy more energy, vitality, more intimacy (yes, sex is a benefit), more productivity, creativity and better problem solving.
You’re not just reducing your medical bills and insurance rates (fitness habits often result in lower premiums), you’re enhancing your enjoyment of life!
One of our STRONGER participants said it best.
“I do feel stronger. More important than that though: I got myself back. I feel more like me than I have in years.”
That was after just eight weeks of strength training twice a week.
If you’re new to strength training, or you change your program I’m most excited for you! You’ll experience the most results. A study by Wayne Westcott showed study participants doing a traditional weight training program (similar to ACSM recommendations) loss 4 lbs. of fat and gained 3 lbs. of muscle in four weeks. Similar results continued for each of the first three months of strength training.
The end result of 12 weeks of strength training for subjects on average was 12 lbs of fat loss and 9 lbs of muscle gain. That may be just 4 lbs reflected on the scale, yet your body composition improvements will mean a higher metabolism and significant change in inches.
Further, unlike cardiovascular exercise that has limited influence on body shape, weight training can significantly improve body proportion. Nothing will change your shape like strength training, before or after 50.
In addition, the benefits last longer than say micro-movements of barre or other conditioning classes. That’s not to say they have no value, but they are not going to have a major influence on your metabolism (or bone density, mood, cholesterol or blood pressure) compared to strength training. If time is of the essence, strength training after 50 provides the greatest return.
The more you move, the better. The sweet spot for strength training frequency that improves overall activity level all day is twice a week. Those who do more, tend to compensate with couch time and those who train less than twice weekly on weights tend not to experience the benefit of increased energy and desire to be more active.
They never started.
It’s the single biggest reason. Baby boomer women weren’t necessarily socialized to value weight training as young adults. Strength training after 50 will be much more the norm in one or two decades when those flipping 50 have been frequenting the weight room more consistently for decades. [One of the best things you can do to influence the health and longevity of a young woman is to encourage her to get into the weight room now!]
Getting acclimated to a gym or weight room as an older adult can be more intimidating if you don’t already have some sense of what you’re doing.
Fewer than 15% of adults over 60 achieve a habit of weight training twice a week.
Most adults over 60 state reasons like injury (not necessarily caused by the weight training) or illness, or travel were stated as the biggest reasons for dropping out. But a significant number of responses indicate that a lack of support during programs played a part in ceasing to either start or continue strength training after 50.
The anecdote? Start today. Think about what would make it more comfortable for you. Private studio or at-home exercise? One-on-one trainer or a group program? Online coach or commute to a fitness center? With a friend or solo focused on your needs? Until you’re comfortable and intimidation is a non-factor, make sure you’ve got support.
There’s a drop out rate for strength training after 50 of up to 45% percent depending on circumstances (training alone, in a group).
Based on much of the research on retention and on behavior change I’ve studied over three decades, the keys to regular strength training after 50 are not surprising and you may have guessed.
1) Get support from an expert you trust
Find a program, a video, or a trainer with experience working with someone like you. In my hypothesis and experience, none of us is truly lazy, but we are reluctant if we don’t have confidence what we do is getting us closer to our goals. Find a source you trust with a track record of success.
2) Confirm you’re following a program designed based on research about you.[39% of ALL sports medicine and exercise research features females: a fraction of that is based on women in peri-menopause and beyond]. Because you’ve got unique multiple needs: hormones, metabolism, bone density, body composition … you need a program designed based on research featuring subjects like YOU.
3) Make sure the program addresses your priorities.
You probably have more than one goal. If you’re seeking hormone balance, care for joints, increased strength and bone density, go shopping not for a program labeled “strength training after 50” (or something similar which could be a marketing ploy placed on anything). Instead, ask for details about the design of the program and the science behind it.
I’d love to hear from you. Are you strength training after 50? How long have you been strength training? Share your age: it’s relevant! You could inspire someone!
Save 25% on the 12-week women’s program now … before DECEMBER 9 11:59pm MST
I’m pulling back the curtain on Flipping 50 programs in this post. Every single belly fat solution here is included in the 28-Day Kickstart and the After 50 Fitness Formula for Women.
Whether you want or need to lose weight or it’s just the belly fat won’t budge, OR you want to get your energy and mojo back, these are the pieces (and each you’ll see is tied to research (included below). I’m a prove-it-to-me girl, too.
It all starts (and ends) with these steps. They aren’t core exercises. Your core muscle may need attention but if you’re exercise habits didn’t change yet belly fat did, you’ve got to look at the whole picture. Exercise alone though isn’t the answer. You’ve got to set yourself up for: wanting to exercise, energy to do quality exercise, and the recovery through nutrition that supports positive exercise change.
Eating 30 grams of fiber each day – even if you do nothing else – could improve weight loss significantly. Subjects in a study followed either a more complex diet and increased fiber or only increased fiber. Both groups lost weight. The group that followed all changes did best, but only by a marginal increase.
Simply said, increasing sugar intake, making no other changes, increases body fat, while decreasing sugar, making no other changes, decreases body fat. When belly fat won’t budge take a closer look at what you’re eating you don’t recognize as sugar.
I say “limit” sugar as opposed to omit because eliminating is almost impossible. Fruit is sugar. A sweet potato is sugar. Beets are sugar. So you want to be aware of the fact that your body just recognizes sugar once it’s in the body. It doesn’t say, oh, this sugar is from pineapple or beets, it’s good, and digest it differently. When food gets broken down and it rapidly turns to sugar as it’s digested, the good stuff too can spike your blood sugar and therefore your fat storage.
Protein is the single most important nutrient for weight loss.
It boosts metabolism, reduces appetite, and positively changes several weight-regulating hormones (GIP, and ghrelin are two).
Lower calorie diets (moderate intake compared to excess or calorie restricted) with high nutrient density including protein are key to maintaining muscle while losing fat weight.
Per meal recommendations of 25-30 grams of protein benefit metabolism and body composition both. Surprisingly, for my clients energy has also been a big benefit – even within the first week.
Fish oil can reduce inflammation and cortisol, which in turn help fat metabolism and lean muscle gains. In adults over 50 there’s a resistance to gaining lean muscle tissue, so if you do find it harder to lose weight, there’s a reason. But you can overcome it and fish oil may be a part of your arsenal. A study showed taking 4 grams of fish oil daily alleviates that resistance to adding muscle that can come (does not HAVE to) with age. Further, Omega 3 supplementation boosted the ability of the body to gain muscle from protein in the diet. Add that to your proper exercise and you’re golden for longevity you love.
You want to get the bad stuff out and the good stuff in. I know you’re reading that a small percent of the population is actually celiac (allergic to gluten). Yet a high percent of us are actually sensitive to gluten, and it can indeed affect your weight.
No. If you’re sensitive you want to be 100% “in” on getting things that disturb your gut “out.” At some point you may retest (lab or literally with food) to see how you’re doing. You may heal your gut and be able to handle it again. But having some every day, having a little here and there? Just no. If you really want to feel better, you won’t.
If you think some of the foods you have to give up are addicting, wait until you feel good on a daily basis. You’ll never go back.
Oh, and those addictive foods (or over exercise, for that matter?) are exactly a clue (the I can’t give it up, I have to…) that it’s ADDICTION not healthy choice.
Women need carbohydrates to be happy. Carbs support sleep. If your mood and energy tank while you’re on a diet it’s not likely you’re going to see sustained weight loss. You need to identify the right carbohydrates and the right time to eat them. It’s not intuitive! Your exercise will be so much more effective if you’ve got the right fuel.
There are details you want to be aware of when it comes to carbohydrates we’ve been led to believe are “healthy.”
Eating too much lectin could interfere – molecule bind to leptin receptors, inhibiting leptin’s ability to signal that you’re full. Beyond that lectins can cause digestive issues after long time exposure, but can go undetected except for the inability to lose weight. Removing high lectin foods – like the 6-11 servings of grain a day recommended by the USDA food pyramid is a good start. Dried beans, legumes, soy and peanuts, even quinoa and nightshades contain them.
I learned that my DNA predisposes me to gluten sensitivity (and foods with lectin are almost all also full of gluten) so I have a stronger commitment to eliminating them now. More about testing your DNA.
Leptin resistancedevelops when inflammation is present. Reduce inflammation by supplementing with Omega 3 and or eating omega-3 rich foods like salmon and sardines regularly. I do both, as well as avoiding lectin-containing foods whenever possible.
The very thing you’ve been trying to do backfires on you big time. If you reduce calories your body shuts down (metabolism and hormone production – including leptin). For women in menopause fasting may or may not be right for you. Discuss with a coach your past and present situation including relationship with food first.
Fasting? Alternate day fasting did not benefit midlife women in a weight loss study.
Decreasing caloric intake overall combined with increased protein intake and meal replacement (e.g. smoothiefrom clean quality protein) supported not only results but compliance. It seems fasting is just too extreme to maintain and often results in a binge that follows. That said, if you’re inclined and you can, intermittent fasting won’t hurt your results: it just won’t necessarily boost or enhance them.
HIIT stimulates growth hormone (and testosterone) which stimulates leptin.
Long endurance exercise will kill your efforts. More is not more. More is self-sabotage. This is a mixed and complicated message, I know.
Yes, you need to move more.
However, you need to exercise LESS.
You want to do focused short exercise sessions that include HIIT, weight training, AND low intensity movement.
Your effective workouts can be 10 or 20 minutes long most days of the week and then longer “play” on the weekends.
Moving more is about what you do all day every day. The 30 minutes of “exercise” is not going to save you from sitting on your bum 23.5 hours a day.
When you start eating better, and because of it sleeping better, and exercising to get better at life, you will naturally be inspired to move more each and every day. Twenty-three hours more movement daily even at a lower level than you exercise for 30 is what makes the MOST difference between those overweight/obese and not. So yes, exercise, but move more all day for the most impact on your health and hotness.
If you skip sleep and it’s importance or are ignoring the things you do have power over to sleep better, your leptin levels can be 15% lower than if you were sleeping. So Ghrelin (the hunger hormone) production is elevated and Leptin (your satiety hormone) is down without sleep.
Want support with making these changes in a way that’s not overwhelming?
Take 28 Days and feel better fast. Four weeks is going to pass anyway. You A.) change nothing and feel the same, B.) try something extreme and feel worse, or C.) you could do this with me and feel way better! (I’d choose “C”!)
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: I’m a summer girl. I don’t heat the “lower level” in my house unless I’ve got guests and at 8800 ft. elevation, baby, it’s COLD, INSIDE! So popping into my sauna warms my bones…literally.
The real reason I love it is this: I’m a two-for-one girl.
I love habits that give me instant gratification. I’m a part of the “right now” economy… aren’t we all?
And … yet I’ve given up my once response, “not right now.” I worked at the Cone ‘n Bun in highschool. [I can’t make this sh__ up!] My best friend’s dad owned it. We enjoyed eating marshmellow-carmel-hotfudge sundaes plenty of whipped cream often enough. I remember someone observing me do this (I was probably a size 4 at the time) saying, “you’re going to have a weight problem some day”… and I responded… “maybe, but not today.”
Talk about a little flip.
Suffice to say I’ve come a long way. I did struggle with food and weight during both undergrad and grad school and immediately after. I tool lots of short cuts for energy that sabotaged me. During grad school, some days by noon I had probably had 3 Diet Cokes with some sugary carbs between.
Today I choose habits that give me a boost NOW and LATER. [I’m sipping a cup of matcha as I write this.] My sauna is another one of them. Stimulating cellular renewal, infrared light is good for so many things. I’ve healed road rash (bike crash) sweat out toxins, improved my skin and sleep too.
I’m not really into most gadgets and fitness toys… you’ve noticed that I don’t promote many tools and props. It’s kind of “not about the bike”for me. It’s you. There are a LOT of gadgets, trends, and fads out there, claiming to benefit your health. I’ve got a few staples for fitness, and yet they’re pretty much the same I’ve used for decades. Every toy begs to have you use IT and it’s protocol instead of looking at YOU and your status and your need. That’s how I choose for me and for clients. What are my goals, my status, and my needs? If I have a gap – there’s an exercise I need to accomplish it and can’t do it without a prop – then I’ll be inclined to buy it.
Walking through five expo halls at amazing conferences this last couple months I could have dropped some serious dough on the newest toys and tools. But I don’t.
I wanted a sauna for years though.
When you can’t always exercise as much as you want to, infrared sauna stimulates your cardiovascular system. So yes, for those of us that are super busy it’s a boost to the metabolism. But if you’ve got arthritis, degenerative disks, fibromyalgia, or you’re healing from an injury, it’s a great way to improve your health too. Infrared light has been proven in many studies to support health in these special conditions. If you suffer from depression or seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.), you could benefit too.
This is one investment in health is worth it and using it as often as daily (during a month-long detox) or 2-3 times a week regularly. Most often I use it two or three times a week. Oddly, it’s one of the first things I do after a trip. I’ll walk in, turn it on and let it heat while I unpack and then pop in.
We are being called the longevity economy. We’re changing aging. I think sauna and stem cell rejuvenation (naturally through fasting) are a part of it. I don’t look at the one time investment. I look at whether I’m going to be glad I did this in 20 or 30 years, or regretting that I didn’t!
Your own personal infrared sauna can help you eliminate chemical toxins and heavy metals, and it’s proven by many published studies. It helped me turn my liver enzymes around in a few months.
That’s saying a lot, in a world where so many industries–the food, pharmaceutical, beauty, fitness and diet mega-billion dollar industries, all conspire to make us WANT quick fixes and addictive habits. Even those of us exercising and eating a clean diet have a lot of chemical exposure.
I’ve been enjoying my Sunlighten Infrared Sauna, for six months now–especially in the evening before my bedtime routine. I’ve been amazed how much it’s helped me to sleep – since I already love sleep! I too had my share of wakeful nights, believe me. Now, they’re rare.
And for weight loss, or maintenance, there is no better tool, besides maybe a treadmill or a mountain! Many people – maybe YOU cannot run on a treadmill, and for them, as well as the rest of us, this passive stimulation for the cardiovascular system, in the sauna, is very powerful.
If you’ve got “limiters” – degenerative discs, special conditions like arthritis, or chronic fatigue, this can be an amazing way for you to support changes you want. Unlike your treadmill or exercise bike catching laundry, it doesn’t take much motivation to lie down and relax!
1) EAT MORE whole foods
2) EXERCISE LESS, and
3) DESTRESS or detox the body so FAT doesn’t have a job to do and you can release it!! (Fat traps toxins to keep it away from critical organs. That’s protecting you from circulating toxins. But then guess what? It makes fat HARD to lose.)
4) STIMULATE the cardiovascular system–to boost metabolism (and yes, help cellulite as a part of the skin rejuvenation)
The nice thing about having a healing-infrared-rays sauna at your home is how easy it is: just turn it on, and 30 to 40 minutes later, GET IN!
Not interested or in need of weight loss? There are dozens of other benefits you DO want! Infrared improves:
When I fell in love with mine, and experienced the health benefits, I wanted to make the Flipping 50 community aware of the benefits – and at a great rate.
If you decide now is the time you can save $200 and shipping of Sunlighten sauna. I love the personal sauna – more actually than I thought I might. It at first just made the most sense for me while I’m renting.
You want to make sure that you do this before 11/21/18 though because the special Flipping 50 discount goes away then.
Listen to this podcast for more about infrared light, sauna, and Sunlighten.
I also blogged about it when I first got turned on and still had to go seek one out at gyms – not knowing if they were emitting harmful chemicals at the time I was trying to get “healthy.”
P.S.There is a big difference between what you might know as the old dry sauna that just heats you up and the infrared that does this from the inside out. Don’t mistake just any dry sauna at a gym (where you’re pouring water on hot coals – No!) for the same thing unless you’ve researched it specifically.
Imagine yourself 12 months from right now in the best shape of your life.
Yesterday I got a message from a Flipping 50 community member because it was her anniversary. A year ago she had decided to train for her first triathlon, after 60. She included a picture from last year and a recent one in her message. She has aged backwards. She’ll be on the Flipping 50 podcast soon.
You may have zero desire to do a triathlon. But what would you love to do? And yes, I say do. How do you want to live? Not how much do you want to weigh or what size clothes do you want to fit in.
Spoiler alert: If you want to just dream about being in the best shape of your life, this post is not for you. If you think that this is only for someone retired or rich with tons of time and money to spend, this is also not for you. If on the other hand you’re looking for solutions, and ready to accept that it doesn’t take tons of time, it actually GIVES YOU BACK TIME… then keep reading.
Read on to learn how 4 health professionals can help you once you have everything you need to know.
If you want to get in the best shape of your life you have to know where you are now. Women tend to get addicted to the scale. In addition to your weight, get your body fat test done, do your measurements. BMI is less important in your overall health if your body fat percent is good. But waist measurement is predictive of health or of disease so it’s valuable as an independent number.
Get your cholesterol, blood pressure, your inflammation markers, information about your liver and blood. I recommend that you get your hormones tested by a functional doctor or order your own so you get the right thing measured. You want to know your thyroid function.
Test your micronutrients and food sensitivity. If you haven’t done a program already to test and remove your sensitive foods or you keep going back to them and end up feeling bad all over again, seeing it in print from a lab test will convince you to finally commit.
If you’re going to splurge on anything this year, make it your health.
What does your DNA say about your best diet and your best fitness? What is your muscle fiber composition? What nutrients are you predisposed to deficiency for?
When you know your genes, you can control whether those genes are expressed or not.
Even after 34 years of fitness and health coaching I tested my DNA last month and either confirmed or learned plenty.
I let go of some of the things I was SHOULDING myself about when it comes to exercise (because, turns out, they aren’t all that helpful for me based on genetics).
I also COMMITTED on a deeper level to taking certain supplements daily since I’m predisposed to deficiency in Omega 3, Vitamin D, and magnesium. I already had the habits but I confirmed how important they are.
I stopped skimping on the warm up, cool down and started doing more regular physiowork since I’m predisposed to ligament and tendon issues. (Sadly, I must get more frequent massages)!
Do you know what happens when you confirm healthy habits that you’re already doing? You benefit MORE. It’s proven scientifically in studies. If you are already doing things that are good for you and then mindfully reinforce what you’re doing… you make greater gains. (Including weight loss, blood pressure and cholesterol improvements in one study, and improved hearing, sight, fewer wrinkles in another).
From these measures you can determine daily habits.
You know what to eat and what to avoid. You know which types of exercise are going to get you in the best shape the fastest based on your genetic type. You can spend less time exercising and get better results from doing it.
By the time you’re 50 you’ve done some things: some things that potentially damaged joints or ligaments. You may have some genetics that already went to work on you and caused disk degeneration or other issues. Maybe you’ve had car accidents, sports or other injuries. You need someone who can help you work around those types of things.
You have hormones that are changing or already changed the game. Find a hormone-balancing exercise expert (we’ll soon be a directory for working with someone locally!) who can combine your joint needs with your goals and with your hormones.
The fat-burning exercise is easy for a trainer when they’re working with young, fit men, or younger women. But there’s a whole lot less research (39% total and maybe half that for you) using women flipping 50 as subjects. So if you’re in a bootcamp that a trainer says will burn X amount of calories … it may have in a lab with a 20-something male working at 110%. Does that mean it will work for you if you’re stressed, tired and 55? Nope.
And if you want to do something special – a triathlon (it’s SO doable and a perfect way to train your body in a balanced way), a 5K or 10K, hike a 14er, or something else, a strength and conditioning specialist can help you do that, too.
Some trainers can double as health coaches. Some say they can. But health coaching is different. It’s deeper into your change and the steps you take BETWEEN sessions. A trainer hopes and prays you do the workout before you see them again or that you don’t go through the drive-through on the way home from the gym.
A coach though, collaborates with you to develop your homework, and decide what you’re REALLY willing to commit to and do. She helps you be successful in small steps, or sometimes big ones, in the right sequential order. You and I left to our own devices (Yes, even a coach needs a coach in some area of their lives) do things. But random order gets random (or no) results.
A coach also will not allow you to beat yourself up if you don’t get it the first time. It’s data. She helps you figure out why you’re getting in your way.
By the time you’re 50 you have some unlearning to do. You have stinking thinking, not because of a bad attitude but because of the way you’ve been conditioned and taught about fitness and health. You may need to lose old ideas of what “a good workout” is before you can have a good fitness routine that is more than compulsive exercise or obligation. Your best shape may be attainable far easier than you think. That’s not to say change isn’t hard. It’s in part why a health coach can help you break it into manageable parts.
Find someone to help you undo socialization that is limiting you so you can have your fittest year ever. Trust me, it will be followed by the fittest decades you can live on the other side of 50.
Your exercise (and your sleep, digestion, and elimination) can’t work magic on you if you’re not eating the right thing. The old RDA food plate recommendations have dropped us all on our a____. What you need to thrive is another woman’s poison. There is no “healthy” diet that fits all of us.
That said, there are a lot of ways to lose weight. We’ve seen all kinds of people with all kinds of genetics lose weight on low carb and as many lose weight on low fat. Your history, and your DNA together with a blueprint (not a diet) can help you determine how to fuel yourself and feel better faster.
Getting in the best shape of your life may NOT be at all about weight loss. Maybe it’s body composition, or a specific athletic pursuit.
If you can’t do much exercise – because of your schedule, limitations or conditions – nutrition is your best ally. It has the potential to reduce inflammation and enhance sleep, helping you improve hormone balance, productivity, health and prevent disease. You may end up able to move more if you start with diet. Food is medicine.
Look for a nutritionist not limited by RDA standards, who has life experience, and a track record working with women like you. Ask for referrals so you can talk to them. I would keep looking until you find it. Nutrition is the one area most of us are reluctant to get support with because we don’t want to be judged on what we’re doing or have to give up things we love. This person matters a lot. You need to like her.
Dump the SMART goals. I know EVERYONE still talks about them. But for 34 years, I’ve observed (I majored in exercise psychology) most people don’t get squat from SMART goals. No pun intended.
You’ve got to find out why you’ll be committed even when you won’t be motivated. (It’s 5:22am right now. I might like to be sleeping but I’m committed – to you). Getting in the best shape does require goals. But more importantly it requires habits. We want to automate the actions so it’s just a natural part of your life to be in the best shape!
If you’re adding up experts that’s a personal trainer, a medical exercise specialist, a health coach, a nutritionist, and a behavior change coach so far.
I can help you with all that.
Whether you want to be the best you can be in limited time to grow your business as a #ladyboss who needs to be on top of her game, or you want to focus on your best shape as the physical ability to challenge what you can do and push limits instead of settling for an age limiter.
I can help you recover from injuries, train for endurance events, do your first triathlon, your next half marathon, and move with less pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis or fibromyalgia. I can help you find love the food you eat and love how it makes you feel. I can help you know exactly what questions to ask your allied health practitioners and what tests you want to ask for based on your signs and symptoms.
I can help you feel and look your best this year. All you have to do is decide you are ready, show up and do the work (it won’t be overwhelming: it WILL help you make steady forward progress faster than you can do yourself).
You can get in the best shape of your life after 50. Connect with me with questions.
If the holidays are bringing extra decorating, entertaining, shopping, hosting, traveling and fun into your life they may be putting the squeeze on your time to exercise. Time is a limiting factor for any of us any time of year.
This post is about how to change the way you think about that. STAT!
You’re probably forgetting something.
Or you have never experienced something so you couldn’t know this.
When people say they don’t have time what they imagine is that they don’t have time to add something to their day if they’re going to feel the same way as they do now when they start to exercise.
They don’t remember or don’t know that if you feel energized 100% of the time you WILL absolutely have time for exercise, and so many more things you potentially want to do but haven’t been doing.
Exercise and healthy eating (including preparation) don’t COST you time. They give you MORE TIME!
It’s proven with research that people who exercise are more productive, more creative, able to problem solve better, and make fewer errors. That’s all TIME SAVING!
In fact, people who exercise during their workday (yoga for lunch, anyone?) report greater JOB SATISFACTION at the end of the day. Why? It’s probably easier to get work done, feel accomplished, and handle stressors easier.
Not having time to exerciseis a story you tell yourself. It may be a reality right now because you feel so drained.
If you don’t have the energy to begin exercising, or you’ve got a limiting condition, then start with nutrition. The more you learn about HOW to eat (not less, actually many women are eating too little or just poorly) for you right now, the less inflammation you’re going to have, the better you sleep, and the more you’re going to feel like moving more.
Thinking you don’t have time to exerciseis also about mistakenly thinking it takes an hour to get a good workout. It doesn’t.
In fact, if you’re drained, shorter more frequent exercise is better.
It’s not even a matter of building up to an hour. You don’t need to unless you’ve got some endurance goal. A short workout most of the time is more conducive to hormone balance than a long one.
Those days of getting an hour workout in every day and doing 3-hour long monster classes on the weekends? Gone. Not better for results. So let them go! Most older adults who try to pursue those types of endurance activities suffer repeated injuries, slow healing, and chronic fatigue or adrenal exhaustion at some point. (younger ones too!)
Ten or twenty minutes several times a week will help you feel better fast. Sleep improves by 33% with 10 minutes of daily exercise. An hour ho-hum workout can fail you where a 10-minute workout that helps you reach muscular fatigue can change your body (and your life).
The research is clear we need to exercise, and in general move more, all day. Quite a lot to live longer stronger. We sometimes get an incomplete message from experts we trust though.
It’s not about chasing a size or a number on a scale or a BMI. I’m not a fan of doctors who recommend “losing weight” without backing that up with a measure of body composition. If you don’t know your body fat: find out. Track THAT.
Yes, for sure, your waist circumference is a health risk or advantage. But the way to change it permanently is to focus on body fat (body composition). By increasing your lean muscle and decreasing your fat at the same time, your weight will change more slowly. Yet you’ll be far healthier and you will then be more successful in the optimal weight game long term.
Even then, stop chasing numbers and start chasing joy for life and energy to spend doing things you love with people you love. THAT’s motivating.
You don’t do anyone good if you’re drained, constantly tired, and if you’re a woman you’re probably always going to care a bit about how you look. If you’re tired and then also starve yourself of nutrient-dense food while you periodically binge on extreme exercise too, you’re going to wind up worse off, not better.
Here’s a question for you. Do you sneak in sweets daily? You find an excuse to go to the store to pick up something and then buy the peanut butter cups – or malted milk balls – like one of my clients? Are you “good” all day barely eating anything and then end up ordering a pizza late at night exhausted after constant meetings?
Those both steal time and energy from you. They drop you right on your you-know-what. Yet, you don’t think anything of the TIME they take right?
Try it my way for a month. Put exercise into your day. Commit. Decide that whether you’re motivated or not you’re going to do it. You will most likely start making better food choices. In fact, if your exercise comes just before a meal it could really change things. Study subjects made significantly higher nutrient-dense and moderate calorie food choices when they did just 6 minutes of power walking before lunch.
Are you doing too much high intensity exercise? High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been the holy grail of fitness trends for the past several years. Is it the Holy Grail for YOU? Here’s what a recent study says and how to interpret that if you’re a woman flipping (or wanting to) her second half with flare.
Exercise is stress. High intensity exercise is greater stress. Stress causes cortisol.
Cortisol plays two roles in our lives. It’s both the stress hormone and the energy hormone. The perfect amount of stress makes you feel alive and thrive. Too little or too much cortisol each causes problems.
When you’re exercising with the right amount of “overload” or stress you create a positive, not negative, stress response. That’s not to say (because I hear you saying that’s how you negate stress) that exercise doesn’t relieve stress. It can. But we sometimes don’t give ourselves the right dose, frequency or intensity to optimally relieve stress without having it come back to bite us you-know-where.
The key is to find your personal optimal exercise. I’m an advocate for the right exercise for you right now. Women in midlife are more susceptible to the negative effects of stress as they go through other major hormone changes. What worked once – even as recently as months ago or last week – may not be your ideal exercise this week.
That doesn’t mean you’re going to suffer, gain weight, get moody or any of the above. If you adjust your exercise according to what’s going on, respond to it even if you can’t predict what changes will be, you’ll sail through those years from peri-menopause to beyond menopause better. That sets you up for a full Flipping 50 (49-99) feeling as young as your habits will allow you. It’s habits that determine how your genetics express or suppress (epigenetics).
What’s the best exercise? The answer is not the same for you and for every other woman over 50. We’ve got common denominators but your details are unique to you. If you’re deconditioned, conditioned, or an athlete it changes your exercise prescription. If you’re in adrenal fatigue, you’re estrogen dominant, or have low testosterone will change what I suggest you do. If you have osteoporosis, are trying to prevent it, or you have 20 or more pounds to lose, each of these (and more) will change the exercise plan that’s best for you.
A recent study of weight training performed as high intensity interval training (HIIT) was created to determine if HIIT weight training was better than traditional weight training. Researchers asked, is heavy weight training better than the moderate-to-light weight training recommended for decades?
A side note here: the fear of “bulk” from strength training is legit. The three sets of 10-to-12 repetitions taught for decades, as some kind of gold standard actually IS a bulk-building protocol. Ten or fewer repetitions is the optimal strength, bone building, and fat reducing/lean increasing protocol while higher repetition ranges are best for performance enhancement and influencing smaller muscle activation.
Your personal exercise protocol is also influenced by whether you’re a mesomorph, endomorph, or ectomorph. Each body type can respond differently to a protocol.
According to the study performed by the American Council on Exercise, a leading authority in fitness, moderate or average exercise should occur between 70 to 80 percent heart rate intensity, HIIT training requires at least 85 percent heart rate intensity, the study says. Les Mills’ researchers (creators of Body Pump) wanted to determine how to best achieve a healthy balance between one’s HIIT volume (minutes of HIIT per week) and one’s positive stress response. Their hypothesis was that more than 30 or 40 minutes of weekly HIIT volume would prompt a reduced positive stress response.
“A positive stress response to exercise is a critical part of creating the bio-chemical changes in the body that help build new muscle and improve fitness,” the study says. “The stress response can be measured effectively by examining cortisol and testosterone concentrations in saliva.”
Not to repeat myself but as mentioned earlier, this is really what we refer to as the principle of overload in fitness. The stimulus of exercise must be adequate to provide overload such that the body responds after (when between sessions fitness occurs IF you have adequate rest, food, and sleep).
It’s key for YOU to remember, Flipping 50 friend, that you have another thing to consider. The status of your hormones, not just of your mind’s desire to lose fat, or get in shape needs to be considered when designing your exercise program. Pushing through … following lame social media memes suggesting that “sweat is fat crying” can backfire on you and increase fat storage when stress goes the wrong way. When you read “move more” interpret it as walking down the hall to deliver a message as opposed to going to boot camp 6 days a week or doing two-a-days.
Let me take a step back here and describe what it feels like to lift at a level defined as HIIT. There’s a lot of confusion about HIIT. Anything that gets you breathing slightly harder is NOT HIIT. Lifting with a weight that causes fatigue at 10 repetitions correlates with 80% intensity. So in order to lift and a HIIT level of 90% as per the study, you’d be lifting a weight closer to 5 repetitions.
Don’t panic. You definitely progress to this point. You also can reduce the weight slightly and use power, increasing speed on the lift but always controlling the lowering (eccentric) phase of exercise to achieve this overload without a heavy weight. You do this in daily life… the wind grabs the car door, the door to a store is heavy, or you heft the garbage bag out to the curb… so if you’re worried about injury (valid) do consider whether your daily activity warrants the work so you’re prepared.
Moving fast to get breathless is not necessarily overloading the muscles in a way that muscle changes and creates lean muscle tissue that assists in fat burning.
THIS is a key distinction most program creators and attendees fail to make. Going to a boot camp where you’re moving fast from a strength exercise to a cardio exercise to a core exercise will likely tire you. Tired is not muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue must be reached so your body changes.
Will it burn calories right now? Yes. Will it change your body, your body composition, and set you up for years of a stronger leaner body? No.
The study used strength training as the mode of high intensity exercise.Researchers compared one set of 5 repetitions for each of 10 exercises to 1 or 2 sets of 10 repetitions for 10-12 exercises. The subjects were both male and female and ages up to 59.
The results showed body fat decreased significantly for both groups. Blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol decreased only for the HIIT group.
“When it comes to HIIT, adding volume doesn’t deliver better results,” the report says.
“It actually hinders. To get the full benefits of HIIT and prevent overreaching, our recommendation is to…
Do a maximum weekly HIIT sessions that are above 90 percent maximum heart rate for 30-40 minutes…
…and balance them with other less demanding workouts.”
“It’s also imperative that you let your body recover properly after a HIIT session. This way, you’re likely to perform better when you do your HIIT workouts and benefit from the positive results,” researchers added.
This distinction of when to work hard and when to recovery is so important. It’s not intuitive for a generation that witnessed the work harder, get better results discipline of our parents.
This is sure to bring questions! It may also bring breakthroughs in your fitness. Add your comments below! I love to hear from you.
You can change your physical health by changing the way you exercise, eat, and prioritizing quality sleep. In doing so you can benefit your mental and cognitive health. The way you age is a choice. Who better to hear it from than the individuals who are thriving after 50. I had the pleasure of meeting several of them at the Huntsman World Senior Games in October.
I challenge you to read (and watch their videos) and not be inspired. They’re you. They’re me. Many of the interviewees started long after 50. Many re-started after 50. For active aging these are the experts in the field!
If you want to create a thriving second half the best time to start was 30 years ago. The second best time to start getting better at getting older is TODAY. As you read and watch, imagine your possibilities becoming probably if you begin NOW to make decisions not based on scales, diets, or burning anything… but on living and experiences.
Lee, 94, from Pacific Palisades, CA., in her 8thyear at the games was donning three gold medals for table tennis. She’d previously competed in badminton and when knee replacements meant that wasn’t something she could do, she went looking for something she could.
Her table tennis participation keeps her motivated to stay in shape. She’s also keenly aware of the need for enough protein and avoiding sugar.
You’ll be inspired(or embarrassed) to know she can do what she calls 20 “men’s” pushups at least once a week – and intends to start doing them daily. She admits she’ll cut back to 10 when she’s 95. I challenge you to do 20 and share how that goes in the comments along with your age!
Lee was full of gems of wisdom for aging actively. Given she had done the most research in the room, I included them all! She is active aging at it’s best.
“When you can physically do what you want to do you feel better about yourself
The secret is being … very positive in stuff you do.”
“You are never too old. Even if you have a problem…
the only thing you’re too old for is surgery… I don’t think there is such a thing as too old.”
Charlotte Ambrose, 84 is Miss Senior Universe Miss USA representing Poland and is an open-heart surgery survivor. She is a prior competitor in the Senior Games whose husband was inducted into the Huntsman Hall of Fame this year. Charlotte and her husband are so clearly a couple active aging together.
Charlotte has done track and field events, swimming, and race walking.
In response to it being too late or being too old, Charlotte shared these pearls:
“Never, never too old … staying as healthy as you can, enjoying life, life is worth working to keep your active body and your mind.”
“Training the brain as well as the body are two linked entities to celebrate.”
Patti Miner, 62, Ms Utah Senior America who medaled in mixed doubles tennis event together with her husband, shared this:
“It’s better to be seen than viewed.”
I’ll let you think about that one for a moment!
“Age is just a number. Keep making goals.
Refocus, don’t retire.”
Patti’s words echo Flipping 50’s mantra, “Rewirement not retirement.”
We don’t always have the choice, but I loved the fact that several couples attended and both participated either in their own events or as teammates. It’s another perfect example of surrounding yourself with others doing what you’re doing or what you want to be doing. Choose a partner you can choose active aging with whenever possible!
Jan Miller, 68, a swimmer from San Antonio Texas participated in nine events that resulted in seven first places, a second, and a DQ.
Jan first participated in the Huntsman Games in 2000 when she was 50 – the youngest of athletes who can participate. Jan was a swimmer as a child, an Olympic qualifier. Came back to swimming for closure. She’s planning to return when she turns 70 and is in a new age group.
She belongs to a team and five of them attended the games together.
Though she was a swimmer – quite a skilled swimmer as a youth – she was away from it for 10 years, and shared that last year she spent nine days in a mental hospital. It was then that she realized she needed back in the pool.
“I’m going to go swimming. I’m going to do something that’s active and be around other people who are active.”
To get in shape she began cross training with several activities. She coined a new term perhaps, as she described herself as “muscleless.”
If you use it, it will grow, even if you’re 68, or 78 or 96 (the oldest competitor in swimming). Jan’s got a powerful message about starting wherever you are.
Allison LaField, 55, also from San Antonio, Texas, has been swimming all her life. She departed for a while to focus on family. She started again as an adult whose children were growing up. Swimming led to biking, which led to running and then bringing them together for triathlon. She mentions casually that she does Ironman distance (a total of 140.6 miles consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run done all in one day).
She swam six events. The back and fly are her stokes. These, by the way are not the “easiest” of strokes!
Swimming is an individual sport. Yet having a team means something even in a sport where it’s you getting yourself to the finish line. The take home message here echoed so many times at the Games (and in Flipping 50) is surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to be doing.
“It’s never too late. Swimming is one of the best sports for anyone over 50. You don’t have to be a swimmer or have any experience swimming.”
Susan Ingraham, 59, coach and competitor in this year’s games from San Antonio brought five athletes from her team.
Susan made an important distinction about “masters sports.” Masters sports aren’t associated with ability. It’s only an age-related label that ensures you’ll be with like-minded adults who share similar life experience.
Will you be the newbie? Likely not. Many adults over 50 are coming into the sport (swimming) from a sport that they’re now limited in by an ankle, shoulders, or knees.
Are your shoulders a limiter for swimming as you age? Hear Susan’s response!
The motivations for being a part of the team and being at the games vary from the opportunity for competition to weight loss to the social connections.
A year ago Susan created a video promoting the positive message and mission of the Huntsman Games. A woman saw it and was inspired so much that, Patty who had lost 75 lbs. on her weight loss journey that began in 2016 when she was 54 and 276 lbs., decided she too could compete and swam at the 2018 games.
“Even at 55 you can set new goals and get healthier, get active, and get some new goals in your life.”
And as you’ll hear in other stories those new goals can come in your 60s, 70s, or in your 90s.
“We should be challenging ourselves.”
A take-away here is this: share. Talk about and promote what you do, what you want to do, and your journey. You don’t have to be there yet. If you fear it’s bragging, consider that not telling your story is missing an opportunity to share with someone that “yes, you can”message that only you can share. We all need a “if she/he can do it, I can do it” message.
Debbie Pederson, 61 has been swimming competitively for less than two years. Like you perhaps she knew how to swim. She’d been a swim mom for years and so naturally when an Achilles problem limited her jogging swimming was a naturally easier-on-joints-sport that she was familiar with.
She wanted to stay healthy. Actually she wanted to get healthier than she was. At a time when many people are still thinking of “slowing down” active aging is quickly becoming a better choice.
While you might be thinking competition feels uncomfortable, it’s actually the fact that it is uncomfortable that is part of the attraction for Debbie. She shares how much that push outside her comfort zone is a part of why the team and the competitive environment is important for her.
Debbie’s adamant response to the thought that someone might be too old:
“No way! Go for it. Find a good coach, a master’s team, and just get in there and start swimming!”
Bonnie, together with her sister and sister-in-law did a triathlon, calling themselves team RU Kidding.
Feeling a little intimidated by triathlon or competition in general? You’re not alone. Bonnie shared,
“I was scared to death and it was a blast.”
They are influencing family members who want to get off the sidelines and participate. It’s that kind of environment. Few if any at the venues around St. George who were watching this year aren’t inspired with an “I can do that” attitude. It’s contagious.
Three months ago Bonnie could only swim one lap. At her triathlon debut she swam 25 laps no problem. Her sister couldn’t do anything but can now walk or run 5 miles.
Behind the scenes off camera, Bonnie shared that she was motivated to do the whole thing herself next year.
Try asking a scale to motivate you to do that. Watch this family event from swim to bike to run here.
The event is safely done in a pool and the collaborative, supportive environment is world class. Where in some races, indeed there may be some real heated competition, here you’ll see athletes turning over to backstroke, taking their time, enjoying each step. Often slower athletes are heard saying they get their money’s worth that way.
Dr. Jeff Schmirkoff, 55, from Alberta, Canada was like many of us working long hours, eating late, and finally decided it was time to do something about it. He is now just four years into his eligibility as an active aging senior athlete!
Life’s a marathon, just keep moving.
I caught up with Jeff at the pool where he was waiting his turn to begin participating in the triathlon. In all he was doing 17 events at this year’s games! He describes himself as slow, and also shared that it could be a positive.
“Don’t train too hard then you wont’ get injuries.”
Jeff is clearly a doctor prescribing the right kind of medicine and taking a dose regularly.
“Get tired of being tired.”
Jeff also shared his acronym, GOTCHA:
This medication has side affects too: longevity, self-esteem, energy, confidence, and enthusiasm for life.
Diana describes herself as 67 and ¾ years young. She competed in seven events in this, her 14thyear at the Huntsman World Senior Games. She said it simply:
“You’re never too old.”
She’s transformed her life and her healthspan after 50. At 49 Diana weight 208 and she’s now at 146. Listen to how she chose her doctor!
Pat, 69, had just had an exhilarating 1:38 minute finish in the triathlon when I caught up with her. She’s a St. George resident (lucky her!) and she’s been at the games 8 times participating in the triathlon (made up of swimming, biking, and running). If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a dozen times! The winners here all feel the same way:
“You’re never too old”
Pat’s advice for beginners about how to start:
Volunteers make the Huntsman World Senior Games run smoothly and they were amazing! But it’s hard to sit on the sidelines as a volunteer or a spectator (often called “Sherpa” if you’re there for an athlete) and not be inspired to get in the action.
I caught up with one volunteer at the triathlon event and she has different plans for herself next year! We made a date to compete next year.
Lauren’s job was to make sure all the swimmers got started in the right order to begin the first leg of their triathlon. If you’re inclined to attend and want to volunteer (either instead of or in addition to competing – there’s plenty of time to do both), check out all the options Huntsman World Senior Games.
“I might do this triathlon next year because I do bike and swim…”
Active aging has many faces. One thing it has in common though is choosing to start something – to accelerate – not to slow down.
Dr. Stephen Barrett, 85, is a retired psychologist and runs Quachwatch.com http://quackwatch.org/He won 3 gold medals, 2 silver medals, and a bronze in seven events he participated in at the Games this year.
He’s only been competing for 10 years, meaning he began his competitive swim career at 75. What might you be starting right now? Stephen mentioned swimming is a wonderful physical activity but it’s also social for him!
“Swimming is a wonderful thing for fitness… you don’t have to compete… just go for fitness.”
When I asked him, being the psychologist in the house, how staying active was for mental and cognitive health he replied,
“I’m not senile yet!”
The Huntsman World Senior Games and Flipping 50 share a common mission, right along with the International Council on Active Aging and other entities that exist to “change the way we age” (ICAA’s tagline). I first got a closer look at the games and the organizers when Kyle Case, CEO reached out to me. I immediately asked him to be a guest on Flipping 50. Not long after Huntsman Senior Games began their own podcast and Kyle and Jeff Harding hosted me on Active Life.
I wasn’t unfamiliar with the Senior Games but I had no idea that state-held senior games were a part of something greater with one important distinguishing factor. It’s inclusive, collaborative and supportive. You need not qualify to participate.
What every one of the athletes I talked to have in common was the fact they’re getting older without feeling older. They are choosing active aging. The rocking chair was made for kindling.
I’d love to hear from you. How do you think about getting older?
Are you inspired to learn more about the Huntsman World Senior Games?
If you’d like support choosing an event, starting to train, whether your goal is weight loss, feeling better, beating your own time or being a World Champion, comment below that you want to and we’ll post more about how to set your goal and go into action. The 28 Day Kickstart is a perfect place to start if you’re challenged with changing needs of your body right now. There’s no “convenient” time! Do it now! I’ll see you there!