Is weight loss possible after 50? Do you wonder that? If you’re just trying to lose those last few pounds that came on during stress or hormone change, what does that take? How is it different than if you have 50, 100, or even 20 pounds to lose?
[Originally published in August 2017, this popular post has been updated – just in time for a special Fit-U program launch.]
Or rather, how should it be different? “It” being the process that you go through.
On this post I look at parts of the process that deserve attention. If you’re reading this you know very well by now what permanent weight removal is not. Take Carla*, one of my clients. When we met she was walking two to four hours a day, and eating as little as 800 calories per day. Her weight at the time was well over 200 pounds. If weight loss were a math equation, Carla, should be skinny. Here’s why.
Her estimated calculate Basal Metabolic Rate was a little more than 1700 kcals.
[By the way when I searched Google for the phrase “how many calories to lose a pound” it’s clear we still think weight loss is math and someone is still writing this B.S.: 17 million pieces of content were found. Confused? No wonder.]
Even walking slowly, at her start weight Carla would burn over 300 kcals per hour. She was burning 600-1200 daily.
Exercise calories are added to your resting (basal) metabolism for total energy daily expenditure. The total kcals to maintain her current weight were, depending on her activity that day, were 2300 – 2900.
Consuming 800 kcals per day she would easily be at a deficit. Repeating that day after day using an average exercise of 3 hours walking, she needed of 2600 to maintain her weight and taking in 800.
If this pure math solution was right, she was creating an average deficit of 1800 kcals a day. If it takes 3500 kcals to lose or gain a pound it should have been easy for her to lose a little more than 3lbs a week.
Yet, that’s not what happened. She didn’t lose. She reached a plateau pretty quickly. She got injured. She had insomnia. She gained. She got nervous when injured and unable to exercise. She feared eating more food or even the amount she was eating when she was exercising.
In spite of evidence (weight loss plateau, frequency of injury, even weight gain) suggesting that so much exercise and so few calories were actually slowing her metabolism, she held on to old emotional ties to the theory that exercising more and eating less will achieve weight loss.
I won’t leave you hanging! Carla did eventually lose. A sluggish metabolism from years of slow down and unintentional sabotage takes time to bounce back. But she did. She’s lost close to 75 pounds at this point and she’s well past 50.
It’s hard to let go.
Some of us are emotional eaters. Some of us are emotional food avoiders. Both emotional eaters and avoiders have a dysfunctional relationship with food. Many of us have an addiction to struggle. Hard work, discipline, and control feel better than relaxation, acceptance, and trusting your body’s signals. That kind of dysfunction extends to exercise, too. It’s easy to get into a cycle of taking out big loans, payback, and withdrawal. This is more noticeable in women who seek weight loss after 50. In that bank analogy sequence two out of three actions are taking away energy and only one is paying back. That’s where we get it wrong with exercise and nutrition. We’re never filling our cup. Our tendency is to mentally believe we’re being “good,” we “have” to suffer through some form of exercise and deprivation, in other words: mindset matters.
If you think you’re being good… you probably think you get rewarded for that behavior at some point instead of believing the behavior itself IS the reward (e.g. enjoying good-for-you food because it’s delicious, and liking the way you feel when you’re doing exercise that’s right for you).
If doing things you love brings a second set of rewards, even better. In regards to eating good food and exercise you can expect rewards like better sleep, less fatigue, more energy, optimal weight, and body confidence. Not so different than people who are able to take a passion and make it a profession. The successful ones are not without a hard work ethic, but they love waking up every morning to work and even the tasks they don’t love they can tie to the passion for the outcome.
#joyinmotion is non-existent in the majority of diet & exercise to weight loss plans out there
(Have you noticed? Torch calories! Burn fat! Even free consults promise to tell you “how many calories you need to eat and burn to lose weight” lead you to a dead end: this is not your health GPS.) This is true whether you have 5 or 50 pounds to lose, but the longer you’ve carried additional weight and the more you’ve limited calories the more TLC your metabolism-controlling hormones need in order to reboot.
Eating, avoiding eating, and exercise are too often punishment. While it might seem compulsive eating is a reward, if you’ve been down this road before, it’s more like punishment because you know what’s coming next in the cycle. You’ll feel bad and the underlying purpose was to create those bad feelings. That’s bizarre, right? But true. It’s almost as if, the bad feelings are more comfortable. They’re at least more familiar. You can busy yourself with more exercise, fewer calories and get “back on track.” That feels like a game you can win. But then it backfires again and you’re right back where you started. Or worse.
You’re not right back where you started from because…losing weight you lose fat AND muscle. Regaining weight is 100% fat.
Exercise as a punishment is like paying the interest on some huge loan. The cycle usually goes like this: you’ve overeaten something you wish you hadn’t, and you’re going to compensate for it with excess exercise. You might also use exercise as a coping mechanism for emotions you don’t like feeling. Frustrated, angry, sad or feeling inadequate, your exercise gives you a fix of mojo, at least temporarily. If this is you, you like exercise. Or you did, until you began abusing it.
The payback is the overcompensation that happens after being particularly “good,” which in my experience with is restricting calories or foods they love, and you got it, dieting. You’re “on something.” It may be legal but it’s not good. The off ramp on that diet highway has a lot of roadblocks on it. You end up eating because you deserve it, you can’t resist any more (there’s science behind that: your body is doing everything it can to tell you to eat more).
Then there’s the, “I exercised today so I can have this” and the opposite, “I haven’t exercised so I can’t eat.” Certain types of exercise actually make you more prone to over eating afterwards. You can sabotage yourself in fact with some of the recommended activities for weight loss. Longer extended walks are recommended. They’re lower impact, anyone can walk, and yet, if you get that information and you’re gung ho whether it’s January 2 or not, you’re likely to take that downtown with the if-a-little-is-good-more-must-be-better and you’ll over do it.
Certain types of exercise actually make you more prone to over eating afterwards.
The withdrawal is getting a great (long, or exceptionally hard, or both) workout in or dieting all week so that you can do the payback. You might have the special event and the dress to fit into. You might be planning it. You might not. You’re just trying to get ahead and “work hard” to get results until eventually the payback comes. That’s what clever programs call “cheat” days and what I call binge days. It happens if you’re starting something that you can’t possibly ever sustain. If it feels temporary, it will be, and it usually doesn’t end well.
My girlfriends and I used to joke that we each had to have (or in this case we were talking about someone’s daughter) a “bad boy” relationship. It was that one that everyone else knew wasn’t good for you, wasn’t going to last and yet you couldn’t resist. Yep. A bit like a diet or exercise plan that you start thinking that you can make it through this eight weeks and be magically transformed, skinny, and then you can do it normally. It never works that way.
Diets or crazy kamikaze bootcamps full of burpees, squats, and lunges that send you home unable to sit down and bring you back the next day more sore than you should be starting a new exercise session don’t instill #joyofmotion in most of us. Granted there are possibly the less than 1% of you reading this who are saying, yes, I truly LOVE to do punishing workouts, but the majority of us who follow human nature seek pleasure and run (or walk or bike) from pain.
The reality is that whatever you do to get to a goal – weight loss- fitness, you have to do MORE of to sustain. Why? Because a 250 lb body requires more calories to move, and sustain than does a 150 lb body.
You will slow your metabolism by becoming a smaller person. The good news: By changing the way your body burns fuel and adjusting it to becoming a higher fat burner, and increasing lean muscle tissue you can overcome and offset this seemingly BIG obstacle.
The truth about weight loss that isn’t done correctly is your metabolism will slow. If you regain weight (reminiscent of Biggest Loser participants) your metabolism could STILL BE LOW, if you’ve not released toxins that are stored in fat, or not paid attention to lean muscle creation. Those who are slaves to cardio and ignore weight training will be most likely to experience this.
Why can some people lose 50 or 100 pounds and keep it off? They’ve adapted eating and exercise habits that change the way they eat and exercise permanently. They’ve looked far beyond calories and looked at hormones and quality of food vs. quantity of food.
Hormones, not calories, control your weight.
You have an abundance of hormones. So at first glance, it’s a challenge less simple than addition and subtraction required to do calories in calories out. It’s like me and trigonometry. I had the multiplication tables down, damn it. Who moved the cheese?
But it’s also easier to balance out hormones. [The hardest part is reconciling your brain with the idea that less exercise is more, and more good food is more.]
It’s not punishing exercise. It’s exercise you like and less of it but with more purpose.
It’s not dieting or deprivation. It’s flipping foods you love that negatively impact your hormones into foods you love made with food that loves you back.
You don’t need bootcamp 6 days a week at high intensity. You don’t have to say no forever to dessert or to snacks. That would be unrealistic.
Remember this one thing about your body: It wants to be at ideal weight.
Now, your ideal weight might not look like the cover model on a magazine. (Even the model on the cover doesn’t look like the model on the cover). Your body wants the path of least resistance as much as your mind does. So if you feed it and move it optimally, it will respond by releasing fat it no longer wants to carry around.
If you have tried or are trying to burpee and starve your way to get there, or you “have to have” some crazy concoction of foods made or delivered to you to make your goal a reality, chances are this is not sustainable. If you want weight loss and yet your relationship with foods that feel comforting (momentarily) is so great you can’t or you refuse to break that cycle, now may not be the time.
What? That’s not where you thought this was going? I wish I could give you a program that works even when you aren’t ready to change. But, I simply can’t.
No one can want it worse than you.
This place you’re in could be your upper limit. You’re possibly afraid of changing so much that you won’t. Something about your struggle is working for you. You may associate yourself with the struggle. You spend time, energy, maybe money investing in new programs, or finding new experts to ask about what to do. You get a lot of answers. But you don’t DO any of them.
Then nothing I say can help.
If you are ready to make changes, to see changes, there are things to consider. If you have more than 20 pounds to lose, the changes you need to make with mindset become more important.
Women over 50 have a unique set of circumstances:
You need to address the whole person you are. You’re going to be either positively or negatively influenced by each of these:
So if you’ve skipped or ignored any one of those needs during a “diet” or a “bootcamp” or delivery of food to your door, there have been potentially more obstacles than solutions. It’s not your fault.
You can’t diet the way a 20-year-old does. You can’t fast the way a 30-year-old does. You can’t exercise the way you did even at 40. Make no mistake, you can look and feel as good (and often better – we’ve been beating ourselves up for a long time) as you did at 20, 30 or 40, as long as you don’t attempt to get there the way you did at 20, 30 or 40. For two reasons:
This is an integrated relationship and successful integration determines your success. At midlife and beyond the impact of hormones is amplified. [You’re not off the hook at 60 or just because you’ve gone through the other side.] You can’t outwork hormones and you can’t out-diet them; you can outsmart them.
To learn more about how to get fit after 50 if you have 20 or more pounds to lose, click here. Fit-U is designed for you. Fit-U starts now. Early access materials are ready now. There’s never a convenience time to do anything worthwhile. Do you want support? If you do, and you want it to be me, let’s do this.
If you want to learn more about the difference between:
Watch this special master class. I’ve rounded up all the research about weight loss – that is FAT loss – after 50 (because the last thing you want to do is lose muscle. Temporarily that will make you feel a false sense of success, but when the muscle goes so too does your metabolism. That my friend, is the vicious cycle that’s caught up with you. And yet, yes you can change it. Start watching. Then jump in right now.
Strength training is the fountain of youth. You may love your yoga, Zumba, running or _______, and that’s awesome! Stronger muscles will keep you doing it for longer. Here are just 20 (not all all-inclusive, but a good reason to re-examine how you spend your exercise time.
Muscle mass peaks at age 25. The loss of muscle for adults who aren’t resistance training is between 8 and 10% every decade. At that rate, living longer will result in sarcopenia (significant muscle and strength losses) in latter decades. Muscle mass can however be developed at any age even in the 9thand 10thdecade of life. Prevention of falls and illness due to frailty is available with resistance training.
Bone mass peaks close to age 30. At that time there’s minimal opportunity to enhance bone density. Loss of bone without resistance training occur at a rate of anywhere from .5 to 3-to-5%/year depending on a woman’s phase of life.
Nearly all older women living beyond 80 will experience osteoporosis making them susceptible to fracture related to falls. Small-framed women or those with a high number of risk factors will have osteoporosis earlier in life.
Resistance training is the only exercise with results preventing natural bone losses or reversing losses even in menopausal or post menopausal women.
Your DNA influences the way you age, but not nearly as much as the lifestyle habits you have. Six months of strength training slows down or reverses aging and the expression of 179 genes associated with aging.
In a recent Flipping 50 Master Class I shared the influence of exercise on optimal hormone balance. Listen to this Flipping 50 podcast to get a summary.
Human Growth Hormone (GH) influences metabolism, body composition and aerobic exercise capacity throughout life. GH production declines naturally with age. Resistance training and intense interval training can boost GH significantly.
Testosterone is supportive of libido and of self-confidence. As sex hormone levels decline for women in perimenopause testosterone levels often dip. Intense resistance and interval training are the best ways to naturally boost testosterone levels while endurance exercise reduces testosterone.
Loss of muscle mass and a correlating increase in body fat reduces metabolism. Strength training correctly will result in both fat losses and metabolically active lean muscle increases that positively effect metabolism both at rest and after exercise as you age.
“You are probably too old NOT to strength train.”
Forty to sixty percent of women in perimenopause suffer from low libido. An informal survey at flippingfifty.com reveals an even greater percent of women in perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause report low libido. Libido can wane from multiple reasons including lack of body confidence, dropping testosterone levels, and low energy. Exercise, specifically strength training counters each of those factors.
It takes 10 minutes of exercise to positively improve self-ratings of sleep by 33%. That’s with no imposition of intensity or measurement of parameters. And long term regular strength training brings about improvements in sleep.
Resistance training positively influences body composition by both increasing lean muscle tissue and supporting fat burning. Resistance training burns fat during acute bouts of exercise but has a greater impact on the post-exercise energy and thus fat-burning than aerobic activity does.
Compared with aerobic exercise, positive influence on blood sugar and insulin resistance occur more predictably with strength training.
Falls are associated with loss of muscle, frailty, and weakness. Muscle strength from resistance training prevents those falls from occurring (and reduces damaging fractures if they do occur).
Age-related muscle losses are fiber specific. Fast Twitch (FT) muscle fibers are lost twice as fast as you age. FT fibers are responsible for both metabolism and reaction skills. Your ability to right yourself if you trip to avoid falls, or react quickly to changing terrain or body positions is related to the amount of FT fiber you have.
The prevalence of anxiety in older adult women is growing. Resistance training is directly correlated with reducing the severity of anxiety and used in the treatment of anxiety.
The incidence of depression is significantly higher in older women than men. Resistance training has proven to be instrumental in improving mild to moderate depression. Studies show the positive impact of exercise is comparable or better than medications or cognitive therapies, and compared to medications exercise offers no negative side affects.
Brain function including memory, executive function, problem solving, and brain plasticity all benefit from resistance training. Benefits are experienced after acute (after a single bout of exercise) and long term exercise.
Energy is generated in the mitochondria, once believed to naturally decline with age and accepted as a fact of life. In the last 8-10 years research has shown that mitochondrial function can be improved and declines reversed so older adults have the same relative mitochondria function as young adults after regular strength training.
The ability to use dietary protein for the benefit of muscle tissue repair and growth declines with age. Resistance training has proven to overcome that effect of aging and following acute bouts of resistance training and long term resistance training muscle protein synthesis is improved significantly. That has a positive effect on maintaining lean (metabolically active) muscle tissue and strength.
The damaging effects of stress are related to over 80 diseases. By increasing resilience to stress the physiological and psychological responses to stress both are lower. Blood pressure, anxiousness, adrenal responses, and ability to focus or remember improve in fit individuals compared to sedentary.
The effects of a life “out front” causes rounded shoulders, rounded upper back, and forward head hang, all worsened by cell phone use and “tech neck” today. Correct selection and performance of strength training exercises can help correct these postures and the ensuing depressive states that accompany them.
…and one final “bonus” based on the summation of all the above (though this is by no means an all-inclusive buffet of strength training benefits)
“Stronger longer” is a Flipping 50-ism. The goal of longevity is nothing without an increasing long healthspan.Muscular strength is the foundation for all things physical, mental, and emotional related to aging.
If you received a prescription medication from a doctor, it will inevitably have negative side effects, as every medication does.
If you however, perform strength training, whether at a gym alone, with a personal trainer, or at home alone, there are virtually no negative and dozens (partial list above) of positive benefits.
Want support? Starting, learning proper technique, and combining hormone balancing with joint care and your health history requires strength training programming fit for midlife woman. I’ve got you covered. Check out STRONGER I.
What do you think of when I say blood flow restriction exercise?
Without checking Google, most of our Flipping 50 tribe would think this sounded like something terrible. It sounds like something that happens in a lab and not on purpose in a workout session. If you think it sounds like there’s risk involved and it might be bad for blood pressure or increase heart stress, you’re not alone.
But if you Googled (odd how that is now a verb to anyone else?) it you’d find that there’s emerging science around Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training. And some of it has promise for older adults, and you. In fact, it’s quite exciting.
Originally developed in 1966 by Yoshiaki Sato in Japan where it was known as “kaatsu training,” meaning “training with added pressure.” It’s performed all over the world. So why haven’t you heard of it before? A quick look on Amazon for BFR bands shows images of (big) body builders, 98% of which are male. It doesn’t look like something you or I would naturally gravitate toward. It certainly hasn’t made it to Prevention or Reader’s Digest… yet.
But it might. Very soon.
Essentially, BFR training involves preventing blood flow to working muscles (or those at rest I’ll discuss later). That tricks the body into thinking it’s doing hard work to increase Human Growth Hormone (or GH), which burns fat and builds muscle.
If you don’t like hard work, won’t or can’t do hard work… blood flow restriction exercise may be your next best friend.
Though some studies have suggested yes, for you and I, no, or very minimally. Only with instances of growth hormone deficiency in young male adults, or with unexplainable osteoporosis in male subjects was there any positive effect on bone density. There’s no evidence of bone support for women with age-related bone density declines. So, heavy weights when possible are still the answer.
Yet, there is some correlation with reduced fracture risk from increased GH. That may be due to increased muscle strength lending to better strength, reaction skills, and balance.
A review of literature for a position statement with older adults with frailty, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), and prior existing Venus Thrombeoembolism, conclude there is no additional risk, “though further studies are encouraged,” Always your selection of appropriateness should be made on an individual basis together with your physician and a medical exercise specialist. Blood pressure response can be higher if cuffs are not removed during the recovery interval periods.
In one research study, adults in a large review of literature were between 57 and early 70s. BFR was effective in developing muscle in low load (walking) compared to walking without BFR.
Positive results are reported in both muscular strength and muscle mass from use of BFR exercise.
It’s important to note that most research confirms the BFR results are similar but still lower than that from High Load (HL) strength training. That is, if you can safely, and are motivated to lift heavy weights, it will still provide the most benefit. If however, travel, special conditions, or you’re unwilling BFR opens up alternatives.
Optimal strength response was found in subjects (without physical limitations) from Heavy Load strength training combined with low load walking with (BFR) restriction.
For older athletes BFR may enhance performance by allowing combination of low load training with restriction and heavy load more typically used (requiring less of heavy load yet more overall training without damage and risk of injury).
Personally, during training for Ironman, I’m usually an advocate of heavy weight training for avoiding lean muscle losses and bone density benefits. [Yes, more exercise can be a risk just as too little exercise can.] However, as training volume increases for an endurance event balancing sport-specific activity with less strength is better for reduced overall physical stress.
So I’m wearing BFR bands walking the dog before a run and then cutting the volume of training runs significantly. I’m able to optimize hormones this way instead of impose constant fatigue so common in endurance athletes.
For older adults who are unable (or unwillingly, untrusting) to do heavy load training BFR provides a viable way to increase strength and maintain lean tissue, specifically Fast Twitch (FT) muscle fiber. Adults can lose Fast Twitch fibers twice as fast as they age. FT fibers are responsible for metabolism and reaction skills – so you can catch yourself and prevent falls.
It depends. Don’t you love that? (sarcasm) Yet, truly it depends on you now and why you’re implementing it. Do you need this to allow you to do something while you’re recovering from an injury? Do you need a good substitute for your regular exercise while traveling? Are you looking for a way to supplement a very active life and fitness program to boost progress without burning out or injury? Use your answer to determine how you start:
You’ll see in the video I discuss the 7/10 on a “tightness” scale. You’re doing this at your perception of tightness. You may need to experiment a little. I find it easiest to go to the point I couldn’t stand it and then back off slightly to get to my “7.” If you’re in our Flipping 50 tribe you’re used to rating your effort level on a 0-10 scale for various exercise so this is familiar.
Proper use of the bands creates greater metabolic stress that brings about greater release of growth hormone and IGF-1 – key for gains of lean muscle and prevention of muscle loss.
By inducing greater muscle fatigue with lower loads there may be more Type II fiber recruitment for the relative load. (You’ve heard me talk nation-wide about Fast Twitch Muscle loss prevention.)
Enhanced muscle protein synthesis that occurs with resistance training is another huge win. Research shows clearly that resistance training offsets reduced muscle protein synthesis (ability to use protein you consume to benefit muscle) that can otherwise occur with age.
Enhanced Human Growth Hormone (GH) is an important advantage of lifting heavy weights and intense interval training as you age. Nearly comparable results are reported with BFR bands. Heavy lifting seems to still have the positive edge. This is one of your biggest hormone benefits of resistance training. Feel like you can’t get the muscle tone you once had? Decreases in GH are a part of that.
You can overcome reduced production of GH with age by resistance training at proper intensities. If until now you haven’t chosen or haven’t been able to do resistance training, you have a lighter load option.
Each of these aforementioned benefits point to reducing the signs of aging. What has been “accepted” as normal no longer has to happen. You’re in control. You can prevent and reverse aging.
When high intensity interval training may not be appropriate (due to fatigue or cortisol levels, current injuries, or lack of access while traveling, Restricted Blood Flow exercise (low load) may be a good option to prevent muscle and strength losses.
For an idea of activities and intensity that work with BFR exercise:
Choosing the Load
Loads for resistance training in most studies feature loads of 20-30% of 1-rep max. Now, I’d never suggest you do a 1-rep maximum test. I’ve discussed that many places in books and posts. It is however the language of intensity in resistance training. If you can lift a weight only once and reach fatigue you’ve found the ultimate of “heavy.”
To give you an idea of 20-30% you’ll need an estimated one-rep max. If you can lift something 10 times to fatigue it’s about 80% of your 1-rep max. (This by the way is the best protocol for bone density). With a little math you can determine your 1 rep max is about 12.5 lbs. So 20-30% is 2.5-3.75 lbs. I’d suggest starting with a 3-lb dumbbell.
As you perform the exercises you can experiment with what truly causes fatigue in the muscle. The biggest take-away? You’re going to use far lighter weights (or resistance) than you would without the bands.
These types of exercises performed are performed at about 40% VOx2 max which is about the equivalent of daily activities of living. So in theory you could wear bands while going up and down your stairs to do laundry or clean for 20 minutes. Some aerobic protocols use intermittent exercise. For example, intervals of pedaling for 3 minutes with bands used alternated with 2 minutes of removing or undoing the bands.
Larger cuff size requires less pressure but movement is restricted. Choose based on your frame and size. Typically, recommendations are 1-1 ½ inches for upper body (bicep) and 2 inches lower body.
Aerobic Blood Flow Restriction Exercise Intro
For those more sedentary doing 1-2 times a day, approximately 3 weeks is suggested time to experience benefits. For those already exercising that incorporate BFR training into their program 3-6 weeks is the suggested time frame. (Think about weight loss, the more weight you have to lose the faster you’ll see progress. So it is with BFR, the more fit you are, the less impactful BFR training may be for you, though that slight increase in fitness can be significant when it happens.)
Studies suggest that even in instances where exercise is extremely limited or not possible, use of the BFR bands can prevent muscle and strength loss. Wearing the BFR bands intermittently 1-2 times a day even while sedentary is beneficial compared to not using BFR.
BFR show promise during times you might be recovering from surgery or plantar fasciitis. Whenever you’ve got weight bearing restrictions for a period of time and are unable to apply pressure to a limb, or you’re on crutches. For someone undergoing treatment with low energy levels deeming a regular exercise plan implausible, this opens up possibilities to prevent a downward spiral that can easily occur. The BFR bands may provide a means for sparing what can be devastating muscle losses, often the beginning of weakness if not frailty, making falls more likely.
Interested in more information? The best next step is to get STRONGER! When I open the doors for enrollment a few times a year you’ll be the first to know. Click here.
I’m including some BFR training in this 12-week resistance training program. Whether you’re more athletic and want to keep your hormones balanced (not stressed) or you have limits about how much you can lift, or find it hard to reach intensity levels you need…. This is for you!
What’s the role of exercise in hormone balance, exactly? We know these facts. Exercise influences hormones. Hormones influence exercise. You, already know this. I’ve said it before here at Flipping 50. But you already know because there are days you don’t feel like exercising, or you feel like the mirror isn’t reflecting the consistent hard work you’ve done.
And it feels relative to hormone changes. Whether you knew you were in perimenopause or not– that period of time lasting up to 10 years for some women, you realize that other things were changing too.
Your skin seemed to be thinning, maybe showing more signs of wrinkles or more cellulite than you had before. You may deal with both breakouts and fine lines during this time. You notice more hair loss in the shower.
So is the answer hormone replacement? What if you are and you’re still not feeling 100%? It doesn’t do all the heavy lifting, or shouldn’t. And you’ve got a lot more control than we ever might have known. The foods you eat, or don’t, the sleep habits you have, or don’t, the way you handle stress or don’t, and exercise type and timing play a factor.
This episode is sponsored by The After 50 Fitness Formula for Womencourse, it’s my signature course and companion to You Still Got It, Girl! the book. In it I teach you module by module how foods have an effect on hormones, how stress influences hormones, and sleep, and of course exercise.
One thing I know better than anything after 35 years in fitness primarily working with women over 40 from the very beginning? We want to know WHYand so we can connect the dots to why it’s important to do this in the HOWwe’re being taught so we understand the reason to commit to doing it.
There’s no lack of motivation or discipline. I just don’t buy into that. There’s usually a belief about what, how, and why something works that either propels you or stands in your way. Right now during this After 50 Fitness Formula course anniversary you get not just the 8 modules Plus a bonus module demonstrating examples of exercise, you get:
THEN I’ve created 5 bonusesyou get NOW… but it they go away Labor Day weekend so get in now!
These extras opened August 20th… join nowand get started to get them all…! The daily tips 20th-Sept 15th will help you get a strong start by working on your beliefs about exercise, hormones, and menopause.
***Bonuses will be available for a limited amount of time and not a part of the course long term. So you’ll have longer to watch them when you get in right away before they disappear September 15. You can only get in if you start by LABOR DAY!
So enough on that, let’s talk specifically about exercise and hormone balance.
So, you are more in control than you may have thought. And it’s less complicated than you think. So this episode is about really unraveling the hormones we’ve got changing most, what they do or did, and don’t without help as they decrease…and how exercise can help.
First let’s look at the role of sex hormones in the body. Then we’ll look at how exercise influences hormones.
1.Grows the lining in the uterus so that the fertilized egg can implant.
2.Increases collagen production in the entire body, most notably in the blood vessels, skin, vagina and bladder.
3.Maintains cardiovascular elasticity and blood flow.
4.Prevents the body from losing bone densityby inhibiting osteoclasts.
5.Increases vaginal lubrication and sex drive.
6.Augments sexual desire.
7.Fuels fat metabolism.
8.Facilitates mental health by increasing serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
9.Stimulates the production of progesterone, testosterone, thyroid, and more estrogen receptors.
10.Modulates adrenaline levels.
12.Modulates immune functions.
13.Increases melatonin levels.
1.At its peak, stimulates apoptosis (cell death/anti-cancer).
2.Increases bone density.
4.Lowers blood pressure.
6.Acts as a natural diuretic.
7.Improves insulin sensitivity.
8.Increases GABA secretion.
9.Is a precursor to cortisol, and all the steroid hormones.
10.Modulates immune functions.
1.Plays a role in healthy heart and blood.
2.Supports a body to makeless fat, more muscle.
4.Improves verbal memory, spatial abilities and mathematical reasoning.
5.Improves libido& erectile function.
With hormone decline, physical health may deteriorate, mental wellness decreases, and chronic diseases may creep in. At least this is what you’ve been taught and the correlation that has been true until now. Until this time when more of us have been exercising for decades or are starting now.
This is important: understand that the science that’s collected data up until now is looking at the past.It is notlooking at your future.
What if you chose not to believe it?
During the recession, about 14 years ago I heard a speaker get up and talk about just how much we were hearing how bad the economy was at the time. She began with, “what if we decided not to participate?”I challenge you to think the same.
What if you decided not to participate in what you were told is coming with menopause and with aging? What if you rejected it? Instead, what if you went on believing you could enjoy an even more vibrant life now because of your life experience and wisdom and personal insight into what makes you happy?
1.Increased resting heart rate
2.Rise in blood pressure
4.Decrease in short term memory function
5.Changes in body fat distribution and composition
6.Thinning hair on head, arms, legs, and pubic area
7.Increased facial hair
8.Blood chemistry changes such as:
How did that list make you feel?
Think about it?
If it makes you feel like you’re fighting a war, it should. It’s not much of a party, right?
I encourage you to reject the idea these things WILL happen, or that if they do they are permanent.
They are merely signs and symptoms. Signs that you indeed are having changing hormones. Changing hormonesisa part of the evolution of a woman’s life whether they occur at menopause or with surgery.
You can opt to change. Change exercise. Change nutrition. Change lifestyle habits and break old patterns that will no longer work for you (hint: they weren’t working for you… you were lucky).
The science we had decades ago was the best we had. But if 39% of all sports medicine and exercise research features females right now,imagine the low percent that featured females 30 years ago.
Exercise plays a role in balancing these hormones and their reactions IF we use an exercise prescription that is HORMONE BALANCING, and not all people all the time.
Mass bootcamps with all ages and levels … is very attractive to gyms and trainers. Let’s pack them in and charge a nominal rate but with dozens in a session it’s still a huge win. The energy and excitement is contagious. Unfortunately, injury rates climbed. There is no modification when it’s one or two trainers to 2, 4, or 6 dozen attendees. When others are driven you are driven and yet, that isn’t what every hormone imbalance needs.
Classes are no different. Groups of 25 or 30 adults coming together to do either a workout dictated by the instructor’s mood or energy, or a pre-scripted program may not be what any individual needs at the moment. Once you know how hard you need to work and what kind of workout you need, group may work well for you. You know you and then you can choose the best options – and frequency for yourself.
Let’s talk about weight training.
Weight training is one of the absolute best things you can do for your hormone balance. Specifically targeting growth hormone, testosterone, cortisol, and insulin, with strength training you can introduce exercise without a sweat if that’s something you can do without.
Though estrogen isn’t necessarily effected by weight training, it’s effects are addressed as bone density losses are slowed by weight training (and only weight training).
There’s more. Additional hormones positively influenced by strength training are endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. Though aerobic activity has always been associated with endorphins, don’t overlook strength training because the benefits seem to be equal. These hormones also bump cognitive performance long term. After a year of strength training women improved on executive planning abilities (problem solving and memory). There’s also a reduction in anxiety and depression.
High volume lower-to-moderate intensity sets with short breaks works.
Low-volume, high intensity sets with longer rest intervals works better.
If you’re scared, just starting, opt for the high volume. Progress as you can (and assess on a joint by joint basis) to heavier weights for optimum hormone, bone, and muscle benefit.
STRONGER I is a moderate to heavier and STRONGER III is a lighter weight higher volume program for both beginners and for developing “cut” or definition.
Focus on an aerobic (or higher intensity which is referred to as anaerobic when you can’t sustain for periods longer than 30 seconds) with intermittent recovery periods. The total sessions should last 20-30 minutes at most. Weekly total HIIT times should be 45 minutes or less. After that time injury rates increase and benefits decrease. The body needs recovery from hard work in order to reap benefits.
Disruption of the endocrine system tends to occur at varying levels for individuals. It is more common however in women who focus uniquely on endurance exercise without weight training or HIIT, and or who only add rather than removing to find a balance between activity.
Intense early and light late is the Flipping 50 guideline. Testosterone levels are naturally higher in the morning. Strength and HIIT sessions that occur early also work with natural healthy cortisol patterns.
Late day cortisol drops but your body is warm and loose. It’s the perfect time for “light late” activity like stretching and yoga or a light walk. If you need to accommodate your schedule, later in the day is fine for weight training. Optimal effects of exercise in hormone balance may not be available if you exercise of the wrong type at the wrong time.
Keep your exercise pre-dinner. Avoid any exercise within 4 hours of bedtime.
The key to benefits from Interval Training is high enough intensity. There’s got to be metabolic demand sufficient enough to cause change. That is why Flipping 50 recommends always reaching fatigue when you’re focused on body composition, metabolism, and positive hormone influence of exercise.
The role of exercise in hormone balance can’t take the lead if you’re not using the right exercise.
Fatigue during strength training is getting to a repetition that truly is the last one you can do. During intervals that is breathless. If you’re not doing either of those, you’re not influencing your metabolic-driven hormones and won’t experience the beneficial changes.
Whether you want to boost libido, regain lost muscle tone, decrease fat, increase muscle mass to boost metabolism, or regulate blood sugar levels, proper intensity, in other words, training with purpose, not just random exercise is your goal.
Testosterone slowly declines in women leading to menopause and then can drastically drop off. Bye bye libido and maybe your confidence at work. Increased testosterone can be induced by resistance training. Again, provided the stimulus is intense enough.
Growth hormone and testosterone have been examined for their role in boosting strength or muscle mass. Especially among body builders. The actual role of them is backward. Resistance training improves levels of growth hormone and testosterone, not the other way around.
Increases in growth hormone benefit collagen synthesis and fat burning. Testosterone as stated above supports better libido and energy. Both GH and testosterone support more muscle and lower fat.
Resistance training supports the fountain of youth.
If you’re looking for support and understanding the science behind what’s true and what’s just always been accepted.. I’d love to see you in the course.
Are stubborn weight and belly fat not responding to the rigorous exercise you’re doing? Or maybe it’s just habitual exercise? that 4 mile walk you do every day not doing it any more? Maybe even making you more tired?
“I’m exercising all the time and barely eating and I still can’t lose weight”
Ring a bell?
The obvious never seems so clear when you’re living it.
When you’re tired, rest.
You’ve been led to believe that energy creates energy. That can make you feel guilty for not exercising. At the least it can make more exercise the intuitive answer.
Constant fatigue however in a world where we’re constantly “on” means you need to catch up by slowing down. Rest more during the day and sleep more temporarily so you can fill that hole you’re in. Once you support yourself back to feeling like you again there’s always time to begin exercise – that’s potentially more effective.
Instead of 8 hours of meetings, appointments, and phone calls strategically schedule 30 minutes ever 90 minutes or two hours to regroup. During that time get up, get outside or a view from a window, rehydrate, and or use the restroom. Watch a funny video or talk to a funny friend or colleague.
You’re trying but it’s not going so well? Breaking some of your old patterns will help that. You may be thinking “it’s hormones” and you’re a victim. You’re not. Yes, things change. You can also change your approach and thoughts and sleep again.
I tucked all the facts and actions about improving your sleep into a little book [Sleep Yourself Skinny]and you can get it free.
You’ve got to start with your mind. If you tell yourself “I have insomnia” or “I’ve never been a good sleeper,” you’ll keep the pattern you’ve got and prevent the optimal progress. If you believe all the things you’re told and read about menopause causing sleep disturbances and weight gain, it may happen to you too. If you believe it won’t happen to you? Better chance it won’t. If people with chronic illness can heal themselves with the power of thought (called placebo), you can do it with sleep too.
Get the book. Do the things that help. Stop doing the things that don’t. And believe they’ll work.
Optimal weight and belly fat have much to do with cortisol optimization. You need it for energy and but not too much as evidenced in times of high (or lasting chronic) stress.
Rest applies to several levels of exercise:
This is an entire module in The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women. Did you know that if you’re not resting more between your workouts than you did a decade ago you could be limiting your fitness?
Research tells us that most older adults increase their fitness with 72 hours, instead of 48 hours between workouts. (e.g. skip the Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine and opt for a Monday, Thursday schedule). You have the capacity to work just as hard (relatively) as you did 20 years ago, provided you rest more than you did then.
There’s the obvious, tired all the time – that doesn’t fit the definition of a “fit person” at all really. You may be able to sleep any time during the day but not sleep at night. You’re sore when you go to exercise again. You don’t see muscle tone comparable to the exercise you’re doing. But… there’s a good chance you’re on a hamster wheel repeating the same workout routine daily or weekly. You’ve got to break that pattern and drop some exercise.
Weight lifting however should stay. It might need to change to get you better results, however.
When you lift weight and belly fat improves it’s due to changes in metabolism. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen when you just “burn calories” doing endurance exercise. You’ve got to create more lean muscle and reduce fat storage. The right dose of “sprint” or interval training can help both – recent studies show increased muscle after “sprint intervals” in obese perimenopause women. That until now was rarely heard of, the conversation around interval training was only about fat burning.
If you want more than the 5-minute blog, the After 50 Fitness Formula for Women course features 8 modules – one dedicated to rest & recovery. In addition you’ll understand how nutrition, exercise*, stress, sleep and your hormone status all play into your IDEAL exercise choices. *If you’re doing all the exercise – but not in the right intensity or doses – changes will turn things around.
Join by Labor Day weekend to get all the goodies (in addition to the course, the Bone Health mini course, AND the Adrenal Fatigue audio master class already included!)
These extras opened August 20th… join now and get started to get them all…! The daily tips 20th-Sept 15thwill help you get a strong start by working on your beliefs about exercise, hormones, and menopause.
***Bonuses will be available for a limited amount of timeand not a part of the course long term. So you’ll have longer to watch them when you get in right away before they disappear September 15. You can only get in if you start by LABOR DAY!
The After 50 Fitness Formula course is my signature course created as a companion to You Still Got It, Girl!
Other resources about adrenals:
Could your argument at breakfast sabotage fitness benefits? Could the project you have due at work disrupt your training progress? Even if you exercise to get rid of stress… could your lack of progress be about stress?
Yes. And more. Just about everything you’re exposed to that your body has to “deal” with could negatively affect your fitness.
So even the exercise itself, if you don’t adjust a good progressive plan when you have stress you hadn’t planned on, is part of the problem.
Say you’re a midlife woman with a high stress job in a fast-paced business and a parent suddenly needs extra care. That plan to run a 10K with a friend could suffer.
What if you’re just in midlife and hot flashes, night sweats and sudden unexplained weight gain plague you? The very exercise you’re doing to try to take off the weight is potentially keeping it right there, stubbornly refusing to move.
Stress causes cortisol spikes. When this happens your body is on alert that you’re threatened. This fight-or-flight time makes it more likely to store fat for you so if you need it later for energy you’ve got it. Even though you may feel like exercise is a stress relief for you too much of a good thing when so much else is going on is not going to have a positive impact.
Stress from multiple sources accumulates to create the same problems. Understand where stress comes from, how to deal with it, and what role exercise type and timing plays in either accelerating or halting results for better fitness right now.
To clarify the integrated effects of stress and the other 6 limbs that together determine fitness I created my signature course, the After 50 Fitness Formula for Women. Leading up to Labor Day 2019 I’m celebrating thee anniversary of this signature course!
The course includes:
In addition to all that…
During the anniversary month you’ll get 5 special bonuses in addition to the course! I’m celebrating by adding these Special Bonuses*** to NEW and current students right now!
Join by Labor Day weekend to get all the goodies!
These extras are available starting August 20thand we’ll get you into the Facebook group right away so you can see all the bonuses for the longest period of time… join now and get started… and you’ll have them (and me doing lives daily) as soon as you start!
***Bonuses will be available for a limited amount of timeand not a part of the course long term. So the sooner you’re in the longer you’ll have to watch them before they disappear September 15.
Limited time offer!
During one of the absolute most stressful times of my life I learned and lived this by accident. Ironically, I was researching hormonal influence on midlife women’s fitness at the time. Yet, I didn’t fully identify what I was doing. I was a living walking, talking experiment. My own life was literally “flipping” upside down.
From safe, secure assets, no debt, very comfortable upper middle class status and all the things… TIAA Cref fund, insurance, flexible hours, beautiful house, car, work I loved and some awesome extra benefits I gave it up and quit my job. By the end of the year I’d pawned jewelry to pay for Facebook ads, seen a therapist, prepared my home for sale instead of preparing for Christmas, then moved soon after two states away with a big dog and what could fit inside my car. I got by with clothes in a couple suitcases, computers, a bike, and blender in the basement bedroom of my niece’s home. Granted, nice home, but none of this is what you see for yourself at 49. Tears came pretty easy for over a year when I wasn’t gripped with fear.
I can’t make this stuff up.
Stress can sabotage fitness. But it doesn’t have to – it can also be your strategic partner for finding strength you didn’t know you had. Once you know how to integrate all the areas of your life into a plan you can thrive not just survive in some of those tough times. No one chooses to have that kind of growth but it is life changing in a way smooth sailing will never be. How it impacts you and the person you will be is up to you.
By the time you’re in midlife, if you’re reading this, you’ve gone through some of those times. You’ve had losses and disappointments. You’ve have heartache. We’ve each got a history.
Those things lead us somewhere. My hope for myself and for you is that it’s to a place with more wisdom and more gratitude for what is good and awareness of what is important. And what’s simply not that you can so much more easily let go of after. Some people, events of the past, and drama simply have no strings and no place.
Stress can sabotage fitness or be a catalyst to a life of improved fitness and resilience in every area. We don’t get the physical benefits without the mental and emotional components.
You can learn to use stress in your decision making for exercise choices. Nutrition changes and other small daily habit “flips” can enhance optimal hormone balance naturally.
You may be thinking you want better results losing weight, or tackling hormone-related belly fat, and learning more about stress influence can help that. The benefit can be far bigger, however, than the ability to feel better in your jeans again.
Should you do 1, 2, or 3 sets of strength training for hormone balance? Research about strength training for women in menopause has answered that in a recent study. This study adds to mounting evidence of the best methods to support hormone balance and optimal aging.
In a true Bruce Springsteen description, strength training is muscle-making, fat-baking, figure-shaping, torso-trimming, mood-boosting, happiness-hacking, exercise.
I hope you live in a world where there’s no debate whether or not you should be strength training. The question is how do you do it best so there’s no injury all rewards?
So, just in case you want to know how that muscle loss shows up I’ve got the details. It’s not good. Your metabolism slows by about 5% every decade because of that muscle mass. Now, let’s say you also gain fat while you’re losing muscle, that’s not just a slower metabolism. It’s more risk for disease, more lethargy.
On the flip side, muscle is metabolically active. Some studies say it requires 35 calories to maintain a pound of muscle and 2 to maintain a pound of fat. (Yet, most of us will eat the same no matter what our weight). See the problem? That 33 calories per pound of muscle difference every day all year can help you with what should never have been accepted as “middle-age weight gain.”
It’s actually only middle-age inactivity, or middle-age inappropriate activity. You can aerobicize your way of this or randomly lift weights at the end of your fitness class. You can’t for that matter strength train on the whim of a fitness instructor’s decision the day you drop into a class. You need a strength training plan.
The best strength training plan would have been a progressive strength training plan begun in your 30s and 40s to prevent losses. (Muscle loss begins at 30 if you’re not lifting). Next best? Start now. You’re reading this. Did you lift today? or yesterday? Got two workouts on your calendar?
You lose (unless you’re lifting and eating correctly) 5-8 pounds of muscle mass every decade. If you eat too few calories and/or protein? You could lose muscle faster.
The percent of muscle mass you have can change by gaining fat too. So if you’re indulging in 2-3 glasses of wine, high carbs, and otherwise consuming sweets (it’s all sugar) regularly? As fat weight goes up, muscle mass declines even if you aren’t losing it.
It’s time to up your game.
What if you were to follow a simple weight training routine of 8 exercises 10-15 repetitions for 12 weeks?
A recent study adds to a growing research pool suggesting more sets within a strength training session is best if you’re flipping 50. The study on older women compared 1 vs. 3 strength-training sets effect on change in body composition.
The loss of body fat for the one set group was 2.4 compared to 6.1% loss of body fat in the 3 set group.
Loss of trunk fat only occurred in the 3 set group. That was a significant 6.8% loss in 12 weeks.
Ready to lift? Before you pick up your dumbbells, there’s even more good news.
Other health biomarkers were also positively affected in the 3-set group:
Many studies are showing less is more when it comes to exercise, and my After 50 Fitness Formula featured in You Still Got It, Girl! supports that. However, it’s less frequent, less duration exercise of adequate intensity. Intensity with strength training comes through safe progression, and reaching muscular fatigue.
That’s not to be confused with simply fatigued, or tired.
If you’ve gone through an hour class jumping, battle roping, punching, doing burpees… you may be tired. But if each set of those 8-10 major muscle groups did not reach fatigue at the end of each set? You missed the metabolism-boosting fat loss mark. Bruce would be disappointed. Strength training for hormone balance includes optimizing cholesterol, fat, inflammation, and muscle.
Flipping 50 exercisers who want to make a difference is reaching fatigue in every set. If muscles aren’t brought to temporary fatigue they will not respond optimally for body composition or strength gains.
If you’re looking for a program designed for hormone balance (and inclusive of your joint needs and back-of-the-closet wants) Flipping 50 STRONGER was designed for women Flipping 50. We launch again soon.
There you have it. Spoiler alert – I just gave you the bottom line. Strength training more than any other type of exercise boostsmotivation more movement. It does it largely due to the emotional benefit of strength training.
Yes, you’ll get stronger. You’ll love the way your clothes fit. You’ll turn heads as you improve posture and walk with a confident, I’ve-got-a-secret-weapon attitude. You’ll have a better libido. You’ll avoid illnesses and injuries. You’ll bounce back faster if they happen. You’ll live independently later.
But you can’t get a single benefit of strength training without the special sauce.
How can I get motivated to exercise?
I just can’t stick with it.
I’ve heard it. You’ve said it. (or maybe you’re among the few and proud who have not!)
It’s well published and widely known if you want to change or control the way you age, you have to keep your muscle. Muscle losses start as early as your 30s. It’s easy to lose up to 50% of your muscle by age 70. But it’s not a given. If you lift weights (properly) you can avoid this condition called sarcopenia.
Muscle loss is usually accompanied by fat gains. Contrary to the myth you need to do lots of cardio to burn fat, you need to lift weights to keep muscle to avoid gaining fat. In doing so you create more metabolically active tissue. You also prevent the effect of age acceleration that occurs with too much cardiovascular activity.
Yes, oxidative stress increases, and cortisol, growth hormone, and testosterone all suffer with too much cardio activity. The result? Muscle loss creates the opportunity for fat. Fill your path to 70 with weight training that consistently follows a few principles of “adequate strength training” and you’ll have avoided muscle losses that will otherwise happen.
If you are a women in midlife, pay attention. What you learned and did in your 20s and 30s is going to make you fatter, slower, and more depressed. Sad and blunt truth but true. You will tank diminishing hormones even further by doing tons of cardio. Do you tend to do MORE of what’s not working? Get hurt frequently? Feel like you’re getting more bloated, more cellulite, more anxious or exhausted? Your hormones are messaging you – shouting, really – that this sh** you’re doing is NOT working!
Before you get to 70 celebrating better strength and body composition than your walking or Pilates-only-please friends, you can enjoy better libido, carry the same load (or more) you did 10 years ago with ease, and have unlimited choices in the way you spend your free time.
The secret to staying motivated to exercise is not so ironically in the exercise. A year-long study published in 2018 showed that participation in a strength training program influenced continued participation among previously sedentary older adults.
Motivation, self-efficacy, and planning were measured during the study at 3 and 9 months. Continued participation was measured at 6 and 12-months intervals after the study. Near 50% of those in the study continued voluntarily lifting weights.
Motivation – the desire or will to do something, the choice or reason someone will do something
Self-efficacy– the belief that your choices control your outcome
Extrinsic motivation– based on outside influence, to avoid punishment, or to gain praise or rewards, to satisfy a task, or complete a program
Intrinsic motivation– based on an individual’s thoughts, beliefs and knowledge, for personal perceived benefits and determination
Strength training-related planning has many facets. You first have to plan the time to exercise. Then you’ve got to have a plan of action for that time in a session. Knowledge of exactly what you’ll do including what exercises, in what order, how many times, at what speed makes a well laid out plan.
Not so ironically, you won’t be as likely to plan exercise unless you have a plan for action in that session and you tie it to results you want.
Have you let trips and events, projects, and holidays, or crisis interfere with regular exercise? Have they been the obstacle that threw you off schedule never to return again?
Without even knowing it’s happening, your subconscious may be weighing the advantages of allocating time to something you have no confidence will improve your current status.
The most important quality of a plan is your ability of tying it to the outcome that you want. You’re not likely to go into action if you don’t have confidence that what you’re doing will help you.
A good plan connects what to do with how it will help you get from where you are now to where you want to go.
If you don’t understand the connection between what you’re doing and the outcome you want, ask!
A supervised program with incentives, encouragement, and structure can provide the motivation to get you started. A program offers extrinsic motivation that might come from the investment of funds. It might come from the public announcement that you’re doing this. It might come because you’ll get some kind of reward or incentive (insurance premium lowered or work wellness program t-shirt).
Strength training doesn’t only decrease the rate at which muscle mass and strength are lost.You can increase muscle mass after 50. Studies even show you can gain muscle in your 10thdecade.
Strength training helps avoid cognitive decline. It’s been shown to have a positive effect on preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia. It helps improve mood. It helps decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, exercise interventions may work more effectively than medications and cognitive therapies, without negative side effects.
At the start of this post, I basically wrote when you feel stronger you do more. When you’ve exercised consistently for a period of time doing the right thing, you gain not only strength but confidence and self-efficacy.
That opens the world to you.
The best way to take a step toward regular strength training? If you’re serious about longevity and loving your energy, body, and life with the help of strength training, you need a plan.
Spend 8 weeks with me (Starts Aug 1, 2019)and work on your motivation to move. If you’ve not been strength training regularly, this twice per week program is the start you need. If you’re a woman in perimenopause, menopause, or post menopause it was designed for you! It’s based on research and successful protocols with women in perimenopause and beyond subjects.
It’s not your daughter’s or your mom’s workout.
Doors are open RIGHT NOW and if you miss the early bird special you’ll still be able to get in for a great rate… but who doesn’t love to save?
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But seriously, we are making a hot mess of the science behind these workouts. We’re also forgetting “warm up” does not mean start with a high impact move. That, girlfriend, has been a problem for decades, at least the 3.5 decades I’ve been in fitness.
Even “experts” we’re supposed to trust who’ve gained celebrity as authority figures in health don’t get it right. Dr. Oz frequently brings his trainer on the show. I’ve pulled a video from a show segment featuring 7-minute workouts to share with you.
While, yes, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has science behind it, it has to be used intelligently. It’s not simply “moving” for a short period of time that makes it HIIT. On the video there isn’t much breathlessness occurring for the exercisers. It is a 7-minute workout. It met that criteria.
This was an example of circuit training. Using the term interval training is OK, too. But it was not a “high intensityinterval training” example.
That is entirely appropriate for beginners to advanced exercisers who want a time efficient workout.
The lower intensity means the exercise won’t have as powerful influence on metabolism and fat burning after exercise (compared to true High Intensity exercise). Likewise, because there isn’t any need, there is no real recovery between exercises. And that’s OK.
A sequence of exercises alternating upper and lower body exercises in quick succession does have science behind it. It is not, however, truly HIIT. [It’s called peripheral heart action, for the record.]
So promising HIIT-related results from something other than HIIT exercise, is “false advertising.” Granted this is a free video available to anyone at any time. However, why as an expert would you want to mislead? Unless you didn’t know better you wouldn’t have.
That’s not what really disappoints me in this episode. Even more important to me is the potential for injury and the erroneous exercises.
=>When did jumping become a warm up? Starting with a high impact exercise fails to prepare the joints, ligaments, and muscles for the increased load. It’s like getting into a car with a 14-year old permit-user who floors it to go faster or crushes the brake. Your body feels that stress in a big way. It’s going from 0 to 100% in a single move.
=>“Chest press” has to happen with resistance to gravity or resistance of bands or pulleys (But erroneously it’s demonstrated in a standing position pressing out) if it’s intended for chest (Now, this exercise can be used for core or for a shoulder exercise for the appropriate person). As it was demonstrated it has no effect on major muscles that influence metabolism.
Here’s my version:
Warm up for 3-5 minutes first! March in place (or march in place while you’re watching the instruction portion)
You’ll start the workout at 2:37. Complete the 11 exercises each for 40-50 seconds once you’ve gone through this once or repeat this short sequence as is a second time. Finish every session with stretching.
This too is an alternating upper and lower body exercise with minimal breaks. It’s a different way to “interval” consistent of a circuit of intervals. It’s an excellent “quickie” for travel days or crazy days. It’s short enough to repeat twice. There won’t be muscle “fatigue” as much as there will be muscle stimulation.
This is what I call a consistency keeper and energy booster. When your weights can’t happen, when you can’t get in a 20 minute interval set, this once or twice through is an example of what you “can do.” In reality though most workouts “cheat” labeling 7-minute workouts since you’ve got to do a warm up! and cool down!
It’s reader and viewer beware. Ask questions. Challenge the information. Be a critical thinker. Make sure that you’re filtering for YOU. Ask if that segment was designed for you.
Even with a medical professional, a certified trainer, and a stable of producers who likely fact-check this episode segment had gaps in the utility for you, or any user.
If it intended to show how easy it is to set up a circuit you can do in minutes at home this segment did that. It could have done so with more appropriate warm up and exercises accurately targeting desired outcome.
I advise you keep it simple and custom.
Choose the goal. Avoid any injury. Choose the exercises.
7-Minute Workouts FLIP: 10 minutes, not 4, 6, or even 7, minutes of high intensity interval training was recently shown MOST effective for positively influencing hormones. It’s clear that low volume high intensity interval training is effective, provided it reach a threshold of at least 10 minutes duration for postmenopausal women.
Looking for workouts, recipes, coaching and community that are already filtered for you based on research about you [women in perimenopause, menopause, and beyond] so you know they’re proven to work? The Cafe is open for enrollment twice a year.
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P.S. I think Dr. Oz brings important topics to the public’s attention! This is not a slam on him or the show. I do think he could have done better here. With a broad viewership there’s a responsibility to say, who’s this for and why. Under that though, incorrect exercises without specifically targeting the said goal is irresponsible.
Healthy at-home exercise is a must-have for anyone today. Even if you belong and love your gym, having an option for those days when you can’t make it is paramount for consistency. There will be those days you’re stuck with too little time to commute there and back, or you’re caregiving, or waiting for “cable guy,” or stranded in a blizzard.
This post is quite unique. I’m introducing the Flipping 50 Membership 2.0. The “Café” as we call it, the place to stop in and fill your cup with a community of women on the same journey is 3 and a half. It’s the first and only membership designed for you in perimenopause, menopause, and beyond. It’s a virtual gym and your source for virtual coaching, education, exercise nutrition, and more.
The Café is perfect if you’re looking for “what’s next” after a Flipping 50 program and want continued support, motivation, and more workout challenges you can choose anytime, anywhere… with like-minded women who want the hormone-balancing fitness difference.
Enrollment is open right now… and closing soon. This is new. We’ve decided to bring in a group of new members only limited times of year to really take you on a journey together.
Just added bonus…Complimentary Private Session with Debra to kick off your membership ($300 value)
It is designed with you in mind. It is based on research featuring women in perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause. It’s about getting stronger, inside and outside. I work with you on mindset and shifting what you were taught and learned decades ago about diets and exercise that simply, does not work. Why?
First, because your hormones now need something very different than they once did (and psst…. It’s less not more). Second, science has advanced tremendously in 35 years I’ve been involved in the fitness industry. Yet, you’ve been busy right? And there’s an “infobesity” of content coming at you. It’s hard to filter was is BS and what is really in your best interest.
Look, I get it.
That’s why I want you to stick with me for a year. This isn’t a quick fix. Not if it took 50 years of habits to get you here. But you will feel and see results quickly AND continue to see them as you stick with me. You want and need to know not just what but why. That keeps you motivated. I teach you how to connect the dots between the actions and plans I lay out and the results and benefits you get. That helps eliminate “motivation” and “willpower” and enhances commitment.
I don’t believe any of us lack discipline. I don’t believe that’s why you’re not getting results, or right where you want to be. I believe there’s a combination of missing science, misunderstanding what your body is telling you, and a need to know exactly what to do. So, you need a trusted source.
If you are willing to make changes – and hey, we’re all busy. That one just doesn’t work. You’re not too busy for disease. You can’t be too busy for exercise and lifestyle habits that make it work. We all have a story. But just because you’re crazy making, don’t expect me to get in there with you. If you can’t exercise for a time, you dial in that nutrition, sleep, and daily habits. If you can exercise for a shorter than you want to time? Then we just need to nail what is that most effective use of those 10 minutes. I look for answers, not problems. Still with me?
Then here are the details.[or if you’re already thinking, “yes,” you had me at hormone balancing fitness – click here!]
So now is the time! You get Flipping 50 Membership 2.0 with over $800 of programs, you’ll save up to $200 off protein products, and get the ultimate… looking good and feeling great. This program for instance, STRONGER 3 is only available inside the Cafe!
We close doors Tuesday July 16, 11:59pm then close the doors for months.
Open Enrollment is limited going forward to two times a year. Enrollment is open in July and January of each year. So when enrollment closes, only students who’ve recently finished a Premium Program have a one-time opportunity to join until the next enrollment period.
Q: Can I join if I haven’t done a program or coaching with Debra yet?
A: Yes, during this enrollment period we welcome you. I will suggest you turn right around and join a Premium Program asap, however (perhaps with your new member’s discount on regularly priced programs!).
Q: What’s the refund policy?
A: See below for additional details. Once you’re in the Café and have access to all of our intellectual property we don’t refund. You can at any time cancel the renewal for your annual subscription by sending an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: Do you do a payment plan?
A: There currently is not. Please reach out to email@example.com share your situation.
Q: I’m a vegan/vegetarian does this work for me?
A: Yes! The only area where you will find less content applicable to you is in the recipes section. Many of them will work for you. However, main dishes are skewed to our animal protein members but can be tweaked for the plant-based lifestyle. If you’ve gone through a Premium Program you’ll have the best insight into this being a fit for you.
Need to see it? Watch the behind the scenes video here I created for our members to see what’s coming with the 2.0 upgrade!