This post covers the relationship between fasting and sleep, and my own experience regarding those topics. This post is sponsored by the good folks at Sleep Number. As always, all thoughts are my own.
As many of my followers and subscribers already know, I don’t advocate fasting for everyone. Many of the women I work with have a relationship with food that first has to improve overall so that we set ourselves up for success (i.e., we don’t set up a binge-purge cycle). I believe in a strong nutrition foundation first before beginning on any fasting continuum. That continuum begins with at least 12 hours overnight and between meals. Many women are not doing that simple step to enhance hormone balance.
For exercise to be successful a strong nutrition foundation has to be in place. That is, identifying what the best dietary plan is for each individual at the current point in time. Before you manipulate when or if you eat, you need to make sure you’re eating what’s right for your body, and that you’re absorbing nutrients. Fasting is something you may do for a short time for a positive benefit but you’ve got to have a good foundation every day. You’ll create a stronger, healthier, vibrant body, with positive and consistent daily habits. I’ll link to the Flipping 50 28-day Kickstart if you want support finding your best foundation for both exercise and exercise nutrition.
Given my stance on fasting it may surprise you that I’ve tested the fasting mimicking diet developed at the Longevity Institute at USC. I’ve used it the last three months and because I don’t have significant weight to lose, or major concerns with health markers, my biggest reason for trying it was that I never recommend something I haven’t used. I am asked frequently about fasting, weight loss, health concerns, and the interaction with menopause symptoms. So I tested it. Below are the results of my experience.
I’ll use “fast” throughout this post to refer to the “fasting mimicking diet.”
My sleep improved and it shocked me.
I’m a good sleeper to begin with. I know the value of sleep as it relates to physical performance and optimal weight and energy, so I have good sleep habits. Since beginning a regular fasting program three months ago, I’ve had even more restful sleep, waking less, and feeling more refreshed in the morning.
At 54, I have experienced minor and very infrequent hot flashes and night sweats. I attribute my good fortune so far to a good diet, exercise, good habits, and a dreamy bed. My Sleep Number 360 smart bed with the Dual Temp layer has been a big part of buffing up my sleep in this last eight months. I would never have guessed a mattress would make so much difference!
A good mattress should be a prescription for women in peri-menopause! Fasting too may be a part of cracking your own code on hormone balance.
During the fasting mimicking diet you’re eating an overall low calorie plant-based diet. You do actually get to eat three meals and snacks depending on the day. Your body is “tricked” into a fasting state where it begins to burn ketones, or fat, rather than sugar, for fuel.
The re-entry into healthy eating after the fast is when the magic happens. It’s much like the workouts you do provide the opportunity for fitness and the rest between your sessions is when the fitness actually happens.During the five days of the fast everyone’s experiences are reportedly different both daily and overall. My own three five-day fasts were each unique.
The first fast had novelty and I felt good and more energetic during the day and rested surprisingly well at night. I say surprisingly well because I enjoy good sleep most nights already. I wasn’t looking for improvement there. I was actually more ready to go to bed, though and woke more refreshed than usual.
There’s not a ton of science connecting sleep and fasting. Some of the superficial information is basic. Having too large a dinner, eating too close to bedtime, or skipping dinner each tend to disrupt sleep.
It turns out there is scientific evidence that fasting increases parasympathetic output – the part of the nervous system you need for quality sleep.
If you crash during the day and stare at the ceiling at night like many students before Flipping 50 programs you’ll love this: fasting can improve circadian rhythm, meaning you sleep again.
No surprise to my Flipping 50 fans who know me for hormone-balancing exercise and lifestyle habits, there are hormones involved in this fasting-sleep improvement phenomena. Serotonin is our feel good hormone – and more of it calms us down – and melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep. Melatonin production, you may remember from prior posts, is reduced with age. Fasting helps increase your body’s production of both those hormones that are key to sleep so you can get a better night.
I found that though I had slightly different overall experiences during each of the three five-day fasts I did, I was able to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper. I didn’t sleep longer as some of my clients have reported. That was likely due to the fact I am by nature a long sleeper and regularly enjoy eight if not nine hours.
I found the first fast easy. It was novel and interestingly enough I began it after a 12-hour fast for a blood test, which felt like a bit of momentum. My first meal that morning after I had the blood draw was a part of the fasting mimicking diet.
The second time through, a month later, the novelty had worn off. I knew what to expect and by day three and four – the toughest for me psychologically, not physically – I was over it. On day five it was nearly done and easy to finish. Mind you, I never felt it was “hard” to do physically. I programmed exercise during each fast specifically to support it and act as detox.
The third time I experienced the most psychological resistance. Though I knew I’d felt noticeably different (better) during and long after the last two I was inconvenienced. I had to turn down some social opportunities. Lunch invitations with family members and dinner with out of state guests both came and I declined.
Would I do it again? I will though not soon. I’ve definitely had noticeable results in addition to my sleep: I also reduced my coffee by 66%. [Possible connection there!] If you’re sleeping better less coffee may happen naturally. No need for the pick-me-up. I was up! I felt less bloating, though It wasn’t a complaint I had necessarily, you don’t know how good you can feel until you do! I’m also more keenly aware of the amount of food I was eating out of habit. I need less except when I’m exercising and I’m much more mindful about that now.
If you’re seeking some hormone support, naturally, and a sleep aid with nothing but positive side effects, reach out for more information about the fasting mimicking diet and coaching or my Sleep Number bed and Dual Temp layer.
P.S. Curious about Fasting Mimicking Diet for you?? You’re going to want to tune in to the Flipping 50 podcast (Subscribe now: click view in iTunes and then subscribe) Tuesday Sept 18, 2018!
In the gym and in the kitchen you’ve got a dozen ways to make menopause better. Your trip through menopause can be easy and enjoyable. Here’s how the exercise you do can make menopause so much more pleasant!
Let’s face it there are so many ways stress – and the cortisol that comes from it – creep into life during menopause. It also happens to be a time when women are at a peek in their careers, or in a transition to a new career. The same can be said for relationships. Children can be in kindergarten or graduating college. If you’re an American family, maybe both! You may have aging parents or relatives who depend on you too. Exercise can help offset those stressors.
Short, high intensity exercise, done infrequently (not daily), can reduce negative effects of cortisol. Long outdoor nature walks/hikes/rides can reduce cortisol. Yoga (as long as you love it and don’t go for hot, power yoga that puts you over the edge) can reduce stress levels.
Weight training makes you strong in many ways beyond muscle. Women report confidence, resilience, a difference in the way they carry themselves when they’re strength training.
Serotonin production along with the well-known endorphins produced after exercise can change chemistry. While non-exercisers during menopause often report greater tendency toward depression, weight training is known to help decrease anxiety and depression both. Make menopause better by feeling better both physically and emotionally.
Exercise in menopause can boost your testosterone levels directly, provided you choose less and more intense exercise when you do it. Long endurance activity kills testosterone and therefore your romantic Saturday night. But short hits of intervals a couple times a week along with a weight training routine that really works (put the pink dumbbells down) will support testosterone levels.
Exercise enhances sleep, which in turn improves cortisol, testosterone, and growth hormone. If you feel less stressed there’s more chance you can feel amorous. No one feels sexy when the wheels are falling off the bus. If you’re handling it well though, maybe.
You may be more inclined to leave the lights on. Strength training can help you feel better naked and boost your libido. Strength training, faster than any other form of exercise, will change your body shape and proportions. You’ll feel it faster, too, than trying to spend hours doing cardio which will leave you wiped out rather than feeling like a little black dress.
It takes as little as 10 minutes of exercise a day to improve self-reports of sleep quality by 33%. You can do a full body strength training routine in 10 minutes!
Exercise in menopause can reduce hot flashes intensity, frequency or both. In fact, the occurrence of hot flashes is reduced by about 21% in exercising women. It is dependent on the type and timing of your exercise so if you’re shaking your head no, it’s not working for me, then a change in your exercise is the answer.
The exercise has to be both vigorous enough to change your vasomotor control (aka, your heating and cooling system) and regular enough.
Flip:“Intense” and “vigorous” are two words that can cause concern but they needn’t. High intensity exercise has been used for decades even with those who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and asthma. Safe forms of exercise can help you reach the intensity you need to get results without risk of injury.
Resistance exercise can prevent bone and muscle loss that’s going to accelerate during menopause. Bone losses increase to up to 3-5% a year during menopause (from 1-3% losses pre and post menopause). Weight training with a bone density-increasing protocol should be mandatory for women in midlife! This tip not only helps you make menopause better but makes post- menopause better and reduces your risk of falling.
Use a weight that causes you to reach fatigue in 10 or fewer repetitions, or use power with slightly lighter weights. Both have been most closely related to the best bone benefits. Minimal bone benefits come from doing more repetitions of light weights or taking more steps per day. There needs to be a Minimal Effective Stress (MES) applied to gain the most bone benefits.
Where you have co-existing issues like arthritis preventing heavy weights, do the heaviest you can without complications and focus on balance to prevent falls. There are specific other habits you’ll want to do to optimize your bone health.
Flip: All too often you’ll find resources suggesting walking or light weights, even yoga increases bone density. These activities do exist on a continuum from sedentary-inactive to very specific optimal bone density activity. They will only reap rewards for a period of time as your body adapts. Once you’ve become a regular walker or done yoga, you will no longer continue to gain benefits doing the same activity over and over without overload.
Do the best you can for your personal conditions and if you’re apparently healthy, weight training to the point of muscular fatigue at 10 or fewer repetitions or using power with approximately 12-15 repetitions will get the best bone-specific results.
I saved the best for last. What would make menopause better for many women is avoiding the weight gain that can happen. Hormone changes can sabotage your tried-and-true habits and cause weight gain. They don’t HAVE to, however. It’s not “NORMAL” for that to happen, and it’s certainly not mandatory.
In fact, worldwide menopause and weight gain don’t have a correlation. Here in the states however, it’s common.
Weight training benefits within the first four weeks, provided you do a protocol that overloads your muscles, results in typically a 4 lb fat loss and 3 lb. muscle gain. The net weight loss is not significant but the change in body composition is and that positively influences metabolism. Those results can be expected within the first 12 weeks of a strength training program, or an existing one in which you make significant changes. For more information about Flipping 50’s new 12-week STRONGER program and the enrollment period, join for email announcements that first go to our subscribers.
A “traditional” protocol of using major muscle groups to fatigue optimizes lean muscle. A few minutes of random exercise following a cardio class or a bootcamp movement course moving quickly and getting tired, but never reaching muscle fatigue, will not have the same effect on long term metabolism.
You can make menopause better physically and psychologically with minutes a week. It doesn’t take a lot and you can do it conveniently at home, it doesn’t require a lot of equipment.
AARP, the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age, recently recognized the Flipping 50 podcast as one of nine best podcasts after 50.
I’m thrilled for the guests that join me on the Flipping 50 podcast who have a message that I’ve hand-selected for the show because of the way they might positively influence listener’s lives.
I’m thrilled for listeners of the Flipping 50 podcast who have more opportunity to be inspired, educated, motivated and find a community of others who can raise their expectations about aging.
I’m thrilled for those who aren’t listening yet. Those 30 and 40-somethings will have a life of aging they look forward to and dreams that start or are fulfilled after 50 because of the examples they’ll have and the new research ahead.
Years ago I got that AARP card in the mail and couldn’t throw it away fast enough! Anyone else? I was like, yikes! way too soon! Now, I’m excited about the possibilities and their selection for best podcasts after 50!
AARP has 38 million members. That number ironically is the same number of baby boomer women. There are 25 million Gen X women right behind us. We’re powerful. Women make or influence at least 80% of all household decisions. We’re influencing the health of this world by example.
AARP and Flipping 50 are leading a revolution in the way people view, live, and love life after 50. One way I do that is through the Flipping 50 podcast.
One way you can help is to visit the podcast on iTunes. Leave a rating for the podcast if it’s been valuable for you. When you leave a rating you’re voting for best podcasts after 50 too! You’re telling iTunes and me that the content is valuable and creating more awareness for women who might be struggling to find a voice that they can know, like, and trust.
Here’s how to leave a rating for the Flipping 50 podcast:
Another way is to download the Flipping 50 podcast on your phone and take me with you for a walk, your commute, or listen during your weight training session.
The best way to help spread our news about the best podcast after 50 selection is to share the Flipping 50 podcast with a friend (or three). Share the iTunes link of an episode that you enjoyed. Add it to your Facebook timeline (you can link right to it from iTunes episodes). Creating awareness that it’s out there, it’s for women, and it’s focused on the most frequently asked questions, the most frustrating concerns, and the most uplifting stories, is the first step.
OR you can grab the link from your browser when you’re in iTunes and share that to your Facebook timeline too. Let someone know you’re listening and why you enjoy it. Psst, you can just share this post with friends too!
Like AARP is creating possibility for better aging for you by listening to members, the Flipping 50 podcast content comes from listening to you.
At Flipping 50 I’m about creating possibilities in your second half. By creating better health, and a stronger physical body, you create a stronger sense of self and a vehicle for your gifts shine. Flipping 50 does that by:
Forming programs & services that are accessible
Serving as an advocate in the Fitness Industry
Serving as an advocate in the marketplacetailoring quality products and services for women over 50 to live their lives to the fullest.
Affordability & Value we put into Flipping 50 products.
Flipping 50 programs and products are not the least expensive: they offer recognizable value at competitive prices. There is something available for all budgets.
Quality with every book, program, webinar, Flipping 50 podcast episode, blog, custom coaching recommendation.
Everything we do is based on sound research featuring women in midlife and beyond, and 34 years of experience, surveys and polls from our ever growing community.
AARP is a recognized leader. Flipping 50 is partnering with other recognized leaders also engaged in making aging healthier, happier, and full of possibilities. I’m grateful for making this best podcasts after 50 list and the opportunity it provides for inspiring others to a second half of life they love!
Want to join our community?
You can join our subscribers for research announcements, recipes, and special offers we only share via email. Click here
You can go to iTunes and subscribe, leave a rating, and share with a friend to create your own community talking about possibilities. Click here (or follow the links above for the specific action you want to take).
You can join me on social media too. Choose the network(s) you use:
Are you in business? Connect on LinkedIn!
Did you know? If you have a women’s organization, a corporation, and you have events where the topics of energy, productivity, focus, balance and becoming your best to make the best decisions for work, family and life are of interest? I have been speaking to audiences for 25 years. Let’s connect.
Visit the Flipping 50 podcast page here at flippingfifty.com when you’re listening to any episode for the show notes that include links to resources mentioned in the show or to use special show offers and connect with guests.
Now, will you help me create content? What would you like to hear more of when you listen? Is there a guest you’d love me to interview? Do you have a story to share that will uplift our community? Do you know someone who does? Comment below with your ideas!
What other podcasts do you love to listen to? What else is on your best podcasts after 50 list? I’d love to know!
Is exercise during menopause confusing you? Why are you doing it? What have you been doing? How is that working? The right exercise during menopause requires some questions, some reflection, and some honesty.
Honestly, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing what you’ve always done. You know the end of this sentence. Most of the time the end of that sentence is, “getting the same results you’ve always gotten.” Except in this situation you don’t. Exercise during menopause either amplifies symptoms like fatigue and fat storage or those like energy and focus.
If you’re doing what has always worked for you, you’re probably not getting the same results. If you’re trying to do more of what’s not working, how well do you think that’sgoing to work? But that’s often the intuitive thing to do isn’t it?
Frustrating, I know. There’s good news. Exercise during menopause can be more enjoyable, less frustrating, and even less time consuming than you’ve ever exercised before.
You, dear woman, were a part of the early “club scene” after all. You were a part of the movement into gyms and health clubs. Sure, there were men in the weight room but you were there in that aerobics studio.
There are a lot of copycat programs created from something one trainer saw another trainer do.
A mere 39% of all sports medicine and exercise research features women. A fraction of that features women in peri-menopause, menopause, and beyond.
What worked for one woman will not work for another.
You don’t need a one-size-fits all guarantee, you need a blueprint to find the right balance for your needs.
You’re not all in. You’re testing a program, trying to learn why it won’t work. You’ll tweak it and convince yourself it doesn’t work (because a proven program tweaked doesn’t).
Here’s new research on exercise during menopause:
Studies show meals with 30 grams of high quality protein is optimal for muscle protein synthesis. Many of those studies were included in You Still Got It, Girl.
Once you assess your personal signs and symptoms that you want or need to change you can find your fitness formula.
After 50 Fitness Formula
Rest & Recovery
Weight lifting to fatigue
High Quality protein with EAA timed right
Based on status
Short low Intensity
Short interval training
Long Low intensity
Plants + Support
Are you tired? Do you get breathless easily? Do you simply suffer from fatigue such that when you wake up in the morning even with a good night you don’t feel rested?
Then you don’t pass go, collect your $200, or start exercising vigorously or frequently before you restore.
Rest and Recovery come first in this formula because we’ve been brainwashed. We’ve been told (and I’ve said it), “energy creates energy.” It does, but only if you have some in the first place. You can have a match but with no wood you’ve got no fire. “No pain, no gain” memes suggest you should just get on with no matter how bad it feels. Fitness and health pros even are showing images of their maximum lifts and recording their mileage on social media. That’s not helpful if you’re too far from that place yourself.
What you don’t see and what they often don’t share is adrenal fatigue they suffered before they figured it out. Or, potentially if you haven’t seen images of those inspiring people recently, check in on them. You too are human. Your life, your work, your worry, as well as your nutrition and exercise all determine collectively your need to do more, or do less, in order to feel better.
Step 2 & 3:
Weight lifting to fatigue combined with protein timed carefully before and or after should be thoughtfully planned for adults over 50 (when muscle protein synthesis – MPS- decreases).
Reduced MPS means you don’t utilize the protein from food you eat as well as you once did. Weight training done properly has been shown to help boost MPS.
Muscle breakdown has the potential to occur at faster rates than build up after age 25 when muscle mass naturally peaks. If you haven’t been lifting weights, and or have had a diet insufficient in high quality protein, you have some catching up to do.
Muscle mass loss is not inevitable. Slowing metabolism is not inevitable. Though hormones can get wonky for anyone, from athlete to the deconditioned they don’t discriminate, it’s possible to reprogram your GPS as soon as you get those signals you’re at a dead end.
You do need to lift weights. You’re not going to increase your lean muscle mass doing barre classes or Pilates or yoga. You may get to the point of muscle failure and you may boost your mood. If you have time, include these types of activity but if you little time, focus on your major muscles, which are in charge of metabolism first. These types of activity can be a first step, or an extra-curricula step after you’ve initiated metabolically active muscle, I’m not throwing them out. If you only have so much time however, you want to think about your biggest reward. What do you love? What will keep you motivated?
Yes you need to breath a little harder. That is harder than you do at rest. If you are in need of restore in Step 1, you do less heavy breathing, less duration. You would never write checks on an empty bank account, right? If you have tons of energy, you’re sleeping well, one or two short duration high intensity interval training sessions a week and longer lighter activity once or twice can serve you.
What doesn’t serve you is what, as a Strength and Conditioning coach, I call zone 3. That’s No Benefits Zone (NBZ). That’s where you may have been exercising your entire adult life.
That’s the heart rate check in aerobics back in the day to see if you were in your optimal heart rate training zone. I did it. I was that fitness instructor making you stop and check your pulse before Fit Bit or Garmin were on your wrist.
But guess what? More than 15 years ago I stopped doing that and stopped two dozen trainers on my staff from doing that because unless you’ve been tested we don’t know what that number should be for a group of people who just stumbled into a group fitness class because it was the right time of day for them. Predicted heart rate calculations either over or under estimate where adults should be, and most often for adults over 40 they under estimate you.
The world underestimates you.
So let’s just raise a few eyebrows and set them straight.
We have to lead the way. Get off the scale. Treat yourself as something more valuable and important than that number. Don’t let that stereotypical chronic dieter be the right image. Show them a strong woman with goals and value making waves in the world and at starting lines and bottom (and tops) of mountains.
Exercise during menopause shouldn’t be about your heart rate. It isn’t about calories. It is about hormones. How you feel doesn’t lie. You can be “in the zone” and feel terrible! You can be “in the normal range” of hormone testing according to western medicine and feel terrible.
How you feel counts far more than an arbitrary, imposed number. Do not waste time or energy trying to be in some “zone” of exercise for some quota of minutes. The game has changed.
Change your strategy and exercise during menopause becomes more enjoyable, even fun, and more rewarding and beneficial.
Join me for a LIVE Facebook this Friday at 4:30pm MST. I’m going to answer questions about exercise during (or before or long after) menopause. Post your questions below. Turn on your notifications for facebook.com/flipping50tv so you get notified when I go on live.
Is Your Diet Keeping You Up at Night?
This post about better sleep is sponsored by Sleep Number. All thoughts and opinions, as always, are completely my own.
If you’re on a low-calorie diet, you might be missing out on important nutrients. If you’re missing out on important nutrients, it could be interfering with your sleep. This vicious cycle is detrimental to a healthy lifestyle. This statistic is staggering: A recent study published by the National Institute of Public Health (NIPH) found women between 60 and 90 who suffered from poor sleep also had poor diets. We need to stop ignoring the direct correlation between sleep and diet, so we can instead implement healthy routines to put the vicious cycle to bed (literally).
A few sleep flips for you right off the bat:
A diet insufficient in any way negatively affects neurotransmitters that regulate sleep and wake cycles. So if you’re trying to cut calories, or you make poor choices more often than you’d like to admit, you could be cutting your sleep, too. Then, the poor dietary choices you’re making could be a direct result of sleep deprivation! This downward spiral is tough to break. In addition to neurotransmitters, Melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep, is also negatively impacted by a poor diet.
The more restrictive your diet, the more essential it is to look at what micronutrients might be missing and see how you can account for them. You might dismiss this sooner than you should. Sleep will often improve when you first start a diet, but can then worsen as insufficiencies catch up with you.
The NIPH pointed out many subjects in the study above had poor quality of protein due to missing leucine, a key essential amino acid in muscle building and repair. If you’re eating strictly plant-based, you’re more likely to need a boost of leucine at each meal, not just for sleep. Leucine is key to building muscle and sparing loss.
As if the frustration of tossing and turning isn’t the only motivation for sleep, lack of sleep slows your metabolism. No matter how much you exercise or how well you eat, without sleep, you’re going to struggle with weight. Longer sleepers have lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those that can’t get sweet dreams. BMI is not the end-all, but it’s a strong component used to predict healthy weight by physicians.
How much does it matter? For one of my clients in her sixties, it mattered to the tune of an extra 75 pounds she was able to lose. After years of exercise with no results, she decided to increase her quality and quantity of sleep, and that’s when the weight started coming off. You too can make nutrition changes to improve your sleep!
Once you’ve buffed your diet, make sure you go to bed on a bed you love. A mattress is a smart investment, given you spend a third of your life in it! My Sleep Number bed has been a game-changer. I never knew what I was missing until the first night I slept on it.
A third of Flipping 50 customers have hot flashes or night sweats before they begin. Changes in diet can help you control the frequency and intensity of those midlife symptoms. A Sleep Number Dual Temp layercan keep you (and your partner) at the right temperature each and every night.
Save 20, 15, or 10% off your first purchase of Paleo Power, Your Whey, or Plant Power with these codes:
Summer’s around the corner! Flip 50 lean! [ends when April does]
Thanks for being a Flipping 50 reader!
Before you get more hormone balance you obviously need a clear definition of hormone balance! If you’re not actually sure what hormone balance is or if some of your recent frustration with a lack of your “you-ness” seems to describe hormone imbalance, read on. This post is for you. It’s not just hormones though is it? For the majority of women Flipping 50, there’s also a special condition, a joint issue, a crazy schedule that also needs to be addressed.
If any of these describe you:
=>You don’t poo every day at least once (more is better)
=>You have rabbits or pudding instead of snakes
=> You have gas or bloating you just tolerate
What you used to do doesn’t work any more.
Then this is definitely for you… if you want to change. I add that because, frankly, that’s the obstacle for a significant percent of women that express interest in change. If you aren’t willing to change habits, change beliefs, change what you eat and when, change how you exercise and when, then this will just be another blog. Get real with whether the fault you find in programs, and the resistance to making change is you being the obstacle in your way. Access to proven solutions doesn’t mean you’ll make the changes and get proven success. As an exercise psychology and behavior change coach, I’ve spent 50% of my time with clients focused on the process of change for over three decades. It is a big part of feeling better. No set of exercises, videos, menu plans will ever help until you decide you are 100% in.
Exercise for hormone balance is not your textbook exercise. “I’ve never heard that before,” is not a good excuse to dismiss something as true. How many studies did you (or your trainer) read last week about menopause, hormones, and exercise? They’re at anyone’s fingertips in today’s world. So holding onto old ideas without researching for yourself or finding a voice you trust instead of going by an outdated text is irresponsible. A published textbook is outdated by the time it goes to print. Research in this area is accelerating. Get help up to the speed of research on hormone balance.
If the rules feel like they changed overnight and put you into imbalance you could notice a shift that quickly back into balance too. You may not be quite so lucky to get it right immediately, but you can feel better. You’ll get signs you’re on the right path and you can lose weight or get the tone you’re after if you’re willing to make some changes.
Hormone balance through exercise starts with these 3 steps:
Really, write them down. I’ll wait.
Make a column of signs and a column of what-I’ve-tried next to it with plenty of options for the solutions.
If you’ve tried things before, even if you don’t have results, you know a little more about what does and doesn’t work for hormone balance.
Or do you?
Does #3 above resonate a bit too much? If you’ve said, “I’ve tried everything! Nothing works!” You may have tried things randomly or unknowingly sabotaged results of a good thing with the wrong type or timing of it. That’s where I want to jump in here with exercise for hormone balance.
I’ve written dozens of blogs, dozens more articles, and created still more videos about exercise and hormone balance. I touched on hormones and exercise for adults over 50 in one book and filled two more books with exercise for hormone balance. By this summer I could write another. Research is booming. There’s not a lack of information but there’s a lack of time.
When you want answers and your frustrated you want them now, like yesterday.
If you’re not getting results you want but don’t know why, below I give you some very quick very easy to implement answers. There are three scenarios here. There’s more where that came from, and more how-to do the exercise that will help you most, where this came from, but these are very common among the women I work with.
Reduce your exercise. Leave the weights and the High Intensity Interval Training alone for (at least) a week. If you can get out for walks (or bike rides) and enjoy yourself – alone, with a friend, or a dog – then do that. Stick with a short duration (20-30 minutes most of the time. A longer time (45-60 minutes)– as long as you enjoy it – on the weekends or day when you have plenty of time and you’re not on the clock can be good. Plan activities you love that have nothing to do with calories and fat and minutes. You need a major reset. Fill up that hole and rest. Focus on sleep, rest, a massage, meditation, journaling, and learn what proper nutrition is for you today – it’s not the “healthy” you once thought.
Get short quick interval training sets in 1-2 times a week that last 20 or 30 minutes start to end. Get two weight training-to-fatigue days in (same day or alternate). Make these things happen in the morning. Then get outdoors and do something unplugged at least once a week. Hike: get lost for that matter. You need to let go. No minutes, calories, miles tracking. While you’re doing that get a plan for eating. Plan breakfast. Plan lunch. Plan dinner. (my new favorite resource for cooking) If you’re over 50, you’re required by hormone law, you’re required to do some adulting.
If everything you do elevates cortisol, everything you do deposits fat to your belly. Lack of regular meals, lack of regular bedtime and wake time, reliance on some supplement or prescription to do the work daily habits should do will backfire. You do the work, and they’ll take you the rest of the way.
Cut your exercise in half. Increase the intensity of some of those longer workouts (1-2 a week) if you like but keep them short. There’s very little evidence that more time results in more results. In 34 years, those people we observe in the gym for hours every day never really changed their body over time. Same shape, same complaints, same energy or less potentially as they aged. For hormone balance, that “hour of power” on the treadmill, is public enemy #1. Lifting weights for the cosmetic effect does little to change your body composition. Those “total body toning” classes can give you a boost of confidence but it’s some short, specific exercise sessions that really get results. If you’re addicted, but tired, and continue your routine you’ll soon be burnout.
Start lifting weights focused on major muscle groups. Even if you want to tone those arms, you want to start with major muscle groups. Even if you want a flat belly, start with major muscle groups. Stop long slow exercise sessions and long endurance activity. Increase your protein at every meal and eat regularly. Get to bed early and make sure you control your environment. If you love your wine or nightcap, you’ll want to stop that. All of these things kill testosterone, a key hormone for building lean tissue and libido. Testosterone gives you a kick of confidence too also important for libido.
These are but a few scenarios of exercise changes you can make for more hormone balance. Each woman has a unique set of health history, physical status, signs and symptoms that make her unique. If you don’t see yourself here exactly take the one closest and start there.
Share your biggest hormone balance challenges below in the comments.
Do you want support determining what factors influence your hormone balance?
Your best next step is Flipping 50’s 28 Day Kickstart, where I bring together the whole-istic whole-you approach to not just exercise, but exercise nutrition, the timing of them both and daily habits timing that matters for your hormone best. If you’ve started and stopped before, it’s a mindset shift and that’s a part of the process.
As both an exercise psychology and kinesiology expert and I can help you with what happens both above and below the shoulders for hormone balance.
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I’m tacking your biggest fitness questions in this post!
Midlife fitness is like a mystery novel. You think you’ve got it figured out and then a new twist in the plot changes things. In the most recent selection process for Flipping 50 TV season III I had the challenging task of choosing which questions to use and which I had to turn down.
Instead of sending these questions to fade into the sunset until next season I couldn’t resist offering some answers here. Ultimately, I’d like to help every single one of you. I can’t possibly do that of course with a full schedule of private clients and group programs. But I did the best I could choosing from the list for this post. I’ll be popping into Facebook for some live Q and A too.
These questions were common asks from the questions submitted at flipping50tv.com so my hope is those asking are getting help, and so are you.
That’s what I hear too often when I ask a woman 50 or 60 what her body composition is. Body composition tells you how much fat and how much lean muscle (and bone) you have.
If you’re 135 pounds and you have 22% body fat you can fit into jeans much smaller than if you’re 135 pounds and 35% body fat.
Now, that is not the goal or a measure of great success. But you do get the idea, right. That 135 pounds and 22% body fat gal is actively making her happy way through her day with energy and vitality. She’s enjoying meals she loves, movement with less effort, and most likely got a good shape and proportions. She’s probably lifting weights religiously twice a week.
That 135-pound woman with a 35% body fat is classified as “obese.” It starts at 29 or 30% fat depending on which guidelines you’re using. More importantly, she’s gaining weight easier because she’s got less muscle to burn energy, and over time she’ll put on a few pounds a year. She’s potentially spending time doing a lot of cardio when she starts an exercise program. She’s tired much of the time. She’s eating less and less to try to lose weight.
This question is king (queen, if you prefer) of fitness questions. If you don’t know this, nothing else matters.
If I ask a woman 50, 60, or older how much she weighs, and she knows.
Here’s the problem. If you are assessing your success or failures by the scale (and worse if you’re doing it by multiple scales) and have no idea what makes that number up, you could be getting fatter even while you’re losing weight.
You could be getting fatter not fitter while you’re losing weight. Lean muscle tissues is metabolically active. In other words, if you want a faster metabolism, so that you can eat good food, operate with energy, do things you love, and digest well, you want to keep lean muscle.
One of the biggest fitness questions YOU should be asking, is what is my percent body fat? [This is another way to say body composition.]
With age it CAN, it is not mandatory or a “normal” process of aging, be easier to lose muscle than keep or gain it. If you are not lifting weights – appropriately – for the sole purpose of keeping lean muscle you are very likely to have less now than you did at 25, when your lean muscle peaked.
So when you lose weight you lose a percent of muscle along with fat. You can keep that number low (and then offset it with the right kind of exercise) or you could lose as much as 50% muscle weight.
The only way you know what is happening is by getting it measured.
If you ever buy another bathroom scale, don’t buy one without a body fat analyzer in it! It’s that simple and really cost effective. It’s a smart (and small) investment. If you are exercising, or working with a trainer, or me even, you don’t know what you’re doing is even effective without measuring this! It’s a way to validate your time, money, and energy.
Almost any fitness center, parks & rec, personal trainer doing business can do this within minutes. There may be a nominal fee if you do it somewhere you’re not a member or with a trainer you’re not working with regularly.
Hospitals, dietitians, or your doctor may also be able to do this. If you have a dexa scan for bone density they can often tell you body composition if you ask.
The scale in your local fitness center locker room may very well have the ability to measure body composition, too.
I’d love you to add to the comments where you’re doing this regularly. And use the comments as your accountability to yourself for where you’re going to get it done if you haven’t!! Make a phone call today, or stop at your favorite “everything” store and pick up a scale.
Last, fitness questions sometimes reveal confusion. This is the case with body composition AND weight both. Don’t panic if you have two very different measures on different tools. Stop using more than one. You want to measure change and you can’t do that comparing apples to oranges.
For women, fitness questions almost always start with, should I do more? Truly 7/10 women are doing too much when they do anything. So yes you need to be more active but not necessarily with more intensity or effort.
I’m going to say probably not. Most women do plenty. If you have 1-2 times a week of interval training for 20-30 minutes, and you’re getting a lot of daily movement – not necessarily cardio – and a good long walk or outdoor activity (I’m headed out for a 1-2 hour hike in a bit- it’s finally 70 degrees!!) then you’re covered. “Burning calories” with cardio is not going to help balance your hormones. You many need FAR LESS cardio and more strength training and more REST and better food.
Here’s the line that I hear way too often:
“I’m exercising like crazy and barely eating and still not losing weight.”
These things are the problem and mistakenly too many of us are living in the 80’s with the belief you can burn more, and eat less
I love fitness questions like this, because this matters so much!
It depends. Before high intensity interval training I eat some carbs and some protein/fat. Before long hikes, low intensity work I eat very little and what I do eat is fat. It’s all about the preference of your body and what it need for fuel in order to have the best possible workout AND outcome.
I’d rather burn fat most of the time – how about you? So these two formulas make the most sense. The higher intensity you’re able to work at during HIIT, the more fat you will burn. The more you use fat for fuel and force your body to dip into fat stores (hello toned legs, goodbye jiggle) the better your results.
A pre-HIIT snack may be sun butter on a hearty (I don’t do empty cardboard rice cakes) rice cake, or a half a banana with almond butter.
Before weight training my snack might be a simple smoothie (protein powder and almond milk), or sunflower seeds, or ¼ an avocado.
If I’m hiking… nothing unless I’m hungry and then its nuts, seeds. Longer hikes – 2-3 hours I’ll take a small packet of the same.
On a higher intensity longer bike ride I’ll bring Lara bars for snacks. Not a ton of carbs – but some – and all natural.
This is a whole new way to think about what to eat before exercise for most women. Different activities require different fuel.
What do you do when traveling without a blender for the AM smoothie?
Seriously, I am not above packing a hot water maker for coffee and a Nutribullet. Carry-on’s make it easy to be sure my ‘bullet is safe. And insulated soft coolers allow me to bring small amounts of fresh food along too.
Regulations change making this not always doable and frankly, I can’t keep up, but I do take my ride to the grocery store and then to the hotel when I arrive. What you put into your mouth is your energy or your crash. I don’t have time for the latter, do you?
Yes, takes a little effort, a little shoe space, and some getting used to but there is nothing better than leaving home AND getting back home feeling equally good. I would never think, “I’m on vacation, I’m just going to eat what I want.” I want to feel good when I’m on vacation and when I get home from vacation. And I don’t want to ever feel like I have to “get ready for vacation.”
It’s just easier to eat well, and exercise well, all the time and feel good all the time.
Now, for you! Please share your biggest fitness questions. We’ve just completed filming season III of Flipping 50 so it won’t be immediately that I film again. Meanwhile, I’d love to hear from you here right on the blog or in Facebook about what you need answers to!
P.S. The link to NutriBullet includes $20 savings, and up to $15 off your shipping depending on where you are in the world. I do receive a small commission if you use the Flipping 50 link – just want you to know!
P.P.S. I depend on you to share the Flipping 50 word! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and sharing content that you find helpful with your friends, sisters, moms, trainers, and clients. It takes a village! Thanks for being a part!
Yes. Weight loss after 50 is not as hard as it’s portrayed to be. The hardest part may not be in the physical changes that need to happen, but in the mental weight we need to lose. Our thoughts can get in our way when we’ve had them so long. Change is hard. That part is true.
If you tend to go straight for the treadmill and the religious dedication to your step counter, stop. Without sleep your exercise and nutrition efforts are not going to work. Hormones in control of metabolism via lean muscle and cortisol control require sleep for optimal balance.
Your food and movement choices matter. The type and timing of exercise has everything to do with the quality of your sleep. Whether you do it inside or outside can have a big influence. Move intense exercise to early in the day and calm yourself with yoga or walk later in the day. Eat for sleep with serotonin-enhancing carbohydrates later in the day. You can increase your sleep by up to two hours in a 28 day time frame by changing your habits.
Surprise! You’re breaking up with the dreadmill. As much as we’ve laughed about treadmills that hold clothes, it might be a better use for it than providing fatigue-encouraging, muscle-wasting kinds of activity. That doesn’t accomplish the goal you have: balancing hormones more naturally to shed weight more easily.
If you’re not weight training, start. If you’re randomly doing strength exercise, start with a better plan. If you’re not reaching fatigue (though yes, after a reasonable progression) it’s a must to see change. You want to build up the lean to lose the fat. Cardio exercise will not do that. Ever.
Body weight training is not the same. That serves as movement and it’s definitely better than no workout. Weight loss after 50 is reliant on increasing lean muscle tissue with a means of reaching fatigue. The joint limits you may have with significant weight to lose make weight training the obvious winner so you can choose more exercises, more safely perform them, and increase your lean muscle.
Exercise less, yes, you read that right. Move more all day. We do sit so much more than is favorable for our jobs so we need some exercise. But even the small things you can do each hour will help you become an “active person.” That is so much more tied to your risk or lack of overweight and obesity than is exercise. Weight loss after 50 is a result of both exercise and movement, but the greater of them is movement.
Get up and use the restroom. Get a drink of water. Stand to talk on the phone. Then a small bit of regular exercise is important to serve as a catalyst for the rest of your day. But begin to see it as just that, the rubbing the sticks together and the real flame for metabolism is the all day movement you have. People who have dogs move more. Become obsessed with cleaning your house.
It’s nearly impossible to eat enough in a day to reach our micronutrient needs that make us thrive. If you’re missing any, your well-oiled-fine-tuned vehicle of a body won’t run well. Your metabolism depends on all the parts being present.
Have you got years of dieting experience? Notice no one ever asked for that on a resume? It’s backfiring about now. Though it never really worked for your long-term advantage, it’s now amplified. It’s about getting in the goodness so you can get rid of the cravings (see more below on that).
What you used to think is “healthy” is not necessarily right for you, right now. Most of us need to unlearn old ideas before we can create new thoughts that will be new actions that become new habits. Science you learned in elementary school even is probably still a part of old habit gravity that keeps you in conflict with what you know is right and what you want to do.
Get some support with lift off. You’ve got to break through that barrier before you can make a permanent change. The surprisingly easy thing is… the new habits are so much more enjoyable and so much less about deprivation than we’ve been led to believe.
There are good carbs and better carbs. The time you have them is as important for weight loss after menopause (or during) as what you have. If you’re not sure what that means and you’ve simply given up bread, you’ve got a toe in the water. Get educated on the carbs that help you lose weight after 50 and when they’re best consumed.
Don’t give into them but do listen to them. There’s gold in those cravings. They can be telling you that your exercise is too long, too intense, or too frequent. They can be telling you that you’re really not sleeping as much or well as you need to sleep They can tell you that you’re cutting corners and playing the calorie game cheating yourself out of micronutrients you need to boost your metabolism.
Specific cravings like salt or sugar, or very specific like chocolate, have intel behind them. Cacao has magnesium in it for instance. So that chocolate craving? Could be telling you to get more in your diet or supplement (preferably not by way of chocolate).
Yes, some day a little chocolate is going to be fine. Today is not your day.
I’m a smoothie girl so this may confuse you if you know me. Wine loving girl, I’m talking to you. Right now, if belly fat, or weight loss is a problem, wine isn’t your friend. It decreases your likelihood of having a healthy meal after, increases fat storage no matter what it might be, and halts the fat burning that will help your cause.
You don’t have to say goodbye forever, but you need to, as a Flipping 50 community member told me just last night, break up. She said she and wine aren’t on speaking terms right now.
Nothing that starts with deprivation leads to long term success! If you’re adding all the things to your daily plate and bowl that will get you full of micronutrients that make you glow and fiber, fat, and wholesome foods that keep you full, you will naturally reduce cravings.
This “crowdsourcing” method of eating keeps your eye on eating MORE of the good stuff. When you do you’ll lose those distracting thoughts and be so much less tempted by processed foods or sweets.
Your confused body won’t shed weight. Instead it will slow your metabolism. Sugar-free popsicles, low-fat sugar-free ice cream or frozen yogurt, artificial packets of sweeteners. Stevia, and sugar alcohols (if you can tolerate them), is really the only thing you want to be using, but sparingly.
The best rule is look at anything that’s become a crutch for you and start weaning off of it. Weight loss after 50 requires more focus on the right things and leaving old, and incorrect, habits behind. But, you’ve got this!
Do you want support in your weight loss after 50 journey?
The best next step if you have 20 or more pounds (and some old ideas about weight loss) to lose is Fit U. Enrollment is open right now and it’s 50% off. You can learn more here.
Use these hormone balancing exercise reminders for naturally supporting your best energy and wellness. Exercise matters most when it’s supported by the type, timing, and the lifestyle habits that result in fitness. Exercise provides the opportunity for fitness. The rest of your life determines how effective it will be.
Work with cortisol rather than against it. Cortisol, your energy hormone, is rising in the morning. Short sprints of activity alternated with recovery time will boost your metabolism the rest of the day. Shorter sessions are smarter both for your fat and your brain.
Increase testosterone and growth hormone, two hormones that help you build and maintain lean muscle tissue as you age, with the right type of exercise. Hormone balancing exercise after 50 includes intense weight training, whether heavy or light, to fatigue. This will boost lean muscle while tons of repetition will potentially be muscle wasting.
If you’re doing hours of classes every week and elevating your cortisol level due to the volume it will be hard to improve your lean tissue. Even if you once got away with this during hormone changes and compounded by other life stressors you’ll be doing more harm than good.
Hormones not calories control weight. Positively stimulating hormones is about quality exercise not quantity. You can lose weight with a little exercise but you can store fat with a lot of exercise.
When hormone balancing exercise is the goal more of a good thing is not just more, it is more imbalance. Less duration, less intensity, and less frequency especially if you’re fatigued in the morning and can’t get going is usually better.
Older female athletes training for endurance events have to keep this in mind too. The goal for you may be the endurance and stamina and not hormone balancing exercise. You’ll sabotage yourself by increasing cortisol and muscle wasting if you’re doing repeated long slow training sessions.
Even in my Ironman training experience last fall, I reduced the volume of training significantly by increasing the interval type of work, continuing weight training, and scheduled training strategically. By doing so, my hormones were better in December than in June before training began!
(Stay tuned! I am testing what happens this year without bioidentical hormones during training).
It’s not just your hormones or your thyroid. There are habits that may be making it worse. If you’re not prioritizing sleep and nutrition, start there. If you don’t know which foods and supplements you may be using that hurt you or aren’t using that would help, it’s time to get help.
Follow through is important. Even while you might be suffering from brain fog, make getting the right answers, following through on them, your number one. Feel good so you can feel better. Too many women think undue fatigue or soreness constantly is normal and time will take care of it. You can start the right habits yourself. Stay consistent with them and track results. If within reasonable time you don’t feel better a lab test or a functional doctor.
You will reduce your cortisol levels and stimulate more serotonin and endorphins walking in green spaces than you will slogging away on the dreadmill or walking city streets. As days get longer try to get outdoors or if weekdays are out of the question, take advantage of the weekends.
A 30 or 60-minute workout doesn’t overcome 23 hours of sedentary activity. Start thinking of yourself as an active person and game this all day every day. Find an excuse to get up and deliver a message. Walk to the mailbox or take the dog out again. Cue up three favorite songs and dance in the living room for 10 minutes. Clean the house. Start a garden. Take up golf.
Your daily movement is directly tied to your risk of overweight and obesity regardless of your exercise habits. Women who are moving throughout their day whether they exercise or not seem to be best examples of hormone balancing exercise – it’s not about calories in and out.
Wait an hour after moderate to vigorous exercise. If you’re tempted to try intermittent fasting (IF), use the continuum of IF and start at the bottom. If you’re stressed and haven’t got a healthy relationship with food to come back to, IF can wreak havoc with old binge-purge history. If you’re struggling with what to eat, this new Cooking for Hormone Balance Cookbook is an amazing resource.
Eating between meals gives your body immediate access to everything it wants. Why would it ever have to dip into fat stores if you do that? It won’t. If you’ve fallen for the BIG myth that eating more small meals a day will boost your metabolism, you’ve been duped. There is zero evidence this is true and there is research that shows the opposite: snacking and small meals actually increases your ability to store fat.
Snacking is the exact opposite of Intermittent Fasting. How ironic that both of these concepts exist as either lingering or emerging trends in 2018. The big “aha” here is that we’re still looking for a short cut. If you just take a short time to identify your personal blueprint for eating well there is no starving and no binging, there’s just good food that fuels a strong sexy body and hormone balancing exercise.
Enrollment is open right now!
This 5-part exercise planning guide is a re-posted update of a most popular post. There’s a companion 5-part video series on Facebook that you can watch if you learn best by listening. Just click on videos once you’re logged into Facebook on the Flipping50tv page. You’ll see the 5-Part Program Design Video series on the top of all videos.
Then you can also download the exercise planning workbook either to work through on your own or while watching the video series. It’s March and almost spring! Ready, set, go! Spring training, here we come!
A calendar showing exactly what you need to do when it’s time to exercise makes fitness so much easier.
I started self-initiated exercise at 18. Now at 53 I do things quite a bit differently than I did for, well, about two and a half decades. I still find what was true then is true now: motion drives emotion. Every other aspect of my life is better when I am at my best physically. But there’s less wiggle room for the wrong plan. I can’t just “workout” or “go exercise” and get the same results. One of the best gifts you can give yourself and anyone else in your life is the right motion.
Finding time for hours of exercise every week, let alone every day, any more is impossible. Even the regular 20 or 30 minutes I do now can be a challenge. It’s never going to happen at all without a plan. This week, I decided to show you exactly what I do each week to plan my own workouts. The beauty of working through this exercise planning guide is that you’re not doing random exercise with random results.
First though, know that I only have to plan around my own schedule at this point. That schedule is, however, crazy. As most entrepreneurs can tell you, working for yourself in a flexible 24/7 kind of schedule is not for the meek. Most successful people get a convertible at 49: I dumped safety, security, zero debt, and a low-cost-of-living to jump headfirst in my own business and a much higher cost of living.
Second, for comparison’s sake, my own personal goals are high energy and creativity for the work I do, injury avoidance, and being at my personal physical best at every age. I too want to hear, you look good! Minus the, for your age. Forever. Why not?
Every session I do includes 5 components. They are crucial for success. It doesn’t matter if I have 20 minutes, an hour, or can go for a two-hour hike on the weekend. They are all there. There are days that I have to break them up over the day but no workout is complete with each of these. Without all of them it would be like taking the car in for a tune up and having someone forget to rotate the tires or check the brakes until next time. When that happens you create an opening for something to break down or not perform as well.
In fact, as I wrote in You Still Got It, Girl! about the fact midlife hormone changes change the best strategy for fitness, the things you have skipped for years become at least as important, and potentially more important than the things you’d never skip.
An adequate warm up that includes functional movements, for instance, can reduce the stress exercise puts on your system because you’re truly ready. After exercise a longer cool down helps turn off stress hormones too and starts your recovery process before you even finish your workout.
The sooner you recover, the more able you’ll be to get another high-quality workout in without overstressing your body. The difference between those who benefit from exercise and those who don’t is their ability to do not longer but more high-quality workouts more frequently. Warm ups and cool downs enhance exercise benefits (by helping you burn more fat) so your workouts can make you better not just tired and drained.
Sample of My Interval Training Sessions:
**I’ve tested myself and know where my HR should be. The feels-like perception of intensity also works extremely well if you don’t know your HR. Hint: the charts listing HR by age don’t fit most adults. How you feel never lies. Feel breathless on hard intervals and breath easily through your nose during the end of your recovery. Use Zone Training if you don’t know HR from testing.
Then I’ll do some kind of core even if it’s short like the following set.
Every week has a pattern but two things can change my pattern. Things come up and the principle of progression means I don’t just want to do the same thing week after week if I want to see results. I have to make changes so that I challenge myself or recover depending on the week.
Everything matters though, so if I travel or have a really busy few days of work, I factor that in. Your body handles all stressors the same. So, for instance, you’re taking a big test or you’re dieting and you’re caring for someone ill in your family or completing a major project at work – it’s not a good week to add a lot of physical exercise challenges. This is where you take time to use an exercise planning guide and the reason it’s valuable is because if you get off track you have a plan to resume.
You’ve heard about the straw that breaks the camel’s back. I have learned the hard way to recognize the total stressors – even from things you choose and like – add up to more than a body can handle quickly.
Your midlife body is already under a ton of stress. Dieting causes more stress. It tells your body to burn fewer calories. Exercise is also stress on your body. Exercise tells your body to burn more calories. What happens when you get conflicting messages? You’re just confused, right? So I almost always fuel my body before exercise with a simple protein shake (easy to digest protein and almond milk), or a half a banana and a small amount of sun butter.
Then after I exercise I wait about 60 minutes if I can (depending on my schedule) so growth hormone and muscle protein synthesis are optimal and I’ll have a meal or shake of about 35 grams of protein along with fiber, fat, and some carbs to replenish muscles. Here’s a favorite refueling smoothie that helps recovery by reducing inflammation caused by exercise:
Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
Blend and enjoy! It keeps me full for hours!
The other thing I stay keenly aware of is that what I ate about 16 hours ago is what fuels me. I exercise in the morning so dinner is really important. An exercise planning guide rarely includes food for most people but it should! Write down your energy level during workouts and include your pre workout meals or snacks. I make sure I’ve got some protein, carbs, and healthy fat in that meal too. I make sure I’ve digested before I go to bed after dinner too. It makes a big difference on the energy you have when you wake up if there are at least two hours between dinner and bedtime.
We are so accustomed to thinking cardio burns calories and fear weight training adds bulk not to mention stretching is overrated so we skip it too often. We’ve had it backwards for so long that it can be hard to change. It takes a new exercise planning guide. These textbook exercise programs requiring 3-5 cardio workouts, 2-3 strength and daily stretching aren’t the perfect fit for everyone. Namely you, flipping 50 babe.
Yes, stretching every day is pretty important if you want to stay injury free and mobile. Tons of cardio is not your friend, however. Weight training is about to be your BFIMAB. That’s Best Friend in Menopause and Beyond. For lean, toned, shapely muscle and fat loss plus energy to do the things you love and confidence to do it no matter who’s watching you need weights training.
It’s all based on… your hormones. When you’re a women at midlife no textbook exercise plan is going to fit perfectly. Your hormones send clues about what you need and you just need an interpreter to help you understand how to adjust and what to do now and next. If the exercise planning guide includes not just your plan but the details of the workout and your energy you’ll be able to look back and connect the dots if you need to.
My Flipping 50 28-Day Kickstart is the BEST if you want a specific exercise plan to follow each week with meal plan, daily workouts, recipes and daily menus. Plus, you get the live support of other women and me in weekly coaching session.
The step-by-step process for using exercise and wholefood kicks calorie counting and punishing exercise to the curb and identifies foods you’re eating that could be causing weight loss resistance. Finally, a blueprint to your best energy that is not a diet but a way to eat and exercise that gets you back to you without extreme diets or exercise! (You’ll never find a burpee on this site, I promise!)
All the workouts have videos (bonuses!), and the recipes help you eat gluten-free, grain-free, dairy and soy-free, and low sugar impact so you’ll feel better fast and permanently. You can follow my suggestions for making any of the meals vegetarian.
If you enjoyed this article, share it with a friend who could benefit from it!
And if you have a question, please put it in the comments below – I love hearing from you!
Click here for the free workbook… and then go watch the videos (all or pick and choose). I’ve linked to the first of five videos for you. I hope you’ll put this exercise planning guide to work for you!