A commitment to radical self care during stress got me through the first six months of 2019. As easy as it is to skimp or skip altogether those habits during times of stress or “extra” things (to do or on your mind) they are most critical then.
Before I tell you a little about how I handled my super-stress, I’ll share a secret.
The private clients I’ve worked with for over 20 years have left me clues. Students in group programs have too. The ones who want to cancel or postpone because they’re busy are the ones who struggle most.
Listen. No one needs a coach when they’re on the path going in an accelerated way to where they want to be! You most need it (and I most need it: yes, I work with a coach for many reasons business or new sport goal and I will until I die because I hope that’s the only time I won’t want to do something better faster than I could on my own).
I remember, about 15 years ago, I competed in a small local triathlon over the 4thof July weekend while I was back home. A triathlon starts early, athletes are there earlier, and it’s a very early wake up call for any spectators. So my son and mom stayed in bed. I had a “podium” finish and placed in my age group (did I mention s-m-a-l-l?). When I let them know on the way home how I’d done my mother’s reaction was this:
“If I’d have known you were going to win I’d have come!”
I just smiled. The words I was thinking, and may or may not have said, are that, I would have needed you more if I was last! I can celebrate easily, but the need to keep going, to think about the right things happens when it’s not going well!
Even my son, then about 12 understood that. Sure it’s great to have people watching when you make those three-pointers or you chip it in, but you want to ride home with your family when it all goes sideways.
So it’s key for you and I to dig into commitment when it’s hardest to do so. Its not really commitment if you don’t, right? It’s relying on willpower and motivation. I’ve spoken and written many times about the difference. You don’t willpower your way through anything for long. You’re committed to anything you truly want to be successful.
It’s hard, until it’s not. Someone spoke those words to me recently. I’ve made major changes because of it. The “hard” part is the resistance. You and I resist change. We see ourselves a certain way and we get really comfortable seeing that image, even if we see ourselves in a struggle.
You may accept your role as one who will always struggle. If you’ve accepted that you’ll always struggle with your weight or that you have bad genes or whatever story you’re telling yourself, until you change that thought pattern, you will certainly struggle.
You may have believed something for so long that it’s hard to change that core belief. We like to be right. So if you’ve gone down a wrong path for a long time you’re possibly committed to that and continue to make more wrong choices for yourself.
Is it time to do a u-turn?
As women, we struggle with radical self care at any time, let alone radical self care during stress times. In fact, if you know a woman who does it, you may secretly (if you admit it) think she’s selfish. We confuse those words self care and selfish.
It makes sense. Most of us didn’t see our mothers or grandmothers (depending on your birth order) observe a strong commitment to self care or hear them encourage it. In fact, I’ve learned much from watching my niece and younger generations.
But if we’re to support future generations, it’s our role to have the “stress talk” with them. Share with them that self care is like a vitamin, or insurance. You wouldn’t think of cancelling your insurance in your 50s would you? (You might think about it, but you wouldn’t do it). Neither should you skip self care (or a vitamin – you can’t “eat healthy” enough to overcome micronutrient gaps that kill your metabolism, hormones, and energy).
You may need to realize that the level of self care you observe now and what you believe to be self care will change. Like a “hard” workout at first some day will become your warm up, you’ll level up. What you think of as radical self care may be your daily habits later.
There were certain things I actually needed to do the last 6 months that were necessary. I had to take glutathione and a binder to support mold detox in my body. That was non-negotiable.
But other things I had to commit to as I worked on decreasing mold exposure and the detox from my body were more pleasant.
I had a weekly massage for the last two months. That may have been more or less, as I opted for 90 minute massage one week and 60 two weeks and skipped the 4thsometimes, but the idea is the same. I dedicated time to reducing tension before the tension became another source of stress.
I committed to a workout schedule that kept me on track around a positive goal. While it’s easy to say, I don’t have time to train for that now, the training kept me focused on a positive goal. That suggested to me, that this stress will end, and then on the other side I’ll be where I want to be. There were days I decreased, swapped a long run for a hike, or made other adjustments. But I created the plan and worked the plan first. Random acts of anything get random results at best.
I used my sauna daily when I wasn’t traveling and until I’d packed it for the move. While it’s amazing for metabolism and recovery from exercise (not immediately after!) it is also supporting natural detox. I needed all the boost there I could from mold exposure. Even without mold we are all exposed so much to environmental toxins that an infrared sauna is an excellent practice.
I hiked. As the weather finally made it more conducive to get on paths I said my goodbyes to several familiar trails and a few new ones.
I remained committed to high quality food that I need. Right until the end and in the cooler I packed for the car on the way to a new location. At gas stations, I grabbed water, sunflower seeds, and veggies and tossed the ranch dressing. The grocery store was a first stop. I “camped” the last night in my house in Boulder because I was packed and loaded. I “camped” the first two nights in my Scottsdale house. You can really get by on so very little. It’s refreshing in fact to do it.
It takes some discipline to do anything at first that is out of your normal routine. That is the definition of radical self care during stress or anytime.
In the Café (Flipping 50’s members-only area) I’m asking members to choose what their self care would look like this month. The difference is deciding.You probably know what your radical self care is but you’re not doing it. It’s something you know you need and want to do, you want having done it to describe you, but you can’t seem to commit.
It could be…
I encourage you to make a shift and commit.
I’d love to hear what this is for you.
This has nothing to do with money, expense and investment. It happens in your brain. Your mindset shift to doing it and justifying it as important as anything else on your to-do list.
So while massage may feel like an expense you can’t invest time or money in. You could substitute stretching, or yoga at home using videos or a self-practice.
Share your comments. You’ll inspire someone else. I know it. Someone else needs to hear how you’re going to take radical self care during stress or any time. When you’ve got lots of speed bumps it may look different than when things go well. Remember radical self care during stress is more, not less important.
You need more resilience, and more support, and you get to be in charge of deciding what that is. (Psst, it’s not really another glass of wine.)
Kickstart your summer with a few of my best health & fitness guides.
Looking for health & fitness recommendations that are made for you, and only you?
Are you done with the one-size-fits all ages, sizes, and both genders approach?
You’re in the right place. I’ve designed several health & fitness guides to help with some of the biggest problems (more on that below) women face. Whether you’re seeking exercise advice, energy answers, want to solve menopause mysteries, or love your libido again… Flipping 50 is made for you.
These are a collection of the best blogs compiled into “guides” for a quicker-than-a-book yet comprehensive look into topics you- blogand book readers, and Flipping 50 podcastlisteners, Flipping 50 TVviewers –have expressed the most interest in.
Skip right down to the guides and get started. I’ll imagine you on a lounge chair with a big brimmed hat and a drink with a little umbrella facing the ocean while you read.
I’m 55 in the boat rowing with you. I’ve observed aging fitness professionals, aging athletes, less active folks who float in and out of exercise, and enthusiasts that either accelerate or slow aging. After 35 years of research, observations, and applications I’ve got the after 50 fitness formula for women.
The fact is your hormones, metabolism, body composition, socialization, are different.
They’re different from younger women.
They’re different from younger, older, or same age men.
Yet, just 39% of all sports medicine and exercise research features female subjects. No matter how many times I say or write this it astounds me. At the rate of women turning 75, 65, and 55 (baby boomers at this minute, Gen Xers soon) that’s absurd.
The only thing you can do about it right now is demand that fitness programs, trainers, and health coaches use THAT sliver of research for you.
You have to ask.
or demand. There’s a little too much paying for a group approach from a private personal trainer going on with personal training services for my taste today. Don’t mistake “a personal trainer” for a “good personal trainer.” There are good ones but you’ve got to know what to ask.
At Flipping 50 working with women in perimenopause and beyond is all we do. Every day. I’m not a doctor pretending to diagnose. I wouldn’t expect a doctor to suggest training protocols for you either. Ideally we work together. As a Medical Exercise Specialist and Hormone Balancing Fitness Expert I rely on physicians in functional medicine and on physical therapists to support my clients. A team approach eliminates you running from one to the next trying to pull that together yourself. As a health coach I support your lab interpretation so you have the right questions to ask and next steps to pursue.
Once you cross the threshold of perimenopause, you go through the biggest changes. It’s why “flipping 50” is for and about women in their late 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond.
When women ask, what about 60? I know I’ve not communicated Flipping 50’s mission clearly to you. Don’t misunderstand Flipping 50 to mean this is for a 50-year old. It’s NOT. The biggest changes occur both mentally and physically when a woman hits 50. It’s not about age though really it’s about phase. How you show up and how you see yourself matters.
not all women gain weight with menopause and those who don’t are not just “lucky”
not all women get hot flashes and night sweats
not all women have their libido crash (it’s actually better after for some of us)
not all women get that belly fat just because of menopause (let’s check in with your eating, your wine, your sleep and your exercise before we point a finger at some mystery menopause bs)
Yes, things change. Yes, you’ll have to change the strategy. Guess what? If you’re a woman in her 30s or 40s and you change NOW… YOU will flip 50 so much better. You’re going to get here. Ready or not. Your needs are slightly different than a women in perimenopause (and beyond) but you can prepare to sail through it more easily.
Sure all women have estrogen, progesterone fluctuations from the time they hit menses to post menopause. But in perimenopause and menopause it’s very different. If feels unpredictable. If you listen to what your body is telling you, rely on your own changes and not a pill, shot or cream (though you might decide, hey you want some support), you can change the way you feel. The daily choices you make matter.
After menopause, don’t think you’re out of the woods. The hormone fluctuations that dictate health are not the same as when you were wired for reproduction but hormones are still calling the shots. Your mood, energy, sleep, appetite, bones, muscles… you get the idea? Pretty much everything is dependent on hormones ‘til death do us part.
Before you jump into activity because an article said it’s good read the study. Research subjects should be in perimenopause, menopause, or beyond if you’re to take an announcement like, “New study says HIIT is the best for burning fat” seriously. That’s just one example of media-hyped and overgeneralized studies that could sabotage you.[The real news is injury rates have gone up 144% since the introduction of HIIT as a household word and regular workout “thing.” In real application, if HIIT is done longer and more frequently in a midlife woman already experiencing stress and fatigue, adrenal stress can make her storemore fat rather than lose it.]
If you’re still reading, naturally you want to dig into fact about YOU, proven practices for YOU, and I’ve got it below. Choose the topic that’s the biggest source of confusion right now and match it to the guide I’ve created.
Plus, I’d love your help. Is there another topic you want more information on? Share it in the comments below this post. I’m listening.
Jump to the guide that speaks to you or consume them all!
Has menopause caused weight gain and or belly fat? Of all my health & fitness guides this one gets under the hood of deceptive lie you’ve been led to believe about menopause belly fat. Hint: it isn’t inevitable. I say menopause and weight gain & belly fat are headed for a divorce.
Confused about whether food or smoothies are best? What kind of protein is right for you? Or how to know if your protein has toxins in it sabotaging your fat burning and in fact making you store more fat? This is the best of health & fitness guides for you.
Do you know – or need to – that your recovery from exercise is MORE important than your exercise?
Truth. But it doesn’t mean lying on the couch eating grapes (or sipping smoothies). Not that a modern woman has time to do that. Or will let herself do it if she did.
There isan art to recovery. Recovery starts even before and for sure during your workout. Between sets, some say even repetitions. Then there’s the between workouts and weeks or months of workouts. But how? What does it really look like? How do you know if you are or you’re not? It’s in this, my most recent of health & fitness guides.
This is the conundrum for many of my Flipping 50 students and clients. So often the very thing you’re told repeatedly to do for metabolism can hurt or leave you paying for it for days after.
In this guide, an episode of Flipping 50 TV I give you specific reasons these exercise might hurt, tips for changing your technique to see if you can be more comfortable, and alternatives that work instead if you need them. No matter which category you’re in, I’ve got you covered.
Helpful? I hope so! I’d love to hear from you! Comment below!
Would you like more support? I have programs specifically for exercise, and more comprehensive ones to help you really get the whole “formula” since it takes “a village” more and less.
Browse exercise here. My top pick? STRONGER 12-week programs
20 or more pounds to lose? Fat loss after 50 is unique. I pulled all the science together for you.
It takes a more comprehensive, whole-istic approach to lifestyle habits than just exercise alone can give you. And, it takes less exercise once you know which exercise is right for results.
If you love exercise, I get you. I’ll help you determine where to set your activity and recovery levels so you can do what you love, feel the way you love, and get the results you love.
If you prefer to have one-on-one coaching, you can start with 90-day or do a 6-month coaching package. More details here.
Food struggles are a reality for most people at some point in their lives. Women traditionally have spent more time in the kitchen, planning if not preparing food.
And their givers. Often pleasers squelching the way they really feel to be “acceptable.”
Can you relate? Have you had food struggles? Too little, too much, emotional eating, dieting, restricting… the list goes on.
My guest and weight loss expert Tricia Nelson lost fifty pounds by identifying and healing the underlying causes of her emotional eating. For some it’s an ongoing part of every day. Thoughts about food, what you’re going to eat, what you’re not going to eat fill much of the day.
Tricia has spent nearly thirty years researching the hidden causes of the addictive personality. Tricia is an Emotional Eating Expert and author of the #1 bestselling book, Heal Your Hunger, 7 Simple Steps to End Emotional Eating Now. She is also the host of the popular podcast, The Heal Your Hunger Show. A highly regarded speaker and coach, Tricia has been featured on NBC, CBS, KTLA, FOX and Discovery Health.
Trying to solve an emotional problem with food and calorie control is like trying to turn a screw with a hammer.
How can listeners find out if they’ve got the qualities of an Emotional Eating coach?
If food struggles have plagued you, it may be a blessing in disguise. You aren’t alone.
You too have the divine physician.
Thanks for leaving us a rating in iTunes!
During mental health month I want to touch on the mental health benefits of exercise. Women experience depression – and anxiety – 50% more than men at least up until the age of 65. Hormones play a part, so it’s only fair to fight fire with fire. This post is all about the mental health benefits that occur when you use exercise to positively influence hormones.[And… if you want to jump down below after the post I share my own and Flipping 50 community members personal shares.]
What’s gets you out of bed to exercise or motivates you to finally Google up an exercise video or call a health coach is most likely to be weight, energy, arms, or a mother-of-the-bride dress.
What’s gets you hooked so that you won’t give it up is most likely to be the mental health benefits.
The mental health benefits of exercise are numerous. For women in midlife that’s good news.
When hormone levels fluctuate during peri-menopause and menopause brain fog, memory loss, lack of creativity and productivity can plague even the highest functioning woman.
Anyone in today’s fast paced connected 24/7 lifestyle can experience those symptoms. It’s not just a midlife woman thing. But you are more susceptible if you’ve got a lot of external stressors and you’ve got hormone fluctuations happening.
Most people first relate exercise with endorphins. It’s true exercise creates endorphins. But that’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s temporary. You’ll need it again. And that’s okay since you need to repeat exercise for physical results. But for long-term mental health benefits other hormones are actually more important.
Serotonin has significant effects on mood and is key in decreasing effects of depression. The anti-depressant effects of exercise are also thanks to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In fact “SSRIs” are the most often prescribed meds for depression. Their role is to help balance serotonin levels.
Just what mental health benefits can you expect or thank your exercise for?
Studies have proven exerciser therapy to be more favorable than medication and cognitive therapy in treatment of depression and anxiety.
Some therapists have employed walking sessions with clients for decades. Women in particular experience a bump in serotonin from exercise, sunshine, and venting with friends.
Girls let girls talk about problems. They don’t have the need to solve them. Talking, or venting, does wonders for developing what women need most, a collaborative and supportive environment.
Exercise recommendations: aerobic, strength training, yoga
In You Still Got It, Girl!(available on Amazon) I shared how walking 40 minutes a day three times a week significantly increased hippocampus size. For you and I, that’s memory central. There’s no intensity imposed, you walk your self-selected pace 40 minutes three times a week. That’s it. Not only did the hippocampus of study subjects not shrink – typical atrophy that occurs with aging – it GREW!
Interested in reversing aging? Start with regular exercise. Low to moderate intensity will do if you’re getting start.
Exercise recommendations: walking, biking
If you just read about the ability of exercise to improve memory, it’s easy to understand the effects of exercise on reduction of both dementia and Alzheimer’s.
So, while there may be genetics working against you (me too says my DNA results), armed with that knowledge, exercise becomes medicineor at best, a vitamin.
Exercise recommendations: dancing, boxing, aerobic classes with choreography
Countless studies have proven mental health benefits of increased focus and concentration in regular exercisers. Compared to sedentary individuals, active workers get more done in less time with fewer errors. Looking for the elusive 4-hour workweek? Start exercising!
Specifically, exercise during a workday results in greater problem solving skills, better relationships with co-workers, and greater job satisfaction at the end of the day.
Workouts can be “sweatless” and still provide these mental health benefits. Yoga and stretching were equally as beneficial as vigorous exercise.
Exercise recommendations: walking, running, biking, swimming
A National Foundation of Sleep survey found self-reports of sleep improved by 33% with 10 minutes of walking every day. There isn’t any intensity imposed. Just walk. In fact, you can likely insert your favorite activity for 10 minutes and reap similar sleep benefits.
Exercise recommendations: walking, biking, elliptical, aerobic classes
Most people who exercise gain confidence and enjoy a healthy sense of self-esteem compared to non-exercisers. The reason for this occurs isn’t necessarily known.
It could be due to the sense of accomplishment. The satisfaction of setting a goal and following through could contribute. It may be a greater appreciation for the physical body provides a mental boost.
It’s probably due in part to all of those.
Exercise recommendations: weight training, walking, biking, swimming
The underlying reason each of these occurs has to do with lowering your allostatic load. That is, your overall stress. Let’s face it, going for a power walk doesn’t make the project deadline go away, eliminate your need to give a speech, or magically change your financial situation.
But it does increase endorphins (short term fix) and serotonin (the real hormone good stuff) so that you offset the negative effect of cortisol.
Exercise recommendations: walking, running, swimming, aerobic fitness classes, strength training, yoga
The mental health benefits of outdoor exercise surpass that done indoors. In fact, exercise in green environments (think Central Park vs. NY city streets) was best for promoting mental health benefits. While physical benefits may happen in a wide variety of environments, “forest bathing” is best for above the shoulders.
Comments from Flipping 50 Community members:
I have never been treated with medication for depression except briefly 30 years ago and the second time in early 90s was a physician’s off-label use to try to prevent frequent migraines (didn’t work). Five years ago, in my early-50s I began exercising more regularly than ever in my life in an effort to lose weight. I also changed my nutrition. It helped my moods tremendously. I have dealt with depression and sometimes anxiety since childhood. Working out (or hiking — doing about anything outdoors) definitely helps me deal with stress, and the stress of feeling depression trying to come on. Exercising makes me feel better about myself. It is something I can control.
I started exercising to lose pounds and gain strength. I noticed right away that I felt better mentally as well as physically. Now, if I am not consistent on doing something active I can really feel it. I’ve had depression in the past and now I know that exercise is crucial for me!
I feel much better about myself when I exercise. I feel less anxious, more confident and patient. My doctor has prescribed exercise as an integral part of my treatment. Just like with my medicine, if I miss a “dose” of my exercise, I come to the edge of a slippery slope. It’s not optional if I am to maintain mental health.
I cannot stop exercise. If I do, I would be back on antidepressants. Some of us need the boost to our minds. Not optional for me.
What mental health benefits have you experienced from exercise? Comment below!
Instead of your Carmel Mocha Latte >>> Matcha latte with almond milk and stevia
You’ll get a natural boost of energy without the sugar, that doesn’t leave you wired and reduce your risk of cancer.
Instead of your Smoothie (sugar and sugar with dairy-based whey) >>> Oatmeal (without brown sugar and raisins) and stir in your own protein shake mix (carry 2 baggies of serving size in your purse). There’s no excuse not to have a good choice. It’s hardly an inconvenience and security will allow it.
Instead of salted roasted nuts>>>raw almonds
You’re avoiding types of oils you want to avoid or at least controversial. You’re getting an unprocessed version.
Instead of the yogurt fruit parfait or fruit cup >>> hummus and veggies
You’re replacing sugar and very little protein with a slight about equal protein and fat and fiber that will keep you full longer. If you’re choosing between fruit and veggies, choose veggies. If you do enjoy yogurt (you’ve tested and tolerate it) you want plain to avoid sugar or artificial sweeteners.
Instead of depending on what’s at the airport to fit your goals>>>bring your food in 3 oz containers and an insulated bag (if you’re serious about your health you will). Especially if you’re a frequent flyer being prepared is a must.
Instead of camping at the gate waiting >>> find & confirm your gate then walk for 10 minutes as if you were late for your flight and it was boarding (we’ve all done it, right?)
Instead of grabbing a chair when you do arrive at the gate, stand or sit on the floor and do some stretching. Yes, they’ll stare potentially. Make it worth it. In reality, they’re going to be thinking, wow, I bet that feels great. I wish I were that confident!
The big message here is to travel well, allow yourself extra time so you’re not stress, it’s only to pretend that you’re late!
It’s the overzealous ones among us who get sick. Travel well by doing your more moderate exercise plan. Whether that’s doing less overall but still consistent, like ditching the gym workouts and including walking, site-seeing, skiing, or golf, or it’s just relaxing about your usual routine, it will leave you revived not stressed. And that’s buffing up your immune system. Adding extra travel, change in time zones, family tensions, emotional highs and lows to the normal expectations can leave you tapped.
Less exercise can often be more hormone balancing. Just stay consistent and appreciate the reason you exercise. Is it really because you have a problem with anxiety or it helps you avoid something else in your life? Or is it to enhance your life? If it’s the latter (and I hope it is), this is life. Enjoy your life during the holiday by stick with it in the modified way that helps you most enjoy the people and experiences in it.
Buy a bottle of water AND ask for water on the plane. Drink a cup before take off. Drink a cup an hour while you’re in flight. Finish the water when you get off the plane while you’re standing at baggage claim. (Certain airports that give you more than enough time to do this shall rename anonymous).
Yes, this will increase the need to use the bathroom on the plane. This is not a tragedy. This is a good thing. If you don’t, you’re probably cranky or dehydrated. Travel well by making this the way you do things, always.
The more you travel the more you want to make it consistent with what you do at home. Treat yourself well everywhere.
If staying consistent and feeling good means you need room for the swim suit and goggles, or the running shoes and sweats, or the yoga mat, and that overnight bag that fits everything else don’t allow it, check the bag. The extra fee is worth feeling good as oppose to a percentage of yourself isn’t it? Shouldn’t it be essential to feel good? Like a toothbrush essential?
Essentials in my travel kit are items for gut health, an eye mask, and things I add to my coffee in the morning. There’s no way I’d use one of those non-dairy creamers or little yellow or pink packets of cancer sitting in the room waiting for me. If I were sleeping at someone else’s house, I’d add ear plugs. In a hotel, I’ll use the fan as white noise to get a great night sleep. Be ready for anything and you’ll travel well so you enjoy it there and arrive home rested too. If you know your sleep needs, you know how important it is to your hormone balance that you get it! And yes, if you’re saying I wish I could.. there are half a dozen steps to take to improve sleep, none of which require medication.
For more on gut health while traveling don’t miss this round up of seven expert friends who shared their tips.
If you’re thinking that because you sit next to someone with the sniffles or a cough you’re going to get sick you will. If you have a strong immune system from getting the appropriate amount of sleep, exercise, and you’re hydrated, you don’t have to get sick because you’re exposed.
Of two-dozen trainers I used to supervise, I had two or three trainers who were frequently sick. They also happened to be the ones more strung out and stressed or the ones who liked to both exercise hard and party hard. The problem wasn’t exposure to a greater number of people including sick clients.
Travel well by being well at home and you’ll have a buff immune system before you board.
For extra insurance you can begin boosting with a little higher dose of Vitamin C before you board. It’s a travel well tip my friend Dr. Robyn Benson gave in a Flipping 50 podcast.
Get back on track! Identify the foods you love and love you at home so you can travel well too! Understand how to fit exercise into 10 or 20 minutes if that’s all you have! The best choice is to kick off your month with the 28 Day Kickstart.
Fitness is so much more than what size you wear or your resting heart rate. It’s not about how fast or far you can go. It’s not a matter of what workout you’re going to do.
Your fitness after 50 has the ability to decrease your risk of disease, increase your longevity and the number of years you live healthfully (your healthspan). It’s dependent on so much more than whether you go for a walk or lift weights today. This is the big picture. Your fitness after 50 will be influenced not just by exercise but by so many more things. I’m including a comprehensive list here.
I encourage you to go through this list and see really consider how well you’re doing each. Here’s the Cliff notes list in case you’re in a hurry. You can jump down to read details about the ones that interest you most below.
Your fitness after 50 depends on muscle. Muscle is now recognized as a key factor in bone density- or prevention of osteoporosis, as well as increased metabolism, and necessary for thriving in life rather than simply preventing frailty.
Increases in muscle through overload improve body composition.
It is no longer about the amount of time spent lifting weights.
The longer your weight lifting session the longer the rest between exercises and it is not about time it is about the intensity of the load.
Bone doesn’t benefit from “more” repetitions of lighter weight – only from heavy weight you can lift few times.
Quality not quantity matters. That is, reaching fatigue, not the number of repetitions nor how long you do it matters. Like we’ve seen results from as little as 6 minutes of high intensity exercise a week (intervals) we have seen muscle-fatigue-inducing strength exercises in minutes reap better results than hour-long classes.
Strength and endurance benefits is necessary for the ability to do additional work of interval training that you will see offers big benefits. Weight lifting also increases bone density so that additional beneficial activity is safe. Any cardiovascular exercise is good for the circulatory system, but only weight training targets the skeletal system in a way specific to improving bone density.
In studies of weight training, interval training, and combined training weight training increases muscle mass and strength most.
Your fitness after 50 has less to do with cardio than you might think. Make cardio about your mitochondria and hormone balancing. Use your DNA.Studies show that men age 70 can reverse aging with mitochondria regeneration comparable to subjects in their 20s. Why is mitochondria important?
Mitochondria are the powerhouses of energy in the body. The aging process – if you do nothing – will negatively affect the production of mitochondria. Small doses of high intensity exercise have proven to support mitochondria function – by as much as double in three or four months in minutes a week.
You will spend more energy all day by doing 2 training sessions a week than either one or three training sessions. That’s two sessions of strength, two sessions of intervals, and some additional exercise that’s more endurance based or simply a lot of movement daily.
Samples of Intervals:
Perform 8 seconds on and 12 seconds of recovery 20 times. This is easiest to do on a bike, but it’s a challenge with almost any kind of exercise because it’s a very short amount of time to increase your work capacity to full out. Be sure your well warmed up before you begin. That’s a little over 2 and a half minutes of high intensity exercise. It’s been proven to increase fitness (in women in midlife).
In the Wingate Test protocol you do 30 seconds of all out exercise and 2 minutes of recovery 4 times for a total of 2 minutes of work. You can run or power walk up hill or an incline, go as hard as possible on an elliptical or bike or do it in a pool.
You can reduce time needed to exercise by doing these types of interval training sessions for 20 minutes twice a week (in addition to strength training twice a week), in order to have more energy for being active all day. The result is greater overall energy expenditure and reduced obesity and overweight. That’s less exercise and more movement.
If all you had to do was sleep more to lose weight would you go to bed sooner? Long sleepers compared to short sleepers lost more weight and more of the weight lost was fat (less muscle loss that is a natural occurrence with weight loss). Perimenopausal women all in the same weight loss program with similar status were subjects. So yes, it applies to you.
The regeneration of the mind and the body that takes place at night is the glue that holds all your other positive habits together. Pad your sleep time like bookends with habits – a routine – that prepares you for better sleep every night. If you’re not sleeping at night, tell yourself it’s just that you haven’t prioritized it.
Tell yourself that you haven’t yet found the right habits. Tell yourself that it’s possible to recondition and reset your circadian clock for better sleep.
Hormones responsible for decreasing stress (cortisol and melatonin) and promoting lean muscle tissue (growth hormone and testosterone) require deep restful sleep.
Eat carbohydrates later in the day, close the kitchen after dinner, get exposure to sunlight early in the day, and exercise – even 10 minutes daily improves sleep – just not too close to bedtime.
Your fitness after 50 will be limited or supported by your sleep.
If you have a rich life full of family, work, and activities you love, you’ve got stress. There’s no way around it. So this is no empty “lower your stress” advice. Embrace it!
The only time you won’t have any, you’re close to dead. Your fitness after 50 is a dance between exercise stress and other stress in your life.
By increasing physical strength with the right exercise you enhance resilience
Increasing the joy factor (laughter, love, relationships, experiences)
Decreasing the toxic exposure (chemical exposure>food, water, air, products)
Physical stress from toxins, lack of sleep, dieting or over exercise, as well as emotional stress all contribute to your stress load. Control what you can. Small daily actions add up.
What you’re taking out and what you put in both matter. Know that some of us do handle stress better than others naturally, but it’s also possible to adapt so you can handle stress better. If you have a strong “why,” what I call a “cry why,” that makes it all worthwhile, it helps. Make sure there is purpose to your life in ways you need it. Exercise is a big part of increasing your resilience to all kinds of stressors.
Boost removal of toxins stored in your body by gradually adding more fiber. Start with this healthy chia pudding recipe. Use this base or start getting creative with your own ideas.
Pour the chia seeds into a bowl. Blend the protein powder and milk until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the chia seeds. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes. Enjoy. This high protein pudding can double as a breakfast or a post-workout snack, depending on your goals and needs. Either way, it’s a craving killer that can satisfy you for hours. Make a couple and take one with you when you travel. Pop it into an insulated bag. Don’t forget the spoon!
Socialize with people doing what you do or want to do, thinking the way you think or want to, you soon change your thinking>actions>habits and life
We know it to be true of cults and in scientific experiments.
Research tells us that resistance to change both internal and external is one of the greatest obstacles we have. When you’re surrounded by peopledoing what you’re doing or what you want to be doing you are more successful.
If you have kids you know this one well. Remember how important it was that your kid’s friends were good kids? It’s no different for you.
It’s not that you won’t have resistance to change, but when you have more people going the same direction around you that resistance has less chance of stopping you. Your fitness after 50 is a factor of who you surround yourself with. Who do you spend the most time with?
You’ve first got to identify that you have thinking that’s holding you back. That’s part of joining a community or having a coach. How else would you know?
Next, you have to want to change. In the past 25 years many women (who were only doing body weight exercise) ask about body weight exercises for bone density and changes in body composition. When I share the science there are about 50% that will respond, I’m going to stick to my body weight exercises, thank you.
Your fitness after 50 can’t be better than the expectations you have for it.
If you believe something is true, the biology of that belief, (it’s not just a thought), has the potential to change the expression of your DNA. If there is any tendency for it to happen genetically, your belief will be fertilizing it. Or you can pull a bad weed by believing and acting in a way that won’t allow a genetic predisposition to occur.
I’m sharing the example of the famous hotel maids study in our masterclass to illustrate this.
The thought that a good habit is good for you (like going for a walk every day) makes it more beneficial. If you remind yourself that by being busy at work even if you have a fairly sedentary job is good for your brain health and lifting weights over your lunch hour three days a week is keeping you fit the affirmation and belief has the potential to enhance your memory and the benefits of strength training sessions.
If we could test you for 8 weeks with your normal habits, and then test again after 8 weeks of thinking it was true, science has proven that you would experience all the benefits of weight training (strength, endurance, decreased body fat, increased muscle tissue) more significantly during the second eight weeks.
That famous hotel maids study illustrates this point perfectly, too. (Are you getting invites to join my free monthly masterclass? You can get the juicy stuff I only share via email here.)
Your fitness after 50, therefore, can improve without more time and energy, so long as you’re already employing good habits.
Almost anything you eat out of convenience (with a few exceptions popping up) is going to have more sodium, sugar, and saturated fat than you would cook at home. Further, even the salad bar is not safe with chemicals added to the greens to preserve them.
On average eating out increases caloric intake by 200 more calories per meal. If you eat out the average 5.8 times a week, that’s 1160 more calories a week – of more saturated fats, sodium, and sugar. Your fitness after 50 will be enhanced by the right nutrition and sabotaged by poor nutrition.
In addition to cooking at home, eat slow. Eating fast – the 20-30 minutes per meal Americans spend on average… often rushed, checking email, means you don’t even have the enzymes to digest food, leading to digestion and elimination issues.
Nearly every excuse you give for not exercising is a reason to exercise. You have achy joints and muscles… exercise. You are afraid of falling or getting injured… exercise. You never have enough time… exercise. You are too tired… exercise.
Ask, do I want that to be true?
I’ve been there. Married with kids, jobs, and a dog. Single parent with a house, a yard, two jobs, constant contact to hundreds of clients and students, writing a book, training for an Ironman, at every golf meet. I know about busy. Don’t talk to me about busy. You just decide.
If you were sick and needed lifesaving medicine, you wouldn’t dream of not taking it. Exercise prevents nearly every major disease. Why get it in the first place?
The terms Exercise is Medicine, and Food is Medicine have both become not just mantras and memes but scientific solutions to contemporary problems.
If you develop a daily regime of movement your fitness after 50 will improve. Your commitment to the exercise gets easier. When adults who exercise regularly don’t get their regular dose, they don’t feel as good, sleep as well, think as clearly or handle stress as well.
You can become one of those people.
When you’re not getting results from your current exercise program, there is no logic whatsoever in doing MORE of it. Increasing frequency and or duration of exercise is often the first default. Women assume that it’s their fault and they need to exercise more. But more exercise that isn’t already making you feel good… is certainly not going to make you feel great.
If you’re not seeing and feeling better from the exercise you do now, don’t increase the frequency of it expecting to see better results.
Improving your fitness after 50 isn’t about doing “more” if it’s going in the wrong direction. Check in with your exercise prescription now and be sure it is in alignment with your needs and not based on some arbitrary governmental recommendation or you 20 years ago.
If you’re exercising all the time, you may need to stop! Doing less can be smarter. Figure out some other way to pacify or calm yourself.
It is no longer a grams per kilogram body weight, or a total at the end of the day, or worse a percent of your total diet. It’s a much more user-friendly meal-based number of grams of protein.
Early and continued research by Rasmussen and Jones and now an expanding number of protein experts both from exercise science and nutrition are coming together on this.
Much of this research compared younger and older adults to each other. Older adults actually needed more, not less, due to decreased muscle protein synthesis. Your fitness after 50 is dependent on muscle. No matter what else you want to do or measure of fitness you want to improve you’ve got to have protein, the building block of muscle in order to enjoy optimal fitness.
Your stress level, prior eating history, exercise, exposure to foods that cause inflammation all influence your personal ability to breakdown food and digest it optimally.
While it’s true few individuals have Celiac disease, many functional doctors who work with women in midlife recommend omitting dairy and gluten because they find that 90% of their female patients feel better when they do.
You can test for yourself on several levels. Your body never lies. So removing and reintroduction is a step I recommend every woman do. Lab testing can confirm or reveal additional information. DNA testing can show what may be true of you and encourage greater commitment to solutions. Testing:
Use“Genes” for DNA testing 20% off (ends Dec. 20)
“28for10” for the 28-Day Kickstart January
“Flipping50” for $20 off your Micronutrient testing at yourlabwork.com/flipping-50
The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women is about optimal hormone balance. A 2 x 2 program following a foundation of hormone reset optimally improves fitness and negates the negative effects of stress that can occur from exercise.
From your DNA, and your personal preference or dread, you can determine the best way to spend your exercise time to get optimal results. Your fitness after 50 journey should be fun, uplifting, and exciting. If you haven’t found those activities or motivators keep looking!
What’s referred to as “wired and tired” can be avoided by avoiding the feast or famine adrenalin rollercoaster most of us are on during the day.
If you’re constantly in fight-or-flight mode your body can lose the ability to rest-and-relax. Those systems, your sympathetic and parasympathetic system are meant to balance and in contemporary life, unless you override the constant on call and unplug, they fail to work correctly.
Fight-or-flight will eventually begin to store fat for you to protect you. Rest-and-relax won’t work at night if you’ve not balanced that on and off switch during the day.
It works occasionally: it was meant to, but unfortunately, we’ve turned life into constant flight-or-flight.
Reaching for sugar and caffeine to wind up and wine to wind down or numb yourself all increase your weight, interfere with your sleep, and accelerate aging.
Caffeine consumption – if it’s abundant – is actually related to weight gain. It increases insulin resistance and signals your body to crave glucose-containing foods because it reduces blood sugar.
The simple advice is this. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re no longer hungry. Sleep when you’re tired. Drink before you’re thirsty. When you’re upset with someone have the difficult conversation.
If you’re not doing that, start. If you’ve ignored the urge to go to the bathroom, the need to drink more water, the need for sleep you’ll need to retrain your brain to pay attention.
One more energy placebo is adrenalin. You know you’re operating on adrenalin if you’re always waiting ‘til the last minute, or adding something to your to-do list, you’ve always got a dozen projects and your pushing to get something done. You’re always running late, or close to it. You might complain about it, but you actually don’t know how to exist with sustained stable energy.
Unlearning your old habits and replacing them with new ones can reverse aging, increase energy and you can start feeling it in days or weeks.
Have you got a story to tell about your fitness after 50 journey? I love to hear from you. Our community is inspired to hear real stories of people defying old limiting beliefs!
Let’s get the obvious out of the way: I’m a summer girl. I don’t heat the “lower level” in my house unless I’ve got guests and at 8800 ft. elevation, baby, it’s COLD, INSIDE! So popping into my sauna warms my bones…literally.
The real reason I love it is this: I’m a two-for-one girl.
I love habits that give me instant gratification. I’m a part of the “right now” economy… aren’t we all?
And … yet I’ve given up my once response, “not right now.” I worked at the Cone ‘n Bun in highschool. [I can’t make this sh__ up!] My best friend’s dad owned it. We enjoyed eating marshmellow-carmel-hotfudge sundaes plenty of whipped cream often enough. I remember someone observing me do this (I was probably a size 4 at the time) saying, “you’re going to have a weight problem some day”… and I responded… “maybe, but not today.”
Talk about a little flip.
Suffice to say I’ve come a long way. I did struggle with food and weight during both undergrad and grad school and immediately after. I tool lots of short cuts for energy that sabotaged me. During grad school, some days by noon I had probably had 3 Diet Cokes with some sugary carbs between.
Today I choose habits that give me a boost NOW and LATER. [I’m sipping a cup of matcha as I write this.] My sauna is another one of them. Stimulating cellular renewal, infrared light is good for so many things. I’ve healed road rash (bike crash) sweat out toxins, improved my skin and sleep too.
I’m not really into most gadgets and fitness toys… you’ve noticed that I don’t promote many tools and props. It’s kind of “not about the bike”for me. It’s you. There are a LOT of gadgets, trends, and fads out there, claiming to benefit your health. I’ve got a few staples for fitness, and yet they’re pretty much the same I’ve used for decades. Every toy begs to have you use IT and it’s protocol instead of looking at YOU and your status and your need. That’s how I choose for me and for clients. What are my goals, my status, and my needs? If I have a gap – there’s an exercise I need to accomplish it and can’t do it without a prop – then I’ll be inclined to buy it.
Walking through five expo halls at amazing conferences this last couple months I could have dropped some serious dough on the newest toys and tools. But I don’t.
I wanted a sauna for years though.
When you can’t always exercise as much as you want to, infrared sauna stimulates your cardiovascular system. So yes, for those of us that are super busy it’s a boost to the metabolism. But if you’ve got arthritis, degenerative disks, fibromyalgia, or you’re healing from an injury, it’s a great way to improve your health too. Infrared light has been proven in many studies to support health in these special conditions. If you suffer from depression or seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.), you could benefit too.
This is one investment in health is worth it and using it as often as daily (during a month-long detox) or 2-3 times a week regularly. Most often I use it two or three times a week. Oddly, it’s one of the first things I do after a trip. I’ll walk in, turn it on and let it heat while I unpack and then pop in.
We are being called the longevity economy. We’re changing aging. I think sauna and stem cell rejuvenation (naturally through fasting) are a part of it. I don’t look at the one time investment. I look at whether I’m going to be glad I did this in 20 or 30 years, or regretting that I didn’t!
Your own personal infrared sauna can help you eliminate chemical toxins and heavy metals, and it’s proven by many published studies. It helped me turn my liver enzymes around in a few months.
That’s saying a lot, in a world where so many industries–the food, pharmaceutical, beauty, fitness and diet mega-billion dollar industries, all conspire to make us WANT quick fixes and addictive habits. Even those of us exercising and eating a clean diet have a lot of chemical exposure.
I’ve been enjoying my Sunlighten Infrared Sauna, for six months now–especially in the evening before my bedtime routine. I’ve been amazed how much it’s helped me to sleep – since I already love sleep! I too had my share of wakeful nights, believe me. Now, they’re rare.
And for weight loss, or maintenance, there is no better tool, besides maybe a treadmill or a mountain! Many people – maybe YOU cannot run on a treadmill, and for them, as well as the rest of us, this passive stimulation for the cardiovascular system, in the sauna, is very powerful.
If you’ve got “limiters” – degenerative discs, special conditions like arthritis, or chronic fatigue, this can be an amazing way for you to support changes you want. Unlike your treadmill or exercise bike catching laundry, it doesn’t take much motivation to lie down and relax!
1) EAT MORE whole foods
2) EXERCISE LESS, and
3) DESTRESS or detox the body so FAT doesn’t have a job to do and you can release it!! (Fat traps toxins to keep it away from critical organs. That’s protecting you from circulating toxins. But then guess what? It makes fat HARD to lose.)
4) STIMULATE the cardiovascular system–to boost metabolism (and yes, help cellulite as a part of the skin rejuvenation)
The nice thing about having a healing-infrared-rays sauna at your home is how easy it is: just turn it on, and 30 to 40 minutes later, GET IN!
Not interested or in need of weight loss? There are dozens of other benefits you DO want! Infrared improves:
When I fell in love with mine, and experienced the health benefits, I wanted to make the Flipping 50 community aware of the benefits – and at a great rate.
If you decide now is the time you can save $200 and shipping of Sunlighten sauna. I love the personal sauna – more actually than I thought I might. It at first just made the most sense for me while I’m renting.
You want to make sure that you do this before 11/21/18 though because the special Flipping 50 discount goes away then.
Listen to this podcast for more about infrared light, sauna, and Sunlighten.
I also blogged about it when I first got turned on and still had to go seek one out at gyms – not knowing if they were emitting harmful chemicals at the time I was trying to get “healthy.”
P.S.There is a big difference between what you might know as the old dry sauna that just heats you up and the infrared that does this from the inside out. Don’t mistake just any dry sauna at a gym (where you’re pouring water on hot coals – No!) for the same thing unless you’ve researched it specifically.
Imagine yourself 12 months from right now in the best shape of your life.
Yesterday I got a message from a Flipping 50 community member because it was her anniversary. A year ago she had decided to train for her first triathlon, after 60. She included a picture from last year and a recent one in her message. She has aged backwards. She’ll be on the Flipping 50 podcast soon.
You may have zero desire to do a triathlon. But what would you love to do? And yes, I say do. How do you want to live? Not how much do you want to weigh or what size clothes do you want to fit in.
Spoiler alert: If you want to just dream about being in the best shape of your life, this post is not for you. If you think that this is only for someone retired or rich with tons of time and money to spend, this is also not for you. If on the other hand you’re looking for solutions, and ready to accept that it doesn’t take tons of time, it actually GIVES YOU BACK TIME… then keep reading.
Read on to learn how 4 health professionals can help you once you have everything you need to know.
If you want to get in the best shape of your life you have to know where you are now. Women tend to get addicted to the scale. In addition to your weight, get your body fat test done, do your measurements. BMI is less important in your overall health if your body fat percent is good. But waist measurement is predictive of health or of disease so it’s valuable as an independent number.
Get your cholesterol, blood pressure, your inflammation markers, information about your liver and blood. I recommend that you get your hormones tested by a functional doctor or order your own so you get the right thing measured. You want to know your thyroid function.
Test your micronutrients and food sensitivity. If you haven’t done a program already to test and remove your sensitive foods or you keep going back to them and end up feeling bad all over again, seeing it in print from a lab test will convince you to finally commit.
If you’re going to splurge on anything this year, make it your health.
What does your DNA say about your best diet and your best fitness? What is your muscle fiber composition? What nutrients are you predisposed to deficiency for?
When you know your genes, you can control whether those genes are expressed or not.
Even after 34 years of fitness and health coaching I tested my DNA last month and either confirmed or learned plenty.
I let go of some of the things I was SHOULDING myself about when it comes to exercise (because, turns out, they aren’t all that helpful for me based on genetics).
I also COMMITTED on a deeper level to taking certain supplements daily since I’m predisposed to deficiency in Omega 3, Vitamin D, and magnesium. I already had the habits but I confirmed how important they are.
I stopped skimping on the warm up, cool down and started doing more regular physiowork since I’m predisposed to ligament and tendon issues. (Sadly, I must get more frequent massages)!
Do you know what happens when you confirm healthy habits that you’re already doing? You benefit MORE. It’s proven scientifically in studies. If you are already doing things that are good for you and then mindfully reinforce what you’re doing… you make greater gains. (Including weight loss, blood pressure and cholesterol improvements in one study, and improved hearing, sight, fewer wrinkles in another).
From these measures you can determine daily habits.
You know what to eat and what to avoid. You know which types of exercise are going to get you in the best shape the fastest based on your genetic type. You can spend less time exercising and get better results from doing it.
By the time you’re 50 you’ve done some things: some things that potentially damaged joints or ligaments. You may have some genetics that already went to work on you and caused disk degeneration or other issues. Maybe you’ve had car accidents, sports or other injuries. You need someone who can help you work around those types of things.
You have hormones that are changing or already changed the game. Find a hormone-balancing exercise expert (we’ll soon be a directory for working with someone locally!) who can combine your joint needs with your goals and with your hormones.
The fat-burning exercise is easy for a trainer when they’re working with young, fit men, or younger women. But there’s a whole lot less research (39% total and maybe half that for you) using women flipping 50 as subjects. So if you’re in a bootcamp that a trainer says will burn X amount of calories … it may have in a lab with a 20-something male working at 110%. Does that mean it will work for you if you’re stressed, tired and 55? Nope.
And if you want to do something special – a triathlon (it’s SO doable and a perfect way to train your body in a balanced way), a 5K or 10K, hike a 14er, or something else, a strength and conditioning specialist can help you do that, too.
Some trainers can double as health coaches. Some say they can. But health coaching is different. It’s deeper into your change and the steps you take BETWEEN sessions. A trainer hopes and prays you do the workout before you see them again or that you don’t go through the drive-through on the way home from the gym.
A coach though, collaborates with you to develop your homework, and decide what you’re REALLY willing to commit to and do. She helps you be successful in small steps, or sometimes big ones, in the right sequential order. You and I left to our own devices (Yes, even a coach needs a coach in some area of their lives) do things. But random order gets random (or no) results.
A coach also will not allow you to beat yourself up if you don’t get it the first time. It’s data. She helps you figure out why you’re getting in your way.
By the time you’re 50 you have some unlearning to do. You have stinking thinking, not because of a bad attitude but because of the way you’ve been conditioned and taught about fitness and health. You may need to lose old ideas of what “a good workout” is before you can have a good fitness routine that is more than compulsive exercise or obligation. Your best shape may be attainable far easier than you think. That’s not to say change isn’t hard. It’s in part why a health coach can help you break it into manageable parts.
Find someone to help you undo socialization that is limiting you so you can have your fittest year ever. Trust me, it will be followed by the fittest decades you can live on the other side of 50.
Your exercise (and your sleep, digestion, and elimination) can’t work magic on you if you’re not eating the right thing. The old RDA food plate recommendations have dropped us all on our a____. What you need to thrive is another woman’s poison. There is no “healthy” diet that fits all of us.
That said, there are a lot of ways to lose weight. We’ve seen all kinds of people with all kinds of genetics lose weight on low carb and as many lose weight on low fat. Your history, and your DNA together with a blueprint (not a diet) can help you determine how to fuel yourself and feel better faster.
Getting in the best shape of your life may NOT be at all about weight loss. Maybe it’s body composition, or a specific athletic pursuit.
If you can’t do much exercise – because of your schedule, limitations or conditions – nutrition is your best ally. It has the potential to reduce inflammation and enhance sleep, helping you improve hormone balance, productivity, health and prevent disease. You may end up able to move more if you start with diet. Food is medicine.
Look for a nutritionist not limited by RDA standards, who has life experience, and a track record working with women like you. Ask for referrals so you can talk to them. I would keep looking until you find it. Nutrition is the one area most of us are reluctant to get support with because we don’t want to be judged on what we’re doing or have to give up things we love. This person matters a lot. You need to like her.
Dump the SMART goals. I know EVERYONE still talks about them. But for 34 years, I’ve observed (I majored in exercise psychology) most people don’t get squat from SMART goals. No pun intended.
You’ve got to find out why you’ll be committed even when you won’t be motivated. (It’s 5:22am right now. I might like to be sleeping but I’m committed – to you). Getting in the best shape does require goals. But more importantly it requires habits. We want to automate the actions so it’s just a natural part of your life to be in the best shape!
If you’re adding up experts that’s a personal trainer, a medical exercise specialist, a health coach, a nutritionist, and a behavior change coach so far.
I can help you with all that.
Whether you want to be the best you can be in limited time to grow your business as a #ladyboss who needs to be on top of her game, or you want to focus on your best shape as the physical ability to challenge what you can do and push limits instead of settling for an age limiter.
I can help you recover from injuries, train for endurance events, do your first triathlon, your next half marathon, and move with less pain from Rheumatoid Arthritis or fibromyalgia. I can help you find love the food you eat and love how it makes you feel. I can help you know exactly what questions to ask your allied health practitioners and what tests you want to ask for based on your signs and symptoms.
I can help you feel and look your best this year. All you have to do is decide you are ready, show up and do the work (it won’t be overwhelming: it WILL help you make steady forward progress faster than you can do yourself).
You can get in the best shape of your life after 50. Connect with me with questions.
You can change your physical health by changing the way you exercise, eat, and prioritizing quality sleep. In doing so you can benefit your mental and cognitive health. The way you age is a choice. Who better to hear it from than the individuals who are thriving after 50. I had the pleasure of meeting several of them at the Huntsman World Senior Games in October.
I challenge you to read (and watch their videos) and not be inspired. They’re you. They’re me. Many of the interviewees started long after 50. Many re-started after 50. For active aging these are the experts in the field!
If you want to create a thriving second half the best time to start was 30 years ago. The second best time to start getting better at getting older is TODAY. As you read and watch, imagine your possibilities becoming probably if you begin NOW to make decisions not based on scales, diets, or burning anything… but on living and experiences.
Lee, 94, from Pacific Palisades, CA., in her 8thyear at the games was donning three gold medals for table tennis. She’d previously competed in badminton and when knee replacements meant that wasn’t something she could do, she went looking for something she could.
Her table tennis participation keeps her motivated to stay in shape. She’s also keenly aware of the need for enough protein and avoiding sugar.
You’ll be inspired(or embarrassed) to know she can do what she calls 20 “men’s” pushups at least once a week – and intends to start doing them daily. She admits she’ll cut back to 10 when she’s 95. I challenge you to do 20 and share how that goes in the comments along with your age!
Lee was full of gems of wisdom for aging actively. Given she had done the most research in the room, I included them all! She is active aging at it’s best.
“When you can physically do what you want to do you feel better about yourself
The secret is being … very positive in stuff you do.”
“You are never too old. Even if you have a problem…
the only thing you’re too old for is surgery… I don’t think there is such a thing as too old.”
Charlotte Ambrose, 84 is Miss Senior Universe Miss USA representing Poland and is an open-heart surgery survivor. She is a prior competitor in the Senior Games whose husband was inducted into the Huntsman Hall of Fame this year. Charlotte and her husband are so clearly a couple active aging together.
Charlotte has done track and field events, swimming, and race walking.
In response to it being too late or being too old, Charlotte shared these pearls:
“Never, never too old … staying as healthy as you can, enjoying life, life is worth working to keep your active body and your mind.”
“Training the brain as well as the body are two linked entities to celebrate.”
Patti Miner, 62, Ms Utah Senior America who medaled in mixed doubles tennis event together with her husband, shared this:
“It’s better to be seen than viewed.”
I’ll let you think about that one for a moment!
“Age is just a number. Keep making goals.
Refocus, don’t retire.”
Patti’s words echo Flipping 50’s mantra, “Rewirement not retirement.”
We don’t always have the choice, but I loved the fact that several couples attended and both participated either in their own events or as teammates. It’s another perfect example of surrounding yourself with others doing what you’re doing or what you want to be doing. Choose a partner you can choose active aging with whenever possible!
Jan Miller, 68, a swimmer from San Antonio Texas participated in nine events that resulted in seven first places, a second, and a DQ.
Jan first participated in the Huntsman Games in 2000 when she was 50 – the youngest of athletes who can participate. Jan was a swimmer as a child, an Olympic qualifier. Came back to swimming for closure. She’s planning to return when she turns 70 and is in a new age group.
She belongs to a team and five of them attended the games together.
Though she was a swimmer – quite a skilled swimmer as a youth – she was away from it for 10 years, and shared that last year she spent nine days in a mental hospital. It was then that she realized she needed back in the pool.
“I’m going to go swimming. I’m going to do something that’s active and be around other people who are active.”
To get in shape she began cross training with several activities. She coined a new term perhaps, as she described herself as “muscleless.”
If you use it, it will grow, even if you’re 68, or 78 or 96 (the oldest competitor in swimming). Jan’s got a powerful message about starting wherever you are.
Allison LaField, 55, also from San Antonio, Texas, has been swimming all her life. She departed for a while to focus on family. She started again as an adult whose children were growing up. Swimming led to biking, which led to running and then bringing them together for triathlon. She mentions casually that she does Ironman distance (a total of 140.6 miles consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run done all in one day).
She swam six events. The back and fly are her stokes. These, by the way are not the “easiest” of strokes!
Swimming is an individual sport. Yet having a team means something even in a sport where it’s you getting yourself to the finish line. The take home message here echoed so many times at the Games (and in Flipping 50) is surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to be doing.
“It’s never too late. Swimming is one of the best sports for anyone over 50. You don’t have to be a swimmer or have any experience swimming.”
Susan Ingraham, 59, coach and competitor in this year’s games from San Antonio brought five athletes from her team.
Susan made an important distinction about “masters sports.” Masters sports aren’t associated with ability. It’s only an age-related label that ensures you’ll be with like-minded adults who share similar life experience.
Will you be the newbie? Likely not. Many adults over 50 are coming into the sport (swimming) from a sport that they’re now limited in by an ankle, shoulders, or knees.
Are your shoulders a limiter for swimming as you age? Hear Susan’s response!
The motivations for being a part of the team and being at the games vary from the opportunity for competition to weight loss to the social connections.
A year ago Susan created a video promoting the positive message and mission of the Huntsman Games. A woman saw it and was inspired so much that, Patty who had lost 75 lbs. on her weight loss journey that began in 2016 when she was 54 and 276 lbs., decided she too could compete and swam at the 2018 games.
“Even at 55 you can set new goals and get healthier, get active, and get some new goals in your life.”
And as you’ll hear in other stories those new goals can come in your 60s, 70s, or in your 90s.
“We should be challenging ourselves.”
A take-away here is this: share. Talk about and promote what you do, what you want to do, and your journey. You don’t have to be there yet. If you fear it’s bragging, consider that not telling your story is missing an opportunity to share with someone that “yes, you can”message that only you can share. We all need a “if she/he can do it, I can do it” message.
Debbie Pederson, 61 has been swimming competitively for less than two years. Like you perhaps she knew how to swim. She’d been a swim mom for years and so naturally when an Achilles problem limited her jogging swimming was a naturally easier-on-joints-sport that she was familiar with.
She wanted to stay healthy. Actually she wanted to get healthier than she was. At a time when many people are still thinking of “slowing down” active aging is quickly becoming a better choice.
While you might be thinking competition feels uncomfortable, it’s actually the fact that it is uncomfortable that is part of the attraction for Debbie. She shares how much that push outside her comfort zone is a part of why the team and the competitive environment is important for her.
Debbie’s adamant response to the thought that someone might be too old:
“No way! Go for it. Find a good coach, a master’s team, and just get in there and start swimming!”
Bonnie, together with her sister and sister-in-law did a triathlon, calling themselves team RU Kidding.
Feeling a little intimidated by triathlon or competition in general? You’re not alone. Bonnie shared,
“I was scared to death and it was a blast.”
They are influencing family members who want to get off the sidelines and participate. It’s that kind of environment. Few if any at the venues around St. George who were watching this year aren’t inspired with an “I can do that” attitude. It’s contagious.
Three months ago Bonnie could only swim one lap. At her triathlon debut she swam 25 laps no problem. Her sister couldn’t do anything but can now walk or run 5 miles.
Behind the scenes off camera, Bonnie shared that she was motivated to do the whole thing herself next year.
Try asking a scale to motivate you to do that. Watch this family event from swim to bike to run here.
The event is safely done in a pool and the collaborative, supportive environment is world class. Where in some races, indeed there may be some real heated competition, here you’ll see athletes turning over to backstroke, taking their time, enjoying each step. Often slower athletes are heard saying they get their money’s worth that way.
Dr. Jeff Schmirkoff, 55, from Alberta, Canada was like many of us working long hours, eating late, and finally decided it was time to do something about it. He is now just four years into his eligibility as an active aging senior athlete!
Life’s a marathon, just keep moving.
I caught up with Jeff at the pool where he was waiting his turn to begin participating in the triathlon. In all he was doing 17 events at this year’s games! He describes himself as slow, and also shared that it could be a positive.
“Don’t train too hard then you wont’ get injuries.”
Jeff is clearly a doctor prescribing the right kind of medicine and taking a dose regularly.
“Get tired of being tired.”
Jeff also shared his acronym, GOTCHA:
This medication has side affects too: longevity, self-esteem, energy, confidence, and enthusiasm for life.
Diana describes herself as 67 and ¾ years young. She competed in seven events in this, her 14thyear at the Huntsman World Senior Games. She said it simply:
“You’re never too old.”
She’s transformed her life and her healthspan after 50. At 49 Diana weight 208 and she’s now at 146. Listen to how she chose her doctor!
Pat, 69, had just had an exhilarating 1:38 minute finish in the triathlon when I caught up with her. She’s a St. George resident (lucky her!) and she’s been at the games 8 times participating in the triathlon (made up of swimming, biking, and running). If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a dozen times! The winners here all feel the same way:
“You’re never too old”
Pat’s advice for beginners about how to start:
Volunteers make the Huntsman World Senior Games run smoothly and they were amazing! But it’s hard to sit on the sidelines as a volunteer or a spectator (often called “Sherpa” if you’re there for an athlete) and not be inspired to get in the action.
I caught up with one volunteer at the triathlon event and she has different plans for herself next year! We made a date to compete next year.
Lauren’s job was to make sure all the swimmers got started in the right order to begin the first leg of their triathlon. If you’re inclined to attend and want to volunteer (either instead of or in addition to competing – there’s plenty of time to do both), check out all the options Huntsman World Senior Games.
“I might do this triathlon next year because I do bike and swim…”
Active aging has many faces. One thing it has in common though is choosing to start something – to accelerate – not to slow down.
Dr. Stephen Barrett, 85, is a retired psychologist and runs Quachwatch.com http://quackwatch.org/He won 3 gold medals, 2 silver medals, and a bronze in seven events he participated in at the Games this year.
He’s only been competing for 10 years, meaning he began his competitive swim career at 75. What might you be starting right now? Stephen mentioned swimming is a wonderful physical activity but it’s also social for him!
“Swimming is a wonderful thing for fitness… you don’t have to compete… just go for fitness.”
When I asked him, being the psychologist in the house, how staying active was for mental and cognitive health he replied,
“I’m not senile yet!”
The Huntsman World Senior Games and Flipping 50 share a common mission, right along with the International Council on Active Aging and other entities that exist to “change the way we age” (ICAA’s tagline). I first got a closer look at the games and the organizers when Kyle Case, CEO reached out to me. I immediately asked him to be a guest on Flipping 50. Not long after Huntsman Senior Games began their own podcast and Kyle and Jeff Harding hosted me on Active Life.
I wasn’t unfamiliar with the Senior Games but I had no idea that state-held senior games were a part of something greater with one important distinguishing factor. It’s inclusive, collaborative and supportive. You need not qualify to participate.
What every one of the athletes I talked to have in common was the fact they’re getting older without feeling older. They are choosing active aging. The rocking chair was made for kindling.
I’d love to hear from you. How do you think about getting older?
Are you inspired to learn more about the Huntsman World Senior Games?
If you’d like support choosing an event, starting to train, whether your goal is weight loss, feeling better, beating your own time or being a World Champion, comment below that you want to and we’ll post more about how to set your goal and go into action. The 28 Day Kickstart is a perfect place to start if you’re challenged with changing needs of your body right now. There’s no “convenient” time! Do it now! I’ll see you there!
“How do you stay motivated to exercise?”
It’s one of the most common questions I’m asked. I know my successful clients and friends who are committed are often asked this too. The truth may be we’re not all that motivated. We committed to it and we go because we know there is truth in some social media memes.
I wish I hadn’t done that.
~said no one after a workout ever
You will feel better after an appropriate* workout even if you didn’t look forward to it. Your body chemistry changes within seconds after beginning exercise. Endorphins, serotonin, and appropriate levels of cortisol begin surging through you. The feelings of satisfaction and achievement that follow exercise stay with you long after the exercise is over. That kind of “fix” is how so many of us stay motivated to exercise even when life throws obstacles in the way.
By the way, I haven’t always been a regular exerciser. I had to start somewhere just like you. I didn’t go from being a rockstar athlete in high school (I wasn’t) right into running and lifting regularly. I have told more than a few stories about my days in “contract P.E.” in high school. I think we sat in the old wrestling room eating Oreos dipped in peanut butter. That is, after we’d snuck out to buy them. Nice, right? Picture of health.
Below I’m giving you some simple tricks I use to stay motivated to exercise in a way that changes my fitness level. By that I mean, in a way that follows a plan that increases my fitness level or positively changes me. I can write an exercise plan to take myself through 142.2 miles in one day but if I don’t followit and don’t do those workouts according to the plan I won’t have the same results.
Random exercise won’t reap specific results.
After 50 we have a little more urgency, a little less resilience to injury, and less time than we often thought we might in our 20s and 30s and 40s. So it is important to me to get it right. The biggest reason sticking to a plan makes sense is easy. Results make anyone of us motivated to exercise.
When you see and feel results, you will want to do more of what gives you results.
I break up my workout time into chunks stay focused. It’s a no-brainer on longer workouts but I like this even for short ones. When you’re going to do it another 50 years even those short interval-training sessions get predictable. Just doing a workout does not make up for a lack of intensity.
I never want to take for granted just because I’m doing an “interval” workout I’m working harder. Here’s how to know if you need to bump up your focus: you finish thinking that you didn’t work that hard! [Intervals are supposed to be tough and get you to fatigue, or they just aren’t doing the job they’re known and loved for: boosting fat burn].
Here’s an example of a longer swim:
Here’s an example of a long indoor bike session:
If the first example was increasing my focus on the workout itself, this one I can use either to distract or to focus. When I ran my first marathon I had a list of people I love to think about each mile (and .2 at the end) of the way. I am guessing many marathoners do similarly because crossing the finish line is emotional if you’ve ever watched runners come in.
I sometimes focus on an article, chapter, or a course I’m creating for a specific time during a longer, run, bike, hike or swim.
During intervals, I will use the recovery to do the same. I’ll focus on the activity as I charge uphill and then bring my thoughts back to the idea I want to develop. This works well for my clients who are corporate athletes. When you need to step away from your desk or have a difficult conversation with someone (or not) the movement and release of adrenalin can bring things back into focus and make your creativity flow. Brain-Derived-Neurotrophic-Factor (BDNF), which is enhanced by exercise increases productivity, focus and decreases depression and anxiety.
Those results are long term but there’s also proof that exercise during the workday, regardless of intensity, increases productivity and problem solving skills in the afternoon.
Most women have loved multitasking since we first learned the word. It’s how our minds tend to work anyway! But you already know that there’s plenty of proof to show doing multiple things doesn’t get more done at once and it doesn’t get the jobs done well compared to what you’re capable of when you focus on one.
Yet in this case you combine movement and thoughts about an issue, you’re taking advantage of kinesthetic learning as well as the reduced tension and adrenalin so you can focus. Then when you go back to the drawing board with ideas and breakthroughs from your enhanced creativity, you will have a better outcome.
When I’m short on either time, or attention, I stay motivated to exercise by opting for short cardio and weight options in the same session. Instead of doing 40 minutes of running or weight training I’ll do 20 minutes of intervals and 20 minutes of strength training. The combined workout is higher in overall intensity than either one alone (the longer we go the lower the intensity).
When you have 20 minutes you pay attention. Face it, we baby boomers and over 50’s have an attachment to the more-is-better mantra. It’s been proven false over and over again yet what got in your head decades ago may be a hard idea to unlearn. When you give yourself just 20 minutes you don’t let your mind wander, you make it count.
When you make it count, you’re back to the real answer to how you can stay motivated to exercise. It works. It just flat out works.
It feels good to feel good.
At risk of stating the obvious, for many people paying for a program and committing to a coach or a group is a big motivator. Flipping 50’s STRONGER program is currently in beta and we’re testing it with a group of about 25 women. They’re committed to each other and to the study: we’re very dependent on their participation and their ability to be eligible at the 50% off rate hinged on sharing their results and doing all 16 workouts for 8 weeks.
So far as we enter week six, the comments have been fantastic. Women supporting women have made this a different experience. They share the completion of workouts, their comments on the difficulty or variety of each new week’s workout, ask for support in modifications and they’re feeling stronger! The accountability factor is a big motivator.
[The STRONGER program will launch in September. If you want to be first to get the announcement be sure you’re getting out emails by adding yours here.]
*An appropriate workout designed for your collective hormone, physical, and mental needs is not just any workout. Don’t ignore signs your best workout might be restorative yoga right now. The right workout is sometimes a recovery workout and sometimes a tough challenging interval workout. It’s rarely a middle-of the road zone 3 workout (also called No Benefits Zone). Unfortunately, for most women that’s where they’ve been exercising for decades.
Share your own tricks for getting or staying motivated to exercise.
One must for my motivation is eating well. While some might find they temporarily are motivated to exercise because they eat junk, I’ve found for me and my clients the better we eat, the better we feel, the more we want to exercise and just move general. When you don’t eat like a couch potato you don’t want to be a couch potato! Seeing this before the end of August? Hurry… stock up and save 10% on my favorite breakfasts, post-workout meal, and craving-killers (chocolate-nut butter smoothie anyone?) that taste great and don’t sabotage you! Use First50 at the store.