Exercise for hormone balance? Yes. This podcast is all about four women, or maybe you, who represent women in my programs and private clients I’ve worked with for nearly three decades.

Before we dive in, this episode is brought to you my Flipping 50’s 28 Day Kickstart, and the last day to register is the day before the last Thursday of the month. It’s the perfect way to begin making exercise matter more with the Eat More Exercise Less method that improves sleep, decreases stress, and boosts your energy.

What exactly is hormone balance?

Before you get more hormone balance you obviously need clear definition of hormone balance!

If you’re not even sure what hormone balance is or if some of your recent frustration with a lack of your “you-ness” seems to describe hormoneimbalance, read on. This post is for you.

If any of these describe you:

  • You’re putting on weight lately no matter what you do
  • You have belly fat even though you’re weight is OK
  • You have cellulite on your thighs, belly, bum, or on your upper arms
  • You can’t seem to develop any muscle tone in your legs
  • You’ve got a saggy bum in spite of so many lunges and squats you can’t sit down
  • You’ve turned up the exercise and eat carefully but still no results
  • You’ve got this crepey chest and neck skin


  • You have touchy joints from prior or current injuries
  • You have had breast cancer surgeries
  • You’ve had other invasive surgery or joint replacement
  • You have a chronic condition

And potentially:

  • You can’t sleep well
  • Even if you do sleep you don’t wake up refreshed
  • You have high levels of stress right now
  • You’ve tested your hormones and you’re “normal” but don’t feel it
  • You still don’t have any idea how to exercise “normal” or not
  • You have depression or anxiety
  • You’re taking medications for the above or other things with side effects
  • Your digestion is off (even if you thought that was “just me”)
  • You don’t poo every day at least once (more is better)
  • You have rabbits or pudding instead of snakes (link to podcast)
  • You have gas or bloating you just tolerate

And finally:

What you used to do doesn’t work any more.

Then this is definitely for you.

Exercise for hormone balance is not your textbook exercise. 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:

  1. Assess what signs and symptoms you have from the list above.

Really, write them down. I’ll wait.

  1. Next to each sign or symptom write down what you’ve tried.

Make a column of signs and a column of what-I’ve-tried next to it with plenty of options for the solutions.

  1. Now get honest. Which things that you’ve tried have you actually tried systematically, one at a time, in a specific sequence?

If you’ve tried things before, even if you don’t yet have results, you know a little more about what does and doesn’t work for hormone balance.

Or do you?

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 for hormone balance. I touched on hormones and exercise after 50 in my first book and filled two more books with exercise for hormone balance research. There’s not a lack of information but there’s a lack of time.

When you want answers and youre frustrated you want them now, like yesterday.

So let me give you some very quick very easy to implement answers. There’s more where that came from, and more how-to do the exercise that will help you most, where this came from.

Always Tired Anna

Is this you?

If you’re tired in the morning even after a full night’s sleep…

You wake up not wanting to wake up…

You don’t have an appetite in the morning…

You may or may not have coffee but you really don’t want food, or exercise, pajamas would be good…

Your hormone tests show you don’t have any cortisol at all – even when you should

Your exercise for hormone balance:

Reduce your exercise. Leave the weights and the High Intensity Interval Training alone for 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.

Belly Fat Barb

Is this you?

  • You’re the right weight but your proportions have changed
  • You’ve got belly fat you never had before
  • You’re adamant about that coming off now!
  • You’re on bio-identical hormones and they’re still not helping
  • You skip meals or have them at different times all the time
  • You drink coffee to rev up and wine to unwind
  • You read every label, watch exactly what you put in your mouth, count pts, calories
  • You go to bed and wake at varying times

Your exercise for hormone balance:

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. If you’re over 50, you’re required by hormone law 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.

Ellie Exerciser

Is this you?

  • You exercise almost every day
  • You spend hours in the gym (or at home) every week
  • You do a similar distance or duration every time you exercise
  • If you miss a day it drives you crazy
  • You do it all hard
  • You’re feeling flat during workouts lately
  • You don’t really look forward to workouts like you used to
  • You feel tired most of the time and think if you just got a good workout you’d feel better
  • You can’t sleep in spite of being tired

Your exercise for hormone balance:

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.

Toneless Tanya

Is this you?

  • Do you exercise but struggle to get toned or add lean muscle?
  • Are you trying to watch what you eat so you can prevent more weight loss?
  • Do you have very little or next to no libido?
  • Do you have a hard time sleeping?
  • When you exercise do you typically keep it moderate and go for longer?
  • When you lift weights do you do about 15 repetitions or more?
  • Or do you finish 10-12 repetitions but know you could do more if you needed to?

Your exercise for hormone balance:

Start lifting weights focused on major muscle groups. Even if you want to tone those arms, you want to 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 yourbiggest 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.

Prefer private, accelerated coaching on your own time, a limited number of private coaching spots are available.

Click the link to schedule if you’re interested in private coaching below: https://www.scheduleyou.in/ZzFwszm

Not moving yet and can’t seem to find time? Try these simple daily tips.

Want to do all you can in the kitchen for hormone balance?

Get the Hormone Balancing Cookbook here

Can You Break Up With Disordered Eating After 50?

Disordered eating after 50? This post is not very sexy but it hits on a topic that became a conversation between 35 and 40 years ago – when many of us flipping 50 were in our late teens, early 20’s and 30’s – flirting with it. Still today, the prevalence of eating disorders for many – and disordered eating for many more is a big part of the challenge of finding “eating right” I so often hear my fitness clients seek.

We’re not immune as we age. Disordered eating among women in their 50s and 60s is not uncommon. If you’re an emotional eater, or you’re fasting as an answer to weight loss when nothing else works, it’s a conversation that doesn’t have any flat out answers. There’s not a one-size-fits-all. But if at one point in your younger years  you knew that what you were doing might cause long term consequences, they may actually be showing up for you now.

disordered eating after 50 Eating disorders and disordered eating are widely associated with teenage girls and college-age women. Yet, a woman in her 50s and beyond can still struggle. Can you break free of a dysfunctional relationship with food in a society where dieting is a billion dollar industry?

Can you escape the temptation to try intermittent fasting? Every popular women’s magazine on and offline, and social media outlet has published something about it. When comparison mode takes over and you read about the success of some woman in her 50s or 60s using intermittent fasting or switching to a plant based diet, it’s tempting to believe you’ve found the magic bullet.

Food is tricky. It’s necessary. It’s triggers compulsive actions. It has history for you. Different foods are triggers for certain behaviors. Situations can act as triggers for a response with foods. For some women it’s being alone, for others it’s being with people. It’s comforting, numbing, and it’s both conscious and unconscious.

Even healthy, normal weight women find it hard to do what they want to do for their own health when they go out to dinner with others or have people over. Peer pressure and social stress seems to hit us even now.

Pursuing fitness with dysfunctional eating patterns that borderline eating disorders is a challenge. Improved performance is not possible without the right fuel.

Even with a pretty external appearance, signs of breakdown exist.

While there’s a large part of our over 50 population still struggling to make exercise a regular part of life, there is another segment that is trapped in a cycle of needing to exercise, and to eat with a rigid idea of what “getting a good workout” might look like. It’s like a heavy weight you’re carrying around all day.

disordered eating after 50Is Exercise Your Drug of Choice?

If you flirt with disordered eating after 50 chances are exercise is a piece of the puzzle (hence, the post from me). Exercise isn’t just a joy for you; it’s a must. It’s a have to, should and then it becomes a struggle of mind body when a breakdown or illness occurs. You know you shouldn’t, or that you’re doing too much with too little in the tank, but your mind is telling your body to shut up. Those memes in social media don’t help.

You’re paying yourself back with food. Or you’re not allowing yourself to eat if you haven’t earned it through exercise.

Exercise too, I hope, is indispensable. In our society we can’t afford not to move intentionally any more. So finding a good relationship with exercise so it’s not punishment or an “if I do this, then I can eat that” cycle.

Clutching limiting beliefs about foods or food groups that have been disproven by science but that have such an emotional tie or a near compulsive pattern of thought are often a part of dysfunctional eating. Believing fat makes you fat, that calories alone will control optimal body composition, or that eating “healthy” food is all you need to worry about all are a part of food hurdles you have to leap if you’re in your 50s or older at this point in time. Science of diets and food changed rapidly in the last two decades.

Exercise is sexy and acceptable. It’s respected and revered. Food is seductive and taboo at the same time. A woman who won’t talk about her eating disorder or pattern of constant thoughts around eating will talk about her fitness. It’s a mask she can wear and feel healthy, even superior, and happily distracted about.

Disordered eating after 50 could mean a lot of things about your relationship with the kitchen or eating out. You may hate to cook, or love to cook and bake, or be somewhere in between. Historically, women with eating disorders enjoy recipes, planning, cooking and baking. It’s a mask too. It’s not unlike a drug addict who becomes a dealer.

Do these questions from others hit an emotional cord:

“What can you eat?”

“Is there anything here you can eat?”

“You’re not going to eat? What? Are you dieting?”

Don’t overlook them or yourself as “sensitive.” They may be triggers for you.

Disordered eating after 50 is so much more common than you might think. We still however don’t talk about it or what’s underneath it. So, it’s isolating. You’re not however, alone. The online community offers great resources for you to get support, with some anonymity and convenience. It’s exhausting if you’re stuck here, perhaps never more than when hormones get involved in a big way at this time of life. If you’re ready to put it down, reach out. You can find support.

Post references:
Tricia Greaves Nelson – Heal Your Hunger
Dr. Joan Rosenberg – Free resources

This after 50 smoothies guide answers all the questions I’ve fielded over my career as well as those I’ve personally had over 34 years as a female fitness professional, and athlete, and desk-bound entrepreneur. You may have resistance to smoothies or protein. I’ll share with you why I did, why you should and why I did a complete 180 after 30 years. You can decide how you too will benefit from smoothies and how to do it.  

after 50 smoothies

After 50 Smoothies and Aging

If you’re committed to changing the way you age and doing everything in your power to make that happen, congratulations! Committing to that is a big first step.

You need clarity about what it takes to do that. When you’re clear on what you need to do its easier to follow through even when it’s not convenient. We’ve all been derailed when we’re traveling, stressed, or tired. When you’re dealing with life’s challenges you’re going to be more likely to stick to habits that help you reach goals when you’re clear on why they help.

Whether you’re athletic or you’ve always been sedentary and not necessarily into exercise, you probably want to be healthy your whole life. I’ve never met someone who says they hope to get sick later in life. You can change your future health based on what you do now. If that’s you, then keep reading. After 50 smoothies are a part of doing that, deliciously.

Believe it to see it

If you believe you are destined for a certain kind of future associated with aging that includes weight gain, joint pain, sleepless nights, confused thinking or even disease, this blog, even this website or anything I have to offer probably won’t interest you. If you think you have to settle for and accept any of those symptoms if you’ve got them now, I disagree.

Academic reviews of research literature, over three decades of work with midlife and older adults, and coaching midlife women all over the world. I’ve been writing for over 30 years. I’ve been creating blogs dedicated to midlife and older adults, sometimes as many as five unique blogs and articles per week, for over four years. Each one required reference to research.

There are certain things that determine how well you age. Your environment, stress, and sleep matter. Your food quality, quantity, activity level and strength and endurance as we age matter. Muscle matters. At the center of your health and wellness is your ability to remain active and to live independently. Keeping lean muscle to avoid excess fat and disease is a must. Quality nutrition is a part of that. That is the heart of after 50 smoothies.

Smoothies for muscle loss prevention and increased fat burning

Sarcopenia, the term coined for significant muscle loss that occurs with age is completely avoidable. Active older adults don’t lose muscles mass the way sedentary older adults do.

Consuming adequate amounts of calories and protein with age helps enhance your lean muscle tissue.

There is a lot of confusion about even what a smoothie is and with the variety of smoothies you can find out there it’s no wonder. A quick Google search shows 41 million options for finding smoothies. Most of those use the word healthy in the title. Let’s dive into smoothies. Let’s ask, “who says”the next time someone labels anything “healthy.” Because in this after 50 smoothies guide we have more to consider than what may be an outdated look at food-for-all.

Three years ago I published The Protein Report. The epidemic of muscle loss we’ve seen in older adults in prior generations is preventable. The American College of Sports Medicine published a review of literature in the Health & Fitness Journal that stated adults over 50 reaped benefits to exercise similar to 20 year old counterparts when they were given protein supplements (smoothies) pre or post exercise that was closer to 40 grams of protein (provided it had adequate essential amino acids- specifically 2.3 gm leucine per meal). The 40 gm protein supplement in older adults resulted in benefits from exercise comparable to the 20 gm for younger subjects.


I have to share straight up with you my reason for helping you find smoothie ingredients that help you with the most common complaints I hear from women. I want you to feel great! I want you to feel like you look great! I want you to sleep great! I want you to feel like little bits of exercise I give you are working!

Because when you do… you will not be asking me how to get and stay motivated to exercise. Those things make you want to move more. Sit down for this next statement.

Exercise does not in itself lead to weight loss.

It does, however, lead to things that DO lead to weight loss. It reduces your likelihood of needing medications for conditions and disease. It reduces the chance you’ll need joint replacement due to injury or excess weight from inactivity. It enhances food choices. It enhances your quality of sleep. It boosts your mood –decreasing the incidence or severity of anxiety or depression. It decreases hot flashes and night sweats.

If you’re saying to yourself, not for me, those things haven’t happened for me, you have room to improve the type and the timing of exercise for your specific needs. Not all exercise is created equal for every individual. You’re not a cookie, so don’t follow a cookie-cutter exercise prescription. Hormone-balancing exercise is oh-so different. Not all smoothies are the same either. 

What is an After 50 Smoothie?

Seemingly I’ve coined a term here. I’ve done it purposefully. We have less wiggle room. My definition is a powerful glass of protein, fiber, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory foods, and healthy fats that is ready in minutes and hard to replace with any other breakfast option. That’s an after 50 smoothie at it’s best.

Compare a smoothie to breakfast options like steel cut oats, Greek yogurt, eggs with veggies, chia pudding, or more traditional eggs and bacon, bowl of cereal (even high fiber), or toast, even avocado toast with an egg and you’ll find a smoothie comes out ahead in protein, healthy fat, fiber, and micronutrients. A smoothie is a delicious vessel of nutrition that provides a quick solution to the no-time-for-breakfast dilemma.

That’s pretty sexy for breakfast.#youstillgotitgirl and #hotnotbothered worthy

If you were going to dump all the ingredients out on to a plate that you put into a smoothie, you would never eat it all. A smoothie made right is an “eat real food” option. In fact it’s a way to eat more real food, more components that make a smoothie an age-defying start to your day.

Price comparison

The cost of making a smoothie at home varies drastically depending on the ingredients and where you shop. If you’re at Whole Foods buying a smoothie you could easily spend $8-12. The most costly item – and the one that most determines whether you’re having a “vitamin” or “poison” is the protein you add.

If you were to order or make a breakfast that included health omega 3 fat, greens and cacao full of anti-oxidants, 21 gms of protein, and about 8 grams of fiber (a boost of fiber with chia seeds would be good here) it would be hard to do. It would be even harder to do in a minute or less time. If, like me you spend 10 minutes once or twice a month preparing baggies of your smoothie ingredients for the freezer, you can dump the frozen bag and the liquid ingredients into a Nutribullet and blend in seconds. The whole thing takes less than two minutes including rinsing the blender blade. I’ve started putting my Nutribullet into my carryon. A day of conference sessions that starts with a smoothie is so much better than a growling stomach, or gambling on the continental carb buffet.

after 50 smoothies

What makes truly “healthy” after 50 smoothies?

The simple answer to that is: the ingredients. They make it either medicine or poison. What is healthy for you isn’t healthy for the next person.

If you don’t tolerate dairy, a smoothie made with Greek yogurt won’t work and neither will a whey or casein containing protein shake. A fruit-only smoothie may taste refreshing but it can also spike blood sugar and give you the one-two punch, right in the muffin top, of encouraging fat storage and halting fat burning due to insulin response. A smoothie full of chemical preservatives or artificial sweeteners will confuse your body and slow the metabolism. On the other hand, while you might not sit down to a salad for breakfast (but you could!), drinking a mixture of greens, cucumber, celery, and lime down with an apple or kiwi can start your day with

It’s almost a sure bet that if you’ve walked through a food court straight to the smoothie counter feeling virtuous you’ve fallen for marketing. That liquid lunch is probably even more devastating than the burger or taco might have been.

It’s not just what’s in your smoothie but what’s not in your smoothie that makes it healthy. Avoid any chemicals you can’t pronounce. Avoid all the pseudo names for sugar. Pass on protein options with over 5 grams of sugar per serving. Look for as few ingredients as possible. If it’s an animal product, make sure it’s grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic-free. If you’re taking a multivitamin and other supplements already added vitamins are not necessarily a good thing: your vitamins and those in the smoothie will compete and you absorb less.

Recipe Template for Your After 50 Smoothies

Start with greens: kale, spinach, chard, romaine

Add healthy carb: ¾ cup frozen berries or medium orange, sweet potato, beet, beans

Or Add veggies: cucumber, celery and Lime or lemon juice

Add fat: avocado, nut butter, coconut oil

Add fiber: chia seeds, ground flax meal, Fiber Boost

Add liquid: pure filtered water, alternative milk

Add spices: cinnamon, turmeric

Add superfoods: maca, matcha, cacoa, goji berries

What’s Wrong with Many Smoothies?

Plenty. There is a definite difference between juicing and smoothies. There’s a difference between a smoothie made from a processed pre-packaged mix and a smoothie made from ingredients from your refrigerator like kale, spinach, berries, cucumber, nuts and seeds. There’s a difference between chemical-laden protein shake mixes and those with fewer than five ingredients made from carefully selected plants or grass-fed hormone free animals.

Start reading ingredients carefully. If you’re stopping at the top reading the macronutrients protein, fat, sugar and carbs, keep going from the first ingredient to the last. If you can pronounce it and you’d feed it to your child you’ve potentially got a good product. Below is a list of smoothie mistakes you want to avoid.

Inflammation causing ingredients:dairy*, sugar

Hormone & adrenal disrupting:Soy, fillers, chemicals, artificial sugars

Blood sugar spiking and fat storage:fructose, maltodextrin, fruit juice, excess fruit (dried or tropical), sucrose, sucralose, whey*

Too little protein: less than 20 gm per serving

Too little fat: less than1-2 servings fats

Too little fiber: means lack of fullness and rapid absorption of sugars

*Use of whey protein for those who don’t tolerate dairy or poor timing of whey protein even if you do tolerate it can increase blood sugar if you’re consuming it at times other than pre or post higher intensity exercise.

Because whey protein is so common if you’re just starting to use protein shake as a way to bump your protein content up, be sure to read about all possible options before you start your after 50 smoothie habit.

Ultimate After 50 Smoothies Guide to Ingredients

There are so many reasons why you may be drawn to a smoothie. Repeatedly I hear from private clients and women in my group programs (some of whom resisted at first!) that smoothies make it such an easy decision in the morning. It’s not different from the bowl of cereal that may have been our past, but it’s much better for you.

After 50 Smoothies Ingredients for Muscle loss prevention

After 50 Smoothies Ingredients for Fat Burning

After 50 Smoothies Ingredients for enhancing Satiety

After 50 Smoothies Ingredients for natural hormone balance

After 50 Smoothies Ingredients for brainpower

After 50 Smoothies Ingredients for natural detox (liver support – alkalinity helping hormones)

After 50 Smoothies Ingredients for Blood sugar balance

After 50 Smoothie Ingredients for Reduced inflammation

After 50 Smoothie Ingredients for digestion & gut

Smoothie Ingredients for reducing bloat  

Smoothie Ingredients for enhancing skin

after 50 smoothies

Facts About After 50 Smoothies Consumption

Muscle Maintenance

A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed older adults who combined resistance training and protein supplements had superior results to adults who did resistance training only. Subjects across 17 studies who supplemented with protein had significantly more lean mass and leg strength compared to subjects who did resistance training alone.

Muscle preservation is important in longevity and quality of life. Improved metabolism through strength, endurance and active lifestyle decreases the risk of frailty and obesity both. You have to choose your health priorities and address them in order of importance. After 50 smoothies should be build around high quality protein.

Are you getting enough protein?

If you’re not active, you’re not off the hook. As unintuitive as it is, your protein need is greater. Active adults improve conditioning in a lot of ways, and one of them is that they synthesize protein better. So while an athlete or very active older adult may do well with 20 grams of protein per meal, a sedentary adult needs the higher range of protein – about 30 grams per meal – in order to prevent muscle loss. It’s easy to do that at most meals. A 4-6 oz serving of nearly any animal protein will fit that range. But at breakfast, more of us struggle. An egg has only 6 grams of protein. Toast with nut butter may give you 6 grams of protein. Even if you’re able to pull enough protein together, it’s a chore to add veggies, and fiber to those options.

See how an after 50 smoothie can make it easier to do the right thing?

Blood Sugar and Insulin

Blood Sugar and Insulin response to protein can be problematic for some older adults. If you have hyerinsulinemia resulting from a variety of metabolic diseases and conditions, you may respond differently to protein consumption. Your protein levels may be best kept lower than the recommended amount for preserving muscle losses. Essential amino acids in proteins can be associated with higher insulin response. Large studies exist showing both no negative response to insulin and negative response (insulin resistance). The answer for you is to test to know.

If you have a unique insulin response, you may do best with smoothies made with less protein than indicated. The addition of real food is key. A smoothie from an airport smoothie shop is likely to have processed foods and be high in sugars and chemicals. In your own kitchen, include greens, fresh low sugar high nutrient density fruits, health fats from nuts and seeds, and clean protein sources. Just about everyone can benefit from a daily addition of a micronutrient-rich smoothie.

Additional research shows improved insulin response in diabetics by using whey protein not just as a breakfast smoothie, but also as a drink before lunch and dinner. This is a factor of the rapid absorption rate of whey that helps to increase insulin response and maintain blood sugar levels.

Recipes for After 50 Smoothies

Inflammation Reduction Smoothie

Make this creamier with coconut yogurt and enough pure filtered water to blend. This tropical tasting smoothie has a little kick. Tumeric has a strong taste so go easy on it if your taste buds are finicky! Any old smoothie can pack sugar after 50 smoothies should be selected based on goals and priorities for health. Most of us have some inflammation.

Bloat Reducing Smoothie

Seeing raw beets on the ingredients list may surprise you but they have more anti-oxidant power than cooked. Try it either way. Beets are great for anti-inflammation, improving blood flow and endurance, as well as detoxification for the blood and liver. The ultimate after 50 smoothies include beets because of these many health benefits.

after 50 smoothies Anti-Inflammatory Post Exercise Smoothie

This smoothie is my favorite way to refuel post-workout. It helps repair muscle after intense exercise, reduce inflammation, boost mood, and stabilize blood sugar. It’s a delicious flip.

Elimination-boosting Smoothie

You can see that the ingredients in this one are not dramatically different from other smoothies. Most smoothies feature both fiber and water that enhance elimination. But this one offers additional probiotics in live cultures from the either coconut yogurt, cashew-gurt, or Greek yogurt (if you can tolerate dairy). Continue to drink plenty of water when you add fiber like chia seeds. It takes both the liquid and the fiber together. I also add Fiber Boost to my smoothies.

Two, often overlooked, parts of elimination are (1) making sure you let yourself get hungry, and (2) make something that makes your mouth water. You need the right enzymes in your gut to digest well and looking forward to something that tastes good to you will help.

Constipation can be relieved with the right smoothie ingredients. At least 70% of the women who join the Flipping 50 28-Day Kickstart or private coaching tolerate constipation all the time or when they’re stressed or traveling. The longer food sits in your colon before it’s eliminated the more toxins may make you lethargic and sluggish.

Who feels like exercising when you feel like that? Even though exercise can help, it can be hard to get moving if things on the inside aren’t. More fiber and more water – both as liquid in smoothies – and in watery fruits and greens that are main ingredients in smoothies can help!

Click here for more smoothie recipes.


Q. Is adding “high protein” shakes dangerous?

A. For the most part, this is not a “high” protein diet. Most Americans don’t take in as much protein per meal as recommended to spare muscle loss though most online articles will show otherwise. If you change from low or no protein at breakfast to a protein-rich smoothie, it may feel like high protein but it’s only relative. The recommendations are well within RDA guidelines.

*If you have a renal (kidney) disorder or history of health issues you should always check with your doctor before making changes to your diet. For more information and my Protein Report click here. 

Q. Do you lose fiber content when you drink it in a smoothie?

A. No. Juicing does remove the pulp and fiber from fruit and vegetables but blending does not, you’re still eating (or drinking) whole food – at least if you make your after 50 smoothie in your own kitchen.

Q. Can drinking smoothies spike your blood sugar or insulin?

A. If you’re not making your after 50 smoothie like you would a meal: including protein, fat, fiber, and healthy carbohydrates that sustain energy, there is potential that yes, you’ll have a spike in one or the other or both. Slow down and put healthy fats in your smoothie. Add fiber via oatmeal, flax, chia, and or avocado. If you are more prone to insulin or blood sugar issues, take extra care to do this. If a smoothie is a substitute for not eating, or for a carb-laden breakfast however you’re going to be better off!

Q. Do you lose nutrition when food is blended?

A. Some of the food is partially broken down, releasing enzymes that you can more easily digest making absorption of nutrients easier. For adults over 50 the stomach acids that need to be present to digest foods are reduced. Breaking down foods by blending can be helpful. In Flipping 50 programs I suggest a Betaine HCL support can also help this. You’ll feel the difference when you both 1) put more veggies in 2) absorb more of the nutrition from those veggies.

Q. What about collagen protein?

A. Collagen protein is a great addition for hair, skin, joints, and gut health. It doesn’t have the essential amino acids (EAA) you need for muscle loss prevention however. So you can do both, but don’t want to only do collagen if you’re aiming to sustain or gain lean muscle. I add collagen to many of my smoothies or alternately I sip bone broth like tea or like others drink wine before a meal. An after 50 smoothie is a start to good habits. Keep picking up small easy habits to make your day healthy.

Q. How do I make my smoothies? 

A. In seconds with my NutriBullet. If you’d like the Flipping 50 link to save $20 and up to $15 shipping, click here. (I do receive a small commission if you use our link).

What are your after 50 smoothie questions?

I’d love to hear from you.

  1. Nephrol. Dial. Transplant. (2005) 20 (3): 657-658. doi: 10.1093/ndt/gfh645
  2. Wycherley TP, Noakes M, Clifton PM, Cleanthous X, Keogh JB, Brinkworth GD. A high-protein diet with resistance exercise training improves weight loss and body composition in overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2010 May;33(5):969-76. Epub 2010 Feb 11
  3. J Clin Endocrinol Metab.2005 Jan;90(1):26-31. Epub 2004 Nov 16
  4. J Nutr.2011 Mar;141(3):391-7. doi: 10.3945/jn.110.129361. Epub 2011 Jan 19.
  5. J Nutr.2003 Apr;133(4):1020-6.
  6. Clin Interv Aging. 2013; 8: 1143–1148. Published online Sep 2, 2013. doi:  10.2147/CIA.S49810
  7. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, August 2013
  8. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care.2014 Jan;17(1):5-11. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000011.Paddon-Jones D1, Leidy H.
  9. Live Protein Metabolism Research, Nissen Symposium, ISU, May 2013
  10. Live interview Jonathan Bailor, October 2013
  11. Obesity (Silver Spring).2015 Sep;23(9):1761-4. doi: 10.1002/oby.21185. Epub 2015 Aug 4.
  12. Douglas Paddon-Jones, Wayne W Campbell, Paul F Jacques, Stephen B Kritchevsky, Lynn L Moore, Nancy R Rodriguez, and Luc JC van Loon, http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2015/04/29/ajcn.114.084061.full.pdf
14. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 2016, 41(5): 565-572, 10.1139/apnm-2015-0550

Is Your Diet Keeping You Up at Night?

dietThis 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!

How to Eat for 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.


 Don’t miss the April showers protein sale !!

dietSave 20, 15, or 10% off your first purchase of Paleo Power, Your Whey, or Plant Power with these codes:

20paleo, 15whey, 10plant

Summer’s around the corner! Flip 50 lean! [ends when April does]

Thanks for being a Flipping 50 reader!


protein muscleAre you confused about protein muscle, and their relationship to longevity? You’re not alone. How much protein do you need? Where should it come from? Is all protein created equal? Do you get enough?

The first question isn’t whether you get “enough” protein.

The first question is how much protein you think is “enough.”

The question is how the protein is measured, the quality, and it’s impact on you long term. That’s about muscle.

That is about body fat, obesity, frailty, and the combination of frailty and obesity that is most deadly.

You can make changes in your diet from low protein to higher (within recommended amounts) and feel great. You can also go from animal to plant-based diets or plant to animal and report feeling great. Changes (with good health in mind) often act like a natural detox. It makes sense if you’re putting something in your body had been lacking you’ll feel better. The same is true if you remove what your body didn’t need. If processed food, wine, too much coffee comes out and real whole food goes in there’s going to be some positive impact.

What about the whole picture?

“I feel great” is about right now.

What about long term?

That’s really the question about any diet or lifestyle. Science studies adults at the end of life to look back and see what happened. By then however, life has changed. We’re looking back at those long-living adults from the Blue Zones and finding many of them have had plant-based diets, for instance. They’ve lived with lower weight, less obesity, and disease. Thus, they’re qualified as living healthier for longer.

Can we compare protein for muscle and longevity now and then?

There are a few things we need to dig into before we base changes in 2018 to what worked in another time (and in another lifestyle). They didn’t live with technology. They don’t live in an age where activity has to be sought and planned. They don’t live in an age when food is delivered in boxes to your door or made in Instant Pots, microwaves, or enjoyed with wine as a way to calm down. Family life was different – often consolidated under one roof – and there weren’t common single-parenting situations if even due to work-life balance needs.

They didn’t live with the same depleted soil, same farming techniques, pesticides, hormone-injected livestock, or same water and air quality.

It makes it hard to compare oldest of old now in isolated areas of the world with the mid-life way we now live and assume that if we ate what they ate we too will age better.

It might be true. But it’s a bit of a gamble to assume it would be so.

We’ve taken more prescription medications, more hormones, been exposed to more toxins than generations before us and will continue to be. What are the effects on our health and ability to thrive?

We don’t know unless we test.

It’s attractive though. Especially if you’re a woman who has struggled with weight or you’ve settled into eating energy bars, drinking wine, enjoying coffee, and looking for answers to balance the flip flop between healthy and convenience foods for years.

Change Can Be Good

Changing your diet in any way temporarily – that is you haven’t taken on a mindset your done with dieting and the long term route actually IS the short cut – can be a detox. That is so long as you’ve gotten wise to the toxic sugar-free fat free approach that can actually make your body store more fat.

I’d love to hear if you’ve done a vegan diet. More importantly, if you’ve done it and measured your health changes and body composition over a long term basis.

Vegan or vegetarianism still includes eating with health-minded muscle maintenance in mind. If you cut out foods, you’ll lose weight. More plants in your daily diet can feel great. And if you’ve given your body a break from digesting animal protein, you will feel good for a while, maybe long term and maybe just for a few months. You eliminate consumption of some hormones (from eating other animals) that could be effecting your own. Most vegans eat an increased number of carbs and fat in order to take in protein. (That, by the way is not judgement: just fact).

There are those that do it very responsibly and consciously. It’s not a “diet.” It didn’t start out being a diet to lose weight though it may have been in response to health markers. Successful doctors, athletes, including endurance athletes have done it. Eating the same thing repeatedly can put a vegan who has fewer choices to begin with (if she’s attempting to ingest protein at recommended levels) at greater risk for gut issues as a result of food sensitivities.

Maybe you too can do it.

I couldn’t. Much as I would like to, I showed signs of weakness and fatigue even as I diligently included protein and carefully tended to micronutrients during my three-month stint. Month one began as a challenge to make changes in habits that had been 49 years in the making. But by the end of month one and certainly two, I was in. It felt good. I hadn’t decided to do three months, but at the end of each month I assessed and decided. Near the end of month two I began to feel weaker and workouts suffered. The same weight was heavy, the same cardio was more breathless.

How did I look? Thin, lean, muscular, but I was losing muscle as a high proportion to any weight changes. I got lots of compliments. We’re that kind of society. Thin is good. Even though you’re weak and have less energy or you might be at risk for frailty as you age, you look great!  We have to be careful not to be caught in that trap.

Your Unique Protein for Muscle and Longevity Needs

Every body is unique. We all have muscles, bones, and hormones. We all have needs for food that fortifies and movement that strengthens, and rest that restores. Many women in midlife and beyond have similar needs but even in this group, you’re unique.

You have a unique body type that suggests your need for weight training is unique, your ideal cardio is unique, and your ideal combination of mobility and stability is unique.

You have a unique gut biome that suggests certain foods right now will be tolerated better or worse.

You have hormones that are changing daily, weekly, and monthly even after menopause. Those changes are based on food you eat, movement you do, and stressors that influence you.

How to Assess the Impact of Protein

If we isolate the focus on protein for muscle maintenance this conversation is not complete unless you know your body composition. As soon as a young adult begins exercise the body composition assessment should be mandatory. Unfortunately, it’s not. If it was, it would help athletes, individuals with disordered eating, middle-aged adults, moms, corporate athletes, older adults, and frail oldest of old. There is not one individual for whom this is not a “must know” measure.

Registered dietitians, nutritionists, personal trainers, health coaches, hormone experts, and physicians, should all be assessing or requesting and tracking body composition.

So often a plant-based diet chases a series of other diets. Have you tried them? Whole30, intermittent fasting, Bone Broth diet, or the Atkins, the Mediterranean, and the basic low carb, low fat, low sugar diets are a significant part of most women’s lives.

It makes sense. Structure provides freedom. So you generally feel good going on a diet. You have a plan! Plant-based diets increase the amount of plant food you eat! That’s a good thing. If we could all eat 6-9 cups of plant food a day (from a variety of 3 categories) we’d be better off. Some of us don’t or can’t without shifting to entirely plant-based food.

We’re choosing plants for different reasons. Spirituality, animal cruelty, and a fear of health risks are a few. But underlying reasons for plant-based nutrition for many is a desire for weight loss. The motivation to seek change was weight loss. The motivation to stay on it is weight loss. That’s dangerous. Just like an Atkins or Keto diet isn’t good for many people long term, choosing veganism for weight loss purposes without giving attention to collective micronutrient need leaves room to wonder about overall health goals.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

If you believe RDAs you believe it’s 10-35% of your total diet. That diet is based on a calorie allotment for the day. That’s a broad range, 10-35%.

But not all proteins are the same.

Essential amino acids are the building blocks of muscle. Though you can find all the essential amino acids in plant foods, you can’t find them in the optimal distributions. Leucine, for example, is key in the muscle maintenance process. If you’re an adult near or beyond 50 who hasn’t been doing resistance training and or been particularly conscientious about protein intake chances your lean muscle mass is below where it could be.

If you believe research widely published since 2008, much of which was done on older adults, the recommended amount of protein is per meal. The most important concept is the amount of essential amino acids (EAA). Consuming 20-30 grams of protein (higher in the range for sedentary individuals) is the equivalent of about 14 grams EAA. All essential amino acids are not created equal. Leucine is a key EAA that needs to be present to prevent muscle loss. It’s hard to find leucine in the amount required (about 2.3 per meal) in plant-only meals.

Muscle leaves clues to the quality and quantity of protein intake. Muscle loss prevention has been linked to protein consumption levels at 20-30 grams of protein at each of three meals.(With no adverse side-effects reported: though anyone with renal disease should consult a physician). For older adults there’s proof that an even higher level of protein intake, particularly around exercise can offer significant gains in muscle. Protein for muscle loss prevention becomes increasingly important – or it has. What if we didn’t skid into older adulthood having lost muscle?

It’s a choice.

protein muscle

Vegan Lifestyle

I felt great, too. For about two months on a vegan diet. I did accomplishing the 20-30 gram per meal goal. The problem with doing so was twofold, the quality of what I was “counting” as grams of protein included things like bean chips. I was consuming a lot of the same foods over and over again. Beans, and quinoa, and during that time, some soy products made up the staples. Realizing soy was not a girl’s best friend, when I eliminated it I nearly had to have beans daily. Plant protein shakes supported my meals.

If you’re not vegan and are unfamiliar with the diet, let me clarify that there are no eggs, no yogurt, and no whey protein. When you realize not all “plant” foods are created equal – soy for instance – it becomes a major challenge to not consume a lot of nuts, nut butter, beans, and quinoa over and over.

Having a “plant-based” diet is not as simple as just eating plants. Not if you’re going to remain healthy. A concern is that consumption of the same foods over and over again leads to food sensitivity and gut issues.

Whether you believe you just need “some protein” or you follow research suggesting that muscle loss with age is directly correlated to:

  1. Strength training properly
  2. Protein type and timing
  3. Age

And the least of those is age. In the past, it was accepted that muscle loss, strength and stamina losses were a natural part of the aging process. We now know that muscle loss is related to inactivity, and insufficient calories and specifically protein.

Why is Muscle Mass Important Now?

Body composition is one of the biggest reasons muscle mass matters to you during peri-menopause and those years just after. There’s a strong chance that you’re going to notice dissatisfaction with your shape and tone first. We don’t necessarily have urgency about our health longevity at 50 as we do at 70.

We’re still toying with the idea of bathing suits and shorts we’ve not given up looking great in. At 70 we may still be there (let’s hope) but we’ve potentially also lost parents and watched a decline that may have included weakness, falls, injury or illness resulting in bed rest. Those things had the potential to spiral quickly into less activity and more weakness.

By 50 you could have lost a significant amount of muscle mass (.5 pounds a year starting at about age 30) by the time we’re 50. Let’s say that’s at worst. Your losses may not have been so noticeable. It’s potentially just that your clothes aren’t fitting the way you’d like them to or you’re noticing a softness that didn’t used to describe you.

Why is Muscle Mass Important Later?

Losses that occur over time lead to what might seem minute muscle loss you don’t feel. You may simply have that additional fat weight as you age. You may on the other hand appear frail.

If you have the misfortune of a health risk that puts you at bed rest or requires you to be less active for a period of time, your muscle loss will accelerate. It’s inevitable. The less you have in the bank the more quickly noticeable losses will occur.

When bed rest happens in your teens, you’re weak for a few days and then you’re back to running laps around the track or playing ball for hours. When it happens at 50 you may take months or a year to feel fully yourself. At 70, you may not get back that high energy you.

The stronger you are if you have to do down, the faster you’ll get back up.

Looking good and feeling good are big motivators for changing behavior. A weight lifting program that is only about cosmetic results won’t necessarily keep you from injury. Form follows function, however. If you are doing the things that make you healthy for now and for your future, you will also reap the rewards of loving the clothes on your body as much as you did putting them in the closet.

Protein muscle longevity: they go together, they’re not separate.

Muscle Growth

The right strength training requires muscle. Muscles require protein for building blocks. Your body can’t make protein out of thin air. You’ve got to give it a full profile of essential amino acids to build muscle.

If you’re not doing resistance training, you don’t need protein less. Your need for protein is increased if you’re more sedentary.

What about vegan strength trained athletes? What about vegan or plant-based long distance athletes?

Clearly the body can adapt. They’ve proven it. For now.

Body composition doesn’t lie.

This isn’t a matter of right or wrong. It’s not a plant or animal protein battle. It’s just a matter of health, quality of life now and later.

Someone recently said, “I know you’re a proponent of protein.”

More accurately, I’m a proponent of muscle and sparing muscle loss.

The way I’ve been able to do it for myself and for thousands of clients is a combination of two pillars: the right type and timing of strength training and protein intake. Those supported with some specific daily habits have increased lean and decreased body fat in adults 20-90 during my 34 years. The methods I use have been skewed toward animal protein since 2008 but not without testing a vegan lifestyle in 2013 for three months.

Like hormone balance would be the goal, and bio-identical hormones are simply an option, muscle mass maintenance/gain is the goal and animal protein or plant-based diets are both options.

The question returns to how much protein do you need?

Research suggests and most recently even more clinical dietitians are finally on board with recommending a user-friendly 20-30 grams of protein per meal target.

The secondary question is, does the quality of your protein reach the goals for the research establishing these recommendations.

One Last Thought

There are individuals who raise children on plants I suppose. I don’t know any. If we agree animal protein is something important at the beginning of the lifespan for development of muscle, why would we shift to thinking at the opposite end of the lifespan when we’re losing muscle easier (since it peaks at age 25), our needs should change? The protein for muscle debate isn’t likely to end any time soon. It’s good to be a critical thinker and assess what’s working for you and what’s not.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have them for you. I am looking forward to your comments and respect all opinions, especially those based on long term trial of a lifestyle way of eating.

Optimize your protein muscle connection! APRIL SHOWERS SALE!!

20% off your first Paleo Power (no soy, dairy, gluten, additives, preservatives, sugar)

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15% off your first Your Whey (the immune boosting, muscle repairing pre/post exercise option)

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10% off your first Plant Power (You’re vegan or just want to rotate your protein options)

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Learn more here before it ends! 11:59pm April 30th

fitness questions after 50

I’m tacking your biggest fitness questions in this post!

Fitness questions you’re asking or should ask!

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.

What is body composition?

“What’s that?”

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.

Why does body composition matter?

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.

 Where and how can you get body composition 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.

fitness questions for midlifeShould I be doing more cardio?

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

What do I eat before working out early morning?

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!

Spring training is in full gear. Well, almost. My late March birthday found me 8 inches deep in snow. (At least in this great state of Colorado, it’s nearly gone by evening!) Still, long bike rides, rounds of golf, and a season of sleeveless tops and shorts are approaching at the same speed! In this post I’m sharing my top tips on how to make every spring training workout count.

There are five essential components to every workout I do. Whether my workouts shrink or expand like an accordion, based on my schedule, all 5 are still all there.

Watch this video for the quick review of my “5 Must Haves Every Workout Needs,” and don’t miss the secret that pulls them all together.


  1. Warm up. That’s no surprise, right? Warm ups improve performance, even though the static stretching you were taught (and I taught) are a thing of the past. Raising your core temperature through specific activity is what is more important. Your muscles are more pliable when warm, and your joints get lubricated by synovial fluid. Your motivation to warm up? You’ll be more comfortable during you’re workout, and are more likely to work harder without perceiving it as harder. The risk of injury also decreases when you warm up first!
  2. Warm up II. This isn’t a typo! The second part of your warm up should be either specific to the kind of challenge in your main set, or based on an imbalance or movement pattern correction you’re working on. I demonstrate in the video a warm up option for a run. It’s a simple rear lunge implementing runner arms. It makes me rehearse good form, but allows me to focus on firing the right muscles without distraction. Benefits? Your core is more engaged, and your mind is set on the workout.
  3. Main set. If you’re running, then you’re going to follow your plan for the day. You may be doing intervals, a tempo run, or a long run. If you’re doing a weight workout, this is where you do the specific sets and reps according to your goal and plan.spring training

Note: I am not a fan of mixing up strength and cardio. Neither is optimized for hormone balance when you do it simultaneously. You don’t get optimal cardio work: recovery. You don’t reach fatigue with weights. The biggest reason I don’t love this – what we’ve come to know as “boot camp” style workout – is that it almost encourages poor form. Intervals of 20 seconds with 10-second recovery are very advanced according to countless scientific studies done on elite athletes. The rest of us struggle to hold good form working at high intensity without adequate rest.

  1. Core. Your core is a big part of good form during cardio and or weight training. You want to be fresh during the main set and save the focused core work until the end of the session. Make no mistakes, it should all be core! Your core is getting good use during any activity. There may be a few things you want to add at the end. My favorite core workout includes a variety of stability, rotation, back extension, and lateral flexion. A little forward flexion is fine but this is one move we don’t need as much as we need the others. Your spring training workout needn’t be all core to work on your core. Three to five exercises for a minute each will do wonders.
  2. Cool down. This two-part component of your workout is so important! This is the time to do those static stretches I talked about earlier. In the first part consider implementing foam rolling prior to your stretches. The second part of cool down and last part of your workout is the active cool down. Whether you’ve done a vigorous cardio or weight workout, spend a few minutes walking or biking in order to enhance blood flow again after the stretch. You’ll reduce soreness and speed up the recovery process so you’re already increasing the success of your next workout!

It takes these five components for a great spring training workouts and three key components for a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, nutrition, and sleep each matter. The foundation of every good workout is sleep. It’s the secret to feeling like exercise and performing exercise with good form at an intensity level that gets results. As a woman over 50, sleep becomes more important! Great sleep starts with a great mattress. I love my Sleep Number mattress! I love waking up feeling like every point of my body was supported.

This post was sponsored by the great folks at Sleep Number. As always, you can count on all thoughts being my own and all research listed below.




easy weight loss

Easy weight loss now?

You may be thinking easy weight loss isn’t even possible after 50. If you’re doing aerobic exercise – and skipping weight training – there’s a reason why weight loss seems so hard.

If you’re Flipping 50 hoping to keep it going into your 60s and 70s with a faster metabolism hop off that treadmill right now.

Aerobic training during intentional weight loss results in lean muscle loss.

That is a fast track to a slow metabolism, which means weight will return with a vengeance.

A study in Obesity comparing weight loss with no exercise, weight loss with aerobic exercise, and weight loss with resistance training found aerobic training THE most detrimental to muscle loss.

So yes, it’s true, aerobic training can make you fat.

Cycles of weight loss that includes significant muscle losses will slow metabolism.  Weight regained after dieting is predictably 100% fat. Combine muscle losses during weight loss, and regain of all fat and you have a problem. Repeats of that cycle don’t bode well for a healthy metabolism. Still, there’s hope.

Women (average age of 70) lost 19% body fat when they did resistance training – the greatest fat loss among all three groups.

This study of 249 older women confirms weight training is your best friend when you’re trying to lose weight. Other studies – all included in the Fit U program research – confirm that aerobic activity + resistance training + adequate protein at the right time results in long term success, without deprivation. This is your trifecta for metabolism success (and longevity).

Supplements and Weight Loss

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed older adults that combined resistance training and protein supplements had superior results to adults who did resistance training only. Subjects (all older adults) across 17 studies had significantly more lean mass and leg strength compared to subjects who did resistance training alone.

If you’re trying to lose weight your priorities are in this order:

  1. resistance training
  2. protein supplement
  3. minimal aerobic training

The more you prioritize strength training exercise and supplement with protein consistently the more easy weight loss will be.


easy weight loss

Enjoy savings during March, my birthday month, with 15% off your first order of any protein option. One coupon use per person. Until my birthday in a few days! Promo code: bday 

Need support designing a program just for you right now? If you’ve got more than 20 pounds to lose and you’ve no idea how to begin strength training, Fit-U was designed for you.

easy weight lossRight now Fit-U is open for spring training.

The right strength training.

The right amount and type of aerobic activity.

Plus the right support around learning to love eating without deprivation.

For the right change in your body composition.


perfect pear berry crisp

Author: Debra Atkinson
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 45 mins

The best time for dessert is after a meal, when the impact of a sweet is offset by the protein, fat, and fiber you’ve had in the meal.

Keep extra sugar, in dried fruits, for special occasions.


Topping Ingredients:


Recipe: Joanne Cicrich



10 Work Day Health Habits (easy to implement!)

Work day health habits can optimize the benefit of a routine. Having to be somewhere at a specific time can be a good thing, even if you sit a considerable amount of time. Women over 50, or younger ladies and gents for that matter, can benefit from simple habits that boost productivity, creativity, and even fat burning. Here’s the round up of my top 10.


Simply drink water throughout the day. You’ll think faster too, about 14% faster if you’re well hydrated than if you’re not. It’s probably among the easiest to implement of these work day health habits. It may prevent your metabolism from slowing too. It doesn’t help you burn more fat but, drinking so little that you’re even 2-3% dehydrated can prevent fat burning. A body that is stressed won’t release weight or have optimal metabolism. So drink up.

Begin to bump your intake gradually spread throughout the day as you and your body will begin to use it. You won’t end up in the restroom as much as you might be worried about. If you are, getting up and down is a good thing too!

Exercise Midday

When you exercise on workdays, your mood and productivity soar. In fact, if you exercise during your workday, say you take an active lunch, when you leave a 5 (wishful thinking?), your job satisfaction will be higher than on days you don’t exercise. Creativity, problem solving skills, and tolerance of others also get higher ratings in a growing number of studies showing workplace wellness is worth it.

You don’t have to get sweaty for this to happen. Intensity doesn’t matter. Movement, just movement, can make a difference. So try a restorative yoga session, a walk, or even a foam roller session can help you fire away at that pile on your desk this afternoon.

Sure, exercise any time of day gets you a check mark for work day health habits but timing could be a big factor if you’ve fallen out of love with your job.

Intervals Early

So maybe you’re not convinced you could break away for some exercise at lunch and you want to get your high intensity workout elsewhere. Get it in early. Interval training is best done before work, especially if you’re a woman flipping 50. It doesn’t have to take more than 20 minutes start to end including a warm up and cool down that are a must for injury prevention.

Yes, there are programs supporting 4-minute intervals. If it’s intense enough to do good in 4 minutes, it better have a warm up preceding it. Hurt and fit don’t belong in the same sentence. That warm up (and cool down) helps you expend more energy, burn more fat, and reduces your risk of injury.

work day health habitsChallenge with Team Wins

Group challenges are effective in the workplace. But there’s a catch. Everybody has to win. You don’t want to reward weight loss or inches changed. People can’t control that as much as we’d all like to so you set everyone up for failure.

You can put people on teams and encourage participation with everyone enjoying equal value. Reward activity and wellness habits with points. That way whether someone has 5 lbs. or 50 to lose, or whether they’re a triathlete or a beginner, everyone can contribute to the team at the same level.

People who encourage our health habits are bound to be people we have better relationships with and that will boost your worksite wellness.


Watch what you put in your bowl and on your plate. Protein, rich in amino acids, helps boost dopamine. Dopamine can help you concentrate. Start your day with a high protein smoothie (my favorite) or sneak it in another way, and then be sure lunch includes some too. (Get my favorite smoothie recipes and $15 in coupons off your order of Flipping 50 protein)


Carbs increase serotonin and they can help offset the decline of cortisol (in this case, your energy hormone) that leads to edgy, hangry, inability to focus. You’ve got plenty of cortisol in the morning unless you’ve got adrenal fatigue going on. But by lunch it’s time to be sure you add some carbs to that salad.

You might want to try a bowl of blueberries for one of your carb sources with lunch. Studies show focus is better for up to 5 hours after consumption! 


Your brain is 60% fat, so don’t go low fat at lunch and expect high performance in the afternoon. Omega 3s are best for brain health. Shoot for salmon at lunch after your morning supplement.

work day health habitsSprints
I know what you’re thinking. Sprint in heels? No. I addressed intervals above so no it’s not even that. We do best working in short cycles though. Our daytime habits are very similar to our sleep cycles at night. Have you noticed that after 90 minutes or so your attention span crashes? Even if you’re working on a project you’re excited about, you start reaching for the phone, you’re more tempted to open a browser, and fall down a rabbit hole. That’s just a sign you need to get up and take a break.

Taking 10-minute breaks every 90 minutes can increase your productivity at the end of the day even with an average of 50 minutes of “down” time. The way western civilization has conditioned powering through actually increases less work, at lower quality than could happen with frequent breaks. Try a 90/10 or a 60/5 schedule and see what works best for you. It might be that 90 minutes works in the morning but you need a break after 60 in the afternoon.

Leave your desk to take the break and you’ll fit in active time too. No Candy Crush or social surfing.

Focus First

Your creativity and concentration are highest in the morning. That’s so true that student GPAs were significantly increased if they were taking math and English courses in the morning vs. the afternoon.

When you’ve got cortisol at an optimal level in the morning you can optimize it by doing your closed-door creative items that only you can do then.

Try to schedule meetings, email returns, and more necessary but not creative work later in the day. You’re workday productivity will soar.

work day health habitsWalking meetings

I wouldn’t get all giddy about the 56 calories you can burn in 10 minutes but there are definite perks to moving more and telling your meetings to take a hike.

There’s the culture you create. This is no business blog but when you walk side-by-side with an employee or boss depending on who you are, you create more equality. There is a much better relationship that emerges than when sitting at a conference table, or worse, across a desk where one of you has the “big chair.”

Movement, of all kinds, falls under Non-Exercise-Activity-Time (N.E.A.T.) and it is a powerful predictor of overweight and obesity. It’s much more tied to them in fact than “gym time” or actual workouts. So walking for your meetings can even eliminate the need for finding that gym time. Overall it will increase your energy, and productivity, such that you can find the time more easily!

High on the work day health habits list it can be hard to implement this one due to the conditioning people have about the nature of meetings. Don’t give up if you’re in charge of meeting with someone. Just respect some may shy away from this because they fear the ability to keep up.

Working outside the home (or in it)? What work day health habits have you implemented to boost energy and productivity during the day?

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