Endurance Exercise During Menopause: Fat or Fat Burning?

Episode #482 Endurance exercise during menopause may be your default exercise… until this episode. If you’re a lover of long and slow, you may not want to hear this but need to.

My Incredible 2019

  • Stressors in life – allostatic load
  • Mold
  • Construction/mitigation for 3 months
  • Mold exposure for 5 ½ months
  • Sudden move – in 5-6 weeks of deciding to move, searched, found, signed a new home out of state
  • Hosting a retreat for Flipping50 members in Boulder
  • Timing – an event completed at 12:30pm and I was loading the U-Haul at 1pm
  • U-Haul Loaders were 2 hours late
  •  Had been packing to move for 3 weeks… leading up to planning and hosting this event
  •  Also right at the point I hit menopause… remind you what happens at that pivotal point for all of us.
  • Business financial leveraging was happening
  • Personal relationship major friction
  • Accepted to a TEDx talk with 3 weeks to prepare –
  • that was 2 weeks prior to leaving for an out of country Ironman –
  • flying to it, I got the long-awaited loan I needed for my business.. and literally made a transfer from my bank account to pay off a debt that got my business unlocked and doing business again while at the Houston airport for 5 minutes
  • The TEDx was as far away physically in the continental US as it could be – cancellations and delays made it take 24 hours to get home after
  • Then endured the physical. Emotional stress of the Ironman event itself – which is much less stressful than the preparation and logistics of training amidst life and running a business full of travel at that time, two arms to the business.

What happened?

Unlike other training events, where as a Strength & Conditioning Coach, Menopause Fitness Expert and creator of the Flipping50 Fitness Specialist I’d manipulated my own training for 3 Ironman before this with great results.

I have a system of reducing overall volume, enhancing recovery, and manipulating traditional schedules for Ironman training that are founded in just tons of volume. I strategically alter and leverage workouts so I can reduce volume by at least 1/3 and make sure recovery and maintenance of muscle and bone density during training is as much a part as the training itself.

The why on that is threefold:

  • Women in midlife are at risk for rapidly losing muscle and bone density due to estrogen’s rapid decline
  • Unloaded exercise that occurs during biking and swimming – a great deal of time spend during training will decrease bone density
  • Endurance activity at that level is known to contribute to muscle breakdown and wasting in older adults (without mitigation) and accelerate aging (due to oxidation)

But even during carefully planned care from an experienced triathlete, with 35 years of Strength & Conditioning Experience, top endocrinology & exercise expert, I couldn’t negate the weight of so many negative stressors.

Can you train for an endurance event (even Ironman) in midlife successfully? Yes.

Where your most likely to hit trouble is simply endurance exercise during menopause for endurance exercise’ sake. 

Training For Endurance Events

As long as you carefully plan and follow a training regime as well as have a life circumstance that encourages recovery.

  • Low emotional mental stressors.
  • Time to physically recover – rest, eat properly, sleep adequately.
  • Few environmental stressors.
  • Your exercise stress is going to increase dramatically – even with a planned and calculated schedule.
  • If simultaneously, you lose bandwidth elsewhere –
  • financial resources are an issue, relationships around don’t you support what you’re doing, hormonal status takes a rapid change, environmental stressors increase …. You may reach your tipping point and not be able to sustain.

What can happen?

  • Illness
  • Injury
  • Weight gain (then weight loss resistance)

Still Love It and Pulled to Endurance Exercise During Menopause?

  • Alter a traditional schedule
  • Monitor your hormone levels (I pre-and post test hormones)
  • Monitor your recovery rate (resting HR, HRV, exercise HR)
  • Monitor body weight, body comp (and avoid muscle loss)
  • Strength train
  • Create strong boundaries for yourself
  • Create a community of support (positive, not just not negative)
  • Make sure financial obligations of the training, recovery or elsewhere in life are not an issue

            (can you afford the nutrition you need, the recovery support – massage, cryotherapy, time for recovery – ice baths, more sleep)

If yes…

Then… go for it!


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STRONGER 12-week Strength for Menopause

Flipping50 Fitness Specialist

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