How Do You Measure Fitness Success in Menopause?

Episode #452 How do you measure fitness success in menopause? Is it weight? Is it inches? Are you digging deeper for the results that lead to long term success? Or chasing the digital number you crave? Do you look for short term measures of fitness success that tell you you’re on the right track? Or do you see 5 things working and then that scale not changing and throw in the towel?

If you’re sleeping well, love your energy, are eating high-quality protein evenly distributed throughout the day, you’ve explored your diet with an elimination and reintroduction process, reaching fatigue in your strength sessions and avoiding muscle-wasting cardio sessions, it may be time to look at what lab tests can tell you.

Topic Interest You? Join me for the Flipping50 masterclass: Muscle Gain, Not Fat Loss

How to literally measure before and after your programs.

The number one thing every home that shelters humans who want to age optimally and see transformation need  is a smart scale. A dumb scale measures only your weight. A smart scale tells you at the very least body composition and weight. From there you can calculate simply your lean body mass.

You want to be sure changes in that scale you give so much power to are positive increases in muscle and decreases in fat if you have weight to lose. You want to be sure you see gains that are muscle if you have weight and strength to gain because you’re on the skinny fat or frail side.

Measure Fitness Success During Menopause at Home

Pre-Pandemic I suggested Flipping 50 community members buy one or go and find a nutrition store, a fitness center, or doctor who had one. (Inbody or a dexa scan) Post pandemic I suggest that every home have one.

That alone isn’t enough as we know from JAMA 2021 study that the average smart scale user gained 1.5 lbs a month during the pandemic. But it allows you to have feedback about your habits so you can course correct as needed. I have 3 smart scales, one for every price range from good enough to gold standard, in my Flipping50 Amazon store and I’ll link to that in my show notes.  

If you don’t know your body fat percent, you don’t know enough. If you absolutely can’t invest $25 (the lowest priced smart scale) and you care about health, what are you doing? 

Measure your:

  • Inches (waist, and waist-to-hip ratio alone tell you a lot about your health)
  • Weight + body composition (never just weight)
  • Sleep
  • Appetite/cravings
  • Poop
  • Bloat vs comfort
  • Libido
  • Reflection: Skin/face/eyes
  • Energy
  • Interest in life outside of exercising (two speeds – possessed to move or sleeping?)
  • Productivity
  • Happiness vs depression/anxiety

Measure Fitness Success in Menopause by all these means, not just one.

Why What You Think is “a Good Workout” Is Disrupting Your Hormones

I’m about to challenge your ideal of a “good workout.” Can you remember, when was the last time you finished an exercise session and said, “that was a good workout”?

What was that valuation based on?

When you’ve been conditioned your entire life to think more is better, more recovery is generally not been included. More can mean harder, more often, longer, and all too often all of those at once.

But there’s an elephant in the room.

More means more, harder, longer, more often, and…

… fatter.

Because chances are you:

  • Have a greater appetite and more cravings
  • Are over-compensating with food
  • Or are under eating
  • And disrupting your sleep.

Any combination of which add up to STRESS for your body.

Signals get crossed. Your hormones don’t fire correctly.

Cortisol tells your body to gain weight, store fat.

Insulin sensitivity tanks and higher insulin and cortisol together deposit that fat right in the belly.

The real definition of a good workout is one that meets the goals/purpose of the plan you have for today. Monday for me, for example is a rest day. Generally, Saturday and Sunday are higher intensity days, wisely planned that way to optimize the balance of a hard workout with less stress elsewhere.

Do you get anxious on rest days? Fear that if you don’t move you’ll lose… your edge, the chance to burn calories, you’ll lose fitness? So on your rest days you make sure you’re doing “extra” something else? I’ve seen that kind of fear and addiction in clients. I can’t wait for an upcoming episode with Susan Niebergall where we dished on this a bit.

Is this you?

You’re always on the go.

Such that when you’re not, the brief instances when you sit down to enjoy a book or a movie, you can’t keep your eyes open.

If you admit it, after your workout – even a long walk – lately, you could take a nap.

Or maybe you’re not on the go. You’re working constantly and then you’re working out, hard, just like you work. You’re going to do it even if it hurts your joints, if you’re tired, or you haven’t had enough fuel. You’re pushing through, cutting calories, and counting everything.

And nothing counts. You’re not enjoying energy from the exercise, or better health. The exercise is just a means to an end. An end you never reach.

Workouts become flat, unproductive, or boring.

There’s no ideal way to simply measure calories consumed against calories burned. Both are an estimate. But they don’t tell the whole story. They don’t include gut health or hormone status.

Hormones determine what your body does with calories.

Someone putting you – or you yourself on a low calorie diet – could just throw your hormones into fat storage even if every morsal is “healthy.”

Not everyone can be healthy eating kale or other raw greens. If that’s you and you’re eating them every day, it’s disrupting your gut and ability to absorb micronutrients. Not everyone can eat nightshades because of sensitivity or inflammation. All on the “healthy” list. Any food can be that culprit for you. Many should be eating healthy fats like monounsaturated and MCT oil but are fat-phobic. Some are still stuck in the low-fat bagel crazy, pairing that high carb with fat creating more opportunity for cholesterol than eggs ever did.

Calorie Myth

Assuming every calorie works for every individual the same is wrong. If you have gut issues that often start at midlife where hormonal changes and gut issues connect then your healthy is another woman’s poison.

You have to find micronutrient rich calories that work for your gut, heal what issues there might be, and eliminate what isn’t serving you. At least temporarily. 

Chase Muscle, Instead of Running from Fat.

-Debra Atkinson, Flipping50® founder

Other Episodes You Might Love:

Motivated to Workout 

What Your Body Wants to Tell You About Fat Loss  

Resources:

Support Tracking Your Real measure of success – Flipping 50’s 90 Day Tracker

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