Is Your Exercise REALLY Hormone Balancing Exercise?
This past week some questions have come up in our community and I want to address them here so you understand the difference too.
This is a regular question when I’m a guest on podcasts or summits or on a panel. So it’s one I may take for granted you already know the answer to. Let’s make sure that you do!
The biggest key difference in the traditional approach to exercise and hormone-balancing exercise is that you choose and adjust your exercise program based on your hormone status.
A trainer asked me yesterday about having her clients do their workouts at 9 or 10pm if that’s the only time they could do them.
The answer to that is no, no, and no. Absolutely not!
Hormone balancing exercise isn’t about a “quota” of exercise used to burn calories. This isn’t a matter of – if you don’t burn the calories then you can’t lose weight. Unfortunately, that’s so backward it is a perfect example of what NOT TO DO!
But unfortunately, even this question from a trainer who said she was focusing on women in midlife and older reflects the default to years of condition that just getting exercise is more important than hormone balance. There’s more to this too.
Injuries and Illness
When you get sick or injured, what’s your first thought? For women who are in the middle of a perfect storm of hormone chaos and stress with busy lives – the first thoughts are:
Oh, no! I can’t exercise I’m going to get behind!
I’m not going to be able to exercise therefore I won’t lose weight!
It’s like this inconvenience disrupting the path to exercise and weight loss (or stress reduction).
In fact, injury and illness are related to your hormone balance, too. Women who get “itis” injuries like plantar fasciitis, tendonitis, or carpal tunnel don’t put together that the breakdown that allowed that to happen is related to hormones. Illness is your immune system depleted – it’s not exposure alone, right? It’s about you, not that aggravating seatmate on the plane with the sniffles.
These are clues about what’s going on with your hormone balance too just like belly fat and hot flashes are clues. They too leave clues about how to adjust exercise to get better results. And that’s not just go hard with your upper body while your foot is hurt.
Hormone Balancing Exercise vs. Traditional Exercise
Hormone balancing exercise measures first what’s happening in your body. Every system from your endocrine (hormones), to digestion, elimination, cardiovascular, skeletal, muscular, gives you messages about how it’s working. You can’t train your muscles or cardio system at the expense of the rest. They work in unison.
Traditional exercise on the other hand? Starts with a quota. Get 3-5 sessions of cardio, 2-3 sessions of weight training, and do flexibility enhancing exercise most days of the week. For everyone, every week. There’s a “zone” or level of intensity and duration recommended as well. For everyone, all the time.
While sometimes there isn’t a gender or age difference in exercise research, most times there is for women in midlife: specifically in perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause (that’s ‘til you die). So that makes more than 61% of exercise research useless for you since it all features males – young fit males. (The percent of research on the exact moment you’re in is very low – however it is the ONLY research used for Flipping 50 programs in addition to data on those who complete our programs).
The problem with traditional exercise is that it ignores unique needs. Your trainer, or you, probably still default to traditional exercise logic it if you’re not getting results because THAT is the only thing you’ve been trained to do. You’ve been conditioned hard for decades to “exercise more and eat less.”
Exercise at the wrong time (really wrong like the example above or even mostly wrong like late afternoon vs. morning) and you sabotage your endocrine system (first)and that slows your metabolic process. It will affect your immune system, your digestive system, elimination, and more.
It ends up being a vicious cycle.
All Systems Go? Or Stop?
Your nervous system suffers if you don’t sleep well … after disrupting your endocrine system by trying to exercise your cardio or muscular system late at night. In the end, that damages your cardio and circulatory systems.
Even if you’re more confused than clear by that… just understand there’s a domino effect. Say you robbed a bank to pay off your credit card debt. That would lead to a heap of trouble. You can’t isolate one thing (aka exercise) and get results.
This is exactly the kind of thing that happens when you’ve got belly fat or weight you can’t budge and you’re exhausted but you’re exercising like crazy to get rid of it. (That’s not a solution). You ignore one problem to solve another, and you will make it ALL worse sooner rather than later.
If you realize that hormones need to be in optimum condition to support your metabolism, you focus first on hormones and all systems, not on calories or quotas of exercise. Then you can make all those systems hum in unison.
Stop there. Because immediately most women and trainers think, oh, I have to have my labs tested and get my hormones straight before I exercise. No, No, No. You use your exercise to enhance your Hormone Balance. YOU have power to positively influence your hormones with every act or inaction. You learn to (or get support from Flipping 50 Specialist) read your current status and respond.
That’s hormone balancing exercise. Doing yoga (if you love it and it relaxes you) or deep breathing may be more fat-loss-enhancing than a vigorous workout if you’re exhausted or constantly stressed. If you’re finding you’re sick more than a couple times of year, have allergies, or get injured frequently less is more. You’ve got to look at your micronutrient status too. Injures or illness deplete them or you may have been depleted and that’s why they happen. Use clues your body leaves you.
You’re a Detective
If you’re always keyed up, full of tension, setting your jaw, in a hurry…. Your sympathetic nervous system is always on. That’s a state of being where your body is not going to burn fat or release weight.
You want to get into parasympathetic … where your body functions better when it’s not “on alarm.” Good things happen in parasympathetic mode. You secrete more stomach acid to digest food better. You extract the goodness from food for the use of your body better. You can exercise and get positive results instead of adding negative stress (exercise is stress but it can be optimized) to an already stressed body.
How do you get a sense of what’s happening with your hormones without labs? Short of me sitting down with you… I just created a quick 18-question quiz. Rate your response to easy questions like, how’s your sleep 1-5?
You’ll get a score in two minutes. But you’ll get a wake up call on each question about where you need to focus. Keep track of any 3 or lower ratings you make.
I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a rating below the show notes at flippingfifty.com/hormone-balancing and…
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Want support connecting your systems? The 28-Day Kickstart is a great way to get me live for 4 weeks in a group coaching program. Click here now for details on the next session!