Menopause Fitness: Menopause is Not a Sickness
How do you modify your fitness to reflect a menopause fitness routine that will make you better not tired? This episode is about identifying what signs and symptoms are telling you.
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Let’s get something straight. There are signs and symptoms associated when you’re not feeling your best. There are signs and symptoms that what you’re doing right now isn’t working.
That is very different than accepting signs and symptoms of menopause as if they’re to be expected when you go through menopause. It’s not as if you have the flu or mono or food poisoning.
How do you know you’re in peri-menopause?
Some women are in it for a decade before they actually have gone 12 months without a period and are in menopause. The best way is to test your hormones. You’ll know best if you’ve tested hormone levels when you felt great! But so many women only check under the hood when things aren’t going well so you may not have a well-girl check. I test every six months if I’m changing my routine or annually if not. If you haven’t done that testing now still reveals some benchmark.
Because the alternative is to assume that you’re gaining weight and you never have before so it’s peri-menopause, or you’re tired all the time and it’s just peri-menopause. It’s hormones.
That’s just making it OK to experience that and not find a new strategy.
Those are definitely signs and symptoms.
They’re signs and symptoms that you are due for a change, not necessarily THE change. Changes in your exercise routine, the rest you allow between workouts, your nutrition, sleep habits, your awareness of your micronutrient levels, gut health, and how you deal with stress of all kinds are being suggested to you by your body.
That’s what signs and symptoms do.
Tho menopause isn’t an illness it’s often discussed like one, in fact a chronic and fatal one that you can’t do anything about.
Oh, it’s hormones.
Oh, I wish I could sleep, I can’t.
I’ve tried everything.
Here’s the truth about that statement.
Instead of it meaning, “I’ve tried everything one thing at a time, I’ve stuck with it and tested it in isolation to consciously assess effects before moving on to the next thing,”
“I’ve randomly tried one thing after another at the same time with other things or in unique circumstance, when I remember it and read every blog, consulted Dr. Google and experts online that don’t know me or my history. I’ve tried program after program and done them mostly but didn’t believe [in the science behind it or there was none] some things I left out.”
Random acts of fitness, nutrition, or approaches to any habit change, will get random results.
Never is that more true than when you want specific answers to a specific problem. A program of any kind that works for all ages, both genders, is not likely to work for a woman in midlife. Even two women in the middle of midlife changes can’t follow a specific “diet” or exercise plan and get the same results. You need a blueprint like those quizzes in junior high Tiger Beat. If this…then that, if yes, then … so that YOU get to YOUR answer.
So even if you used to do it or this sounds familiar, “When I went through this program a couple years ago I lost XYX, but I’ve gained it back,”it didn’t actually WORK! You weren’t in.
Lifestyle change means you’re going to adopt a way of life that doesn’t include drive-through and frozen dinners. You’re actually not going to feel deprived and I-deserve-this at the end of the week. Because you know what you deserve is to feel better and throwing food or alcohol in, not sleeping well, or voting exercise out makes you feel worse.
Limiting factors for menopause fitness?
Eating out is not the limiting factor in sticking with it. Willingness to be that person at your table who orders what she needs to feel good is. The menu is just a suggestion. Everything on that menu can be prepared void of sauces or marinades or foods you’re trying to avoid if you ask or demand it. Order two sides of veggies and a simple protein source. It’s doable. You are the customer and you are certainly in charge of what goes into your body.
Traveling is not the limiting factor in sticking with it. Willingness to get up 30 minutes earlier for an interval walk, a hotel room, or gym workout is. Willingness to eat lightly in the airport with veggies and hummus, boiled eggs, or nuts and seeds.
Why are you doing that? Are you on a diet?
They’ll ask. Those might be the questions you get. Your answer? It’s hormones. That’s the time that answer is appropriate. It’s not the catchall phrase for I’m helpless so I’m going to have 3 glasses of wine, screw it.
Signs & Symptoms your menopause fitness plan needs a change:
- Weight gain
- Belly fat weight gain
- Bloating or gas
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Brain fog
- Crushing fatigue
- Mood swings
- Increased intensity of existing depression or anxiety
- Chronic or frequent injuries
- Hot flashes or night sweats
Circle back to the top of this post. The previous list is notsigns and symptoms of menopause you have to just live with. They’re signs and symptoms your body isn’t happy with your current choices.
For better menopause fitness you can change:
- Type and timing of your exercise
- Type and timing of your nutrition
- Sleep hygiene habits
- Stress exposure and resilience
- Rest intervals between exercise (sets, days, weeks, even months)
- The way you cook
The #1 thing you have to change if you want to change menopause fitness is your mindset.
If you are “trying it” you’re already forming a decision that there’s probably a chance it won’t work and you’re going to be able to cross it off the list at least.
The only way you win is by deciding you’re going to make a lifestyle change, you are in control of your journey, and you will stay on the course – not jumping from one program to the next – until you get to the bottom of it.
A program that doesn’t work might reveal you have a deeper level problem. You need to test for micronutrients, or take stronger measures to fix a gut health issue. That’s not failing. That’s a logical sequence of doing everything you can with personal habits so that need can show up. In the end whether you need additional supplements, you do or don’t do bio-identical hormones, or you need something to change your gut health your personal habits are the foundation of it working and what you’ll come back to.
You can feel good again. Can you “get back to where [I] was before when I was in such good shape”?
You’re not going back. You’re going forward. Going back to what worked 20, 10 even 5 years ago won’t work. Ever.
Yet, less, but the right exercise will. More, of the right foods will. You may need to reduce both exercise and your food intake for a short time to reset. You can have volume you just need to allow your body to detox (naturally) and your liver (calling shots on fat storage) to function better before you jump ahead.
Trying to exercise more and more while eating less and less could be the very problem with your menopause fitness. Trainers and fitness blogs are ripe with the antiquated calorie deficit formula.
It takes no consideration of hormone fluctuations and faulty processing of food. Exercise of today is often focused on science of yesterday.
If you’ve got evidence it’s not working in your menopause fitness approach, it’s not your fault. The messages are everywhere telling you to do the very thing that may cause signs and symptoms.
Need support with menopause fitness? I’m often asked, what is the best way to get started?
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If you want to get right down to consistent progressive support beyond a random YouTube video, 5 minutes, or an episode…
More specific faster support:
Choose a programto go from A to B to C logically
Get started with an exercise programto act as a catalyst for other steps
For custom support:
Get one-on-one coachingif you have a special situation
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Let me know how you’re doing with your menopause fitness!