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.

Check In

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.

Take the quiz.

I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a rating below the show notes at flippingfifty.com/hormone-balancing and…

Please leave a rating in iTunes! It really helps! 

  1. VisitFlipping 50 on iTunes
  2. Click listen in iTunes
  3. Click ratings and reviews
  4. Leave your 5 star rating (seriously I’d love it, but your authentic comments are what I need to grow and give you more of what you want and less of what you can leave!)
  5. Know how much I appreciate you doing this!

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!

the 28 day Kickstart: Exercise and diet

Strength Training for Hormone Balance

Should you do 1, 2, or 3 sets of strength training for hormone balance? Research about strength training for women in menopause has answered that in a recent study. This study adds to mounting evidence of the best methods to support hormone balance and optimal aging.

In a true Bruce Springsteen description, strength training is muscle-making, fat-baking, figure-shaping, torso-trimming, mood-boosting, happiness-hacking, exercise.

I hope you live in a world where there’s no debate whether or not you should be strength training. The question is how do you do it best so there’s no injury all rewards?

So, just in case you want to know how that muscle loss shows up I’ve got the details. It’s not good. Your metabolism slows by about 5% every decade because of that muscle mass. Now, let’s say you also gain fat while you’re losing muscle, that’s not just a slower metabolism. It’s more risk for disease, more lethargy.

The Damage Muscle Loss Does

On the flip side, muscle is metabolically active. Some studies say it requires 35 calories to maintain a pound of muscle and 2 to maintain a pound of fat. (Yet, most of us will eat the same no matter what our weight). See the problem? That 33 calories per pound of muscle difference every day all year can help you with what should never have been accepted as “middle-age weight gain.”

It’s actually only middle-age inactivity, or middle-age inappropriate activity. You can aerobicize your way of this or randomly lift weights at the end of your fitness class. You can’t for that matter strength train on the whim of a fitness instructor’s decision the day you drop into a class. You need a strength training plan.

The best strength training plan would have been a progressive strength training plan begun in your 30s and 40s to prevent losses. (Muscle loss begins at 30 if you’re not lifting). Next best? Start now. You’re reading this. Did you lift today? or yesterday? Got two workouts on your calendar?

How Much Loss?

You lose (unless you’re lifting and eating correctly) 5-8 pounds of muscle mass every decade. If you eat too few calories and/or protein? You could lose muscle faster.

The percent of muscle mass you have can change by gaining fat too. So if you’re indulging in 2-3 glasses of wine, high carbs, and otherwise consuming sweets (it’s all sugar) regularly? As fat weight goes up, muscle mass declines even if you aren’t losing it.

It’s time to up your game.

What if you were to follow a simple weight training routine of 8 exercises 10-15 repetitions for 12 weeks?

The Study

A recent study adds to a growing research pool suggesting more sets within a strength training session is best if you’re flipping 50. The study on older women compared 1 vs. 3 strength-training sets effect on change in body composition.

The loss of body fat for the one set group was 2.4 compared to 6.1% loss of body fat in the 3 set group.

Loss of trunk fat only occurred in the 3 set group. That was a significant 6.8% loss in 12 weeks.

Ready to lift? Before you pick up your dumbbells, there’s even more good news.

Other health biomarkers were also positively affected in the 3-set group:

Strength Training for Hormone Balance Studies

Many studies are showing less is more when it comes to exercise, and my After 50 Fitness Formula featured in You Still Got It, Girl! supports that. However, it’s less frequent, less duration exercise of adequate intensity. Intensity with strength training comes through safe progression, and reaching muscular fatigue.

That’s not to be confused with simply fatigued, or tired.

If you’ve gone through an hour class jumping, battle roping, punching, doing burpees… you may be tired. But if each set of those 8-10 major muscle groups did not reach fatigue at the end of each set? You missed the metabolism-boosting fat loss mark. Bruce would be disappointed. Strength training for hormone balance includes optimizing cholesterol, fat, inflammation, and muscle.

Key flip:

Flipping 50 exercisers who want to make a difference? It’s done by reaching fatigue in every set. If muscles aren’t brought to temporary fatigue they will not respond optimally for body composition or strength gains.

Resources:
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273705680_Resistance_training_in_older_women_comparison_of_single_vs_multiple_sets_on_muscle_strength_and_body_composition
https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Abstract/publishahead/Comparision_of_Low_and_High_Volume_of_Resistance.94769.aspx
https://www.minervamedica.it/index2.t?show=R40Y2018N01A0082

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Exercise for Hormone Balance2

Exercise for Hormone Balance

If you’re looking for a program designed for women in menopause, for hormone balance (and inclusive of your joint needs and back-of-the-closet wants) Flipping 50 STRONGER was designed for women Flipping 50. We open the doors a few times a year.
Register at flippingfifty.com/getstronger

5 Simple Steps that Your Balance Hormones

You’re going to want to grab this new book. I’ll just say it straight up! Dr. Brooke Kalanick joins me to talk about her new book, steps that balance your hormones. She’s got a title that is just badass!

About Dr. Brooke:

A licensed Naturopathic (ND) and Functional Medicine doctor, Dr. Brooke attended Seattle, Washington’s Bastyr University. She earned a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and Masters in Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Dr. Brooke’s postdoctoral training in women’s health and functional endocrinology as well as her personal battle with PCOS led her to specialize in female hormone issues. Those include menopause, hypothyroidism (including Hashimoto’s), autoimmunity and endometriosis and of course, PCOS.

She helps women reset their hormones, their heads, and their habits, so they can finally feel at home in their bodies.  She is also the co-host of the Sarah & Dr Brooke Show. Plus, she’s co-author of Hangry: Balance Your Hormones and Rediscover Your Joy In Five Simple Steps (St Martin’s Press, June 2019).

Questions we cover in this episode:  

  • What’s the first step to take when you feel overwhelmed with all the health, diet and fitness information out there?
  • What do you suggest our listeners do to filter the plethora of advice out there and determine whether it will work for them or not?
  • Why do women specifically need to take a full body or complete hormonal system approach to their wellness, even more so than men?
  • Why did do you put estrogen and progesterone imbalances at the bottom of the priority list for women since those are obviously key female hormones?
  • What sneaky hormonal disruptor are many women unfamiliar with yet may be struggling with unknowingly? (histamine intolerance)
  • You and I both place such an importance on managing stress and cortisol for better overall health! What advice can you share about making that easier?
  • And don’t miss R.A.M.P.

Get the book:

www.sarahanddrbrooke.com/hangry-book

Connect with Dr. Brooke on social

Facebook and Instagram @betterbydrbrooke

Link to the podcast I did with Brooke and Sarah at Better By Dr. Brooke

https://betterbydrbrooke.com/podcast/better-everyday-40-debra-atkinson-training-nutrition-50/

Hormone Balancing Fitness

In this post I include the intel on 1) hormones that balance each other 2) hormones that influence energy and your exercise (ability and results), and 3) how your exercise influences your hormone balance, and a 4) quick summary of how to modify exercise to support the hormones mentioned. 

Note: this post includes what happens IF you choose not to change things with daily habits and exercise. The research included studies what IS. Consider what happens if you don’t do what others have done and don’t accept what has happened in the past to be your future. If you don’t take on the “normal” “average” habits you won’t settle for “normal” and “average” results. 

Important Hormone Relationships

We’ve gotten so good at generalizing. You may make statements like, “It’s my hormones,” or read or hear that hormone imbalance is to blame. But, you’re not a victim, there are things you can do. While you’re busy, while you’re working, traveling, being you. You don’t have to go to bed hoping for a good night sleep, fewer hot flashes, or more energy. You can make it happen.

If you’re ready to understand more about the hormones that need to be in balance with each other (and how that might happen with shifts in exercise toward a hormone balancing fitness plan) keep reading. There’s definitely an integration of many hormones involved in the energy, the weight, the way you think, but some hormones have a stronger relationship.

HPA axis

In a Flipping 50 Café master class some time ago (and this recording is a bonus part of The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women) I addressed Adrenal Fatigue. Though adrenal fatigue isn’t recognized by all medical professionals, HPA axis is accepted. It stands for the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Adrenal axis.

Your endocrine, nervous, and immune systems interact. The endocrine system is hormone central. Your nervous system is related to your brain messaging everything else. Your immune system of course keeps you well or not and potentially all of them either decelerate or accelerate aging.

When you have HPA axis dysfunction your stress response isn’t working correctly.

That’s also referred to as adrenal fatigue.

What was a healthy dose of exercise isn’t when you’re experiencing adrenal fatigue. The hormone balancing fitness you need involves what I call “restore, before more.” Exercise that is optimal for you leaves you feeling optimally. That’s news to a lot of women. It’s not punishment.

Hello Menopause

When your hormone levels are changing it’s not just all highs and lows. There’s a shift in the interactions among hormones. They don’t play as well together. Poor stress response results if your HPA axis can’t’ adjust to stressors. Stress causes more inflammation and oxidation. You age faster.

Exercise for burning calorie’s sake is the opposite of a hormone balancing fitness plan. In fact, that kind of focus can push you deeper into hormone imbalance. Sure, you may feel better temporarily but look for signs you’re overall not responding, feeling worse not better.

DHEA is produced by the adrenal gland and it’s a pre-cursor to the sex hormones. Similar to muscle mass which peaks at about 25, so does DHEA and it progressively decreases over time.

DHEA is one of the key hormones in balancing effects of cortisol. So think about this. You’re at a time in your life sandwiched between older adults and younger dependents, at a peak of your career or an apex of change in jobs, relationships, and status. There’s a bit more stress than ever before. And there’s less support in your system for dealing with it.

Not ideal.

Faster than a Chunky Child Drops on a Teeter Totter

Age-related declines can disrupt the cortisol- DHEA balance. Guess what happens? You lose muscle among other things, like wanting to scream, sleep for days, or eat a bag of chips and wash it down with chunky monkey.

Guess what? Cortisol is a bitch. She doesn’t experience declines with aging. This is a perfect storm, right? What can appear to be higher cortisol levels as we get older could in fact be the declining DHEA to balance it. It’s not higher than it was it’s just higher relative to other hormones that are now lower.

More bad news

You don’t just lose muscle mass easier when cortisol is higher relative to DHEA. You lose bone density and your marbles. Yes, You lose cognition, memory, and ability to focus. We’re all calling it brain fog or menopause mind. It’s got science behind it.

Estrogen

The change in the ratio between estrogen and other hormones (progesterone and testosterone) alters your metabolic, physiological and neurological systems. The result? Your metabolism slows, your body composition changes for the worse, and you can’t remember where you left the phone (in your hand).

Estrogen loss plays a part in greater inflammation, less muscle, memory loss and poor stress response (compared to younger you or to same age men).

Progesterone and estrogen are ideal at a similar level. Cortisol however when higher (or relatively higher (see last section) blocks progesterone. So your calm, serene side has gone to Tahiti. Without you. You’ve got “estrogen dominance” even as estrogen levels are lower than in your past. High estrogen, high cortisol, and insulin make it easy to deposit fat right in the middle.

But the good news is, hormone balancing fitness can support estrogen and so too can certain things you eat. A couple tablespoons of ground flax seed daily can help you get rid of excess estrogen as can adding fiber to your diet, for example.

Testosterone

This hormone declines steadily with age. Loss of muscle and accompanying strength are due to waning testosterone. So too is decreasing libido.

Here’s the scoop though. Declining levels of testosterone are a result of declining health more than the opposite. Your health and libido potentially are not declining because of testosterone lows. If you aren’t taking care of yourself or working on intimacy intentionally, you’ll suffer more than most.

If you think you’re “pretty healthy,” consider this. Do you really rest fully? Have you defined what “healthy eating” is for you now vs. in the past? Is your exercise something you love? Do you make time for friends and fun? What makes you truly happy? Is it into your life regularly? Self care goes beyond not being sick.

Flip: Some research shows age had no effect on testosterone levels but by comparison obesity did. Lifestyle factors (like strength training) play a part in what happens to your hormone balance.

You’re not a victim of your hormones as much as your hormones are victim of your lifestyle habits.

You learned things. You learned them decades ago and they may not be true any more. You acquired habits. But you’ve not learned the science that helps you replace those habits with better things.

The Question Lingers: Is Age Just a Number?

Unfair treatment of the response to that question only looks at polls and surveys of a decline that’s happened in now 65-74 year-olds or those over 75. That means only that their lifestyle habits – what every they were – contributed. I think it’s fair to say that they didn’t have the science we have to day. They did the best they did with the knowledge they had.

But you, girlfriend, have more and better and we know that aging is either accelerated or decelerated based on your daily choices.Every single one of them matters.

Growth Hormone

For more muscle (and not fat) you need growth hormone (GH). Growth hormone is secreted and stimulates insulin-like growth factor type 1 (IGF-1). They work together to prompt muscle growth. IGF-1 is responsible for muscle repair.

That’s important. In You Still Got It, Girl! I first pointed out that one of the biggest challenges women flipping 50 have is their own mind. The solution to better fitness is not more exercise, it is in fact better recovery after adequate exercise stimulus.

If you don’t have enough IGF-1 you may be tearing down, breaking down and not repairing muscle in every workout. Thus, even an exerciser can lose muscle – potentially faster than a non-exerciser.

Both GH and IGF-1 decline as you age. This is partially the cause of frailty. Sarcopenia is the term used to describe muscle loss associated with age.

Cortisol and GH

Cortisol is up remember? It has a poor effect on body composition. While GH has a positive effect. Researchers have connected a strengthened effect of GH in the presence of cortisol. This has a huge impact on your ideal exercise routine.

Your ideal routine imposes calculated stress (cortisol-inducing) on your system while negating the negative effects of too much or blah-blah exercise. Using high intensity intervals (for short durations) and weight training has the most optimal effects on GH (as well as testosterone). What sabotages your exercise and hormone balance?

If you’re still doing an “hour of power” on the dreadmill or hours on the Stairmaster or elliptical every week, flip your routine. Short higher or short lower intensity cardio and short high intensity (heavy is best; to fatigue with lighter weight is second best) resistance training does the most good.

Your Hormone Balancing Fitness Plan

The positive effect that the RIGHT exercise has on hormones can offset age-related hormonal changes.

Your plan in action:

Resistance train twice a week. Start light and progress over a period of weeks (up to two months). Reach fatigue in each set. Collectively consider your bone and joint needs, history of exercise or injury, conditions, stress level, nutrition adequacy, and sleep in designing an exercise program. Seek support of a hormone balancing fitness expert if this is beyond your scope.

Reduce or eliminate long endurance sessions lasting an hour or more. Shift toward 1-2 short sessions of high intensity intervals per week complimented by low to moderate short activities.

Create a hormone balancing fitness plan you will enjoy. Include activities you love.

If you’re tired every day take a full week to restore before more. Move but don’t exercise. Get your sleep, stress, and nutrition dialed in. At the end of a week, assess. Continue the restore if you don’t feel better. Gradually begin to strength train in small regular doses first when you add more.

To offset muscle loss that would happen if you weren’t making the shifts above, and to amplify positive results, protein is a must for older adults. Read more about your protein needs now derived from 10 recent studies.

You might also like:

Adrenal Fatigue to Adrenal Reset

Adrenal Fatigue, Exercise, and Weight Loss Success

Make the Hormone-Exercise Connection

Hormone balancing doesn’t have to rely on bio-identical hormones. You don’t have to wonder if you can afford functional doctor or bio-identical hormones, or supplements. You first need to understand how to exercise – and support it with habits including eating the right foods at the right time. Hormone balancing gets its foundation in the habits you do daily.

Hormone balancing will be a struggle if you ignore the powerful impact your small daily habits have.

If you’ve let a cup of coffee turn into two or three…

If you’ve let your workout slide to the side in favor of working another hour…

If you’ve let sleep take the back seat to some Netflix binge…

If you’ve let a drive through or picking up food at the moment you’re already tired and cranky become a habit…

Hormone balancing is harder.

But exercise to lose fat and punish calories out of you does not work and in fact backfires for most women in midlife.

In this episode I elaborate on 10 tips for Hormone balancing that are key to the After 50 Fitness Formula for Women including:

  • Do your intense workouts early
  • Light workouts are best late
  • Restore before you do more especially if you’re in adrenal fatigue
  • Get deep sleep
  • Choose your activities for the joy not for the calories or fat burning
  • Go pro – eating a high protein meal 60-120 minutes after a tough workout

If you change the way you think about exercise you’ll better be able to support your hormone balancing.

Share your comments with me below this episode!

You may be thinking hormone balancing is something you’ve got to see a doctor for, and while a practitioner can be helpful- and necessary – YOU are your first and best ally in hormone balance.

Need support? Join the 28 Day Kickstart! Try it solo or better yet, do it with a friend!

Natural solutions for a sexy younger you… doesn’t that sound yummy? My guest today is all about the Flipping 50 lifestyle. It’s as if she co-wrote You Still Got It, Girl! because she totally repeats our mantra: eat more, exercise less, and sleep yourself skinny… you’ll love her!

Robin Nielsen is a Functional Clinical Nutritionist, and Hormone Expert, with over 15 years of clinical experience. She specializes in hormone balance, helping women to grow younger no matter what their age. She is the Founder and CEO of Juvenescence, supporting women in midlife, and she’s the CEO of Insulite Health, pcos.com – the world’s largest and most comprehensive company supporting women with PCOS naturally.

Robin is co-creator of the very popular Sexy Younger You! conferences and programs, and is the creator of the Natural Solutions for PCOS online conference.

>> Questions we cover in this podcast:

1) Tell me more about Sexy Younger You! What prompted you to create these programs?

2) What are the things that we need to pay attention to as we age to become more of a Sexy Younger You?!

3) Everyone’s talking about hormone replacement therapy. What are your thoughts on this?

“We’ve been working on the symptoms we have in menopause for decades. They didn’t come on overnight.”

4) Vaginal dryness, painful sex and urinary incontinence can really affect the quality of a woman’s life. How do you suggest women address these concerns naturally?

5) What are your 5 Secrets to Breaking Free From Menopause Syndrome?

  • Eat More Whole Real food and exercise less
  • Build up stress resilience
  • Support detoxification
  • Sleep your way to the top of your health
  • Replace missing nutrients

Join Robin’s group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/naturalsolutionshormonebalance/

Connect: 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/naturalsolutionshormonebalance/

https://www.instagram.com/robinanielsen

Special gift for listeners:

Link to Robin’s free gift: https://www.facebook.com/groups/naturalsolutionshormonebalance/

Get Robin’s free gift: Top 10 things that throw off hormone balance by joining!

How to Use Exercise to Balance Hormones

Yes, you can get results in as little as 20 minutes several times a week. In fact, for a woman in perimenopause, menopause, or beyond the answer is often less exercise to balance hormones.

These are ways you benefit by finding the right exercise to hormone balances:

Here are the principles of the After 50 Fitness Formula for Women exercise to balance hormones to help you optimize hormonal and fat burning benefits (and bonus – minimize the time you spend exercising):

Go all out.

For exercise to balance hormones it must be done to the point you’re breathless or can’t do one more repetition. Intensity is a must when you want to take advantage of interval training or the benefits of strength training.

Exchanging hard and short for more and moderate exercise does not provide the right exercise to balance hormones. The moderate level of exercise for a moderate duration of time is what I refer to as No Benefits Zone. Unfortunately, a lot of women spend a majority of their exercise time there. If you’re getting tired, not more energetic, and not losing weight, in fact may be gaining it, consider dramatically shortening your exercise and lose the more is better mantra all around you.

The exception is if you’re outside hiking or biking for a couple hours and truly loving it and enjoying yourself. If you’re doing drudgery on the dreadmill at the gym in effort to burn calories and weighing before and after your workout to see progress you’re doing more harm than good.

If it’s hard make it short.

High intensity interval training should be done no more than 45 minutes total per week to optimize benefits and minimize risk. Most midlife women do best with lower risk of injury at two sessions of 20 or 25 minutes. Work up to your optimal interval volume and duration.

For more details, see above #1. You’ll enjoy better blood sugar stabilization and appetite control benefits if you keep it short and lose them if you go too long or too often.

Train all major muscles in each workout.

Work all of your major muscle groups only 2x a week with a full body routine (increase growth hormone). A 10-minute workout using all major muscles is far more hormone balancing than one muscle group a day 5-6 days a week.

exercise to balance hormonesEat right before and after.

Eat a blend of carbohydrate and protein about an hour or 45 minutes before a workout (example: a smoothie with berries and protein without fiber and fat). Limit fat post exercise. Eat a high protein meal 60-120 minutes after finishing your  high intensity workout (intervals or weights, or a lengthy hike). Yes, the wait is important. Avoid sports drinks and bars full of either chemicals or sugars especially if you’re in the kitchen where real food is available. Food is a major part of exercise for hormone balance.

This advice flies in the face of current fasting trends. Fasting applies to young and old, men and women. There isn’t a large enough body of knowledge on women in midlife already stressed and unable to lose weight trying to exercise in a fasted state. During fasting I recommend my clients (and do myself) go lightly with exercise. Trying to do hard exercise without food is like one foot on the gas and one on the brake. You don’t go anywhere but it is hard on the engine.

Check out this graphic for specific exercise modes and their hormone balancing potential* (they’re only hormone balancing done in the right time and effort for your needs).

Separate proven facts from trends and fads.

There is conventional/traditional exercise prescription. There is exercise to balance hormones. Then even further down the road there is exercise for adrenal fatigue. Make sure you’re asking whether something has been proven on a woman like you.

These are the basics of exercise to balance hormones. That said, not every woman who needs hormone balance needs the same exercise program. Depending on your signs (fatigue, weight gain, belly fat, brain fog, cravings, hot flashes, night sweats, etc.) your best program will start and progress uniquely.

A Flipping 50 Specialist can work up a plan based on your current exercise plan, your signs & symptoms, labs you may have had (not necessary), and your personal preferences and physical needs. If you’d like to book a session to go over your plan for either 6 month, 90-day coaching support, or a single 90-minute session contact me with your details. Plans begin at $300 for a single comprehensive session.

Resources: 
The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women course
You Still Got It, Girl! book
STRONGER weight training program (with interval and nutrition how-to)

exercise to balance hormones

How to Get the Fit Girl’s Deep Restful Sleep

Do you struggle to fall asleep or find yourself staring at the ceiling at 2am and 3 and 4…

Do you think you’re sleeping but find your Fit Bit says the times you’re restless times are in double digits?

You are not alone. Since you know that sleep is the key to making your exercise and nutrition efforts pay off or in making you feel like exercising and eating right in the first place you know restful sleep is key to hormone balance.

My guest is going to share some natural restful sleep solutions because she too is spea2king the hormone balancing language I know and love. So pull up a pillow, put on your favorite jammies and let’s get comfy.

Dr. Mariza Snyder is a functional practitioner, the author of six books: the bestselling The Smart Mom’s Guide to Essential Oils and The DASH Diet Cookbook. Dr. Mariza’s newest book focuses on balancing hormones with the power of essential oils, it’s called: The Essential Oils Hormone Solution.

deep restful sleep
For the past ten years, she has lectured at wellness centers, conferences, and corporations on hormone health, essential oils, nutrition, and detoxification. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, Fox News Health, MindBodyGreen and many publications. Dr. Mariza is also the host of theEssentially You Podcast, designed to empower women to become the CEO of their health. Check out her website, drmariza.com, for women’s hormone tips, including recipes and remedies.

Deep restful sleep is so important to hormone balance. Essentially, it’s at the foundation of hormone balance. Even a small sleep deprivation can throw hormones off enough to effect food choices, exercise results, fat storage and fat burning. So if you’re robbed of the restful sleep you should be getting on a regular basis, that really should be your first priority. 

Questions we cover in this podcast: 

  1. Can you tell us a bit about your journey and how it led you to your passion in women’s hormone health?
  2. You must see patterns in the women you work with related to stress.  What are some of those patterns and why are essential oils one strategy that helps?
  3. Talk a little about the essential oil “revolution” over the past 5 years or so.  Why do you think essential oils have caught fire for many women’s go-to strategy?
  4. Although essential oils are very popular, many women don’t really know anything about them.  What approach would you suggest for someone who is brand new to essential oils to learn about them from which one to use to safety tips, etc.
  5. What would you say is the number one thing we need to get deep restful sleep?
  6. What are your top 5 essential oils and recipes to ensure we get the restful sleep that we need each night?

Dr Mariza’s bonus gift for listeners:

Top 5 Hormone EO Recipes: https://join.drmariza.com/hormone-balancing-eo-recipes/

Connect with Dr Mariza:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/drmarizasnyder/
Twitter: drmariza
Insta: drmariza
https://www.linkedin.com/in/marizasnyderdc

Do you sauna? Why would you want to?

How would you like a passive way to boost your energy?

Not to mention detox, improve skin, sleep, heal wounds…

And a convenient way to do it at home? In minutes?

[Image: me next to a Sunlighten full model last August! Do you recognize fellow fitness pro Betty Rocker sitting inside?]

I’ve discovered a passion for my personal sauna in the last six months and I wanted an expert to share the details and unpack the difference between infrared wave lengths and the benefits with you.

My guest Brooke Basaldua started her career with Sunlighten over 11 years ago.  Brooke has a personal passion for wellness and loves working directly with wellness thought-leaders and elevating Sunlighten’s vision to make the world a healthier, happier place.  During her time at Sunlighten, she has served on the product development team and played a role in developing the most advanced 3-in-1 infrared technology that allows users to customize infrared treatments for their individual wellness goals.

Questions we answer on this episode:

  • What is infrared?  Give brief overview of IR and how it affects the body
  • How Sunlighten Infrared saunas are different?
  • Are far or near infr­­­ared saunas better?
  • What is the difference between Near, Mid, and Far and what benefits each provides?
  • What are the benefits of sauna use?
  • What’s unique about Sunlighten product design?
  • How is detox supported with a sauna- particularly from heavy metals and daily toxins?

[Image: me getting in a sauna session at home in my personal sauna. I shoot for 40 minutes a few times a week now. It’s not the no-sweat way to weight loss, but it’s a inside out sweat sessions and I LOVE it!]

Confession: sometimes I return from a trip and turn it on before I even walk upstairs so it can heat up while I unpack! Before I do anything else! It helps me shed the toxins from travel and get a good night sleep after sleeping in strange beds for days!

I scored Flipping 50 listeners $200 off + free shippingthrough 11/21 thanks to Sunlighten!

You’ll learn: 

  • How you can benefit from a sauna
  • The difference between a traditional sauna and an infrared sauna
  • The difference between far, mid, and near infrared light
  • How to plan a sauna routine
  • Sauna options for in-home convenience

You can enjoy benefits of improved blood pressure, skin enhancement, detox, weight loss, sleep enhancement, would healing, and more from the regular use of a sauna. I love mine!

It doesn’t feel like something I’m doing for health markers. It feels indulgent, like me time, right at home.

Save $200 right now!

CLICK HERE

You’re going to love it!

Connect and follow Sunlighten for more health benefit info: 

https://www.facebook.com/SunlightenSaunas/

https://www.instagram.com/sunlightensaunas/

https://www.linkedin.com/company/sunlighten/

https://www.youtube.com/user/sunlightsaunas/videos

Could You Sleep Better with Fasting?

Here’s the cliff note on this podcast: I sleep better thanks to fasting. If you sleep better you’re going to naturally be supporting balanced hormones. Get the details here!

As many of my followers and subscribers already know, I don’t advocate fasting for everyone. Many of the women I work with have a relationship with food that first has to improve overall so that we don’t set up a binge-purge cycle. I believe in a strong nutrition foundation first before beginning on a continuum of fasting. That continuum begins with at least 12 hours overnight and between meals. Many women are not doing that simple step to enhance hormone balance.

That is, after they’ve identified what their best dietary plan is right now. Before you manipulate when or if you eat, you need to make sure you’re eating what’s right for your body, and that you’re absorbing nutrients. Fasting is something you may do for a short time for a positive benefit but you’ve got to have a good foundationevery day. You’ll create a stronger, healthier, vibrant body, with daily habits.

Given my stance on fasting it may surprise you that I’ve tested the fasting mimicking diet developed at the Longevity Institute at USC. I’ve used it the last three months and because I don’t have significant weight to lose, or major concerns with health markers, my biggest reason for trying it was that I never recommend something I haven’t used. I am asked frequently about fasting, weight loss, health concerns, and the interaction with menopause symptoms. So I tested.

I’ll use “fast” throughout this post to refer to the fasting mimicking diet.

My sleep improved and it shocked me.

I’m a good sleeper to begin with. I know the value of sleep on physical performance and optimal weight and energy so I have good sleep habits. Since beginning a regular fasting program three months ago I’ve had even more restful sleep, waking less, and feeling more refreshed in the morning.

At 54, I have experienced minor and very infrequent hot flashes and night sweats. I attribute my good fortune so far to a good diet, good habits, and a dreamy bed. My Sleep Number bed with the Dual Temp layer has been a big part of buffing up my sleep in this last eight months. I would never have guessed a mattress would make so much difference but I do sleep better.

Hormone balance begins with sleep. A good mattress should be a prescription for women in peri-menopause! Fasting too may be a part of cracking your own code on hormone balance. If you sleep better you’ll naturally have more balanced hormones.

During the fasting mimicking diet you’re eating an overall low calorie plant-based diet. You do actually get to eat three meals and snacks depending on the day. Your body is “tricked” into a fasting state where it begins to burn ketones, or fat, rather than sugar, for fuel.

The re-entry into healthy eating after the fast is when the magic happens. It’s so much like the workouts you do provide the opportunity for fitness and the rest between your sessions is when the fitness actually happens.

During the five days of the fast everyone’s experiences are reportedly different both daily and overall. My own three five-day fasts were each unique.

The first fast had novelty and I felt good and more energetic during the day and rested surprisingly well at night. I say surprisingly well because I enjoy good sleep most nights already. I wasn’t looking to sleep better but I got it. I was actually more ready to go to bed, though and woke more refreshed than usual.

The Science 

There’s not a ton of science connecting sleep and fasting. Some of the superficial information is basic. Having too large a dinner or skipping dinner both tend to disrupt sleep.

It turns out there is scientific evidence that fasting increases parasympathetic output – the part of the nervous system you need for quality sleep.

If you crash during the day and stare at the ceiling at night like many students before Flipping 50 programs you’ll love this: fasting can improve circadian rhythm, meaning you sleep better.

No surprise to my Flipping 50 fans who know me for hormone-balancing exercise and lifestyle habits, there are hormones involved in this fasting-sleep improvement phenomena. Serotonin is our feel good hormone – and more of it calms us down – and melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep. Melatonin production, you may remember from prior posts, is reduced with age. Fasting helps increase your body’s production of both those hormones that are key to sleep so you can get a better night.

I found that though I had slightly different overall experiences during each of the three five-day fasts I did, I was able to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper. I didn’t sleep longer as some of my clients have reported, but that was likely due to the fact I am by nature a long sleeper and regularly enjoy eight if not nine hours.

My Fast

I found the first fast easy. It was novel and interestingly enough I began it after a 12-hour fast for a blood test, which felt like a bit of momentum. My first meal that morning after I had the blood draw was a part of the fasting mimicking diet.

The second time through, a month later, the novelty had worn off. I knew what to expect and by day three and four – the toughest for me psychologically, not physically – I was over it. On day five it was nearly done and easy to finish. Mind you, I never felt it was “hard” to do physically.

The third time I experienced the most psychological resistance. Though I knew I’d felt noticeably different during and long after the last two I was inconvenienced. I had to turn down some social opportunities. Lunch invitations with family members and dinner with out of state guests both came and I declined.

Would I do it again? I will though not soon. I’ve had noticeable results in addition to the sleep: I also reduced my coffee by 66%. If you’re sleeping better less coffee may happen naturally. I felt less bloating, though I wasn’t bothering me to begin with necessarily, you don’t know how good you can feel until you do! I’m also more keenly aware of the amount of food I was eating out of habit. I need less except when I’m exercising and I’m much more mindful about that now.

If you’re seeking some hormone support, naturally, and a sleep better aid with nothing but positive side effects, reach out for more information about the fasting mimicking diet or my Sleep Number bed and Dual Temp layer.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28715993
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27304506
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29302618
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20425196
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24901017
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