20 Reasons Strength Training Should Be Mandatory

Strength training is the fountain of youth. You may love your yoga, Zumba, running or _______, and that’s awesome! Stronger muscles will keep you doing it for longer. Here are just 20 (not all all-inclusive, but a good reason to re-examine how you spend your exercise time.

1) Prevent Muscle Losses

Muscle mass peaks at age 25. The loss of muscle for adults who aren’t resistance training is between 8 and 10% every decade. At that rate, living longer will result in sarcopenia (significant muscle and strength losses) in latter decades. Muscle mass can however be developed at any age even in the 9thand 10thdecade of life. Prevention of falls and illness due to frailty is available with resistance training.

2) Prevent Bone Losses

Bone mass peaks close to age 30. At that time there’s minimal opportunity to enhance bone density. Loss of bone without resistance training occur at a rate of anywhere from .5 to 3-to-5%/year depending on a woman’s phase of life.

Nearly all older women living beyond 80 will experience osteoporosis making them susceptible to fracture related to falls. Small-framed women or those with a high number of risk factors will have osteoporosis earlier in life.

Resistance training is the only exercise with results preventing natural bone losses or reversing losses even in menopausal or post menopausal women.

3) Increase Strength, Endurance, and Stamina

Your DNA influences the way you age, but not nearly as much as the lifestyle habits you have. Six months of strength training slows down or reverses aging and the expression of 179 genes associated with aging.

4) Support Natural Hormone Balance

In a recent Flipping 50 Master Class I shared the influence of exercise on optimal hormone balance. Listen to this Flipping 50 podcast to get a summary.

5) Boost Growth Hormone

Human Growth Hormone (GH) influences metabolism, body composition and aerobic exercise capacity throughout life. GH production declines naturally with age. Resistance training and intense interval training can boost GH significantly.

6) Boost Testosterone

Testosterone is supportive of libido and of self-confidence. As sex hormone levels decline for women in perimenopause testosterone levels often dip. Intense resistance and interval training are the best ways to naturally boost testosterone levels while endurance exercise reduces testosterone.

7) Increase Metabolism

Loss of muscle mass and a correlating increase in body fat reduces metabolism. Strength training correctly will result in both fat losses and metabolically active lean muscle increases that positively effect metabolism both at rest and after exercise as you age.

“You are probably too old NOT to strength train.”

8) Boost Libido

Forty to sixty percent of women in perimenopause suffer from low libido. An informal survey at flippingfifty.com reveals an even greater percent of women in perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause report low libido. Libido can wane from multiple reasons including lack of body confidence, dropping testosterone levels, and low energy. Exercise, specifically strength training counters each of those factors.

9) Improve Sleep

It takes 10 minutes of exercise to positively improve self-ratings of sleep by 33%. That’s with no imposition of intensity or measurement of parameters. And long term regular strength training brings about improvements in sleep.

10) Improve Body Composition

Resistance training positively influences body composition by both increasing lean muscle tissue and supporting fat burning. Resistance training burns fat during acute bouts of exercise but has a greater impact on the post-exercise energy and thus fat-burning than aerobic activity does.

11) Blood Sugar Stabilization Prevents or Reverses Insulin Resistance

Compared with aerobic exercise, positive influence on blood sugar and insulin resistance occur more predictably with strength training.

12) Decreased Risk of Falls

Falls are associated with loss of muscle, frailty, and weakness. Muscle strength from resistance training prevents those falls from occurring (and reduces damaging fractures if they do occur).

13) Better Reaction skills

Age-related muscle losses are fiber specific. Fast Twitch (FT) muscle fibers are lost twice as fast as you age. FT fibers are responsible for both metabolism and reaction skills. Your ability to right yourself if you trip to avoid falls, or react quickly to changing terrain or body positions is related to the amount of FT fiber you have.

14) Decrease Anxiety

The prevalence of anxiety in older adult women is growing. Resistance training is directly correlated with reducing the severity of anxiety and used in the treatment of anxiety.

15) Reduced Depression

The incidence of depression is significantly higher in older women than men. Resistance training has proven to be instrumental in improving mild to moderate depression. Studies show the positive impact of exercise is comparable or better than medications or cognitive therapies, and compared to medications exercise offers no negative side affects.

16) Improved Cognitive Function

Brain function including memory, executive function, problem solving, and brain plasticity all benefit from resistance training. Benefits are experienced after acute (after a single bout of exercise) and long term exercise.

17) Increased Energy

Energy is generated in the mitochondria, once believed to naturally decline with age and accepted as a fact of life. In the last 8-10 years research has shown that mitochondrial function can be improved and declines reversed so older adults have the same relative mitochondria function as young adults after regular strength training.

18) Enhanced Muscle Protein Synthesis

The ability to use dietary protein for the benefit of muscle tissue repair and growth declines with age. Resistance training has proven to overcome that effect of aging and following acute bouts of resistance training and long term resistance training muscle protein synthesis is improved significantly. That has a positive effect on maintaining lean (metabolically active) muscle tissue and strength.

19) Decrease Stress

The damaging effects of stress are related to over 80 diseases. By increasing resilience to stress the physiological and psychological responses to stress both are lower. Blood pressure, anxiousness, adrenal responses, and ability to focus or remember improve in fit individuals compared to sedentary.

20) Improve Posture

The effects of a life “out front” causes rounded shoulders, rounded upper back, and forward head hang, all worsened by cell phone use and “tech neck” today. Correct selection and performance of strength training exercises can help correct these postures and the ensuing depressive states that accompany them.

…and one final “bonus” based on the summation of all the above (though this is by no means an all-inclusive buffet of strength training benefits)

21) Truly LIVE longer

“Stronger longer” is a Flipping 50-ism. The goal of longevity is nothing without an increasing long healthspan.Muscular strength is the foundation for all things physical, mental, and emotional related to aging.

If you received a prescription medication from a doctor, it will inevitably have negative side effects, as every medication does.

If you however, perform strength training, whether at a gym alone, with a personal trainer, or at home alone, there are virtually no negative and dozens (partial list above) of positive benefits.

Want support? Starting, learning proper technique, and combining hormone balancing with joint care and your health history requires strength training programming fit for midlife woman. I’ve got you covered. Check out STRONGER I. 

What do you think of when I say blood flow restriction exercise?

Without checking Google, most of our Flipping 50 tribe would think this sounded like something terrible. It sounds like something that happens in a lab and not on purpose in a workout session. If you think it sounds like there’s risk involved and it might be bad for blood pressure or increase heart stress, you’re not alone.

But if you Googled (odd how that is now a verb to anyone else?) it you’d find that there’s emerging science around Blood Flow Restriction (BFR) training. And some of it has promise for older adults, and you. In fact, it’s quite exciting.

What Is It?

Originally developed in 1966 by Yoshiaki Sato in Japan where it was known as “kaatsu training,” meaning “training with added pressure.” It’s performed all over the world. So why haven’t you heard of it before? A quick look on Amazon for BFR bands shows images of (big) body builders, 98% of which are male. It doesn’t look like something you or I would naturally gravitate toward. It certainly hasn’t made it to Prevention or Reader’s Digest… yet.

But it might. Very soon.

Essentially, BFR training involves preventing blood flow to working muscles (or those at rest I’ll discuss later). That tricks the body into thinking it’s doing hard work to increase Human Growth Hormone (or GH), which burns fat and builds muscle.

If you don’t like hard work, won’t or can’t do hard work… blood flow restriction exercise may be your next best friend.

It Helps Muscle, Does It Help Bones?

Though some studies have suggested yes, for you and I, no, or very minimally. Only with instances of growth hormone deficiency in young male adults, or with unexplainable osteoporosis in male subjects was there any positive effect on bone density. There’s no evidence of bone support for women with age-related bone density declines. So, heavy weights when possible are still the answer.

Yet, there is some correlation with reduced fracture risk from increased GH. That may be due to increased muscle strength lending to better strength, reaction skills, and balance.

Are There Risk factors?

A review of literature for a position statement with older adults with frailty, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), and prior existing Venus Thrombeoembolism, conclude there is no additional risk, “though further studies are encouraged,” Always your selection of appropriateness should be made on an individual basis together with your physician and a medical exercise specialist. Blood pressure response can be higher if cuffs are not removed during the recovery interval periods. 

Blood Flow Restriction Exercise Research

In one research study, adults in a large review of literature were between 57 and early 70s. BFR was effective in developing muscle in low load (walking) compared to walking without BFR.

Positive results are reported in both muscular strength and muscle mass from use of BFR exercise.

It’s important to note that most research confirms the BFR results are similar but still lower than that from High Load (HL) strength training. That is, if you can safely, and are motivated to lift heavy weights, it will still provide the most benefit. If however, travel, special conditions, or you’re unwilling BFR opens up alternatives. 

More Study Results

Optimal strength response was found in subjects (without physical limitations) from Heavy Load strength training combined with low load walking with (BFR) restriction.

For older athletes BFR may enhance performance by allowing combination of low load training with restriction and heavy load more typically used (requiring less of heavy load yet more overall training without damage and risk of injury).

Personally, during training for Ironman, I’m usually an advocate of heavy weight training for avoiding lean muscle losses and bone density benefits. [Yes, more exercise can be a risk just as too little exercise can.] However, as training volume increases for an endurance event balancing sport-specific activity with less strength is better for reduced overall physical stress.

So I’m wearing BFR bands walking the dog before a run and then cutting the volume of training runs significantly. I’m able to optimize hormones this way instead of impose constant fatigue so common in endurance athletes.

For older adults who are unable (or unwillingly, untrusting) to do heavy load training BFR provides a viable way to increase strength and maintain lean tissue, specifically Fast Twitch (FT) muscle fiber. Adults can lose Fast Twitch fibers twice as fast as they age. FT fibers are responsible for metabolism and reaction skills – so you can catch yourself and prevent falls.

How Often Should Blood Flow Restriction Training Be Done?

It depends. Don’t you love that? (sarcasm) Yet, truly it depends on you now and why you’re implementing it. Do you need this to allow you to do something while you’re recovering from an injury? Do you need a good substitute for your regular exercise while traveling? Are you looking for a way to supplement a very active life and fitness program to boost progress without burning out or injury? Use your answer to determine how you start:

How Tight Do Blood Flow Restriction Exercise Bands Need to Be?

You’ll see in the video I discuss the 7/10 on a “tightness” scale. You’re doing this at your perception of tightness. You may need to experiment a little. I find it easiest to go to the point I couldn’t stand it and then back off slightly to get to my “7.” If you’re in our Flipping 50 tribe you’re used to rating your effort level on a 0-10 scale for various exercise so this is familiar.

Why Does It Work for Adults Over 50?

Proper use of the bands creates greater metabolic stress that brings about greater release of growth hormone and IGF-1 – key for gains of lean muscle and prevention of muscle loss.

By inducing greater muscle fatigue with lower loads there may be more Type II fiber recruitment for the relative load. (You’ve heard me talk nation-wide about Fast Twitch Muscle loss prevention.)

Enhanced muscle protein synthesis that occurs with resistance training is another huge win. Research shows clearly that resistance training offsets reduced muscle protein synthesis (ability to use protein you consume to benefit muscle) that can otherwise occur with age.

Enhanced Human Growth Hormone (GH) is an important advantage of lifting heavy weights and intense interval training as you age. Nearly comparable results are reported with BFR bands. Heavy lifting seems to still have the positive edge. This is one of your biggest hormone benefits of resistance training. Feel like you can’t get the muscle tone you once had? Decreases in GH are a part of that.

You can overcome reduced production of GH with age by resistance training at proper intensities. If until now you haven’t chosen or haven’t been able to do resistance training, you have a lighter load option.

Each of these aforementioned benefits point to reducing the signs of aging. What has been “accepted” as normal no longer has to happen. You’re in control. You can prevent and reverse aging. 

When high intensity interval training may not be appropriate (due to fatigue or cortisol levels, current injuries, or lack of access while traveling, Restricted Blood Flow exercise (low load) may be a good option to prevent muscle and strength losses.

For an idea of activities and intensity that work with BFR exercise:

Resistance Training:

Choosing the Load

Loads for resistance training in most studies feature loads of 20-30% of 1-rep max. Now, I’d never suggest you do a 1-rep maximum test. I’ve discussed that many places in books and posts. It is however the language of intensity in resistance training. If you can lift a weight only once and reach fatigue you’ve found the ultimate of “heavy.”

To give you an idea of 20-30% you’ll need an estimated one-rep max. If you can lift something 10 times to fatigue it’s about 80% of your 1-rep max. (This by the way is the best protocol for bone density).  With a little math you can determine your 1 rep max is about 12.5 lbs. So 20-30% is 2.5-3.75 lbs. I’d suggest starting with a 3-lb dumbbell.

As you perform the exercises you can experiment with what truly causes fatigue in the muscle. The biggest take-away? You’re going to use far lighter weights (or resistance) than you would without the bands.

Aerobic Training:

These types of exercises performed are performed at about 40% VOx2 max which is about the equivalent of daily activities of living. So in theory you could wear bands while going up and down your stairs to do laundry or clean for 20 minutes. Some aerobic protocols use intermittent exercise. For example, intervals of pedaling for 3 minutes with bands used alternated with 2 minutes of removing or undoing the bands.

What Size are the Blood Flow Restriction Exercise Bands?

Larger cuff size requires less pressure but movement is restricted. Choose based on your frame and size. Typically, recommendations are 1-1 ½ inches for upper body (bicep) and 2 inches lower body.

These are the bands I am using. *

 

 

 

Aerobic Blood Flow Restriction Exercise Intro

 

The Exercise Protocol At-a-Glance

STRENGTH

AEROBIC

How Soon Can You Expect Results From Blood Flow Restriction Exercise?

For those more sedentary doing 1-2 times a day, approximately 3 weeks is suggested time to experience benefits. For those already exercising that incorporate BFR training into their program 3-6 weeks is the suggested time frame. (Think about weight loss, the more weight you have to lose the faster you’ll see progress. So it is with BFR, the more fit you are, the less impactful BFR training may be for you, though that slight increase in fitness can be significant when it happens.)

Bed Rest Implications

Studies suggest that even in instances where exercise is extremely limited or not possible, use of the BFR bands can prevent muscle and strength loss. Wearing the BFR bands intermittently 1-2 times a day even while sedentary is beneficial compared to not using BFR.

BFR show promise during times you might be recovering from surgery or plantar fasciitis. Whenever you’ve got weight bearing restrictions for a period of time and are unable to apply pressure to a limb, or you’re on crutches. For someone undergoing treatment with low energy levels deeming a regular exercise plan implausible, this opens up possibilities to prevent a downward spiral that can easily occur. The BFR bands may provide a means for sparing what can be devastating muscle losses, often the beginning of weakness if not frailty, making falls more likely.

Would You Like Support?

Interested in more information? The best next step is to get STRONGER! When I open the doors for enrollment a few times a year you’ll be the first to know. Click here.

I’m including some BFR training in this 12-week resistance training program. Whether you’re more athletic and want to keep your hormones balanced (not stressed) or you have limits about how much you can lift, or find it hard to reach intensity levels you need…. This is for you!

Resources:
https://lifeforceiq.com/kaatsu/
https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2013/10000/Exercise_and_Blood_Flow_Restriction.37.aspx
https://www.strengthandconditioningresearch.com/blood-flow-restriction-training-bfr/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10993598
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12414848
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29030774
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2019.00533/full
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30306467
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6349784/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26118847
*Links to the Flipping 50 Amazon store will result in a small commission for me if you choose to purchase from that link.

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 is 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

You might also like:

Exercise for Hormone Balance2

Exercise for Hormone Balance

If you’re looking for a program designed 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 launch again soon.

Biggest Benefit of Strength Training: More Activity

There you have it. Spoiler alert – I just gave you the bottom line. Strength training more than any other type of exercise boostsmotivation more movement. It does it largely due to the emotional benefit of strength training.

Yes, you’ll get stronger. You’ll love the way your clothes fit. You’ll turn heads as you improve posture and walk with a confident, I’ve-got-a-secret-weapon attitude. You’ll have a better libido. You’ll avoid illnesses and injuries. You’ll bounce back faster if they happen. You’ll live independently later.

But you can’t get a single benefit of strength training without the special sauce.

How can I get motivated to exercise?

I just can’t stick with it.

I’ve heard it. You’ve said it. (or maybe you’re among the few and proud who have not!) 

Aging Better Facts

It’s well published and widely known if you want to change or control the way you age, you have to keep your muscle. Muscle losses start as early as your 30s. It’s easy to lose up to 50% of your muscle by age 70. But it’s not a given. If you lift weights (properly) you can avoid this condition called sarcopenia.

Trends Not to Follow

Muscle loss is usually accompanied by fat gains. Contrary to the myth you need to do lots of cardio to burn fat, you need to lift weights to keep muscle to avoid gaining fat. In doing so you create more metabolically active tissue. You also prevent the effect of age acceleration that occurs with too much cardiovascular activity.

Yes, oxidative stress increases, and cortisol, growth hormone, and testosterone all suffer with too much cardio activity. The result?  Muscle loss creates the opportunity for fat. Fill your path to 70 with weight training that consistently follows a few principles of “adequate strength training” and you’ll have avoided muscle losses that will otherwise happen.

If you are a women in midlife, pay attention. What you learned and did in your 20s and 30s is going to make you fatter, slower, and more depressed. Sad and blunt truth but true. You will tank diminishing hormones even further by doing tons of cardio. Do you tend to do MORE of what’s not working? Get hurt frequently? Feel like you’re getting more bloated, more cellulite, more anxious or exhausted? Your hormones are messaging you – shouting, really – that this sh** you’re doing is NOT working!

Other Big Benefits of Strength Training

Before you get to 70 celebrating better strength and body composition than your walking or Pilates-only-please friends, you can enjoy better libido, carry the same load (or more) you did 10 years ago with ease, and have unlimited choices in the way you spend your free time.

The secret to staying motivated to exercise is not so ironically in the exercise. A year-long study published in 2018 showed that participation in a strength training program influenced continued participation among previously sedentary older adults.

Motivation, self-efficacy, and planning were measured during the study at 3 and 9 months. Continued participation was measured at 6 and 12-months intervals after the study. Near 50% of those in the study continued voluntarily lifting weights.

Defining the Terms

Motivation  – the desire or will to do something, the choice or reason someone will do something

Self-efficacy– the belief that your choices control your outcome

Extrinsic motivation– based on outside influence, to avoid punishment, or to gain praise or rewards, to satisfy a task, or complete a program

Intrinsic motivation– based on an individual’s thoughts, beliefs and knowledge, for personal perceived benefits and determination

The Importance of Planning

Strength training-related planning has many facets. You first have to plan the time to exercise. Then you’ve got to have a plan of action for that time in a session. Knowledge of exactly what you’ll do including what exercises, in what order, how many times, at what speed makes a well laid out plan.

Not so ironically, you won’t be as likely to plan exercise unless you have a plan for action in that session and you tie it to results you want.

Have you let trips and events, projects, and holidays, or crisis interfere with regular exercise? Have they been the obstacle that threw you off schedule never to return again?

Without even knowing it’s happening, your subconscious may be weighing the advantages of allocating time to something you have no confidence will improve your current status.

Your Most Valuable Plan Component

The most important quality of a plan is your ability of tying it to the outcome that you want. You’re not likely to go into action if you don’t have confidence that what you’re doing will help you.

A good plan connects what to do with how it will help you get from where you are now to where you want to go.

If you don’t understand the connection between what you’re doing and the outcome you want, ask!

A supervised program with incentives, encouragement, and structure can provide the motivation to get you started. A program offers extrinsic motivation that might come from the investment of funds. It might come from the public announcement that you’re doing this. It might come because you’ll get some kind of reward or incentive (insurance premium lowered or work wellness program t-shirt).

Even More Benefits

Strength training doesn’t only decrease the rate at which muscle mass and strength are lost.You can increase muscle mass after 50. Studies even show you can gain muscle in your 10thdecade.

Strength training helps avoid cognitive decline. It’s been shown to have a positive effect on preventing Alzheimer’s and dementia. It helps improve mood. It helps decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, exercise interventions may work more effectively than medications and cognitive therapies, without negative side effects.

At the start of this post, I basically wrote when you feel stronger you do more. When you’ve exercised consistently for a period of time doing the right thing, you gain not only strength but confidence and self-efficacy.

That opens the world to you.

The best way to take a step toward regular strength training? If you’re serious about longevity and loving your energy, body, and life with the help of strength training, you need a plan.

Spend 8 weeks with me (Starts Aug 1, 2019)and work on your motivation to move. If you’ve not been strength training regularly, this twice per week program is the start you need. If you’re a woman in perimenopause, menopause, or post menopause it was designed for you! It’s based on research and successful protocols with women in perimenopause and beyond subjects.

It’s not your daughter’s or your mom’s workout.

Doors are open RIGHT NOW and if you miss the early bird special you’ll still be able to get in for a great rate… but who doesn’t love to save?

Resources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29878445
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835648/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6555722/
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11357-013-9586-z
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3674785/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6332682/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23750100/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30642326

You Might Also Like:

How to Start Strength Training Part I

How to Start Strength Training Part II

Why Strength Training for Women 50+ is a Must

Strength Training Programs for Hormones, Menopause, and Metabolism

Strength Training Mistakes that Cost You Bones and Muscles

I compiled this list of 8 strength training mistakes using two sources. I’ve had decades of observation and from a recent study. The study reviewed 25 prior studies pertaining to resistance training in older adults. Researchers deduced the most effective practice in resistance training programs for healthy older adults.

This list is derived from assessing both best protocols and what’s typically missing in programs – whether you’re on your own or following someone else’s. If you’re lifting weights and you wonder why you’re not seeing results, check out these 8 strength training mistakes for clues. Find your mistakes?

If you’re just getting started or restarted, here’s to doing it right from the start!

1. You expect results right away – in the wrong place.

Are you still looking at the scale to tell you if you’re stronger or have more muscle and less fat? She’s lying. Weight changes slower than percent body fat does if you’re exercising correctly and you’re supporting your own hormone balance.

On average weight loss for beginners in a well-designed strength training program can expect a loss of 4 lbs. fat and a gain of 3 lbs. lean muscle. According to the scale that’s a measly 1 lb. loss. But you could be down a dress size or full of energy and doing the stairs without knee pain.

The longest duration programs (53 weeks in the study) reaped the best results. Subjects continued to improve over time as long as they stayed involved in regular exercise. Make it a lifestyle habit.

2. You lift too light too often.

Researchers found higher intensity programs got the best results. Lifting a weight you can only lift 10 -15 times is better than lifting lighter weights for 20 or more times or never reaching fatigue.

What often occurs is nothing. So you feel as if you can exercise, in fact lift weights, go to another class, the next day and the next.

A couple things go wrong in this scenario.

(1) You never creating enough stimulus for the muscle to be “overload” so the muscle changes.

(2) You never rest between those quality overload sessions. Rest between is the time you actually get fit. A muscle adequately stimulated “overcompensates” when it’s given rest and adequate nutrition (protein and micronutrient dense foods). A muscle never adequately stimulated or rested between sessions is constantly broken down and weakens or wastes.

3. You hurry through the workout to just get it done.

The length of time you spent in each repetition matters. The amount of time a muscle is under tension influences the ability to change that muscle. For the most optimal results, 6.0 second per repetition got the best results.

That’s 2 counts to lift and 4 counts to lower, traditionally. You can play however!

4. You randomly go from exercise to exercise.

I know this one is hard to avoid sometimes! You’re at the gym and may not have a plan. You’re trying to work in with other exercisers who may or may not be parked on equipment taking selfies.

You may need to interrupt that little photo op and get what you need!

The optimal time between sets of exercise for the same muscle group is between 60 seconds and 120 seconds.

That means do a set of chest press and then a set of squats each taking a minute. Alternate them or add one more exercise (a plank for instance) and you’ll get enough rest.

Optimal time between sets varies for beginners and more experienced weight lifters. If you’re more experienced and lifting a bit heavier, prior studies have shown that 4-5 minutes before challenging the same muscle group again is optimal.

A sequence in your workout could look like this:

  1. Chest press
  2. Squats
  3. Pullover
  4. Plank
  5. If a set of exercises for each took a minute, and you include transition time between them, you create the best time between

5. You still think you need to lift weights three days a week.

That is the most common of strength training mistakes regarding frequency. But it’s not the only one.

You may think you should be lifting four or five days a week. You may be lifting just when it’s convenient and averaging once a week, sometimes, or mistaking Pilates and yoga as resistance training.

First, the optimal frequency for best results (including lean muscle gains, fat loss, overall strength and endurance) is two sessions a week. Ideally, you rest at least 72 hours between those two sessions.

That means you ditch that 1980s Monday/Wednesday/Friday weight day routine (or abandon group fitness set up the same) and you lift weights Monday and Thursday. Or if you’re a Pilates fan, put that into your Wednesday workout. You’re not exhausting your muscles enough to get to fatigue to count as weight work, but it’s a good alignment session. Other more functional and corrective exercise also work between heavy weight days.

6. You have no idea how many sets you need or don’t think it matters.

Some days you do too much some days too little. This is of course after you’ve had a period of adaptation beginning a program. Most adults should (but don’t) start with one single set.

Ultimately, however 2-3 sets per exercise is optimal. Each set should result in muscular fatigue. If you’re doing three sets, don’t fall into the trap of “saving” your energy for those latter sets. If you don’t fatigue on a set you’ve missed an opportunity to give the muscle stimulus it needs to change.

7. You don’t plan the number of repetitions you’ll do.

The right repetition range is determined by your experience level, body type, and by your goals.

Everyone beginning should focus on lighter load (weight) and more repetitions. The reason for improvement in the first 6 weeks of a strength training program are neural. That is, they’re not dependent on weight or load. They’re about the brain connecting to the muscle. You’re also then safely able to prepare a good foundation in ligaments and joints for the future.

If your body type is more muscular you’ll respond well to anything. You also may want to stay away from the “bulk building” protocol (3 sets of 10 reps).

On the other hand if you’re losing muscle mass and don’t have any weight to lose, that bulk protocol is your best friend.

For older adults collectively however, the review of 25 studies showed 7-9 repetitions per set allowed optimal strength, lean muscle improvement, and fat loss. If your joints will allow safe use of heavier loads, power, or slow lifting technique, do it.

One of the biggest of these 8 strength training mistakes women over 50 make is asking, “how much weight should I lift”? the question assumes anyone else can tell you. The question should be, how many repetitions should I do? When you’re given a repetition range, that tells you how to select a weight. You want one that causes you to fatigue within that range. You’ll have to try a few weights to get the feel for them.

8. You get those reps cranked out fast and move on to the next exercise.

I watched men (faculty and staff) on a college campus exercise for decades. They shrank over time. They went from machine to machine going as quickly as they could, often completing a circuit of 8-10 exercises in five minutes. They spent the remainder of their time doing cardio exercise. Their bodies aged with muscle wasting not unique from adults who don’t strength train.

Muscle strength doesn’t require “hypertrophy” (or size) but some amount of muscle mass maintenance is the goal! You will naturally lose muscle mass from 30 to 70 if you don’t perform resistance training. However, the wrong type of resistance training won’t help muscle maintenance.

You need to go slow enough not only during the exercise (see #3 above) but potentially between repetitions. The research suggests that a 2.5 -4.0 seconds rest between repetitions increases muscle strength and maintains lean muscle mass.

Prevention of sarcopenia (loss of muscle) with aging is crucial for avoiding frailty that results in falls and loss of independence. Sarcopenia also contributes to weight gain and obesity due to a slowing of metabolism. “Sarcobesity” is a loss of muscle combined with an increase in fat that leads to increased health risks. 

Avoid these 8 strength training mistakes for a better second half

The message is it all matters. The details matter. It is about so much more than doing a series of exercises. It is about so much more than choosing an exercise for each major muscle group.

“Training period, intensity, time under tension, and rest in between sets play an important role in improving muscle strength and morphology and should be implemented in exercise training programs targeting healthy old adults.”

A little planning goes a long ways toward making “less exercise” more effective.

Serious about results? Want support? Start with one of our most popular strength training programs:

Or get on the wait list for notification when STRONGER I, II, and III doors open again (only open 4 times a year).

Resources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26420238
Hot, Not Bothered
You Still Got It, Girl! 
You might also like:

Why Protein Recommendations After 50 Are Confusing (post-exercise protein needs)

Flipping 50’s Ultimate Recovery Day Guide

 

Don’t miss this special broadcast answering questions about the STRONGER I and II programs.

Recorded this last day of the 50% off rate, I don’t want you to miss out if it’s perfect for you and want to be sure you don’t register if it’s wrong for you right now.

https://www.flippingfifty.com/getstronger

https://www.flippingfifty.com/getevenstronger

Registration is open until April 15 but the rate increases tomorrow so take advantage of this now!

Are you making these strength training mistakes?

This is a follow up on an ongoing poll of women in our Flipping 50 community. At this point over 1000 women have completed the 3-minute survey. Want to take it before you read further? Click Here. 

The news is this.

Houston, we have a problem.

The more women that take the quiz the more clear it is that you’re not getting the right information when it comes to what builds bones. There may be some exercise you can’t do based on a special condition or existing injury, but the quiz assesses your knowledge of optimal training for bone density.

The medical, health, and fitness information highway is failing you. There’s an abundance of information. A lack of information is not the problem. There is plenty of content out there today- much of it without scientific research cred. It also may be that even when science is used for evidence-based articles it isn’t always interpreted clearly.

We tend to follow the leaders and programs going in the direction we already wanted to go.

And, hey, why not? We like to be right!

Stronger Longer!

This post is an update on the current correct/incorrect responses. Before you leave I’d love to hear from you in the comments. How important a priority is bone density for you? What’s your current status? (No known osteoporosis, osteopenia, or diagnosed osteoporosis).

Your best exercise program will be unique to you based on your status. You wouldn’t do the same thing a 15 year old should do to increase bone density. You wouldn’t do that same thing a 25 year old would do. You at 55 shouldn’t do the same thing you at 85 will do. But you should know exactly what you should do, how to start, and how to progress to get the best results.

[The mistakes don’t appear in order of importance: they’re equally important!]

#1 Most Common of Strength Training Mistakes

More than 71% of midlife women don’t know how to lift weights to BEST boost bone density.

They don’t know that heavy weight training is the BEST for bones. Heavy is defined as a weight you can lift 10 or fewer times. That’s not putting the weight down after 10. You have to truly reach fatigue – get to the last one you can lift well – at a weight you can lift 10 or fewer times to optimally influence bone density.

No, you don’t start with a weight that heavy. Progression is key. You begin with a lighter weight and more repetitions. Building up your tolerance and progressing over a period of at least a couple months is best.

#2 Strength Training Boo Boo

Over 38% don’t know a combination of weight training and HIIT are best for changing body composition. A significant number incorrectly think weight training and long slow endurance will change body composition. Do you?

Much research suggests that long slow endurance activities may accelerate aging and interfere with hormone balance for women in midlife. You do have to know yourself and your limits.

Your body will give you signs what you’re doing is not working. You will have weight loss resistance. You may have increased or decreased appetite. You may not be sleeping.

#3 Most Common of Strength Training Mistakes

Over 60% of women over 50 believe incorrectly that the best frequency for weight training is 3 times a week. It’s a conundrum that you have to wonder if there was ever research pointing to it (its hard to find). It may have simply been a Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine imposed by the group fitness programs at local gyms.

Habit too is sometimes easier to create the more frequently you do something. Millions don’t think about stumbling to the kitchen for coffee every morning for instance. Taking the multivitamin, less of a regular habit.

Newer studies show an increased amount of rest and recovery between high intensity sessions is best. Additional studies comparing a frequency of one, two, or three times a week exercise in peri-menopausal women (important) revealed the sweet spot for greatest overall energy expenditure is twice a week.

#4 Most Common of Strength Training Mistakes

Only a third of responders knew the number of repetitions most likely to “build bulk.” Ironically, it corresponds to what nearly every woman over 50 was instructed to do in high school or her early 20s. Some coach somewhere told you three sets of 10 was the way to go.

If you’re reluctant to lift weights because of all that bulk, at this point you don’t have the hormones (or the time) to spend hours doing that. There’s an ideal protocol for your body typeto consider as well. Are you lean and unable to gain tone? You actually might love the results from this routine today.

#5 Most Common of Strength Training Mistakes

Less than 40% of women over 50 know the right repetition range for increasing bone density. It is 10 or fewer repetitions. That is to fatigue. The weight is heavy enough you want to put it down because you can’t do another one well.

What works for muscle will not work the same way for bones. You can choose a lighter weight and do more repetitions. If you reach fatigue you will have provided enough stimulus – overload – to the muscle so that it will respond by getting stronger. That is, if it’s given adequate rest, proper calories and protein between workouts.

However, reaching muscular fatigue alone is not enough for the bones to respond positively. It’s the force application to the bone that matters. Heavier weight provides the force necessary while lighter weight does not. The term is called Minimal Effective Stress. It’s used more often to discuss activities like walking, or rebounding, as opposed to jumping or hopping. More walking does not provide more stress to bones. Your body has already adapted to the heel strike.

Weight bearing exercise like walking is better than swimming or sitting on the couch. After you’ve become a walker, walking two miles instead of one, does no more good to the bones.

For many women using the services of a trainer it’s important to request a few machine exercises in addition to functional movements to provide bone density benefits. Machine weights are very functional when they tie directly to a goal and safely accomplishing it. Many trainers will argue otherwise.

#6 Most Common of Strength Training Mistakes

About 55% of survey respondents have a good idea of how to begin interval training. But 45% would start out with a hard interval: recovery interval ratio that leads to injury or to reduced effectiveness of intervals.

By definition interval training sessions are alternating high intensity exercise with periods of very low intensity recovery. The best analogy is of driving your car around town. All of that stopping and starting means you burn up a lot of fuel, right? You get terrible mileage in town. Exactly what you want when you exercise!

If you don’t recover between hard intervals the workout is much less effective. The high intensity interval isn’t. The low intensity interval isn’t. It all becomes gray. For beginners the best intervals are more recovery time and less work time. If you’re work: recovery intervals are equal or you’re recovery time is shorter than your work time, definitely as a beginner you’re probably short changing your results.

The 7th Mistake

A whopping 84% of midlife women don’t know how much time to rest between strength training sessions. [Maybe there’s a theme here, considering #6 – we just don’t know how to rest!]

The best way to fully recover after age 50 is to monitor yourself closely for a week or two. Track your resting heart rate (first thing in the morning), your soreness before beginning a workout, your fatigue or energy level during the day, the quality of your sleep, and your appetite.

I discussed each of those in You Still Got It, Girl! and you track them in The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women course. If any of them aren’t optimal (e.g. your resting heart rate is elevated by 5 beats from normal) and you’re exercising “more” as opposed to better, increasing your rest may be the answer to better fitness.

In your fourth or fifth decade, your need for recovery between hard sessions increases. Make no mistake – you have the ability to work just as hard as you ever did – and get comparable results to younger cohorts, so long as you rest longer. It’s not necessarily an age thing either. We’re all different in our need for recovery.

Rest Right For You

Compare one elite athlete to another and you’ll find there’s a difference in how much time they need between challenging workouts. The one that needs more recovery time could be the better athlete – as long as she’s able to recover.

For many older adults recovery time of 72 hours between tough workouts gets better fitness. You can –and should- absolutely perform lighter and moderate workouts and lots of movement between. Adding that extra day of recovery – as opposed to an extra workout – might help you reach greater fitness in the second half.

Try ditching the Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule and give a Monday, Thursday schedule a try for a few weeks.

#8 Most Common of Strength Training Mistakes

A whopping 7 out of 10 survey respondents aren’t getting enough protein after workouts to optimize lean muscle repair. Protein synthesis declines with age. Fortunately for active older adults it’s higher than for sedentary older adults. Still, you don’t synthesize – use the protein you eat for the use of your muscle – as well as you did 10 or 20 years ago.

So if you’re eating the same amount of protein you used to, or as many older adults do, you’re cutting down on your protein, it might be time to bump your protein. If you’re not seeing or feeling results from your workouts the type and timing of your protein matter significantly as you age.

Clean, unprocessed, hormone-free protein sources are best. Consuming about 30 grams of protein at each of three meals is ideal for daily habits.

Muscle and protein haven’t been a part of the bone density discussion for the first 20 years of our increased awareness of osteoporosis prevention. Now, however its so clear that without muscle you don’t have the ability to do what you need to prevent osteoporosis, or prevent additional bone loss, and increase balance to reduce falls.

And Finally the 9th Mistake 

Only 1 in 4 know the ideal timing of a high protein meal or shake after a strength training session. It’s not just how much protein you need, it’s when you consume it that matters.

Following a hard strength training workout, consuming either a meal or a shake/smoothie with 30grams of protein at 60-90 minutes after is optimal.

Have you read or heard that you should have protein and carbs right away? At one point chocolate milk was all the rage. It’s past time to rethink that sugar and the dairy that is not ideal for many older adults. Further, the research on timing has been replaced, especially for older adults.

Strength training gives you a big advantage in synthesizing protein. Follow strength training you can use it better. However, you (in the second half) have a blunting effect for about 60 minutes in ability to synthesize protein. So wait till you shower, or run that errand, to have your next scheduled meal or a protein shake for the best lean muscle benefits.

Your Turn

Is anything a surprise here? I’d love to hear from you.

If you seek support in Bone Density knowledge, learn more about my bone health mini course here.

If you want support for strength training – and making it a lasting habit with my 12-week STRONGER programsclick here!

Enrollment opens a few times a year and if you’re lucky enough to be reading this during enrollment you can jump in! If not, you can ask to be notified when doors open (and be the first to take advantage of early bird rates offered to a limited number of students!)

strength training mistakes

Additional Resources:

How to Choose an Exercise Program 

How to Start Strength Training After 50 (two-part) 

Why Strength Training After 50 is So Important for Women

Strength Training Program for Hormones

The first and only strength training program for hormones balance during menopause so you can boost metabolism is open for enrollment. With questions coming from so many our our Flipping 50 community members on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and even our Flipping 50 email subscribers who get the inside scoop and chance at the first seats in the program I wanted to answer your questions – somewhat personally – in as many places as possible.

You may be one of the women that I’ve been able to respond to personally. You may be on of the women I haven’t yet had a chance to answer individually. I thank you all for your questions! My team and I are working our way through all the questions as quickly as we can.

My mission is simple. I want the right people to get registered – as early as possible so you can take advantage of the best rate and perks – and that message includes wanting to be sure if the program is not right for you that you know that right away too.

So let’s dive in… but first me poking fun at … well, me.

My Strength Training For Hormones guidelines

There are some truths we live by at Flipping 50. They are:

That’s not an all-inclusive list. It is the most relevant of our list for our exercise programs.

Flipping 50 does not believe in:

You should know that a mere 39% of all exercise and sport science research features female subjects. A fraction of that is female subjects in perimenopause, menopause, and beyond.

Yet, that is the only research that as a woman in peri-menopause or beyond can trust as being practical for your own application. A strength training program for hormones should be based on the hormone changes you’re experiencing.

That research is all I use to design programs, coach women, and create content on this site. We do you, all day, every day. That’s it. Sure, research on other subjects is of interest and if there’s any way it might be relatable, I’ll share it, but never without telling you that it’s outside the research usually shared.

Your Questions:

Q. Are the videos in STRONGER II the same as STRONGER I? 

A. Great question! No. Every product I create uses unique videos created solely for an intended purpose. Rest assured all videos are unique.

Q. Are these downloadable videos?

A. No. The program grants you access to a private members-only area where you view the videos during the 12 week program. After the program you’re enrolled in your login access will end. You will have all the written content including any cheat sheets for workouts, the quick start guides for sample schedules, quick starts to cardio support (STRONGER I), and exercise nutrition or cellulite nutrition support (STRONGER I and II, respectively).

Q. So I don’t have access to the videos after for ongoing use? 

A. That’s correct. There is a method to the madness. It’s about 35 years of observations and human psychology. With a limited time access, and with a clear start and stop, more people are successful at staying on track. While seemingly amazing to have “lifetime” access, results and even completion drop by more than 50%. If there’s no reason to use them, no urgency, no continued support, there’s usually no or at least much lower compliance.  My goal is to get you active and consistent with the regularity that gets results.

Q. What’s the refund policy? 

A. In line with my response above, once you’re in the program and have access to any of the materials you will need to go through the program, show you’ve done the homework, participated actively, and reached out for help before you request a refund. In 35 years I’ve experienced many times people quitting because it’s not convenient, not buying the membership or the personal training, and then getting stuck with a diagnosis or health scare that rocks them to the core. Never once has someone who started – at any age – ever come back and regretted it. It’s too easy to stop, it’s never convenient to get sweaty, do laundry, get up earlier, eat later. But exercise is really not optional. It’s lifesaving at least and quality of life enhancing at best. That’s an investment in you I’d like to hold you accountable to.

(health issues or family crisis come up I know: in those instances we have delayed or deferred enrollment fees to the next program)

Q. I have two knee replacements and need to strengthen my knees but I can’t do more than limited range of motion, is this appropriate for me?

A. Both programs are created for the apparently healthy women going through hormone change or who’s already gone through changes. There are not specific modifications given for specific conditions. That said be cautious. Know your limits. If you know which exercises you can and can’t do or know what your personal range of motion is, you may make this work. If you’re unsure, I would first follow a program like Knee-Friendly 5 Day Flip. Movement between exercises is not slow, though exercise is performed with cueing and caution so you feel it where you should and not where you shouldn’t. You may do best working with a private trainer one-on-one, whether virtually with me (an upgrade to private coaching could support your needs).

Q. Can you explain what comes with the programs?

A. Yes! STRONGER I is 12 weeks of workouts, one new video each week that you’ll do twice. You’ll also receive the quick start to cardio, schedule samples, and exercise nutrition. STRONGER II is 12 weeks including a variety of spot specific (cellulite) warm up, cardio, strength, massage, and cool down videos. You’ll receive the in depth guid to cellulite and how to reduce the appearance through not only the exercise but nutrition, and lifestyle habits that are proven to help. You’ll get a guide to how you can mix and match videos for your time constraints and your cellulite spot-specific needs.

Q. How long are the workouts?

A. The STRONGER I workouts can be done in less than 90 minutes a week – (2) 30-40 minute workouts. STRONGER II workouts are a bit longer and you want to complete all components at the same session. Allow 60-70 minutes for workouts 2x a week. You will be including strength and cardio in each workout so you’ll have a lot done in a short amount of time.

Ready ? If one of these programs is right for you start now! Visit STRONGER I(STRONGER II and III are now inside the Flipping 50 membership site, and STRONGER IV will be too by Dec 2019! That’s the wise decision for over $800 in exercise programs alone! and so much more!)

This post was originally published last fall. In light of the overwhelming response and media appearances I’ve done since, I’m sharing it again with a few updates. This is clearly a topic you’re interested in! There’s however a wide continuum of 50+ women who want to get started and don’t know what to do, who are doing and don’t know if they’re doing the right thing, or who are doing the “right thing” and not seeing results. Refresh or dive in for the first time to strength training for 50+ women.

Why is Strength Training for 50+ Women So Important?

strength training after 50

Strength training is beneficial at any age. Strength training for 50+ women should be mandatory. Health concerns that result in medical costs, loss of independence, and early decline could be avoided or reduced with weight training.

The list of issues that plagues many adults over 50, including women going through menopause, is almost exactly opposite the list of weight training benefits well documented in research. Sleep issues, weigh gain, joint pain, depression, anxiety, blood pressure, cholesterol, bone density, loss of stamina, strength and endurance, low back pain, and digestive issues are common complaints among older adults.

The answer for avoiding or improving any of those issues requires a low investment of time, money, and energy compared to the cost of living with any of them.

“More and more research is finding that it is, in fact, the only type of exercise that can substantially slow, and even reverse, the declines in muscle mass, bone density, and strength that were once considered unavoidable parts of aging.”

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has fitness guidelines specific to weight training for adults over 50. The guidelines state lifting weights 2 or 3 times a week for 8-10 major muscle groups with a weight heavy enough to fatigue muscles in 10 to 15 repetitions.

Reductions in bone density, and even improvements once thought not possible, occur with weight training though not with cardiovascular training. I’ve stated many times that you can’t outrun, out-Zumba, osteoporosis. Avid runners – both enthusiasts and elite athletes are prone to fractures if they are not lifting weights.

You also can’t hope that Barre, Pilates, or Yoga will increase your bone health as effectively as weight training. There will be small gains for anyone coming off the couch, or new to the exercises but all three (and the infinite variations of fusion that exist) lack both the weight bearing and weight load necessary for optimal bone density. The bottom line is if bone density is a concern and it should be given lifespan is extending and losses begin at about age 30, your return from 20 minutes of weight training twice a week is significantly greater than other exercise.

Weight training works on bones in two ways. The increased muscle pull on bones and the increased stress to the bone from the load on the skeleton during lifting both support increased bone density.

What’s the difference between adults who strength training after 50 vs. those who don’t?

For a small investment of 40 to 60 minutes of your week the returns are significant. Impressive improvements in sleep, appetite, blood sugar control, arthritis, injury reduction, fewer falls and improved immunity are a few of the benefits.

Metabolism often decreases with age, due in part to a loss of muscle, which in turn contributes to less activity and it begins to spiral downward from there. Weight training is one of the best ways to stimulate metabolism long term by preventing muscle loss and increasing lean tissue. See below for more on improving metabolism by reducing fat and increasing lean tissue.

You can look at strength training two ways. It will indeed prevent some of the once-assumed “normal” degenerative issues associated with aging. That approach of avoidance however is not a tremendous motivator for most of us. The bigger win is related to enjoying benefits as opposed to not suffering from disease or decline. You can enjoy more energy, vitality, more intimacy (yes, sex is a benefit), more productivity, creativity and better problem solving.

You’re not just reducing your medical bills and insurance rates (fitness habits often result in lower premiums), you’re enhancing your enjoyment of life!

One of our STRONGER participants said it best.

“I do feel stronger. More important than that though: I got myself back. I feel more like me than I have in years.”

That was after just eight weeks of strength training twice a week.

But, what if you ARE strength training and it’s not helping some of those pesky problems like belly fat that’s come on since menopause or cellulite that is suddenly a fact of life?

Cellulite doesn’t discriminate, so don’t be offended. Upper arms, belly, hips and thighs… it’s all fair game, fit or fat. And HEY, if cellulite is truly a problem you want help with, STRONGER II: Smooth & Strong is something you want to know about. When doors are open you’ll be the first to know if it’s right for you (and at the early bird rate).

STRONGER I is for basic strength training only. STRONGER II includes cardio options, Warm ups, and Cool down stretches and…. secret sauce I can’t share with you here! to target cellulite. If you want to compare the two- I’ll do just that for you as soon as the doors are open.

strength training after 50

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What kind of results can you expect?

If you’re new to strength training, or you change your program I’m most excited for you! You’ll experience the most results. A study by Wayne Westcott showed study participants doing a traditional weight training program (similar to ACSM recommendations) loss 4 lbs. of fat and gained 3 lbs. of muscle in four weeks. Similar results continued for each of the first three months of strength training.

The end result of 12 weeks of strength training for subjects on average was 12 lbs of fat loss and 9 lbs of muscle gain. That may be just 4 lbs reflected on the scale, yet your body composition improvements will mean a higher metabolism and significant change in inches.

Further, unlike cardiovascular exercise that has limited influence on body shape, weight training can significantly improve body proportion. Nothing will change your shape like strength training, before or after 50.

In addition, the benefits last longer than say micro-movements of barre or other conditioning classes. That’s not to say they have no value, but they are not going to have a major influence on your metabolism (or bone density, mood, cholesterol or blood pressure) compared to strength training. If time is of the essence, strength training after 50 provides the greatest return.

The more you move, the better. The sweet spot for strength training frequency that improves overall activity level all day is twice a week. Those who do more, tend to compensate with couch time and those who train less than twice weekly on weights tend not to experience the benefit of increased energy and desire to be more active.

Why don’t most adults participate in strength training after 50?

They never started.

It’s the single biggest reason. Baby boomer women weren’t necessarily socialized to value weight training as young adults. Strength training for 50+ women will be much more the norm in one or two decades when those flipping 50 have been frequenting the weight room more consistently for decades. [One of the best things you can do to influence the health and longevity of a young woman is to encourage her to get into the weight room now!]

Getting acclimated to a gym or weight room as an older adult can be more intimidating if you don’t already have some sense of what you’re doing.

Fewer than 15% of adults over 60 achieve a habit of weight training twice a week.

Most adults over 60 state reasons like injury (not necessarily caused by the weight training) or illness, or travel were stated as the biggest reasons for dropping out. But a significant number of responses indicate that a lack of support during programs played a part in ceasing to either start or continue strength training after 50.

The anecdote? Start today. Think about what would make it more comfortable for you. Private studio or at-home exercise? One-on-one trainer or a group program? Online coach or commute to a fitness center? With a friend or solo focused on your needs? Until you’re comfortable and intimidation is a non-factor, make sure you’ve got support.

How can you ensure that you continue strength training after 50?

There’s a drop out rate for strength training after 50 of up to 45% percent depending on circumstances (training alone, in a group).

Based on much of the research on retention and on behavior change I’ve studied over three decades, the keys to regular strength training after 50 are not surprising and you may have guessed.

1) Get support from an expert you trust

Find a program, a video, or a trainer with experience working with someone like you. In my hypothesis and experience, none of us is truly lazy, but we are reluctant if we don’t have confidence what we do is getting us closer to our goals. Find a source you trust with a track record of success.

2) Confirm you’re following a program designed based on research about you.[39% of ALL sports medicine and exercise research features females: a fraction of that is based on women in peri-menopause and beyond]. Because you’ve got unique multiple needs: hormones, metabolism, bone density, body composition … you need a program designed based on research featuring subjects like YOU. Ask: “Is this designed as strength training for 50+ women?”

3) Make sure the program addresses your priorities.

You probably have more than one goal. If you’re seeking hormone balance, care for joints, increased strength and bone density, go shopping not for a program labeled “strength training for 50+ women” (or something similar which could be a marketing ploy placed on anything). Instead, ask for details about the design of the program and the science behind it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Webinar REPLAY is available on demand for a limited time this month. It’s been one of THE most popular and requested replays in 6 years and over 250 webinars.

I’d love to hear from you. Are you participating in a strength training for 50+ women program? How long have you been strength training? Share your age: it’s relevant! You could inspire someone!

Resources:
https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2009/07000/Exercise_and_Physical_Activity_for_Older_Adults.20.aspx
Hot, Not Bothered: 99 Daily Flips for Slimmer, Trimmer, Fitter Faster So You Can Master Metabolism Before, During, and (long) After Menopause
You Still Got It, Girl! The After 50 Fitness Formula For Women
Navigating Fitness After 50: Your GPS for Choosing Programs and Professionals You Can Trust

The STRONGER doors are almost open!

STRONGER I program …. Get the BONUS cheat sheets for EVERY WORKOUT (use alone when traveling or at the gym and have them forever!)

Get the BONUS yoga videos we’ve added to support you getting both STRONGER and FLEXIBLE

Plus all the program perks of being with a group of like-minded women staying accountable together for 12 weeks!

See the details and save your spot… get the access with the early birds by going to flippingfifty.com/getstronger

STRONGER II is ALL ABOUT Cellulite, with a special protocol, and 5-STEP program. The time you invest in workouts has to be slightly greater. But the results? Worth it.

10 Studies: Protein Intake and Strength Training After 50

Protein intake and strength training together are your dynamic duo for aging and loving it. 

1) Protein was the determining factor when high or low carbohydrate intake did n’t have an impact on successful aging. “Successful” was determined by an integrated rating of social, physical, and mental performance.

2) In a 2018 review of literature of protein intake influence on aging researchers reported: “Currently recommended protein intake for aging adults may not be sufficient for muscle mass and strength maintenance.

To minimize the adverse health and environmental effects of excess animal protein consumption, incorporation of sustainably sourced plant proteins may be a promising strategy.”

I’ll link to previous conversations about the animal and plant protein dilemma.

3) Very high protein intake (≥1.2 g/kg/day) and high protein intake (≥1.0 g/kg/day) groups showed better lower limb physical functioning and walking speed (WS) performance in comparison to individuals who present relative low protein (<0.80 g/kg/day) intake.

4) Women below the higher RDA protein threshold had a significantly (p < 0.05) higher likelihood of having physical limitations (compared to higher RDA threshold). Additionally, they had significant differences in muscle mass.

In conclusion, the present study supports the RDA threshold of 0.8 g·kg-1 BW of proteins to prevent the loss of muscle mass and emphasizes the importance of the higher RDA threshold of at least 1.1 g·kg-1 BW to infer additional benefits on constructs of physical function.

This study also supports the role of protein intake for healthy aging, even in older adults meeting guidelines for physical activity. (Several studies point to protein needs increasing for sedentary and frail older adults).

5) Physical inactivity and inadequate nutrition (undereating or overeating the wrong things) accelerate age-related decrease in muscle mass and strength. The good news is that this status is subject to modification.

Physical activity/exercise guidelines need to make specific reference to resistance exercise and highlight the benefits of higher-intensity aerobic exercise training, alongside advocating older adults perform aerobic-based physical activity and household tasks (e.g., carrying groceries).

In terms of dietary recommendations, greater emphasis should be placed on optimal rather than minimum protein intake for older adults.

Guidelines that endorse a daily protein intake of 1.2-1.5 g/kg BM/day, which are levels 50-90% greater than the current protein Recommendation Dietary Allowance (0.8 g/kg BM/day), are likely to help preserve muscle mass and strength and are safe for healthy older adults.

Increasing the proportion of leucine contained in a given dose of protein, co-ingesting other nutrients (e.g., carbohydrate and fat or supplementation with n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids) or being physically active prior to protein intake. These things are known to enhance muscle protein synthesis.

resource mentioned: The Protein Report

Increase Muscle Protein Synthesis:

  • Exercise before protein
  • Add carbohydrate and fat with protein (support absorption)
  • Increase amount of leucine to about 2.3 mcg per serving of protein

What does 1.5 g/kg equal?

1.5 g/kg

125 lbs = 57 kg

85 gm protein

28.5 gm protein

 

150 lbs = 68 kg

102 gm protein

34 grams per meal

This episode is sponsored by the 28 Day Kickstart

6) Minerals may be important nutrients to prevent and/or treat sarcopenia (significant muscle loss). Particularly, magnesium, selenium, and calcium seem to be most promising.

7) An increasing body of experimental studies on skeletal muscle protein metabolism as well as epidemiological data suggest that protein requirements with aging might be greater than many current dietary recommendations. 

Studies that compared muscle protein synthetic (MPS) responses to protein ingestion in young and old adults suggest that a higher relative protein intake is required to maximally stimulate skeletal muscle MPS in the aged oldest old (85+).

Regular physical activity may preserve and even enhance the responsiveness of aging skeletal muscle to protein intake, until very advanced age. Message? Keep exercising in order to keep protein synthesis optimal and stay youthful.

8) Studies investigated a total of 50,284 older adults from three different continents between 2006 and 2018. Four cross-sectional studies were included in the meta-analyses. The results demonstrated that a high protein intake was negatively associated with frailty status in older adults.

A distribution of protein intake spread evening over the main meals is better associated with gait speed than relative protein intake  – aka it is NOT about how much per day but how much at every meal.

The study found frequent consumption of meals containing at least 30 g of protein was associated with greater lean mass and lower-limb muscle strength in middle-aged and older adults. Read: greater lean mass = lower body fat.

9) Another study found that more frequent consumption of meals containing between 30 and 45 g protein/meal produced the greatest association with leg lean mass and strength. Thus, the consumption of 1-2 daily meals with protein content from 30 to 45 g may be an important strategy for increasing and/or maintaining lean body mass and muscle strength with aging.

10) Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) and frequency of protein consumption of ⩾30 g of protein per meal were independently associated with lower extremity lean mass and strength.

Study subjects had protein intake of at least 2 meals a day of 30 + grams of protein.

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29687264

https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/3/360/htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30235845

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30149519

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26878863

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28711425

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30037048

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30235893

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27086196/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28656974

If you’re seeing this on iTunes or YouTube or where you get podcasts, visit the show notes at

Flippingfifty.com/proteinandstrength

Other resources: 

Why it’s so hard to choose protein

Is a Slow Metabolism Key to Longevity?

0

Start typing and press Enter to search