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

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

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.

Why is Strength Training After 50 So Important?

strength training after 50

Strength training is beneficial at any age. Strength training after 50 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.

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 after 50 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.

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 after 50” (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.

 

I’d love to hear from you. Are you strength training after 50? 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

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How Much High Intensity Exercise is Too Much?

high intensity exercise primer

Are you doing too much high intensity exercise? High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been the holy grail of fitness trends for the past several years. Is it the Holy Grail for YOU? Here’s what a recent study says and how to interpret that if you’re a woman flipping (or wanting to) her second half with flare.

Exercise is stress. High intensity exercise is greater stress. Stress causes cortisol.

Cortisol plays two roles in our lives. It’s both the stress hormone and the energy hormone. The perfect amount of stress makes you feel alive and thrive. Too little or too much cortisol each causes problems.

When you’re exercising with the right amount of “overload” or stress you create a positive, not negative, stress response. That’s not to say (because I hear you saying that’s how you negate stress) that exercise doesn’t relieve stress. It can. But we sometimes don’t give ourselves the right dose, frequency or intensity to optimally relieve stress without having it come back to bite us you-know-where.

Better Stress

The key is to find your personal optimal exercise. I’m an advocate for the right exercise for you right now. Women in midlife are more susceptible to the negative effects of stress as they go through other major hormone changes. What worked once – even as recently as months ago or last week – may not be your ideal exercise this week.

That doesn’t mean you’re going to suffer, gain weight, get moody or any of the above. If you adjust your exercise according to what’s going on, respond to it even if you can’t predict what changes will be, you’ll sail through those years from peri-menopause to beyond menopause better. That sets you up for a full Flipping 50 (49-99) feeling as young as your habits will allow you. It’s habits that determine how your genetics express or suppress (epigenetics).

What’s the best exercise?  The answer is not the same for you and for every other woman over 50. We’ve got common denominators but your details are unique to you. If you’re deconditioned, conditioned, or an athlete it changes your exercise prescription. If you’re in adrenal fatigue, you’re estrogen dominant, or have low testosterone will change what I suggest you do. If you have osteoporosis, are trying to prevent it, or you have 20 or more pounds to lose, each of these (and more) will change the exercise plan that’s best for you.

A recent study of weight training performed as high intensity interval training (HIIT) was created to determine if HIIT weight training was better than traditional weight training. Researchers asked, is heavy weight training better than the moderate-to-light weight training recommended for decades?

A side note here: the fear of “bulk” from strength training is legit. The three sets of 10-to-12 repetitions taught for decades, as some kind of gold standard actually IS a bulk-building protocol. Ten or fewer repetitions is the optimal strength, bone building, and fat reducing/lean increasing protocol while higher repetition ranges are best for performance enhancement and influencing smaller muscle activation.

Your personal exercise protocol is also influenced by whether you’re a mesomorph, endomorph, or ectomorph. Each body type can respond differently to a protocol.

ACE Research

According to the study performed by the American Council on Exercise, a leading authority in fitness, moderate or average exercise should occur between 70 to 80 percent heart rate intensity, HIIT training requires at least 85 percent heart rate intensity, the study says. Les Mills’ researchers (creators of Body Pump) wanted to determine how to best achieve a healthy balance between one’s HIIT volume (minutes of HIIT per week) and one’s positive stress response. Their hypothesis was that more than 30 or 40 minutes of weekly HIIT volume would prompt a reduced positive stress response.

“A positive stress response to exercise is a critical part of creating the bio-chemical changes in the body that help build new muscle and improve fitness,” the study says. “The stress response can be measured effectively by examining cortisol and testosterone concentrations in saliva.”

Not to repeat myself but as mentioned earlier, this is really what we refer to as the principle of overload in fitness. The stimulus of exercise must be adequate to provide overload such that the body responds after (when between sessions fitness occurs IF you have adequate rest, food, and sleep).

Remember Your Hormones

It’s key for YOU to remember, Flipping 50 friend, that you have another thing to consider. The status of your hormones, not just of your mind’s desire to lose fat, or get in shape needs to be considered when designing your exercise program. Pushing through … following lame social media memes suggesting that “sweat is fat crying” can backfire on you and increase fat storage when stress goes the wrong way. When you read “move more” interpret it as walking down the hall to deliver a message as opposed to going to boot camp 6 days a week or doing two-a-days.

Let me take a step back here and describe what it feels like to lift at a level defined as HIIT. There’s a lot of confusion about HIIT. Anything that gets you breathing slightly harder is NOT HIIT. Lifting with a weight that causes fatigue at 10 repetitions correlates with 80% intensity. So in order to lift and a HIIT level of 90% as per the study, you’d be lifting a weight closer to 5 repetitions.

Don’t panic. You definitely progress to this point. You also can reduce the weight slightly and use power, increasing speed on the lift but always controlling the lowering (eccentric) phase of exercise to achieve this overload without a heavy weight. You do this in daily life… the wind grabs the car door, the door to a store is heavy, or you heft the garbage bag out to the curb… so if you’re worried about injury (valid) do consider whether your daily activity warrants the work so you’re prepared.

Fatigue vs Tired

Moving fast to get breathless is not necessarily overloading the muscles in a way that muscle changes and creates lean muscle tissue that assists in fat burning.

THIS is a key distinction most program creators and attendees fail to make. Going to a boot camp where you’re moving fast from a strength exercise to a cardio exercise to a core exercise will likely tire you. Tired is not muscle fatigue. Muscle fatigue must be reached so your body changes.

Will it burn calories right now? Yes. Will it change your body, your body composition, and set you up for years of a stronger leaner body? No.

The study used strength training as the mode of high intensity exercise.Researchers compared one set of 5 repetitions for each of 10 exercises to 1 or 2 sets of 10 repetitions for 10-12 exercises. The subjects were both male and female and ages up to 59.

The results showed body fat decreased significantly for both groups. Blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol decreased only for the HIIT group.

“When it comes to HIIT, adding volume doesn’t deliver better results,” the report says.

“It actually hinders. To get the full benefits of HIIT and prevent overreaching, our recommendation is to…

Do a maximum weekly HIIT sessions that are above 90 percent maximum heart rate for 30-40 minutes…

…and balance them with other less demanding workouts.”

“It’s also imperative that you let your body recover properly after a HIIT session. This way, you’re likely to perform better when you do your HIIT workouts and benefit from the positive results,” researchers added.

The key exercise flips:

  1. More is not better when it comes to High Intensity exercise
  2. An understanding of what constitutes high intensity interval training is key if you’re to reap benefits
  3. The more health markers (blood pressure and cholesterol) you’re trying to target with your exercise, the more HIIT could benefit you done with adequate progression
  4. A low volume of HIIT (no more than 40 minutes a week) is far better for results (and reduction of injury) than more volume (frequency, or duration)
  5. If you’re doing high intensity exercise that is also high impact cardio or high intensity strength training every day you may be inhibiting your recovery and results.

This distinction of when to work hard and when to recovery is so important. It’s not intuitive for a generation that witnessed the work harder, get better results discipline of our parents.

This is sure to bring questions! It may also bring breakthroughs in your fitness. Add your comments below! I love to hear from you.

high intensity exercise

starting an exercise program If you’re thinking about starting an exercise program and you just can’t stand the thought of starting and quitting again, or you’re in it but you’re randomly doing things and can’t really commit to those regular habits that will make the difference, this post is for you.

Are your thoughts fat? Have you got a heavy load of limited thinking getting in the way of you either starting an exercise program or staying motivated to exercise?

It’s likely one of two things:

Reason ONE starting an exercise program is daunting

You’re not ready to change. No amount of external motivation, science, or workout planning is going to help you if you simply don’t want to change. You’re still unconsciously creating a balance sheet and the cons of changing are winning over the pros of changing.

You probably wouldn’t be reading this if YOU didn’t want change. But that is different than changing your habits to be more regular. The answer for you is not to jump in with reservations anyway. You really need to spend more time deciding that you’re in it – get married to it – and through good times and bad you’re going to change. It’s not convenient. Ever.

“I’m going to apply to do this next year,”a woman once told me at an American Heart Association Go Red for Women’s event following my presentation. Essentially what she was telling me was that she was going to wait another full year to apply to be a participant (with the possibility she would not be chosen) in the program meant to inspire and demonstrate the power of just three months of exercise, nutrition, and lifestyle change. Rather than start now and be healthier, happier, and at less risk by next year… she was going to wait. If you too would say something like that, you’re not ready to change. It sounds good, but you’re not ready to lace up your shoes and take a walk.

starting an exercise program In a perfect world with no stress, humans are going to want to keep doing what’s habitual. So if you have habits to dump or add you’ve got to be committed to doing the work. Most of the things involved in starting an exercise program are easy. It’s sticking to it when your default habits kick in that’s hard. That’s thinking, not acting. So ponder what’s going to get in the way, why, and what you’re going to do about it before you begin.

Following a presentation to a women’s association I was once approached by a woman who said, “Next year when I retire, I’m going to start.” This woman, a teacher, was also going to wait nearly a year until it was more convenient to start. She’d waited this long, I suppose, what was nine more months? Clearly, I need to review something in my stage message!

The challenge here is that disease unfortunately is not waiting. It’s having a heyday. While you’re pushing through with stressors, ignoring your body’s need for exercise and healthier eating habits, tossing and turning at night instead of getting restful sleep, disease finds more opportunity. Never mind the joy you’re missing from being a more active, focused, fully present woman less likely to be anxious, depressed or tired.

In Mary’s case, it was osteoporosis. Just as she was about to retire from her position as head of a counseling clinic, she was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Her plans to retire to a mountain home and spend her days chasing white powder on skis were threatened.

What plans are you making that life might interfere with because you didn’t buy that insurance policy called exercise? You can either think of that as a con for not starting now, or you can think about the pros of your active life without limits once you have the time to enjoy it. Spend time creating your own balance sheet when it comes to your exercise decision.

Reason TWO starting an exercise program is daunting

You’ve got limiting beliefs – stinking thinking – about health habits. Your thoughts may tend to spill over to other areas of your life too, but certainly they limit permanent health habit adoption or stopping habits that interfere with your starting and exercise program.

I’m going to identify 10 patterns of limited thinking (that’s a lot of ways we can screw up). You may identify with more than one. Trained in exercise and sport psychology along with kinesiology, I’ve worked with clients and students on behavior change for 34 years. Among my private coaching clients (and me; none of us is immune to the occasional stinking thinking), there have been patterns of thinking that either are changed quickly and allow someone to pivot and move forward, or that tend to keep us stuck for longer than we’d like. It can take as little as 90 seconds to work through an emotion triggered by a thought.

So, even if you’ve been stuck for years, whatever you’re about to do next, does not have to be a replay of those events.

It’s not discipline or willpower. It’s desire to change and the way you think about or process what happens or doesn’t that most influence your rate of success. Notice I didn’t mention failure: if you’re still trying there isn’t any failure. There may be some “juice” you get from just being in this space of limbo not really changing, just going through the motions.

Do you keep buying programs? We usually follow people that are already going in the direction we want to go in. So if you find an expert you believe in and yet you can’t get your arms around making the changes the expert is asking you to make, you’ll hop to the next program and spend time on Facebook joining group after group without ever taking action. A woman recently requested access to one of our Flipping 50 private program groups who already belonged to 36 groups. Thirty-six! My suggestion for her would be to go on a Facebook diet and substitute a walk for all that time online. That’s a business opportunity for someone! I’d call it the Facebook Diet. The marketing materials would say, “Is Facebook Making You Fat?”

Do you keep telling yourself you can do better without acknowledging that this is the first time you’ve done something?

I’m going to name, and define, and give you 10 examples of how limiting thinking shows up and could derail you as you’re starting an exercise program.

starting an exercise programAll or Nothing

You miss either do it all or you do nothing. You have a little cake at a birthday party and suddenly you’ve blown your perfect streak. “I blew it.” On the other hand, you may have gone to a cocktail party, refused to eat anything that was there and feel proud, but totally deprived. You’re either “good” or “bad” in a situation.

Overgeneralization

This is all so hard,” you might say as you’re starting an exercise program or shortly after the honeymoon period. It’s as if everything about changing to eat healthier or find time to exercise is difficult and in fact needs to be that way. Someone else who has healthy habits is “a health nut.”

I’ve never been able to stick with something for very long.”You’re likely to throw words in like always and never when you’re referencing yourself if you tend to do this one. If you’re starting an exercise program – again – there may be patterns but they’re merely breadcrumbs.

Mental Filter

It’s all negative. There’s no positive focus. “You’re just being nice. I should have done better,”you’d say after someone complimented you for reaching a new goal or completing your first race. You distort and see it as negative even when it’s positive.

How do you shift your mental filter? Ask questions like, what is it you’re rejecting? What is the evidence, In this case, the evidence that you should have done better at something new? How valid is the evidence?

Discounting Positives

This is insisting the positives don’t count. Say you receive a compliment on completing a tough effort in a workout or consistently sticking to your exercise schedule and eating well while traveling. You reply, “It’s terrible! I haven’t lost a bit of weight.”

You come just short of not only rejecting the compliment, but of insulting the person who gave it to you. Starting an exercise program your goal may very well be weight loss but evidence that you’re going in the right direction toward that end goal comes before the result. There are positives all around you.

Jumping to Conclusions

You’re doing a lot of mindreading and fortune telling. You assume that someone is judging you even without evidence it’s true. In part, this is because you are judging you. This is also sometimes called projecting.

Say you’re a professional woman with an established career. You begin an exercise and nutrition program and you have a history of starting and stopping. You feel like everyone is judging what you perceive as failure in this arena as a fault in your professional armor. The truth is there’s no evidence anyone is judging you for your weight or appearance, nor are they tying it to your ability professionally. You could choose to believe that or shift to believing that being authentic about your journey will actually help you in every other area of life.

Magnification Communication

You either blow things out of proportion or you shrink things. You might have a workout plan from a coach and you intended to complete it but when you went outside the heat index was already above 100 and you simply couldn’t complete it. You dwell on the fact that you failed to do the workout that was written for today and that because of that you have slowed your progress and screwed up.

You ignore the fact that the heat changes everything and your effort was still high, and in this case much safer and smarter. You realize that anyone attempting to do the same workout under conditions like this would compromise their health and be reducing not improving fitness. You completely forget that you remained consistent in your workouts and committed to your schedule.

You let it bother you for days and your weekly coaching report focuses on how poor this performance was regardless of how the rest of the week went.

Emotional Reasoning

You assume reason from how you feel. An example of this is if you feel ashamed or embarrassed about your weight or lack of progress, then for you that logically means that others must think you are an embarrassment and haven’t tried to help yourself. If you feel stupid when you go to the gym for the first time and don’t know how to adjust equipment or where to start you assume you are stupid.

How do you get out of this mindset? Remind yourself that feelings are indications of what you’re thinking. You have the ability to change your thoughts and that in turn will change your feeling. You need to take back your power by treating a feeling as a symptom.

Should Catastrophe

If you “should” on yourself you exaggerate something that is truly just a choice. You impose it on yourself as if it’s a golden rule. You do this with should, must, have to, ought to and leave yourself burdened with things that just add stress and seem terrible to you when you don’t do them.

You may in fact be taking action and following through with health habits, but you rarely enjoy the benefits because your thinking makes it more like an unpleasant sentence than a lifestyle choice you love.

Labeling

When it doesn’t all go as planned you blame yourself. You make it hard to take in the data from past experiences and use it as a catalyst for going forward. Instead of, “I made a mistake,”you say “I’m an idiot.”

In regards to a social eating environment where you gave into temptation or succumbed to peer pressure of people you have history of eating and drinking to excess with, instead of, “I let myself explore the food choices,” you say, “I have no willpower.”

One of my personal favorite recounts, “I fell off the wagon and got run over by it,”can fit in so many of the categories here, but not this one, do you see why? There’s really no blame (good) or assumption of responsibility (not so good). It’s like the wagon must have taken a sharp corner and thrown you off. Poor thing.

On the other hand, too many of us tend to do the opposite, as in this next example of thought patterns to dump before starting an exercise program. 

Personalization and Blame

You blame yourself for something you’re not responsible for. You register for a race or set out to do a new training distance. It’s harder than you thought and you are disappointed by your performance. Instead of processing all the things that are unpredictable on race day that come into play, you blame yourself for a time much slower than you had wanted. You say, “I should have done so much better. My time was terrible.”

The reality is that it was your first race at that distance. You had a personal best no matter how you look at it. You have really no right to expect a better performance if you tried your best, followed the plan, fueled and rested well. You just learn from what happened, assess what worked, where it was hard, and identify how you can overcome that next time by a change in training, rest, and fuel.

You can process data from every life event whether a single workout, the instance where you decide to get up and workout or to stay in bed, or the way you approach meal planning every week. Before starting an exercise program, perhaps again, spend time identifying how you think about changing.

starting an exercise programAre you a woman who wants support getting started weight training?

Flipping 50 is looking for you!

I’ve got a new study/beta Program open for registration. That means we’re offering it 50% off the program launch rate because we’d like your feedback, your success, and your data to share with others so we can make a big difference in more lives. If you would like help starting an exercise program and you:

Get on our list here at flippingfifty.com/getstronger to get notified about the program when doors open. We open a few times a year. You’ll be first to know and take advantage of an early bird rate.

Can’t wait? Here’s an option you can begin as soon as you register. Then you’ll join a group at the beginning of the month for coaching calls. Jump in yourself with our group or bring a friend/sister by clicking below. (Save $30 on the two registrations at once)

Get the 28-day kickstart for you and a buddy!Starting an exercise program isn’t hard. It’s just easy to get busy with other distractions until it becomes a habit. I’ve got you!

This Flipping 50 TV episode is all about how to optimize strength training exercise both for time and results. If you have a limiter like a back issue or a knee joint problem to consider, in addition to hormones, this episode is for you!

Today’s question comes from Debby who is 61. She wrote, “I would like help creating superset exercises for my daily exercise. I really want muscle definition, I’ve heard after 60, that can’t be done. I don’t accept that.”

To that I say, Amen!  Stop listening to voices that suggest you’re limited by your age!

Let’s talk about the facts, as opposed to the old age and expectation fallacies.

Facts about Muscle Definition

[If you’re doing all of the above consistently and not seeing results, your hormones may still be partially to blame. Check with a Flipping 50 specialist about testing your hormone levels.]

Let’s workout! I’ve created superset exercises for Debby (and you!) This is one of my favorite ways to strength train for several reasons:

  1. It’s efficient: it takes less time and you’re never going to stand around and wait
  2. It’s effective (studies suggest it burns 33% more energy than other weight training protocols: that said, it’s not the only way to get results, you’ve got to mix it up)
  3. You can keep track of your exercises easier (randomly moving exercise to exercise you forget where you are and you’re more likely to leave something out!)

Muscles in Minutes

Debby’s doing strength training 4-5 days a week. If you’re doing that you’re either not recovering between workouts or you’re doing a split routine- that is arms one day, legs the next.

FLIP: for metabolism – women over 50 want to do full body workouts with an emphasis on reaching fatigue in each major muscle group. That is not the same as getting tired during exercise. In fact, you should feel good after exercise. Exhaustion is a sign what you’re doing is not a good match.

A split routine is not as helpful in boosting your metabolism unless you have hours to spend in the gym daily. You want to do two (or three if you can easily fit three in a week) high quality strength trainings.

Eat More, Exercise Less (as long as it’s with purpose)

Use the following as your guide to the right number of repetitions for you:

Adjusting Superset Exercises to Fit Your Needs

To workout safely, sanely, and wisely when you have a finicky back and knee joint concerns, you want to make some exercise modifications. That doesn’t mean you can’t get amazing results.

I’m flipping squats and lunges out for bridging, hamstring curls, and wall sits.

My newest exercise series 5-day knee-friendly series will help you at home too. [Get access to the first video right away to make sure it’s a good fit for you!]

superset exercises

Start with a slightly higher number of reps (which means lighter weight) but vary the routine so you’re using power (speed on the lift portion) one week, going slow the next, and using heavier weights and fewer reps another. One of the biggest mistakes we make is settling into the same routine and doing it over and over again. The human body has an amazing potential to adapt so we’ve got to continue changing it up.

There are a lot of ways to superset. I’d suggest doing one routine for a week and then another the following week. It’s all about change – planned change – so that you can change. In the video and below I demonstrate superset exercises that work opposing muscle groups.

Superset Exercises for the Upper Body:

Super Set A

Super Set B

Options for these Superset Exercises:

You have dozens of ways to challenge your body now and progress.

If you too have back issues that can crop up unexpectedly, sit to perform your bent over rows.

Regardless of which upper body sequence you choose, next include [on the same day] a lower body exercise.

Lower Body Super Set:

The key is to remember is that at the end of every set you should reach fatigue.

What’s on the end of your fork or spoon matters, too. Be sure your eating habits compliment your exercise training. After 50 that’s more important than ever so you may maintain, and gain, lean muscle tissue that is behind definition and, ultimately, metabolism.

Minute Made Meals

It’s important to dial in your nutrition. Never fear, it can be delicious and satisfying. Your days of deprivation are gone. More of my clients experienced a lack of progress or a plateau before they began working with me from eating too little, rather than too much.

Debby is doing so well eating protein at each meal. Now it’s time to get specific. Research shows protein levels at breakfast (at least 20-30 grams, and preferably 30) increase lean muscle maintenance. 

There’s another sneaky reason why you may not be seeing results even if your workouts are right on target. Sometimes inflammation caused by foods that don’t necessarily “bother” you can mask those pretty muscles. In Debby’s case that may be true.

A few flips for Debby:

superset exercisesThe Key Flip of the Day:

Reaching muscular fatigue in each major muscle group during full body workouts boosts metabolism which will enhance tone and definition.

Other episodes and resources you might like: 

Prevent Back Pain 

Muscle Loss Prevention

Lift More, Lose More

The Whole Flip 4-dvd series

The 28 Day Kickstart

Easy Ways to Weight Loss After 50 or After Menopause?

Yes. Weight loss after 50 is not as hard as it’s portrayed to be. The hardest part may not be in the physical changes that need to happen, but in the mental weight we need to lose. Our thoughts can get in our way when we’ve had them so long. Change is hard. That part is true.

Prioritize sleep with food and exercise choices.

If you tend to go straight for the treadmill and the religious dedication to your step counter, stop. Without sleep your exercise and nutrition efforts are not going to work. Hormones in control of metabolism via lean muscle and cortisol control require sleep for optimal balance.

Your food and movement choices matter. The type and timing of exercise has everything to do with the quality of your sleep. Whether you do it inside or outside can have a big influence. Move intense exercise to early in the day and calm yourself with yoga or walk later in the day. Eat for sleep with serotonin-enhancing carbohydrates later in the day. You can increase your sleep by up to two hours in a 28 day time frame by changing your habits.

weight loss after 50

This image of a post on Facebook.com/flipping50tv got a reaction from women who said, I thought after 60 hormones weren’t a factor any more. Hormones have been THE factor in weight management your entire life and will continue to be.

Exchange weight training for long slogs of cardio.

Surprise! You’re breaking up with the dreadmill. As much as we’ve laughed about treadmills that hold clothes, it might be a better use for it than providing fatigue-encouraging, muscle-wasting kinds of activity. That doesn’t accomplish the goal you have: balancing hormones more naturally to shed weight more easily.

If you’re not weight training, start. If you’re randomly doing strength exercise, start with a better plan. If you’re not reaching fatigue (though yes, after a reasonable progression) it’s a must to see change. You want to build up the lean to lose the fat. Cardio exercise will not do that. Ever.

Body weight training is not the same. That serves as movement and it’s definitely better than no workout. Weight loss after 50 is reliant on increasing lean muscle tissue with a means of reaching fatigue. The joint limits you may have with significant weight to lose make weight training the obvious winner so you can choose more exercises, more safely perform them, and increase your lean muscle.

Reduce your exercise time and increase your movement.

Exercise less, yes, you read that right. Move more all day. We do sit so much more than is favorable for our jobs so we need some exercise. But even the small things you can do each hour will help you become an “active person.” That is so much more tied to your risk or lack of overweight and obesity than is exercise. Weight loss after 50 is a result of both exercise and movement, but the greater of them is movement.

Get up and use the restroom. Get a drink of water. Stand to talk on the phone. Then a small bit of regular exercise is important to serve as a catalyst for the rest of your day. But begin to see it as just that, the rubbing the sticks together and the real flame for metabolism is the all day movement you have. People who have dogs move more. Become obsessed with cleaning your house.

Supplement to fill your micronutrient deficiencies.

It’s nearly impossible to eat enough in a day to reach our micronutrient needs that make us thrive. If you’re missing any, your well-oiled-fine-tuned vehicle of a body won’t run well. Your metabolism depends on all the parts being present.

Have you got years of dieting experience? Notice no one ever asked for that on a resume? It’s backfiring about now. Though it never really worked for your long-term advantage, it’s now amplified. It’s about getting in the goodness so you can get rid of the cravings (see more below on that).

Plan your perfect protein, fiber, and fat and carbs for each meal.

What you used to think is “healthy” is not necessarily right for you, right now. Most of us need to unlearn old ideas before we can create new thoughts that will be new actions that become new habits. Science you learned in elementary school even is probably still a part of old habit gravity that keeps you in conflict with what you know is right and what you want to do.

Get some support with lift off. You’ve got to break through that barrier before you can make a permanent change. The surprisingly easy thing is… the new habits are so much more enjoyable and so much less about deprivation than we’ve been led to believe.

Learn the right type and timing of carbs for every meal.

There are good carbs and better carbs. The time you have them is as important for weight loss after menopause (or during) as what you have. If you’re not sure what that means and you’ve simply given up bread, you’ve got a toe in the water. Get educated on the carbs that help you lose weight after 50 and when they’re best consumed.

Treat cravings as clues.

Don’t give into them but do listen to them. There’s gold in those cravings. They can be telling you that your exercise is too long, too intense, or too frequent. They can be telling you that you’re really not sleeping as much or well as you need to sleep They can tell you that you’re cutting corners and playing the calorie game cheating yourself out of micronutrients you need to boost your metabolism.

Specific cravings like salt or sugar, or very specific like chocolate, have intel behind them. Cacao has magnesium in it for instance. So that chocolate craving? Could be telling you to get more in your diet or supplement (preferably not by way of chocolate).

Yes, some day a little chocolate is going to be fine. Today is not your day.

weight loss after 50 with smoothiesStart eating and stop drinking your calories.

I’m a smoothie girl so this may confuse you if you know me. Wine loving girl, I’m talking to you. Right now, if belly fat, or weight loss is a problem, wine isn’t your friend. It decreases your likelihood of having a healthy meal after, increases fat storage no matter what it might be, and halts the fat burning that will help your cause.

You don’t have to say goodbye forever, but you need to, as a Flipping 50 community member told me just last night, break up. She said she and wine aren’t on speaking terms right now.

Start adding instead of subtracting food.

Nothing that starts with deprivation leads to long term success! If you’re adding all the things to your daily plate and bowl that will get you full of micronutrients that make you glow and fiber, fat, and wholesome foods that keep you full, you will naturally reduce cravings.

This “crowdsourcing” method of eating keeps your eye on eating MORE of the good stuff. When you do you’ll lose those distracting thoughts and be so much less tempted by processed foods or sweets.

Kick sugar-free foods & artificial sweeteners to the curb.

Your confused body won’t shed weight. Instead it will slow your metabolism. Sugar-free popsicles, low-fat sugar-free ice cream or frozen yogurt, artificial packets of sweeteners. Stevia, and sugar alcohols (if you can tolerate them), is really the only thing you want to be using, but sparingly.

The best rule is look at anything that’s become a crutch for you and start weaning off of it. Weight loss after 50 requires more focus on the right things and leaving old, and incorrect, habits behind. But, you’ve got this!

Do you want support in your weight loss after 50 journey?

The best next step if you have 20 or more pounds (and some old ideas about weight loss) to lose is Fit U. Enrollment is open right now and it’s 50% off. You can learn more here.

weight loss after 50 

fat burning workout

The fat burning workout you need now is not the one you used to do! In fact if you’re spending an hour doing low slow work, or even intervals for that long, you’re messaging your body to store fat and your potentially losing muscle. There is a negative cascade of hormone responses that occurs when you’re not exercising optimally. That fat burning workout might be a fat storing workout. Whoa!?

If you’ve been exercising and putting more and more time in, you probably already feel this. Exercise may not give you the “rush” it used to, or you’re feeling flat during and after. You aren’t really looking forward to it or feeling recovered from it.

If you haven’t started exercising yet, lucky you! Let’s start a fat burning workout plan together right away.

First, it’s no what you think! It used to be we’d all go climb on the cardio. Then we’d move to another piece of cardio and do some more. Or maybe you were a class junkie and you’d go to two in a row or do the Stairmaster after class for a little more calorie burning. Sound familiar? (Trust me, I’ve made this mistake myself so I know!)

The secret after 50 to a true fat burning workout isn’t even cardio. You’ll need some, you have a heart, after all. But you need so much less than we ever used to think. We need strength training. We’ve got to keep those muscles, or in some cases, get a little muscle back that we’ve lost. (Muscle development peaks at age 25. If we aren’t specifically doing something to make it stick around we lose that… muscle takes our metabolism with it.)

fat burning workout dvds

How Does A Fat Burning Workout Feel?

Better. You feel more energy after. Even during. I won’t say you’re going to love going as hard as you can for 30 seconds or a minute, or going to fatigue. That’s only because I don’t know you! Here’s what a Flipping 50 Cafe Member said this morning: I love this kind of workout: it makes me feel strong!

This workout is going to focus on strength training with weights. I know I see and love some of my colleagues who use body weight only. I’ll tell you why I don’t love that for those of us over 50.

We have a real and more urgent need to work on posture, especially the upper back. Unless you can do pull ups that’s impossible to do with body weight.

We need to do a little less pushing. With body weight, push ups are a staple. They don’t serve our imbalances very well.

You’ll find it hard to fatigue with body weight in all exercises. Your lower body is where your gold mine for fat burning workouts hangs out! You need to reach fatigue using those muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes) though in order to change your change and burn fat. It might take hundreds of reps to fatigue with body weight only and yet your joints are going to complain before you get there.

Enter weight training. Here are the fat burning workout commandments:

 

fat burning workout with weights

These are 10 exercises you do a minute each. The goal is quality, not quantity, so no rapid movements, the slower you go the more your muscles have to do the work. If you fatigue before a minute just rest or switch early. If you don’t fatigue that may be a sign you need a heavier weight next time. Alternatively you can do each exercise for a specific number of reps. This comes from one of the workouts in The Whole Flip. If you prefer a video to put a personal trainer in your living room, you can learn more here.

Are you doing a fat burning workout with weights at home or at the gym?

Thanks for reading and sharing your comments. Stop by and connect with us in the Flipping 50 Facebook community.

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