What They Don’t Teach Women About Strength Training and should

What don’t they teach women about strength training? Plenty. For starters, how she’s unique from males, how she uniquely burns fat during exercise, and how her pre-menopause exercise and post-menopause exercise results will change. Most of all, how to be the absolute happiest and most successful with exercise at any point in her life.

So, let’s unravel some things, okay?

Facts on Women’s Exercise Science (Including Strength Training)

Only 39% of all exercise and sports medicine research features you. Of the average of 7 hormonal phases a woman goes through from puberty to post-menopause, each demands a unique exercise prescription. She’s not getting it.

Unless you’ve known to ask, even if you’re working with a trainer one-on-one, is that program made based on research featuring women just like me, chances are you’re just gambling. Yes, you’ve got arms, legs, and a torso similar to men, however, your structure is unique with a wider pelvis, larger Q-angle from hip to knee, and your endocrine system (hormones) are very different than a male. The effect of exercises during phases of your period and during phases of your life will be very different than the effects of the same exercise programs on a male.

Adequate Protein

Women and Fat Burning from Strength Training

Fat burning – lipolysis – only happens when insulin falls to a low level. Fasting is one way to get there. Strength training for postmenopausal women is another. Only strength training supports lipolysis optimally and keeps the body there for longer periods of time.

Fat oxidation occurs during cardo but it’s important to understand that this isn’t a good measure of longer-term fat burning. Burning a higher percent of fat at a lower level of exercise often means you’re burning it very slowly. You won’t burn much fat for fuel and higher intensity rates. However, a small fraction of a big number is potentially bigger. I pointed this term out in You Still Got It, Girl!  There are those that swear a “zone 2” training is working for them. No arguments. It likely isn’t because of additional fat burning, however. It’s due to a reduction of cortisol from the particular type of exercise.

Strength Training Facts: How to Increase Your Longevity by 40% 

Do all the cardio you want. It will take you so far, like maybe to 65 to quote Dr. Stuart Phillips, a speaker at the recent Flipping 50 event, the What, When & Why to Exercise for Women 40+. Cardiovascular exercise might get you to 65, but strength training is what’s going to take you beyond 65. 

Three times weekly vigorous cardio exercise got a nice 27% lower mortality risk than those that don’t exercise at all. Respectable. 

But those who did one or two strength training sessions a week had a 40% lower mortality rate than those who didn’t exercise at all. 

Let’s be clear, though, HOW you strength train matters. You will live longer and healthier if the strength training you do results in greater strength and greater lean muscle mass. That in turn is what reduces blood sugar, and inflammation, improves cognition, decreases anxiety, and improves bone density and function.

Women’s Strength Training and Hypertension 

Women’s Strength Training and Hypertension 

For menopausal and postmenopausal women with hypertension risks, the most effective exercise program for lowering blood pressure seems to be a combination of aerobic and strength training.

In a review study of randomized controlled trials, combined training generated larger clinically significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as mean arterial pressure, for women with prehypertension or hypertension when compared with aerobic training or no exercise training.

Interestingly, when assessing the best exercises for menopause, researchers found that aerobic training alone did not result in clinically relevant improvements in overall blood pressure for women with existing hypertension risks.

What Else Don’t They Teach You About Strength Training? 

What they also don’t teach women about strength training is how to pull it all together. When women think about all the needs for cardio, flexibility, strength, power, agility, bone density… they aren’t sure which exercises and how, and how to juggle this with a busy life, working or not. 

I’ve got answers and we’d love you to join us. Check out flippingfifty.com we’ve got an upcoming masterclass addressing how to pull it all together, without ditching your family or work! 

References: 

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24766579/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8471631/

https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/56/21/1218

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34108092/

Lift Weights As Heavy As You Safely Can

Yes, lighter weights more reps fatigues muscle, but as you age and begin lifting less and less in life, do you think you need heavy or lighter weights to avoid decline? Your bone responds best to heavy load and so does energy expenditure. Unlike cardio that burns calories during (and then burns you out), weight training works hardest in the 24 or 48 hours afterwards while your body is in recovery and repair. You burn more calories then and build your body up for having more energy and stamina later. Nothing will has a bigger potential to improve menopause transition than strength training. 

Caution: don’t look up the very limited interpretation of a lb of muscle burns X amount of calories a day. That’s a very shortsighted mistake about the benefit of muscle.

Recover More Than You’ve Ever Done Before

Muscle that’s 60 is less resilient than muscle that’s 20. Even if you’re in great shape at 60, younger you had younger muscle that bounced back faster. You can be just as fit, maybe more fit at 60… as long as you don’t try to exercise the same way. Fitness happens during recovery between exercise provided the stimulus was adequate.

Reduce Your Stress and Find Some Joy

Questions We Answer in this Episode:

Sleep Like a Boss

If it’s not happening that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. It just means that you haven’t potentially given it the step-by-step dedication to specific changes like: 

  • Epsom salt baths
  • Same wake time daily
  • Sunshine as soon as you can once awake
  • Exercise at least 10 minutes a day
  • Magnesium with dinner
  • Establishing a waking and bedtime routine

Other Episodes You May Like: 

How Does Strength Traning Increase Your Metabolism: https://www.flippingfifty.com/increase-your-metabolism/ 

Importance of Strength Training for the Midlife Woman | #516: https://www.flippingfifty.com/strength-training-for-the-midlife-woman/ 

Resources: 

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