In Exercise

I get asked quite a bit, sometimes on podcasts, what my day is like and what workouts after 50 work for me. So here it is. One woman’s response, was “this is for someone who lives a life of leisure.” As I wrote in You Still Got It, Girl!, If you’re crazy-making I’m not going to get in there with you.

I did this (maybe altered) even in my 40s while a single parent, shuffling to early morning basketball practices, day-long golf tournaments, while juggling two jobs, and writing a book.

Don’t play the victim card with me. If it’s working for you and you want to stay there, that’s your call. I’ll be here when you’re ready.

I say that with no judgment, you may truly be doing all you feel you can handle right now. I just want to let you know, I believe there’s something positive you can do now. The hardest thing is to ask for help. I get that. But I’m here if you need it.

Workouts After 50 – What I’m Doing Now (and when)

4:00/5:00am awake /water/2 mugs matcha latte while working (I consume 12 ounces of H20 first thing and 8 oz between matchas)

7:30am High intensity intervals 20-30 mins (treadmill, elliptical, boxing or bike)

or High Intensity weight circuit with 3-5 minutes of Core or Pilates at the end of any session

8-12 ounces of H2O

9:00am High Protein Smoothie with all the things

(vanilla Plant Power, greens, maca, turmeric, Fiber Boost, protein, minimum fruit, avocado, chia)

8 oz H2O every hour

12:30pm Lunch – sometimes a second smoothie if I’m working, or a Flipping 50 soup (there’s a seafood chowder I love)

1:00pm short walk

8 oz H2O every hour

4:00pm weight training/Pilates/or yoga

8 oz H2O before dinner

5:00/6:00pm dinner (usually a one pot meal with a protein and tons of veggies)

8 ounces H2O

8:00/9:00pm ready for bed

Every day varies but this is very typical. I don’t snack in the afternoon typically but when I was in CO I would get cold (!) and have a cup of bone broth or less frequently a matcha latte or cup of a Mushroom Blend (use code Flipping50 to try it!) in the afternoon.

Here’s the basics:

  • A fasted quick and dirty Interval or weight session at least an hour after rising
  • An early High Protein/high fiber/low carb breakfast 60+ minutes after WO
  • Steady water intake between meals (minimal during)
  • Stable meal times daily
  • Early dinner
  • A longer overnight fast of 12 hours minimum, 13 or 14 until a smoothie
  • If late day exercise, low intensity so I’m chill in the evening ready to relax and sleep (I don’t “make up” for a missed hard workout)

Workouts After 50 you won’t see me doing:

  • Long and hard workouts (just exhausting and draining instead of giving energy)
  • Late day intense workouts (even if I haven’t been able to fit it in: “late is for light”)

What I always keep the same:

  • Meal times
  • Protein at each meal (I shoot for 30 grams at least twice and breakfast is one of them – always)
  • Tons of water (when I travel – even more! I make a point of drinking on the way to the airport, while I’m in line for security, and have a liter with me when I board that’s gone before I land).
  • Tons of veggies of all kinds all day in every way (raw, steamed, sauté, roasted, grilled) added to soups and ground meat, and of course smoothies.
  • Fiber (I’ve had more in a morning smoothie than most Americans have all day on average)

These are not “rules.” This is just the formula I follow. It’s life. It emerged out of tweaking based on science the last 15 years and testing not only myself but first dozens, then hundreds, and most recently thousands of clients that find this works for them too. When you’re changing, you don’t have to (or want to) change it all at once. We go for the one biggest influencer that will help the other changes fall into place so much more easily.

Yes! It Is the exercise.

For me, it’s a catalyst. Exercise set everything else in motion for me. It makes me want to fuel better for a better workout. It makes me want to fuel better after (proven that even 6 minutes of power walking within a half of hour of lunch made subjects voluntarily choose healthier for themselves at a buffet – think of that on Thanksgiving Day!)

It’s not only exercise.

There was a question asked on a weekly webinar I host for a national organization this week. Let me give you a little background.

The webinar was about obesity: cause and effect. When the (excellent) presenter was nearly through he showed a slide about the top two external solutions being 1) exercise and 2) nutrition.

An attendee asked, “Is it true that exercise doesn’t really contribute much when it comes to weight loss?”

The presenter’s answer was that though that’s true that the calories burned don’t contribute a great deal to caloric deficit, exercise is still key. (In alignment with Flipping 50’s After 50 Fitness Formula for Women course and book) It’s about the hormone balance that proper exercise does for you that ultimately influences weight.

I won’t go into a deep lesson on hormones in this post intended to share my routine. Yet, I do want to call your attention to the fact, the reason what I do works (and is Flipping 50 program-proven!) is that it supports hormone balance. That in turn ensures that I can sleep, I can burn fat optimally, I can get hungry at appropriate times, and feel full and sated without cravings. I can concentrate. I can reap rewards of lean muscle from workouts.

How I Plan For Myself and Coach Clients

I don’t exercise thinking, “how many calories does this burn.” I do think, “what type of workout do I need on this day at this specific time to optimize hormone balance?” Most of the time that thinking comes in a weekly or monthly plan. I already know what my workout plan is for 3 weeks from today. I may have to adjust it based on life that week, but I don’t guess. I do the same for clients.

This week for instance is day-by-day changes for two of my private clients based on little “niggles” occurring for them. So we’re not doing workouts we would if they were 100% but we’re still focused on hormone balancing workouts that support their muscular needs right now.

The Question I Had

Back to the webinar, my question was, “You listed these in order of 1 and 2 making exercise first, while we’re hearing more often that nutrition makes a bigger difference. Are these in fact, in order based on importance according to research?”

The presenter addressed it but not with a definitive answer. I think because there is not one. But where obesity is concerned, insulin resistance is what we call a co-morbidity. That is, a second condition or disease. Insulin resistance occurs at some point as weight creeps up. That is a pre-diabetic or diabetic threat. And often with insulin resistance weight gain will occur if it isn’t already.

Exercise plays a key role – as long as it’s the right exercise at the right time – in improving insulin sensitivity. Nutrition also plays a key factor in blood sugar and insulin.

But… again. Exercise is a catalyst. And more important, not exercising is a catalyst for poor choices. Can you relate?

The presenter’s answer was that there is no question it is both. He didn’t however put one before the other. We do eat multiple times a day and exercise less than that. So we better get food right. There is the need however to moveoften. Don’t sit or stand in place for long periods of time.

Become someone who can’t sit still.

Moving More

Exercise less, and eat more, is the subtitle of You Still Got It, Girl! for a reason. It’s the opposite of the mantra you’ve heard too often your whole life. Women exercising themselves into more stress and cortisol, then starving themselves with a lack of nutrients create a slow metabolism by confusing their bodies.

Yes, in our sedentary contemporary society you need to exercise – and adequate intensity is important with middle and older age – but moving more throughout your day every day is more important.

If your exercise leaves you on the couch for “couch compensation” your exercise has actually hurt your health and fitness. You’re seeking the muscular strength and endurance to do what you love to do with the people you love to do it, when you want to do it.

What I’m Doing for Lean Changes!

I posted something last week on Facebook about what happens to the body with less (but the correct) kind of exercise.

And still…. A woman commented that the image (with good muscle definition and a fit and lean body) was no doubt due to my triathlon training.

I fell out of my chair laughing.

Here’s the truth. Since the advent of my triathlon training this year, and perhaps not unrelated to mold exposure for 6 months the first half of the year, I’ve gained 8 lbs.

Of not-muscle.

Bad News, Right?

Yep. I tell you the good stuff, so I’ll tell you the bad stuff. I don’t feel great. I’m getting close to the event (if you’ve been here you may know it was intended to be my “fittest year” and I’m headed to an Ironman in a week. I’m now tapering (less training in preparation for race day freshness). So I’ve already begun to see a difference in my weight or feel one more often (no scale at home).

But I was and am just “exhibit A” of what MORE volume and MORE intensity do to a woman in perimenopause/menopause. They create more stress, more cortisol, more fat storage and inflammation.

But the woman’s comment is what spurs me to do what I do. Unfortunately, too many women STILL BELIEVE that it’s about harder and more exercise and that they can never look like that because they aren’t athletic. That is the #1 MYTH and your biggest obstacle.

You do have to stop… processed foods, poor carbohydrate choices, a lack of protein, and sugar (there are no healthy forms). But you, my dear, if you don’t love exercise, may have a better chance or at least it’s equal to anyone who loves exercise.

Because like me, overexercisers are more likely to weigh more due to inflammation, and cortisol increasing fat storage and halting fat burning during midlife, specifically. Look at triathletes in their 50’s 60’s and 70s and you don’t see “skinny,” you see often the same slice of weight and body shape you would anywhere. It depends on how they train and how their body handles it. Some refer to their legs as “tree trunks” or they midsections as “budha bellies”

More is Worse Not Better

I am at a WORSE shape and weight right now because of more exercise. Is this training year different? Yes. Every year of training is going to be different. You can’t expect the same results from the same training with ever changing hormones.

Now, did I go to extremes? From your vantage point, probably so! You don’t have to tip the exercise that far though. Two or three exercise classes may be too much for you. Three days of strength training may be too much for you. Just an hour of exercise instead of minutes of optimal exercise may be putting you into cortisol trouble.

I’ll indulge in myself a bit in a blog next week to share the details of this year that contribute to my “fittest year” turning into “fittest year possible” with mold, and sudden moves, large financial loss of belongings, need to detox and change plans.

Stay tuned for that. For now, look at your day. Do you have a schedule? Your body likes a routine. Do you make it so it works for you? Yes, I know work, family, pets happen but they don’t control it all. You do. If you want to change you take control.

I have two suggestions:

If you have more than 20-lbs to lose, watch this webinar, first. Fit-U is on sale but I want to know you’re right for it before you do it.

If you want to have a reason to exercise for 2 ½ months AND have 4 days of movement, motivation, and mindset shifts, come to the next retreat! Message me at debra@flippingfifty.com for the current discount code – if there’s one still available we can help you get in for less! Mention the blog


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