By Kate Horney
If you were physically active before 50, that’s great. But if you didn’t exercise regularly, it’s not too late to start.
Physical activity may help tame some of the symptoms of menopause (think: hot flashes, joint pain, and sleep problems) and exercise also lowers your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
As a bonus, proper exercise, nutrition and hormonal balance helps control weight and melts belly fat.
The truth is that whether you’re just starting out or have been living a fit life for years, the lifestyle that worked in your 20s and 30s fails to achieve the same results in your 40s and 50s.
Here are 6 Tip for Women Over 50:
- Menopause Increases Fat Storage Around Your Middle: Even women who do not gain much weight during menopause notice increased fat storage around the middle and/or a more difficult time getting rid of menopausal belly fat. The reason comes down to hormones: estrogen causes your body to be more insulin sensitive, but as estrogen levels drop, insulin levels rise and insulin resistance becomes more common. In addition to this shift in insulin (which often leads to increased fat storage) cortisol hormones also rise during menopause. As estrogen and progesterone drop, women going through menopause become increasingly more sensitive to stress. To combat this increase in belly fat storage, you need proper exercise, proper nutrition, and proper hormonal balance.
- Brain Chemistry Shifts: As women go through menopause, the levels of dopamine, serotonin and GABA in their brain changes. These chemicals have an impact on your mood, energy, hunger and cravings. That means menopausal women are likely to feel more hungry and less satisfied during meals, causing them to eat more calories than their body needs, and thus store these extra calories as fat. The best thing you can do to work on keeping brain chemistry balanced is to reduce stress, eat a proper diet full of lean protein and plenty of fibrous veggies and healthy fats, and consider supplements when needed. Many women benefit from fish oil supplement due to the fact that our brains need healthy fats from the Omega-3s in plant and vegetable sources in order to synthesize enough neurotransmitters to send messages effectively. BCAA supplements also help to balance brain chemistry, as BCAAs are precursors to our brain’s stimulating chemical glutamate, as well as our brain’s number one relaxing chemical (GABA). By balancing these stimulating and relaxing responses in the brain at a chemical level, we can stop cravings before they even start. BCAAs also help to control hunger. In addition to balancing blood sugar, the BCAA leucine activates hunger controlling molecules (mTOR and AMPK) in the brain.
- Carbs Matter: Because of the insulin resistance mentioned above, paying close attention to carbohydrate intake is key for women over 50. Too little carbs and your body can’t function. Too many carbs and your body will store excess fat around your middle. The key is to find your own unique balance somewhere in the middle. The right amount of carbs at the right time (post workout) is key. Many women fall into the trap of thinking that if low carb was good, then lower carb is BETTER and they’re terrified to eat anything with carbs. This is a mistake and can actually do menopausal women more harm than good. When you eat carbohydrates your body releases the storage hormone insulin in order to break down the carbs and deliver them as fuel to your muscles. The problem is that excess carbs that are not stored in the muscle will be stored as fat. Carbohydrates are beneficial as they help promote muscle growth and replenish the glycogen stores that fuel your muscles. This is extremely important for women who are engaging in high intensity weight training workouts and want to preserve muscle mass. Carbohydrates also work to minimize muscle breakdown (catabolism) and reset the hormones leptin, cortisol and serotonin to help burn fat, boost mood and hinder cravings. But at the same point, lowering carb intake helps to signal your body to burn fat for fuel instead of burning the carbs that it normally eats as it’s fuel for the day. Low carb diets also improve insulin sensitivity, which is beneficial for both fat loss and muscle building. So a proper balance between the two is key. Want more help? Work with me one-on-one to set up a carb cycling plan that’s right for you!
- Rest is Important: Cortisol is a stress hormone that can intensify insulin resistance. When you are going through menopause and your body becomes more insulin resistant, your body is working harder than most just to maintain balance. With blood sugar and blood fat levels all over the place, the body of a menopausal women is working in overtime and is extremely stressed. Add to this decreased uptake of fuel for the cells, likely deficiencies in important vitamins and minerals, and overall metabolic stress and you will find that a menopausal woman, whether she feels it or not, is simply worn out. This makes REST (through the form of sleep as well as low intensity, leisurely activities like walking and yoga) key as it serves to lower cortisol and help maintain metabolic balance.
- You Need to Lift Weights: As women age, they lose muscle. Lean muscle mass generally contributes up to approximately 50 percent of total body weight in young women but declines with aging to be 25 percent at 75–80 years old. Women who are physically inactive can lose as much as 3-5 percent of their muscle mass per decade after age 30! If you want to change your body shape and keep your muscle loss at bay, you absolutely have to lift weights. Cardiovascular exercise may get you bigger or smaller, but you will stay the same shape– weight training is the #1 way to change the shape of your body at any age. For menopausal women, strength training 3 times a week for 30 minutes is absolutely crucial. This will increase hormones that help keep your muscle, burn fat and will go will a long way toward speeding up your metabolism, tightening and toning your body as you age.
- Compound Movements are Best: Now that you understand WHY you need to lift weights, let’s talk about HOW to lift weights. Compound movements are not just exercises for bodybuilders or big men in the gym. Compound movements and hybrid exercises should be the priority in every workout. These exercises recruit a higher number of muscle fibers at one time which helps you get MORE results in LESS time! Start your workout with your most difficult compound movements first and always make sure to include at least one in each workout. Compound movement examples: Squats, deadlifts, rows, chest press, push-ups, pull-ups, etc. Hybrid exercise examples: Lunge/Curl, Squat/Press, Step Up/Side Raise, Tricep Dip/Squat Jump
I’m sharing this post today in honor of Mother’s Day. I’m especially excited to honor my mom, who is a healthy, fit, and happy mom and grandma at the age of 57.
I know she won’t mind me sharing her age. Why?
Because she’s proud of the progress she’s made in the past few years to be the best version of herself that she can be.
I, too am proud of my mom for the progress that she’s made on her fitness journey.
The truth is that the lifestyle that worked in your 20s and 30s fails to achieve the same results in your 40s and 50s.
When my mom turned 50 she decided it was time to make a change.
I told her she needed to lift weights. I helped her tweak her nutrition. And I shared some easy lifestyle strategies with her to fix fat fighting hormones and live a healthy, happy and balanced life.
The result? She’s in the best shape of her life!
She has the energy she needs to run around with her grandkids, to travel, and to live the life she’s always dreamed of. She looks good, and even better than that: she feels great!
You can be in the best shape of your life at any age!
It’s never too late!
I want to help people any age to get fit, be fit or stay fit.
That’s why I created BeyondFit.
And that’s why TODAY ONLY I’m giving women over 50 the chance save $10 on the fitness program of their choice!
At the BeyondFit Life Club we have women of ALL AGES committing to flattening their stomachs, losing inches around their waists, and preparing both mentally & physically to be the best versions of themselves.
Here’s what you need to do:
✔️Enter the coupon code: FITAFTER50 to save $10 on access to any program of your choice!