OK so here it is! Throughout our lives our bodies have four physiologies a month when we go through our cycle (The four phases of the menstrual cycle are menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation and the luteal phase) – this is because every single month our bodies are gearing up to give birth. In essence our bodies fluctuate every week as we are controlled by oestrogen and progesterone. Before I go into the Menopause, I want to take this moment to say that our weight will always fluctuate, so if you are one of those crazy ‘dieters’ who is addicted to the scales, don’t be so hard on yourself. It is natural to go up and down each week – it’s the science of our bodies.
Now, when we start to go through peri-menopause/menopause your body will go through one of the biggest changes it will experience, and with this change, it means that your body will find it hard to react to the same training you have always done, so from time to time you have to adapt your training.
We have Oestrogen and Progesterone receptors all over our body and they affect everything from our endocrine system, our nervous system, to moods, cognition, energy levels, bone density, pelvic muscles and much more. As women, we are controlled by these two main hormones in our bodies. Throughout the Menopause period our Oestrogen and Progesterone deplete and after menopause there is a permanent reduction in both these hormones.
Oestrogen helps stimulates muscle mass and with the loss of it, it means that muscles don’t get the stimulus they did before peri-menopause which means that its harder to build lean muscle mass so doing the same thing isn’t going to work. Continually doing light weight or cardio isn’t going to cut it I’m afraid! You are not going to build or maintain your muscles. Not only this, but after 30 we often lose about 10% muscle mass each decade, so unless we continue to challenge our muscles differently they will continue to decline. What you need to do is look to train in a smarter way – a way that will stress and stimulate the muscles to adapt it and build them.
Many say, train more eat less which is WRONG! If you think it is about training more and eating less you then you will end up nose-diving into a world of losing lean muscle mass, not fuelling properly and increasing body fat. Overtime this can also result in sarcopenia and osteoporosis.
In our 40s we have all these body changes and so we need to adapt our training to suit the evolving body composition.
You need to look at training HEAVY and HIGH! What do I mean? I mean picking up weights that are challenging that you can only manage between 1-6 REPS (repetitions) – keep it simple with compound exercises. You need neuromuscular fatigue that creates a strong muscular contraction which will stimulate the body to get stronger. Regardless of age we need to focus on power and stimulating the nervous system to focus on muscle contraction and build. The science of our bodies (because there is less oestrogen and progesterone) won’t allow for the same muscle stimulus when we hit peri-menopause/menopause.
And for those of you who are worried about getting bulky – again that can’t and won’t happen us women don’t have the testosterone that men have – plus to get bulky you need to cut the cardio and eat crazy amounts of calories, mostly protein.
When it comes to the ‘cardio’ you should be aiming for 20 – 40 seconds interval Plyometric training which pushes your heart rate to its limits giving you a better cardiovascular and metabolic outcome – mix this with your heavy 0-6 LIFT RANGE and BAM!! – you will start to see changes.
Is it tough? yes, absolutely, but you need to realise that your body is totally different now, so you need to hit it and shock it differently because it doesn’t have the hormones it did which helped you to build and sustain muscles. You gotta continue to go out of your comfort zone to shock it and build it.
You don’t need to train everyday, you don’t need to do hours on the treadmill, you don’t need to go on long walk everyday – you need to hit it several times a week with the right combination of exercises for about 30 minutes.
So unless you are prepared to push yourself for 30 minutes both heavy and at a high heart rate, then you could start to lose muscle!
As we get older society seems to want to give us more excuses to not exercise and not get fit. Why?? There is no reason why any woman of any age cannot become the strongest and fittest version of themselves. Stop searching for quick fixes, stop going on crappy ‘diets’ and instead suck it up and enjoy the process of learning to become strong.
So with this in mind we are going to be launching a Menopause course to help women get strong and stay strong as they get older!
Our Menopause course will launch in September!
Register HERE today if you are interested.