Sep 2, 2018
When you’re just starting exercise after 50 or you’re recommitting after a summer there are a lot of sexy programs, beautiful celebrity trainers, and conflicting information. When you’re not sure where to start, what to do, or who to trust it can be overwhelming, or lead to frustration due to injury or lack of results.
That’s why I created this podcast (and I’m encouraging you to use the after 50 fitness formula checklist - to look at your hormone balancing exercise in peri-menopause, menopause, or long-after menopause).
I’m breaking down the SEVEN key areas to focus on when you’re just starting exercise and these are absolutely critical for creating a successful exercise plan.
Are you a veteran exerciser? Don’t click away because this episode is for you, too. If hormone balancing has changed the game for you, or more illness or injury than you’d like is a challenge, I still use these same areas today after 34 years whether I’m trying to fit fitness into a busy business quarter, detoxing with no more than 20 minutes of exercise a day, or I’m training for an endurance event. I use these areas as a check-up list for my exercise planning regularly.
Here’s a quick look of what I’m covering in this episode:
First, there’s a quick intro of why hormone-balancing exercise after 50 is different than what you were taught and learned decades ago. Make no mistake if you’re 60 or 70 and thinking that ship has sailed. We all have hormones until death do-us-part. If women in their 70s and 80s can get breast or other cancers, or osteoporosis, and experience stress… you want to include them in your plan. Hormone assessment will become a staple in fitness consults. I’m going to see to it! (if you’re a fitness pro and want in formation on becoming a Flipping 50 Specialist, connect here)!
Hormone balancing exercise leads to:
It’s not the 3-5x a week cardio and 2-3 times a week strength training and flexibility most days a week… that you and I turned into 6 or 7 days of cardio, most days a week strength training IF we did it… or no strength training because of that nasty bulk we thought it would cause or the stretching we skipped because that didn't burn calories and we were short on time.
It’s about taking YOUR signs and symptoms and using them to create your best plan.
Because if you’re tired… really tired all the time… you’re really not fit. The two don’t operate in isolation. A truly fit individual is rested. She looks younger, has better skin, sleeps well, and she’s rarely sick or injured. When stressors happen in her life she’s more resilient. She’s neither obsessive nor nonchalant about her exercise. It’s definitely a part of her life she’s going to fit in because she’s more 100% her best self when she does it.
Hormone balancing is often about 1-2 cardio sessions a week, 2 strength training sessions a week. Often it’s about restorative yoga several times a week and a LOT of changes to caffeine, water, screen access, toxins and stressors …first.
Grabbing at what didn’t work years ago (or you wouldn’t be here, right?) won’t work now 10x. So instead of spinning your wheels or getting over tired instead of better grab that checklist (or retake it if you’ve done it before) and listen along.
Turns old concepts of “healthy eating” habits upside down. What you think is healthy is not necessarily so.
Your gut changes… thanks to hormones, to stress (which effects hormones), exercise changes, foods you’ve eaten often, to illness, to medication, to environmental toxins.
You’ve got to test… and that isn’t always (or only) a lab. How you feel never lies. Your body will tell you by bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea that it isn’t happy.
If you do have a lab test, use it to confirm or pick up clues about your how-you-feel status. Don’t dismiss how you feel!
When you’re just starting exercise nutrition can be really important! If your bathroom habits are unpredictable or you’ve got embarrassing gas it not only doesn’t inspire you to be more active it may be a sign you’re not absorbing all the nutrients you need to have energy.
If you don’t know for sure about your nutrition, if you’re operating under 1980 or 90 guidelines or you’re just following an article, it’s probably time to look closer at a step-by-step way to determine YOUR best plan.
Every decision you make during your waking hours determines how well you will sleep tonight. I know from talking with so many of you that you think of it as the other way around if you’re sleepless in hormone hell. But from the moment you wake up, you can positively change your bedtime tonight.
Every decision about how and when you exercise, how, when, and what you eat, and what you think, who or what you share a bed with … will positively or negatively impact your optimal body and brain by changing your sleep.
If you value your best body, your best energy, your best productivity and you’re skipping or skimping on sleep or pretending it isn’t up to you to improve it, you’re really missing a dreamy way to change your life for the better.
Two tricks… get up at the same time every day (unless you have adrenal fatigue – and I’ll link to some resources for that if you do). The only way you reset your clock to sleep better is by taking control of your wake up time. Get exposure to sunlight as early as possible in the day, but even if it doesn’t happen early, make sure it happens.
When you’re just starting exercise sleep can kill your discipline. I’ve been exercising regularly for decades and even though I am committed if I have a sleepless night it’s a challenge to want to exercise. Hormones that help you get results are not even present if you don’t sleep well. So you want to master sleep!
#4 Rest & Recovery
We skip this. We so skip this. Most of us have to feel like we’re doing something and it’s pretty tied to our sense-of-self. So I realize while I say this that you won’t make fast changes. But it’s super important to start moving in the right direction no matter how much of a crawl that is for you.
Rest with no to-do list. Not an errand, a load of laundry, a list to make and not a cell phone you are compelled to check. Are you sweating? A lot of us are very attached to doing something.
When just starting exercise after 50 you’re at an advantage. You haven’t put any bad habits in your routine so plan the rest as carefully as you possibly can. If you’ve got an attachment to exercise that’s so strong you can’t take a day off… it’s probably the one thing that will get you better results.
Rest and recovery from exercise comes in rest between sets, between workouts – even other stressors besides workouts on the same day, and nutrition that boosts recovery. You also have to realize that some exercise requires recovery and some exercise is recovery. Doing something I call the no-benefits-zone though will completely sabotage a women in need of hormone balance, and can cause hormone imbalance.
If your job, your kids, your home, your commute, your parents, your worry about any of those things is drawing on your reserves at a time when exposure to toxins and technology is at an all time high, then stress is going to interfere with fitness pursuits helping your hormone balance.
So many women will tell me that exercise is the way they negate their stress. However, if you have all the rest of stessor on your plate and you’re not adjusting your exercise to account for it you’ll overload yourself easily.
This is probably the biggest obstacle when just starting exercise or maybe it’s the reason you need to restart. Stressful times can flip your intentions. Creating a stress toolbox that includes exercise but also other things is really important.
Hormones leave clues. You’re not sure which hormones but you’re sure something has shifted. Nothing works like it used to: the exercise, nutrition, and habits you used to have don’t help you feel better or full of energy any more. You might be still having a period, sometimes… or not having one at all any more. Maybe you’re having phantom periods when you feel like you should or could but don’t. Your skin might be changing. If you’ve gained weight the places you’ve gained it have changed. If you can’t seem to put muscle on or see any tone that could be related to hormones as much as to your exercise and nutrition.
In the After 50 Fitness Formula Women course (on sale during Labor Day weekend: laborday25) you can identify your hormones with your signs and symptoms in order to get a set of best fitness steps to take to change that.
#7 Whole-You Integration
You can’t look at any one of those things in isolation any more than you can look at mind, body, or soul in isolation any more. So really pulling them together because one of them affects the others. You’re either exercising for better sleep or your exercise could disrupt sleep. You’re either sleeping in a way that supports your exercise (and results) or might sabotage them. It’s true of relationships with food and exercise, food and sleep or stress as well. Everything you do or don’t do influences something else. So that mysterious hormone balance is about identifying what your clues are telling you and pulling them together.
So there you have it. Those are the foundation on which I’ve built my own fitness for flipping 50 and you can too.
Are you subscribed to Flipping 50? If you’re not, I encourage you to do that today. You can take me with you in the car, on your walk or during weight training for additional support, inspiration, or another tip to help when just starting exercise or keeping the fire burning for more decades.
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Mentioned in today's episode: