The new year is a great time to review what we have accomplished in the past year and plan what we want to improve upon in the coming. One of the top goals I hear at this time of year is, “I want to exercise more and lose weight.” These two don’t always go hand in hand, especially when we enter menopause. Working out harder or longer isn’t necessarily the best way to go about achieving our goals for a certain number on the scale or a smaller dress size.
First of all, chasing bad food choices with long or hard workouts doesn’t work.
Second of all, putting our bodies under more stress without enough recovery isn’t beneficial either. It could actually set you up for injury.
One more thing, instead of our focus being losing weight, we benefit more by changing our focus to building muscle and losing fat. To quote Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, “Muscle is the organ of longevity.”
To live and enjoy the second half of life, focusing on building muscle is, in my opinion, a must.
That’s not to say we don’t need to do cardio workouts but we need to make strength training a priority. Building muscle mass increases our metabolic rate, prevents obesity, helps protect against disease and helps us maintain balance and stability.
We also need to consider our recovery time. Back in our 30’s we could workout hard every day. The good news is, those days are over. Now it’s important to give yourself enough recovery to maximize your results. It’s not when you lift weights that you are building muscle. It’s during the recovery that your muscle fibers are building back better.
In a recent Masterclass I gave an example of what a typical and productive week of workouts looks like. Check out these tips below.
Lift heavy enough weight, with proper form, to fatigue at 10 repetitions.
Focus on multi-joint exercises that benefit your metabolism. Pushing, pulling, bend & lift and single leg and rotation. Examples: pushups, back rows, squats, lunges and woodchops can all make up a circuit. You can go from one to the next with enough weight to fatigue at 10 repetitions, then repeat the circuit one or two more times.
Give yourself enough rest in between strength days for recovery. I recommend 72 hours. That doesn’t mean you won't exercise on the days in between, you just won't be lifting heavy weights. You can do functional exercises, Pilates, yoga and cardio on the days in between.
Getting enough sleep and eating nutritious food with enough protein will help you build muscle.
Stay hydrated. Drink a glass of water in the morning when you wake up then sipping water throughout the day will keep your tissues hydrated. Eat water-filled fruits and vegetables.
Long bouts of all-out cardio are out in menopause. Movement throughout the day and remaining active are in. Performing High Intensity Interval Training two or three days a week with recovery days in between will give you greater results. Your cardio doesn’t have to be fancy. Choose what you enjoy doing and will continue to do. Check out my blog post Holidays are Coming, Save Time, Stay the Course for an example of a simple HIIT workout.
Warm ups and cool downs are more important now than when you were in your 30’s. You’ll get more out of your workouts, recover faster, avoid injury and not feel as sore the following day.
Movement throughout the day. Sitting for long periods of time is detrimental to your health, not to mention it slows your metabolism. Any movement you love is perfect. Walking, gardening, golfing, just moving around your house or office as much as you can will keep your body functioning at a more optimal state.
If I were going to give you three words to follow to get or stay fit at any age they would be: purpose, consistency and perseverance. When you have a purpose it’s easier to remain consistent. When times get tough, use your perseverance to push through.
Want to take it to the next level? Click Here to save your spot in The 6 Pillars of Wellness 12-Week program.