There are many common beliefs among us humans that simply aren’t based on fact, but most of us do them anyway — sometimes over and over again, in the hope that the end result will be different this time. One such belief is that if you want to lose weight, then you have to do excessive amounts of cardio exercise, like jogging 5k every day or attending seven Spin classes a week. Most people still believe that doing loads of cardio is the key to successfully losing weight. However, this is definitely not the case and is especially true for women over 40 with ever-changing hormones due to peri-menopausal and menopause symptoms.
Of course, we were wide-eyed, young and innocent in the 80s, when fitness went really trendy. Think big hair, wristbands, leotards and leg warmers, Jane Fonda, Olivia Newton John’s Let’s Get Physical music video, aerobics and step classes — oh, and don’t forget Mr. Motivator, LOL! So, our generation was definitely conditioned to believe that cardio is the way to go. However, this is definitely not the case — and there’s now plenty of scientific evidence to prove it.
It’s a well-known fact that after we hit our early 30s, muscle mass decreases around 1% each year, while this percentage increases even more during our menopausal years, as well as after the age of 60. This significant decrease in muscle mass causes changes to your body chemistry, which simply means that your fat ratio will rise, as well as your insulin resistance, causing more bloated and stubborn flabby tummies, thighs and bottoms.
And doing hours of cardio exercise a week on top of this will not only cause havoc for your insulin levels, but also to your cortisol levels, the stress hormone that is toxic to your body. Because when you have too much cortisol floating around in your system, it teams up with insulin to increase visceral belly fat deposits, and throws your metabolism out of whack. The end result is that if you continue doing lots of cardio into your 40s and 50s, then you will more than likely end up with more belly fat — no matter how much exercise you do. Most of my clients are over 40 and many of them come to me at a point in their lives where their hormones have started to change, and they’ve suddenly found themselves really struggling to shift fat, despite ‘dieting’, joining a gym, running, etc, etc . The first thing we do when they join B-Fit, apart from improving their nutrition and sleep, is to reduce the amount of cardio they are doing and replace it with resistance, strength and conditioning training, which increases both their muscle tone and metabolism. And by the way, this doesn’t mean lifting huge heavy weights, because everyone is different and all B-Fit programs are ‘tailored’ and progressed accordingly to suit each individual!
So, now you know that adding strength training to your exercise plan will go a long way to helping you feel stronger by increasing your muscle mass, which also helps your body to burn more fat. Plus, if you’re suffering from other peri-menopausal or menopausal symptoms like anxiety, irritability, depression, insomnia, hot flushes, headaches, hair thinning, acne, cystitis, joint pain or stiffness, and brain fog and/or memory loss, then lifting some weights two to three times a week can ease your debilitating symptoms. You will definitely notice the change in your body, mind and confidence within just a handful weeks. Plus, you’ll stay healthier for longer, because increased muscle tone is also known to lower inflammation in the body, which has been linked to many degenerative illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is also a result of poorly controlled blood sugar and there’s a direct correlation between the amount of muscle mass you have and the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. At the age of 65, a woman’s risk of developing AD is one in five.
Best of all, you don’t even have to go to the gym to incorporate strength training exercises into your fitness routine. That’s because compound bodyweight exercises are just as good, especially for beginners. Compound exercises — like squats and lunges — work by targeting multiple muscle groups at the same time, which makes them more efficient at burning fat. Doing compound exercises with weights, like with one of my favourites, the Front And Side Lunge With A Twist, will help you to burn even more fat as you get stronger. If you do have access to an experienced Personal Trainer, like myself, then you can also safely add in exercises like barbell deadlifts and bent over rows, as well as chest presses, etc.
Time On Your Side
It is never too late to build muscle. One Instagram influencer who is worth following for inspiration alone is @trainwithjoan. Joan began strength training at 70 years of age (she’s 75 now!), when she was suffering from arthritis, acid reflux and high blood pressure, as well as experiencing painful ankles due to oedema. She was also tired and in desperate need for a change, so with the help of her daughter, Michelle, who’s a personal trainer, she started picking up weights.
And while we are on the subject of instagram, I have finally got around to posting on Instagram regularly (after much persuasion from my daughters and friends who work in the marketing world and have been telling me it is essential)! I’m still trying to figure it all out, but would really appreciate it if you could follow me on @bfitgaynor.
So, as you can see from this amazing older woman, lifting weights won’t make you look like Popeye or The Hulk — it’s just not physically possible for that to happen. And lifting weights or adding compound body weight exercises to your fitness routine will mean ageing better, less flabby bits, increased muscle tone and a faster metabolism, which will make shifting your extra weight much easier, along with fewer cravings, less illness and less medical intervention. Therefore, if you want to not only look younger than your years, as well as feel stronger and more confident, getting acquainted with strength training during your 40s, 50s and beyond will benefit you more than you can even imagine.
If you’re ready to make that change or just ‘dip your toe in the water‘ and want some help, simply call or text me on 07748 298 728 or CLICK HERE to book a FREE no-obligation call or FREE B-Fit session..
I’m always here to help!!!
Love, Gaynor x