Value of Strength Training During the Menopausal Years w/ Amanda Thebe
During perimenopause, your estrogen levels start to fluctuate and eventually decline leading into menopause, when your periods will stop. It’s during menopause, that women become at an increased risk for some health issues including cardiovascular disease (CVD), osteoporosis, obesity, and diabetes.
Menopause is one of those topics that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, so most women have no idea of what lays ahead for them. There are things you can proactively do to reduce the likelihood of these diseases occurring and to ease some of the more challenging symptoms.
Benefits of strength training in menopause.
As we age, our ability to build muscle declines, with the added gift of menopause that ability is even more difficult. Estrogen plays a significant role in building muscle, so when that hormone starts to decline it becomes more important than ever for you to focus on maintaining and building lean muscle mass.
Lean muscle mass does not equal a big bulging body, in fact usually the opposite is true. Muscle is a compact substance, taking up less space than fat. Which usually sees women dropping dress sizes even if the number on the scale doesn’t move. This, in turn, has been shown to be a positive way to reduce your risk of obesity and diabetes.
Building lean muscle has been shown to help keep vasomotor symptoms of menopause in check. Up to 70% of women reported reduced hot flashes and night sweats in a recent study, compared to the cardio bunnies who had a lower amount of lean muscle.
Many of the well-known aging diseases like osteoporosis and CVD are linked with menopause, as estrogen plays a positive role in both heart health and our skeletal muscle. Once we see a decline in estrogen, it’s important that you actively do everything you can to combat such risks.
The one thing you need to know.
So I have convinced you that building lean muscle is the way to go right? Good! But how do you achieve that? Should you Zumba, run, swim or HiiT workouts? How do you actively build lean muscle? The answer my friend is very simple;
The only way to actively create a stimulus and build muscle is strength training. It is possible to start with bodyweight exercises but ultimately this will not add enough stimulus to your muscles to create a change that results in building lean muscle. I love to combine lifting weight with bodyweight exercises, like the sample workout below.
All the other activities you do in life, including Zumba, swimming and running should continue. I would NEVER tell anybody which exercise type makes them happy and injects energy into their life. But ultimately these activities will not build muscle to support your body through menopause and beyond. The best way to continue doing these activities is to alternate them with a strength session.
You need to lift weights.
So whether that is a group class, a home workout with a YouTube video, a personal training session or a trip to the local gym. You have to start working your body with a resistance that feels challenging, that actually overloads the body and makes changes to its structure.
Ideally, you should do strength training 2-3 x per week. The sessions do not need to be long, on average I encourage 30 minutes in a circuit style format. This allows you to lift weights quickly and efficiently AND to get you out of breath, which is going to help with your metabolism and cardiovascular conditioning.
Example Strength Training Session
8-12 reps each exercise
Rest as much as you need.
Dumbbell or Kettlebell Deadlift
Lateral Beast Crawls
Stability Ball Glute Raises
In addition to this, you can check out my FREE GIFT for you. I have created a 12-week program of core exercises that you can add into your workout sessions. To grab your copy of ABS ON FIRE click here.
Meet Amanda Thebe
Amanda Thebe is a force of nature for women who are experiencing menopause hell and want to start feeling healthy and fit in their 40s and beyond.
Through her very frank articles, hilarious social media posts and inspirational and entertaining talks, she’s here to help you find the tools to have more energy and zest for life, while making you laugh like a 20 year old throughout the process.
Her exercise workouts and fitness tips have been featured in Breaking Muscle, Girls Gone Strong and Ultimate Sandbag Training. Her adoring fans and clients have called her a ‘resilient bitch’ and ‘an unstoppable inspiration’, with one woman naming her “the over 40 guru to watch in 2017.”
And when she’s not fitnessing, you can find her socializing with her family and friends and the occasional Netflix binge session with the hubby. You can learn more here.