Can you ‘Workout’ the Menopause?

Can you ‘Workout’ the Menopause?

 

Women really do have a lot to contend with in our quest to have a Fit and Healthy body! And just when you thought you’d got it all under control – The Menopause strikes!

Along with the hot flushes, mood swings, tiredness, depression, insomnia, irritability and general daily craziness, one of the worst symptoms is weight gain. It’s sudden, it’s stubborn and it’s often concentrated around your mid-section. No matter how active or lazy you are – it affects almost all women.

As angry as you may feel about this – it’s not your fault! Unfortunately it’s a natural process of the menopause that we go through and although that doesn’t make it any easier, if you know what to expect and you commit to doing something about it, you can make a difference and the correct exercise plan can help!

 

How much Exercise do you need to do to lose weight?

The short answer: More than you think. It’s recommended at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate exercise to keep fit and healthy, however, for weight-loss during menopause, you may need to do more. The older you are, the more exercise you need to prevent weight gain and/or lose weight.

 

Cardio training for Weight loss

Cardiovascular exercise helps you burn calories as well as protect you from other health issues that arise when you reach menopause, such as heart disease and osteoporosis.  If you’re new to exercise, it’s best to build it up gradually to 3-5 days of brisk walking for 20-30 minutes, or however long you can manage.  If you’re already doing cardio exercise and you’re still not losing weight – it’s frustrating!  This is when you need to make some changes to your current workout program.

Frequency – Could you add in an extra workout to your week? It doesn’t have to be an hour…just an extra 15/20 minute workout from time to time can make a difference.

Intensity – If you tend to exercise at a steady pace, try adding some shorter, high intensity sessions such as interval training into your plan to get your heart rate up a notch and burn a few more calories than your regular steady workouts.  Try using a fitness tracker to monitor your heart rate so you can see how hard you’re actually working, rather than just guessing!

Time – Could your usual workouts last a little longer? Many of us could easily add 10 minutes to one or two workouts and that’s 10 minutes you can be burning more calories.

Type – Do you stick to exactly the same workouts each week? Your body becomes more efficient when you do the same activity over and over, tending to burn fewer calories. Any time you try something new, your body has to work harder at it, which will help you burn more calories.

 

Strength Training for Weight loss

Strength training is so important for changing your body composition, burning fat, keeping your bones strong and building lean muscle tissue which in turn will increase your metabolism (your energy burning system). You should try to do strength training workouts at least twice a week for your entire body, but you can also incorporate it into your cardio workouts as well with circuit style training sessions. You don’t necessarily have to lift weights – you can use body-weight exercises too.  Make sure you’re getting the most from your strength workouts.

Lift Heavy – If you lift weights regularly, then great! But it’s important that you’re lifting the right way.  Make sure your technique is correct and work as hard as you can – this means that if you’re doing 12 repetitions of an exercise for example, by the 12th rep you should feel like you can’t do anymore!

Target your whole body – Unfortunately you can’t target the body areas you want to lose fat from. Going for the whole-body training approach will recruit more muscles and burn more calories, so make sure you’re including your Legs, chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps and abs in your strength workouts. Using compound movements (e.g. a Squat with a press) may feel more complex than doing a set of squats followed by a set of shoulder presses but they will be multi-tasking your muscles, getting 2 exercises done in 1 move and burning much more calories than doing them individually.

 

Mind / Body Workouts

Relaxation is also important during the Menopause as stress can also lead to weight gain.  Workouts that help you slow down, breath, de-stress and focus on the present moment can really help with menopause symptoms, getting your hormones under control and making you feel more able to deal with what’s happening to your body.  Try to include these workouts as often as you can!

Stretch – Make time for a relaxing stretch after every workout. Think of it as a reward for your body and mind.

Mindfulness – Try at least one mindful workout each week. Yoga, Pilates, or even going for a walk – getting outside with nature is a great form of active meditation.

Balance – We get so obsessed about losing weight, we tend to put all our focus into burning calories. However, the body needs more than just cardio and strength training. It needs flexibility, balance, stability and rest too!

 

So if what you’re currently doing doesn’t seem to be helping anymore now you’re at ‘that’ stage in life, try planning a completely new training schedule.  Including Cardio, Strength and Mind / Body workouts.  It’s definitely worth trying – Just make sure you plan it when you’re in a good mood!

Weight Loss vs Fat Loss

Weight Loss vs Fat Loss – There’s a big difference! 

If you’ve gained a few extra pounds over the last few weeks, it may be very tempting to crash diet to get the weight off fast! However, this fast WEIGHT loss may not necessarily be FAT loss.

The number on the scales can be helpful, but most people want to lose the FAT and the scales won’t always show that.  Tracking the amount of weight you lose can be a great source of motivation, but it can also be quite deceiving and even if you’re losing weight on the scales, it doesn’t necessarily mean your body shape and composition is changing.

On the flip side to this, it is possible to drop a dress size without actually seeing a change in your weight. This happens when you lose body fat while gaining muscle.  A pound of fat and a pound of muscle weight exactly the same, however a pound of muscle takes up a lot less volume than a pound of fat, so your weight may stay the same but you’ll lose inches instead and these inches come from a loss of body fat.

There are also many side effects of losing weight as opposed to losing fat!

Weight Loss

(Crash Dieting and Incorrect Training)

  • Decreased Fitness
  • Decreased Strength
  • Decreased Energy
  • Reduced Immunity
  • Saggy Skin
  • Premature Aging

Fat Loss

(Good Nutrition and Correct Training)

  • Improved Fitness
  • Increased Strength
  • More energy
  • Improved Health
  • Improved Muscle tone

Conclusion

Consuming a healthy nutritious diet, counting calories and following the correct training plan which includes strength training WILL lead to fat loss, but unfortunately sometimes at a slower rate than crash dieting and over-training, which is why many people don’t stick at it as they want the fast results NOW!

But please be patient, as all good things take time to achieve and the long-term benefits and results of fat loss are far greater than weight loss.

Healthy Eating is a meal plan for LIFE!

Healthy Eating is a meal plan for LIFE!

I really cannot stress this enough! – If you eat good stuff, then your body will do good stuff!

Forget about all the latest diet trends right now.  Yes they will help you lose weight fast BUT unless it’s something you’re going to be able to continue for the rest of your life day in day out, it’s inevitable that at some point you’re going to put the weight back on again.  Adopting permanent HEALTHY eating habits will not only drastically improve your health but can also help with permanent weight loss too.

Whichever diet you’re following – cutting carbs, drinking shakes, or eating in an 8 hour time slot, they all equate to exactly the same thing – CALORIE DEFICIT.  Weight-loss happens when your body is in Calorie deficit – e.g. You eat less calories than you use.  However, to achieve HEALTHY WEIGHT-LOSS, it’s not just the calories you have to think about.  You may lose weight eating 1300 calories of chocolate a day BUT you wouldn’t get any of the health benefits and nutritional value of real wholesome food.  So, if you’re counting your calories you need to educate yourself too.  So read the nutritional labels and see what the calories are made up of.

Is what you’re eating actually NUTRITIOUS?

Food is fuel to your body and if you fill it with rubbish, you can’t expect it to do great things!  Go for real Wholefoods that will give you the correct nutrition and nourish your body.  As for meal replacements and supplements – they may contain all the vitamins, minerals and macro’s (product advertising words, not mine!) of a balanced diet, but they’ll never compare to real food.  Also, there’s nothing magical about a protein shake either , it is what it is – a source of protein, just like chicken, eggs and fish etc.  They’re great for convenience, but unless you plan on drinking protein shakes instead of eating a proper meal for the rest of your life, you’re never going to re-train yourself to adopt healthy eating habits by using them.

Top Tips for eating a Healthy Diet

Eat AT LEAST 5 portions of vegetables and fruit every day.

Include good fats ( although high in calories, good fats are very beneficial to health).

Include a protein source at each meal.

Plan your meals in advance.

Start the day (with a good breakfast) as you mean to go on.

Cook from scratch whenever possible – you‘ll know exactly what you’re eating.

 

So forget about the fad diets – it really is worth making those Healthy SUSTAINABLE changes that you‘ll keep up for life!

New Year, New You (Again)

New Year, New You (Again)

January is the month when many people are super-motivated and make their resolutions for the year ahead.

But do you set the same goals each year? And do you ever reach your goals?

If what you tried last time didn’t work, what makes you think that doing the same thing all over again is going to give you a different outcome?  Because if it didn’t work last time you tried it, you need to change your plan of action!

Losing weight and getting fit is one of the most common resolutions, especially after spending the festive season eating and drinking so much. This is the reason why the gyms are packed this month, but after a couple of months of the initial ‘I’m going to lose weight and get fit’ motivation, many give up.

But you don’t need to be one of the quitters! There are strategies for success in keeping that Health and Fitness motivation going all year.

Make it a Social thing……

Social interaction has been shown to make people more likely to Workout so join a fitness class, a local running or sports group, get yourself a gym buddy or hire a personal trainer.  Paying out in advance for things may be a financial commitment, however, combine it with a commitment to another person and you’re much more likely to stick with your program. If you can’t make it to a group, having an online social fitness community (e.g., Facebook group) can also inspire you to keep working towards your goals.

Set and Commit to a specific Goal…….

Although the long-term goal may be to lose 2 stone or run a 10k, it’s a good idea to set short term goals too. Sign up to the race and put it in your diary, but also set yourself weekly/monthly challenges that will lead you to your main goal. Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time framed) and write them down!

Find the Best Exercise and Diet Plan for you……..

The best Exercise and Diet plan for you is the one that you enjoy doing!. You are far more likely to stay consistent if you actually enjoy what you’re doing and therefore this commitment will bring the greater long-term results.  If you find it boring, you won’t stick to it so try something else!

Keep Going……..

Those low moments when you feel like stuffing your face or cancelling your gym session are bound to happen so plan a strategy for dealing with it. If you blow it on a night out, get back on it the next day, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed – you only fail when you give up!

You don’t have to exercise or eat like an athlete, it doesn’t matter if you’re first or last and so what if you didn’t get a slimmer of the week award!. The most important thing to making your New Year’s resolutions work in 2020 is to keep at it!

Happy 2020 – Here’s to your Health, Fitness and SUCCESS!

Minimising the Christmas Diet Damage

Minimising the Christmas Diet Damage

Keeping on track with staying healthy, fit and not piling on the pounds over Christmas is a challenge in itself as there are sooo many temptations!

Whether it’s a party invite, another meal out or the extra tins of biscuits and chocolates that find their way into the office over the festive period, there seems to be food everywhere! We all want to have fun at Christmas, but no one wants to put on weight. So how do you manage to minimise the damage that the festive season can cause to your diet?

  1. Have a Healthy breakfast

Eating a good breakfast will set you up for the day and hopefully encourage you to continue to eat healthily for the rest of the day.  Go for a healthy breakfast such as porridge, wholegrain toast, eggs and avocado or Greek yoghurt with fruit.  Having a filling breakfast means you’re less likely to over indulge later on in the day.

  1. Keep moving

You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym but staying active can help combat those extra calories.  Go for a walk, get on the dance floor, do a short blast of a home workout.  Exercise will not only burn calories, but it’s a great stress buster too, plus sometimes going for a walk is a good excuse to get out of the house for a bit of peace and quiet!

  1. Think before you eat

We all love a few festive treats, but do you really need to eat all the mince pies ‘Just because it’s Christmas?’.  You don’t need to deny yourself everything, but make sure that you’re really enjoying what you’re eating and not scoffing it just because it’s there!

  1. Food Plan in advance

You don’t have to overfill your fridge with huge amounts of festive food and end up eating it all just so it doesn’t go to waste.  Plan your meals over the holidays and only buy what you’re going to eat.

  1. Sleep well

Missing out on your sleep can also lead to weight gain.  When you are tired, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol, which increases your appetite.  Try if at all possible, to stick to set bed and wake up times.  Sleep plays a huge role in keeping your body fit and healthy and it’s vital to get plenty if you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight.  Don’t underestimate it’s importance.

  1. Eat before you go out

Have a healthy meal before you go out to parties so you won’t arrive hungry.  If there’s a buffet table – sit as far away from it as you can!.  Let’s be honest, there’s very rarely an appetising healthy option on the buffet table and you don’t want to end up stuffing your face with sausage rolls!  Having a pre-drinks healthy meal will also mean you’ll be less likely to stop off at the take-away for a kebab on your way home.

  1. Watch your drinks

Alcoholic drinks and cocktails contain lots of hidden calories and you may be drinking more than usual this over Christmas.  Try to stick to the low-calorie mixers with your spirits and maybe drink water between each alcoholic drink – it will cut down on the hangover too!

  1. Don’t pick at food

When there’s food everywhere, it’s all too easy to have a little bit of this and a little bit of that, thinking it’s not going to make that much difference.  But it adds up over the day.  Keep mindful of those little bits and try to avoid snacking, unless its healthy food.

  1. Enjoy the Christmas feast

If you eat healthily most of the time and you’re keeping up with your usual workouts, you can let go a bit on Christmas day! One unhealthy meal won’t make you fat just as one healthy meal won’t make you slim – it’s all about BALANCE.  But if you really want to avoid too many extra calories on the day itself, fill up on the healthy options such as vegetables and lean turkey so you won’t feel the need to over-eat the more indulgent treats.

  1. Learn to say No

If you don’t really want to eat something, SAY NO!.  Never mind if Auntie Brenda’s spent hours making the cake, or if your sister-in-law keeps topping up your glass of wine.  You really don’t have to eat anything you don’t want to.  Once you get used to saying no, it’s easier than you think.

  1. Know when it’s over

The festive season ends on 1st January.  Draw a line under whatever happened to the diet over Christmas (if it all went pear shaped) and get back to those healthy habits.  The longer you leave it, the harder it will be!