Workout smarter - not longer!

Workout smarter - not longer!

Most women (including myself) have talking about the fact that as they notice more of the ‘middle-aged spread’, they are working harder and longer to keep the pounds off. Yet, even with increased cardio and longer workout times, the weight isn’t budging, and, in some cases, the scale just keeps climbing.

So, what gives? Why are we working harder and getting no results? I consulted Samantha Montpetit-Huynh, Online Menopause Health Coach, fitness professional and the body and brains behind Sam Core Trainer.

“Why am I working out harder but not losing any weight?” It was like she’s heard this question before. In fact, it’s like she’s heard this question a thousand or more times before!

Let me share Sam’s response:

Sam: If you are exercising and gaining weight, it's probably because you are doing too much.

I jumped with joy at this comment! Too much? Yes! I’m more than happy to dial it back. However, I am curious by this advice.

Sam: Although exercise is a positive form of stress, it is still stress and during perimenopause, we can't manage stress as well as before (due to lowering progesterone and dysregulated Cortisol).

If people are exercising (more than they ever have) or harder or the same as before and are gaining, that's usually a sign of too much. Our body can't deal with the stressors as well as before.

If weight loss is a goal, I would suggest, lifting HEAVY 2-3 days per week and putting more focus on rest and recovery until you see a shift. Also (maybe) HIIT - no more than 15-20 min MAX once every week or two (once you have mastered the lifting regularly).

I had a feeling I wasn’t going to get away with light duty. But there are some things I was already doing right. Like – walking.

Sam: Walking every day for 30 min (not intense but slow and casual walking) has also been shown to help weight loss and manage Cortisol.

I know my steady diet of black liquorice and red wine isn’t helping but I do try to incorporate the Mediterranean diet whenever possible. I’ve heard who imperative it is for women in midlife for so many reasons. Overall, though, I’m not into diets. I’ve tried Keto but it wasn’t sustainable for me. The Mediterranean ‘diet’ isn’t a diet at all. In fact, it is a way of eating. Time for a rebrand because the word diet can be off-putting for many.

Also dieting too much can also stress the metabolism and backfire. Instead of reducing 500 calories per day - which most diets follow, just do 1-200 per day and see how it goes. Weight loss in perimenopause can definitely be a lot slower as your hormones are changing all the time so really until you get post-menopausal and create a new homeostasis, I would focus more on building strength to protect bones and managing blood sugar so you don’t become diabetic.

If you can (honestly) say you've done "all the things" and the scale isn’t moving, think about hormone therapy. Although it's not a "magic pill" (for some), it can be that last missing piece.

My takeaway is that there’s no free rides in this world. If we want to stay healthy, strong and active as we age, we’re going to have to do the work. That means healthy eating (with the odd stick of licorice), a workout plan and, let’s face it, the determination to stick with it.

Check out more from Sam at Sam Core Trainer

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.