Did you know menopause is just one moment in time?
Menopause is “officially” 12 months after not having your cycle … just that ONE day when it has been exactly ONE year we can say “I am in MENOPAUSE”!
Then the next day you are officially entering “POST MENOPAUSE”!
Dr. Elizabeth Bright explains in her book and on her podcast videos (including our two part interview here) about the history of the term “MENOPAUSE”. It is so fascinating to me. Again, driven by big pharma to make more money- my end opinion.
Now I am I on a mission to beat the common side effects of going through the menopause transition- before and after that official day!
What are the common struggles the females experience as they start their second half of life?
- Unexplained weight gain even with “eating healthy” and “exercising daily”
- Hot flashes and sweating at night
- Struggle sleeping
- Feeling puffy and inflamed
- Struggling to gain muscle even though lifting weights
I have been taking Dr. Stacy Sims “Menopause 2.0” program after ready both of her books ROAR and NEXT LEVEL. I can’t wait for the new version of ROAR to come out this month. Plus I have listened to other opinions of the menopause transition, opposite of Dr. Stacy Sims, with Dr. Anna Cabeca, Dr. Mindy Pelz and Cynthia Thurlow. Dr. Stacy Sims focuses her research on the aging FEMALE ATHLETE, as compared to my other mentors who are working on the general population struggling with metabolic health issues.
My focus is to help educate the AGING FEMALE ATHLETE how to navigate through these years around middle age which is peri-menopause, menopause (one day of your life) and post-menopause. We are high performing and high charging athletes who may be fit but fat or fit but unhealthy under the hood… and often living life as a race with signs and symptoms of CHRONIC STRESS.
So what does Dr. Stacy Sims teach us high performing endurance athletes how to adjust how we FUEL, TRAIN and PERFORM each day as we start our transition into our second half of our life? I know I want to live my best life in my second half of my life- as well as do everything I can do now to be in the best health (inside and out) when I am 80 plus years old (traveling around the world).
See my previous podcasts and blog posts on my tips how to TRAIN as an aging female athlete. Now let’s focus on how to FUEL as an aging female athlete as per Dr. Stacy Sim’s research and experience.
REMEMBER… if you are doing the same thing (same program, same training schedule and same nutrition plan) over and over again without hitting your goals and desired results then you are probably feeling frustrated and confused. INSANITY right?
Are you struggling to get results even if doing all the “RIGHT” things you are reading about or listen to on social media??
Maybe you are not eating enough, working out in the “grey zone” or “black hole”, over training and under recovery issues plus fasting too much and not eating enough protein.
The struggle is REAL but you don’t have to just accept the changes! Instead learn how to fuel and train to improve your metabolism.
We all hear about the mid-life common struggles…
- Increase in fat weight gain
- Decrease in lean body mass
- Increase in total body weight
- Decrease insulin sensitivity
- Increase in blood glucose levels
- Decrease in bone mineral density and bone mass
- Increase in our baseline cortisol and our ability to respond to stress
- Changes in our estrogen receptor sites
- Decrease in our immune response
- Increase in fatigue and reduced ability to recover from workouts
- Decrease in quality of sleep
- Decrease thyroid function (LEA)
Why do we see, experience and feel these changes in our “transition years” as a female athlete?
Are you struggling to get results even though you are doing all the “right” things that used to work for you as…
- Our resistance training program isn’t give us the same results
- Our meal planning, macro ratio and eating window (fasting?) isn’t working to help change body composition
- Feeling flat, tight, puffy and inflamed even with your recovery protocol!
What are the solutions as per research and findings shared by Dr. Stacy Sims in her books, podcast interviews and blogs?
- Change your routine to HEAVY resistance training
- Time your nutrition – what you eat and when you eat with your training schedule (protein!)
- Manage your stress as we experience an elevation in our baseline cortisol (what about if you have already been “living life as a race” and addicted to busy-ness or “rushing-women’s syndrome”?)- CHRONIC STRESS -> sympathetic dominance
- Our changes in hormones may impact our stress – be sure to add in breathing techniques, active recovery days, sleep hygiene routine…
- Reduce inflammation with an anti-inflammatory diet
Here are some key features of an anti-inflammatory diet in functional medicine:
- Personalization: Functional medicine practitioners take into account a person’s unique health history, genetics, lifestyle, and sensitivities to tailor an anti-inflammatory diet plan that suits their individual needs.
- Elimination and Reintroduction: Some versions of the anti-inflammatory diet involve an elimination phase, during which potentially inflammatory foods are temporarily removed from the diet. This can help identify food sensitivities or triggers. These foods are then systematically reintroduced to assess their impact on inflammation.
- Emphasis on Whole Foods: Like other anti-inflammatory diets, the functional medicine approach emphasizes whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These foods provide essential nutrients that support the body’s natural anti-inflammatory processes.
- Focus on Gut Health: Functional medicine often places a strong emphasis on gut health, as the gut plays a crucial role in immune function and inflammation regulation. This might involve incorporating foods that support a healthy gut microbiome, such as fermented foods and prebiotic-rich foods.
- Balancing Macronutrients: The functional medicine approach may involve customizing macronutrient ratios (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) based on an individual’s needs and metabolic profile.
- Targeted Supplementation: In some cases, functional medicine practitioners might recommend specific supplements or herbs that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, based on an individual’s health goals and needs.
- Stress Management and Lifestyle Factors: Functional medicine considers lifestyle factors such as stress, sleep, and physical activity as important components of overall health. Managing stress and getting adequate sleep are seen as integral to reducing inflammation.
- Continuous Monitoring and Adjustments: The personalized nature of functional medicine means that the anti-inflammatory diet is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Practitioners work with patients over time to monitor progress, make adjustments, and refine the diet plan based on the individual’s response.
It’s important to note that while functional medicine offers a personalized and holistic approach to healthcare, it’s always recommended to work with a qualified and experienced functional medicine practitioner or registered dietitian if you’re considering making significant changes to your diet or health regimen.
Are you trying to exercise MORE and eat LESS to change your body composition?
Is it actually working for you or is being too strict on all fronts back firing for you as an active aging female athlete??
I know I was doing more fasted exercise, OMAD (one meal a day) too many days and strict intermittent fasting no matter my workout schedule (evening workout and early morning session) of 16/8 with some days of longer fasting on my “rest” day.
As I always say, LESS IS MORE and MORE IS NOT BETTER… THE GOLDILOCKS EFFECT.
The information we hear out there in our health space is often based on metabolic diseased individuals, obese, Type II Diabetic and sedentary. The guidelines we hear about for nutrition and fasting for our low carb community is NOT for the active athlete or aging female athlete. We are different!
What we learn from Dr. Stacy Sims…
- Low energy availability (LEA) is a real thing
- Changing your body composition is not about calories in and calories out
- Women need apx. 40-45 calories per kg of lean body mass per day (threshold but average is 35-40) to train and respond to the training load vs Men around 15 calories
- Not eating enough nutrient dense calories results in reduced ability to ADAPT and change our body composition (lower fat mass and increase lean body mass)
- Focus should be on choosing the right type of training and life stress plus eating enough nutrient dense calories to hit macro goals (protein!)
- Avoid hormone dysfunction
- Learn HOW to eat, WHEN and WHY with your coach to hit your muscle building protein goals, hormone building healthy fats and nutrient dense carbohydrates for high intensity workouts.
- Reduce your training volume (yes -less is more for us aging endurance athletes)
- Increase the intensity (with the decreased volume)
- Increase your energy intake (what you eat) around your exercise (when to eat)
- Avoid fasting and fasted exercise for the female athlete… instead of Intermittent Fasting, do Time Restricted Eating 12/12 by stopping eating 3 hours before bed
- If you are training hard (changing how you TRAIN), but not changing how you FUEL (what, when and why) -> stressing the body by staying in the sympathetic drive post workouts (eating post workout will help decrease stress for exercise) -elevating cortisol (CHRONIC STRESS if you don’t turn “the faucet” on/off) signals the body not to adapt to the training stimulus
- Fueling around exercise with some calories as in your black coffee before the early morning workout (Kion Whey Protein Powder or Paleo Valley Bone Broth Protein, plus Redmond’s Sea Salt plus grass fed butter is my trick for me)
- Try eating something after breakfast (which is often a struggle for me as I am not hungry for a few hours) as eggs avocado toast (gluten free for me) or some people can tolerate (gut warning) chia seeds soaked in water with cream and local berries with a scoop of protein powder mixed in to hit 20-50g protein
- Fueling post workout will teach your body that it can shift back to parasympathetic drive (rest, digest and recover)
- Avoid over training, under recovery and under eating if you want to see body composition results!
- Adapt to the training stimulus with the right fueling and recovery strategies
Do you have enough energy on board for the basic life activities and everything you are doing in a day?
Why do you have a decrease in your training response and adaptation from your training sessions?
What is a METABOLIC DISRUPTION?
- A decrease in hormone- endocrine function
- A decrease in our training response- adaptation
- A decrease in endurance performance (longer sessions require more fuel)
- A decrease in strength
- A decrease in bone mineral density
- A decrease in our IMMUNITY (more infections!)
- An increase in gut dysfunction, leaky gut and nutrient absorption
- A decrease in neuromuscular coordination
Should you do fasting as active aging female??
We have been told in the past few years how beneficial intermittent and extended fasting is beneficial for weight loss, cell autophagy, and telomere length for longevity purposes but for WHO? Did they run these studies on fit and active athletes and fit active aging female athletes?
Dr. Stacy Sims points out that TIME RESTRICTIVE EATING is “normal” eating window of 12 hours and 12 hours of not eating… this is not the same concept of INTERMITTENT FASTING as the 16/8 we hear the most about. If we are fasting as active fit athletes and female athletes, we may risk not getting enough calories in during our feeding window. Why don’t we focus on stop eating before bed and eating when hungry -especially around our exercise session (especially when more carb depleting and stressing the muscle).
What is the MECHANISM OF ACTION for fasting??
Does EXERCISE provide the same benefits as intermittent fasting?
- changes within the cell to improve our glucose signaling
What is our METABOLIC SWITCH?
- cellular debris taken “trash” out – Cell Autophagy to save from oxidative stress
- Decrease in metabolic stress when body learns to switch from ketones to glucose and back to ketones
- stimulates cell signaling to improve glucose metabolism
- less stress on the body for fueling