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140: Strength Training For Women, Peri-Menopause, and Top 3 Tips For Women In Menopause - with Debra Atkinson!

November 15, 2019

Welcome back to the podcast! Today’s guest is Debra Atkinson. She is the creator of Flipping 50, a website, podcast, and blog dedicated to helping women, aged 50 and older, reach their health and fitness goals, and she is the author of, You still Got It, Girl! Enjoy!





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Hey, guys, welcome to this week's episode, and I'm really excited for today's guest, she is the creator of Flipping 50, a website, podcast and blog dedicated to helping women 50 or older reach their health and fitness goals. And she's also the author of You've Still Got It, Girl. Welcome, Deborah Atkinson.
Thanks so much for having me. Excited.
Yeah. So let's start by discussing why you develop flipping 50 and how did your own wellness journey lead you to create it?
OK, so here we go. The dirt. Right, OK. You know, I was a trainer years ago before training was a thing and I was probably a wise soul. So I for some reason, even in my twenties, ended up training older adults. So I was doing a lot of research before I really knew I was doing research. And then we all every industry and we started talking about baby boomers and what a change this was going to make in our world and and an exercise to it did. But what I kept hearing from those older women, women slightly older than me going through that because I am the tail and I call myself a barely boomer, I'm that nineteen sixty four baby. And so those people who were 20 years older than me and less I was hearing nobody gets us know. I mean the doctor says, well, welcome to menopause. What do you expect? You're getting older and as if I should settle for that and baby boomers are not willing to settle. So I kept hearing nobody understands me. What I used to do isn't working. And then the real and the selfish reason is at forty nine, I went through a lot of major life stressors in a short time period that that I don't recommend anybody do. But I learned myself that exercising less actually got better results. And after even a year of extreme stress, I was fitter, healthier, stronger than I'd ever been. So I dug into the research to learn why that was happening for me. And the after 50 fitness formula for women was born out of that.
Wow. Well, you look amazing. We want to share with people how old you are now. Do you share that or not? Really I do.
I ask everybody who comes within earshot of me how old they are because it is so relevant. I'm fifty five.
Wow. You look amazing.
Thank you. You know, my hope, though, is that at some point we don't think that. We just expect. Well, why wouldn't I? Right.
Well, my mom I have to show you a picture of my mom. She looks amazing. And she is.
I think she's gosh, I think she's seventy three, but she looks fantastic. But she is funny because she doesn't just like if she heard this podcast, she would be like when I told you not to tell anyone my age, but she looks fantastic.
I'm like when you, when you look amazing you should be telling people your age. Exactly.
Yeah I so great.
Yeah. So for women struggling through menopause, what would you say your top three tips would be for them to feel their best.
No one is. No. I mean you've got to believe there is there is an answer. You've got options. And if you're asking people who are not giving you that hope that there's a different option, whatever you have tried, if it hasn't worked, that's OK, because there are a dozen things that maybe you haven't tried that you need to know about. So keep asking other people get second and third opinions if you need to. So you've got to first believe that you can age differently and that we can divorce this whole concept of menopause and the menopause and belly fat, the menopause and hot flashes and the menopause and brain fog. We can divorce those. We just have kind of accepted. That's the norm. So No one is that change your belief system and your expectations. And there are women out there, you see them and you can be just like them. You've just got to figure it out so you can feel better after fifty than you ever did and look better as long as you don't try to exercise like you did when you were thirty. Right. So second thing is, and I am willing to bet that this will come up again and again. Strength training is your best friend. If you're not strength training, you need to strength training that goes for men and women, but is really an important message for women to get because especially women over 50 right now, we're conditioned, socialized, grew up with a different kind of messaging about what weight training was and who should do it. And that fear of bulking is still in the back of our mind. And so you need to embrace strength. And there are also ways to do that that can optimize your results. So take a good look at that. And the third thing is look at your relationship with food again and again. We grew up in this era where every diet was something to try. And it's that is not a lifestyle or nor should it be a hobby. And you've got to find something that works for you. And it may not be the same thing today as it was 10 years ago or 20 and may not be the same thing in 10 years. And I think being being willing to be flexible about your needs, but learning more about specifically right now, what do I need? What's my body telling me?
I love it. So I just finished writing my second edition of my book and I talk about how people don't have to deprive themselves when it comes to food, but everyone needs to decide for themselves what are their red light, yellow light and green light foods. And so for red light, I mean things like I say and waste away that your your red light foods are things that you just don't want to your body, for whatever reason, just does not do well. When you eat those yellow light is like, I don't feel great, but I don't feel terrible when I eat it. I limited. So what are your red light and yellow light foods for you?
For me, one of the things I don't bring into this house because I know it's not going to go well. Popcorn and and chips of any kind, you know, those healthy blackfin chips or they're so yummy, but too many of them is not a good thing. Right. So those are trigger foods for me. And I was having this conversation with a woman just yesterday on the phone as we were in her session. And the same thing happened to her. It was a different food. But, you know, when there's a bag and it's a bag with four, six or eight servings and it's a trigger food for you, it may not. No one can eat. Just one is kind of what happens for me. So there are foods that I just have to leave alone. Those are probably the biggest.
OK. And walk us through like a normal day in the life of Deborah. Like, what did you eat yesterday? When did you eat it? Did you work out what kind of workout did you do? Talk to us about what yesterday looked like for you? Yeah, great.
OK, so if I get off track, you bring me back in, girl. OK, so I'm an early riser, so about four thirty or five, my biological clock says time to get up. Even if the dog doesn't tell me I'm up and I like to I start with the master t these days it just a little bit more alert with a chill pill, not that kind of jittery feel that I used to get from coffee. And let's be honest, I have two mugs. They're big in their bed and I like it. So that's not going away any time soon and I do that while I'm working. So my most creative time, my most productive time is those first couple of hours in the morning. So that's what I'll do and then I will break to do a workout. So yesterday it was forty five minutes on a on a bike on a trainer. I just read outside by the pool and I have to have a little something to eat by then because I've been up for two, two and a half hours. So I have something I don't exercise fasted and I there's that's always a question. Should I eat, should I not eat? And I think if your body is telling you you're hungry, you're going to have more energy output during your exercise and enjoy it more. And that's important. So I do eat before and then I will wait sixty minutes after when it's an intense workout, and then I'll have a smoothie with about thirty grams of protein in it. Because if we want to avoid muscle loss and we do right. Because we want a high metabolism, we need to get that protein in and we're kind of ripe for protein synthesis, taking in the protein we eat for the use of our muscles about sixty minutes after there's a blunting effect actually that happens during that first hour after intense exercise. So I'm really careful about the timing of that. And then the rest of my day goes on with meetings and client inputs, and I'm careful, though, to have lunch and dinner, so it's like three meals, no snacks between other than that pre exercise, something if a meal hasn't fallen at the right time for me. So no snacks. And and the reason I do that is just just the way I'd recommend for anybody else. We need to turn on the hunger satiety hormones again. We've kind of ignored them and overridden them, especially if you've been a diet or at some point I'm betting anybody over 50 got this. You know, if you're hungry, you must be losing weight. So that's a good thing right now. And so we all keep ignoring whatever our body was telling us. We've got to get back to listening to it and trusting it, getting it back on the path. So a lot of sitting for me or standing, I'll stand what I'm doing meetings and try to move around a little bit. But by the end of the day, or I have dinner and I have an early dinner, so my window of eating is a little bit shorter during the day. You can call it intermittent fasting or not. It was never that before. I, I knew I was just doing that and it just seems to work for me. So I'm like one of those people who pulls their catches up to their armpit and goes to the Golden Corral at five o'clock. That would be very comfortable with that crowd. And then I'm in bed by nine, but I do a little exercise. So it might late in the day I might take the dog for a walk or I might do a little yoga or stretch just to move again. And it's kind of a mental shut that off, too, and and yet move again because it's been several hours of too much sitting and not enough real movement. And then I'll eat and I'm more mindful if I've just exercised before I eat than I otherwise would be. And then I relaxed, always take a hot shower or bath, and I'm in bed truly by eight thirty 30 most days I am just like a hot day, right?
Well, listen, I'm telling you, I the last three nights I've been asleep at eight o'clock because I get up really early to get up around four or four thirty every day. And so because I'm so productive in the morning, I'm the same way like at five o'clock I'm ravenous. I like like one time my friend call me at four forty five p.m. she's like, what are you doing.
I'm like, oh I'm just finishing dinner. She's like finishing dinner. It's, it's not even five o'clock. We get along so well. Yeah. Oh yeah. That's funny.
Well let's jump right into the listener questions. This first one is very funny because this is from a guy, his name is Dave and he's from Fargo, which I don't know where Fargo is, but he says, My lovely wife of twenty eight years is going through menopause.
She seems miserable. Her hot flashes and mood swings are completely unpredictable. I feel terrible for her. So what's the best way for me to support her as she goes through this? Isn't that a funny question?
I love Dave. Oh, gosh, yeah. I was so aware that there are some something he might be able to do. So first of all, kudos for being so aware and for reaching out. But two things I think right away.
I think it's making clear you look great to me. You know, I don't need you to change for me, but if you don't feel one hundred percent, you let's find out what the options are. Let's figure it out. Let's find a doctor or find a functional doctor or talk to a trainer or talk to a health coach about what's going on, what you're experiencing, what doesn't feel one hundred percent you and what are your options. So I would help her in that way both ways, because she's going to love you for saying, you know, you look great to me, don't do this for me, but I'm totally behind you. If you want to do this for you, you can't lose that way. And there are a lot of ways you could lose. So tread lightly.
Ask them. This next one is Mary in Gloucester. I'm a fifty three year old woman who's always been pretty active. I walk every morning and try to eat healthy. I've always been relatively slender and have worn the same size clothes for years. But lately I've noticed that things are get that I'm getting softer in the stomach and thighs. My clothes feel a little snug in those areas. What types of exercises should I be doing to keep my stomach and thighs toned?
Great question. And this is such a great teaching opportunity right here. So immediately the temptation is to go right for those areas and say, OK, it's my core where I don't feel good. So what core exercise will get rid of this or what core exercise will help me turn my thighs? And that really is not the answer. And I know we've been hearing or saying this. I've been saying it. You hopefully have been hearing for years that you can't spot reduce. We can't really spot target something. We can tone it, we can strengthen it. But the better overall approach to those two problems, because we actually talk core anywhere between our knees and our shoulders, that whole frontal playing and and back is our core. So getting some strength training in because I heard you talk about walking, you're walking. So I would make sure that as a part of your program right now that you're getting strength training in. And here's the why. As we get older, we're we peek at our muscle mass when we're twenty five. So if we're not resistance training, using using weights or using tubing, using body weight, ideally I love and recommend weight training. I love the weights, whether it's machines or dumbbells, because you can reach fatigue in those ways a little bit easier with less stress. If we're not doing resistance training, we're losing muscle mass easier than we're keeping it or gaining it as we age.
So we're going to live to 70 and 80 and 90. And I don't know about you, but I'm going for triple.
The muscle loss, and that's where frailty has always come in in the past, so strength training is really important and strength training creates lean muscle, which is metabolically active. So to keep your metabolism firing as you age, you want to be using strength training to do that. Walking is excellent, great for your heart, but is not going to help that lean muscle mass and metabolism nearly as much as strength training. So swap a little bit of that time. If you're too busy to do both, give up a little of the walking time, add a little bit more strength training time and you'll notice that you're getting a little bit better results. You can start some core exercise, but you'll notice that things like squats and lunges and lifting the hips up what we call a hip bridge from the floor will help to turn those legs and hit both of those spots a lot faster.
Perfect, this is from Trish in Bowie. Hi, Chantel, I love the podcast. I'm a fifty seven year old woman. I take a daily multivitamin, but now that I'm getting older, should I be concerned about my bone density? Should I be taking vitamin D or calcium supplements?
Great question. So first, I just want to clarify so it's not my place to to diagnose or to treat recommending vitamins. Here's what I would say. And what of the collective research that I've done and talking to a lot of the big science that specialize in women in menopause that I talk to and work with? Yes, we should all be concerned about bone density and yes, a very intelligent multivitamin and calcium and vitamin D magnesium to interact with each other to help with bone density are important. But I'm going to sound like a broken record.
Strength training is also a girl's best friend, so you can't rely on nutrition alone. And we can't also we can't isolate just calcium. What we know now in the last three to five years really has come out that it's overall nutrition. We can't just say, OK, you got your calcium check. Now, bone density is not an issue. It's we need across the board. We need all those micronutrients. We need all the vitamins. We've got to have a really healthy overall diet. We've got to be getting adequate protein, adequate fats, healthy fats in our diet, the right kind of vegetables. None of us eat too many of those. And it it's the whole thing collectively as well as looking at supplementing with calcium. But to put those to work, get into the gym and do strength training because that's the key to bone density through exercise.
Well, where can listeners go to follow you and your work?
You can find me at flipping fifty dotcom and it's all spelled out no spaces. And I'd love to hear from you all.
Awesome. Well, if you have a question that you want answered, go to questions at Chantel Ray dot com. We'll see you next time. Bye bye.

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