As you enter the next phase in life, over 35, your hormones start to change, and as a result, so do your needs. The same food and training will no longer be as effective as it once was, you need to change your strategy to go with the changes in your hormones.
Changes in hormones change your stress levels
- As you enter perimenopause your oestrogen and progesterone levels start to fluctuate until menopause where they drop completely.
- Oestrogen is responsible for managing stress in your body and reducing inflammation.
- As this start to decline, your stress levels and inflammation elevate. This causes the ‘fight or flight’ response in your body.
- This leads to higher levels of glucose being secreted into the blood stream.
- If this is not burned off with activity, it is transported to the liver to be converted as fat.
- Oestrogen is also responsible for your insulin sensitivity. That means how accurately your body recognises there is glucose in the blood stream and secretes the right amount of insulin to transport it to either the cells as fuel, or the liver to be converted as fat.
- As oestrogen drops, insulin sensitivity drops.
- This can not only lead to insulin resistance but increases fat stores.
- The best way to improve insulin sensitivity is to increase your muscle mass, so that you have a higher percentage of muscle mass to fat ratio in your body composition.
Let’s explore the impact of various types of training before coming to a conclusion.
Cardio or Cardi-no!
- Cardio training increases your metabolism for around 24 hours after you stop so it isn’t a bad way to train.
- However, cardio training has a high impact on stress levels in your body.
- If you are already experiencing all of the above, adding cardio into your training will simply exacerbate the stress problem.
- Cardio also breaks down muscle tissue if you are not consuming adequate calories. So if you are skipping meals, or in a high calorie deficit over a long period of time, then you will lose muscle mass.
- So cardio is not ideal as part of your regular routine for maximum fat loss.
- At this stage of our life, it is ideal to leave it for once or twice a week at most, if you enjoy it.
H.I.I.T. (High Intensity Interval Training)
- I.I.T. increases your metabolism for around 48 hours after you stop training. So it’s definitely better than cardio.
- This is a great way to get the enjoyment of a cardio effect for your mental state, though doing this alone day in day out can also have a similar stress effect as cardio.
- If you enjoy H.I.I.T. on its own, enjoy it 2 to 3 days per week.
Strength (or Resistance) Training
- Strength training increases your metabolism for around 48 hours after you stop training. So like H.I.I.T. from a metabolic perspective, this is a good option.
- This includes anything that puts the muscles through ‘time under tension’. That means forcing the muscles to resist relaxing.
- This can include any of the following:
- Bodyweight resistance training such as squats, lunges, push ups etc.
- Resistance Band training
- Strength training increases muscle mass.
- Muscle tissue burns highest amount of energy as fuel. That means the more muscle you have the more fat you burn.
- You can enjoy strength training 5-6 days a week! It is always a good idea to take one day out as a rest day.
Combining Strength and H.I.I.T. Training
- Combining Strength training with H.I.I.T. (which is what most of our classes are) increases your metabolism for around 72 hours after you stop training.
- This is an excellent way to get that extra boost in your metabolism.
- If you like cardio type training this is the best way to be able to enjoy it without the negative effects to your muscularity.
- You can enjoy this combination 3-4 days per week.
The best form of training for fat loss during perimenopause and menopause therefore is in fact strength training, for an exercise you can perform daily, consistently. Combining Strength with H.I.I.T. gives you that added flare a few times a week.
- Coach Terri