Why Strength Training is better than DIETING for women around the menopause
Think weight loss, think dieting. Well I say think again. Dieting is the act of consuming less calories than we burn in order to lose weight. It typically results in fantastic short term results, however, it is rarely sustainable. Strength training results in the creation of new muscle, new muscle requires more energy to maintain which in turn increases your metabolism1. A faster metabolism results in easier weight management and more muscle gives rise to a more shapely, sexy and curvy body.
The death of dieting for middle aged women
The main issues with dieting are that as we reduce the amount of calories we consume our bodies react by slowing down its metabolism. It does this in order to conserve energy so that it can sustain its vital functions like pumping blood and fighting infections. As the metabolism slows we need to eat less and less food in order to continue losing weight. This reduction in overall calories is accompanied by a reduction in overall protein intake. A reduction in protein intake results in a reduction in muscle mass (read more about this here; https://www.pocketcoach.online/post/why-is-protein-key-around-menopause) Now this is significant to any population group, however, arguably most significant to those around the menopause.
Beyond the cold sweats and cramps the most major physiological changes that take place during menopause are a slowing down of the metabolism and a reduction in muscle mass2. Both of these elements combined create an environment for weight gain which is why the “middle aged spread” is so common.
Now if you’ve been reading carefully you will notice that I have repeated myself. The negative aspects of dieting which make it unsustainable such as the slow down of metabolism and reduction in muscle mass are exactly the same as the negative effects of the menopause. Therefore if you are dieting and are at any stage of the menopause (including post menopause) AND dieting then it is likely that you are heading for a disaster!!
So STOP and read on
Why Strength training?
Strength training is the act of working against resistance in the form of either bodyweight or weights in order to create physiological changes to the body. The exact physiological adaptation that takes place depends on the amount of weight used relative to your maximal output as well as the number of repetitions and sets of the movements you perform. Strength training when performed correctly and following a programme based around linear progression will result in both the increase in strength of muscle fibres and increase in size.
Strength training increases your metabolism. It does this in many different ways. It burns energy whilst you perform the exercise, it burns energy recovering and repairing in the days after the exercise and also increases your metabolism day to day by adding muscle mass to your body. In order to get the best benefits from it it is important to consume plenty of protein and ensure that you are in a calorie surplus (the opposite of dieting!!)
Strength training effectively fights against the natural processes of ageing taking place in the body. Dieting speeds it up!
How to get started
To get started all you need is your body. Start with basic body weight movements like squats, sits ups and push ups. Each session try to increase the amount of load or volume. Increase the volume by performing more repetitions and more sets. Increase the load by adding more weight or making the movement more challenging (think knees down push ups to full push ups). My biggest suggestion here is to note down your records from each workout and aim to beat it on the following workout. We actually offer a free 4 week menopause strength training programme which utilises exercises and workouts designed for women who are going through or have been through the menopause. Click here to sign up: http://tinyurl.com/583pxd3k Everything takes place on our app, where you can record your progress and get direct message access to me with any questions plus get access to a weekly live stream strength and mobility class!!