More Challenge = More Muscle

Along with the list of diet and life style fixes for estrogen dominance, women who are experiencing a midlife spread (in the middle of the body) might want to consider changing up their exercise routine. (If you missed my last post, I enumerated some of those fixes!)

According (again) to Dr. Christiane Northrup, building more muscle might be one of the most effective ways to combat the tendency to put on belly fat during menopause. And changing up your normal routine is a great way to surprise your muscles and thereby increase the effect of your efforts. Our tendency is to get stuck in a routine. If you always walk 3 miles a day for your exercise, and especially if you walk the same exact route each time, your body will become extremely efficient at this. (Or any workout which is constantly the same.) Which means every time you do that same walk, you will burn LESS calories than before.

If you are completely comfortable with your exercise routine, this is a sure sign that you are in a rut and your body is not challenged by your workout. If you want to build muscle, you have to make yourself at least a little bit uncomfortable. This is the essence of challenge! If you are lifting weights that are heavy enough to change your metabolism, you will feel it the next day. You will be sore and tired! You will need to rest and recover. This is an important part of the process. If your workout never makes your muscles sore, then you are not building muscle. And building more muscle is exactly what we need in order to burn more fat.

If you are not a fan of lifting heavy weights, and many women are not, I suggest emphasizing body weight exercises in your workouts. In addition to walking, jogging, sprinting, dancing, bike riding, or swimming, make sure you lift your own body weight in various configurations at least 2-3 times per week. Some examples of very effective body weight exercises are: push-up's, pull-up's, squats, lunges, planks, box jumps, and dips. If you have no idea what these are, you can visit youtube, plug in any of these terms, and watch a few videos. Once you get the idea, then give it a try! If you are looking for more instruction, try and watch some tutorials. Start slowly and build as you feel ready.

Let me know if you discover some new exercises which seem to make a difference. Let's continue to push each other to try new things and make great strides!