This post is in response to the many questions from trainers and health coaches after recent (and upcoming) presentations for FitnessFest.org, MEDFIT.org, SCW and the Pre-Con training and my TEDx talk. In effort to respond to all the questions quickly during this time when business building feels urgent… I’m hosting a master class on Wed. Sept 30 at 4pm PST too.
I’ll answer some of the questions I’ve received below. The last quarter of any year is the time you lay your foundation for the new year. If you’re not sure what that means or how to get started, or you emphatically know that’s a YES! … and you want to be sure you are starting now and taking the next 90 days to plan, and go into action for the two quarters that follow… join me Wed. SAVE YOUR SPOT.
If you see this after Oct 1 2020, the Q and As will help you.
Training Clients in Menopause in Pandemic Times
Women are not mice or men. Women in menopause are not young men.
That’s easy to accept, right?
A woman, in midlife herself and in health, and she’s not the first, strongly disagreed with some of the content I’ll share here and the deeper information I’ll share on Wednesday. You too may not agree with what I’ll tell you.
Is it fair to ask you to keep an open mind?
Is it fair to suggest that if what you’re doing right now isn’t working (for training clients in menopause) that you consider changing it?
I begin with those questions and suggest that even though you’re reading this and you’re a reasonable person we default to what we’ve learned and known for years. Even with evidence that it is not working, and this happens so very much.
I’ve worked with midlife women for 36 years, in all capacities of groups, partners, one-on-one, coaching clients around the world, who are generals in the army stationed in Okinawa, university foreign exchange program managers, CEOs of their own companies, financial planners… in other words, extremely intelligent women. Yet, when it comes to weight and their own bodies, there is a default to what seems like the simple solution.
Q: Shouldn’t I be able to create a caloric deficit and lose weight?
A: No. Not alone. That alone will not work. There are volumes of research studies that show very clearly that the very thing that helps you lose weight (if it works initially – and often for training clients in menopause it simply won’t) will cause every signal in your body to work as hard as possible to regain that (and more) weight.
Q: Why won’t High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) work? My client is gaining weight and exhausted.
A: Mentioned elsewhere her too, women in midlife are more susceptible to negative effects of stress. So exercise is stress, right? We rarely stop and say it like that because exercise also negates stress for so many. Yet, it makes sense that going as hard as you can is more stress than say going for a walk, right?
And you’ve heard of allostatic load. If a woman is already stressed… because of her hormones… and her job or relationship… or lack of sleep.. and you’ve got her doing HIIT, you may be giving her the proverbial straw.
Once you know how to read a woman’s signs and symptoms of hormone balance/imbalance you’ll know exactly what exercise prescription to begin with, how to progress, and the criteria you want to look at first.
Q: Why are injuries so common with my training clients in menopause? They get hurt, can’t exercise, gain more weight…
A: for many of the -itis injuries, it’s of course not an acute problem but something over time. Menopause changes that increase negative effects of stress and cortisol cause more rapid muscle breakdown. That may also be associated with connective tissue breakdown or narrowing of passages (carpal tunnel) for instance.
The response to small problems are also often contributors. Women respond by ignoring the problem – often making it worse and more chronic. Plantar fasciitis for instance is common among women in midlife. A cumulative effect of high heels, flip flops, too much too fast in exercise programs are realistic contributors. Her reaction however, is to continue to exercise because of other hormone changes like weight gain. The vicious cycle continues. Plantar fasciitis becomes not something she has and heals but something she keeps unless her response is more reasonable.
Q: Do woman who want to lose weight, or avoid gaining weight, in menopause have to do HRT (or BHRT)?
A: No. Every woman’s menopause journey is unique. In the Flipping 50 Fitness Specialist I teach a blueprint for supporting each woman based on an “if this, then that” solution. For the same woman even, what works in January may change by March. A woman who doesn’t have hot flashes during perimenopause may start in post menopause.
During the pandemic several women have reported getting a period after having transitioned into menopause. Stress, changes in life, the rhythm of day-to-day all change things. The trainer or health coach who can pivot based on what’s happening, respond with the right exercise progression or regression and lifestyle support will help clients course-correct.
And when you have the knowledge you can do so on the fly, in the moment you’re talking to a client. You don’t have to go do research because you’ve done your homework and you have the clear next suggested steps. Your job is then to ask the client what steps she wants to consider and then support them.
Q: What are your thoughts on HRT/BHRT?
A: I think it’s a decision for every woman. I do know fear is often a reason women don’t. It’s important to know the facts yourself, understand what is or was once a risk for breast cancer for some women may not be based on more recent science. Inform yourself about all sides of the conversation.
When there are more and more female OBGYNs and Longevity doctors who themselves are taking them in order to thrive now and live stronger longer, it begs a revisit. Still, it’s each woman’s choice. I am a fan of everything else first. No pill or cream should be expected to do all the heavy lifting – in our case, no pun intended. Once those changes are made however, consideration of HRT may be an option a woman wants to explore.
Trying HRT while drinking 4 cups of coffee as she fasts til noon, exercises constantly (or not at all), and ignores sleep needs? Not something that is best for short or long term health.
Q: What are the biggest mistakes training clients in menopause?
A: Okay, I’m answering this one more fully on Wednesday. I have alluded to them in these questions here. Identifying what most trainers are doing and the result they’re getting though, provides an opportunity for you.
If you’re assessing your future and looking back at the way you’ve trained, I encourage you to start looking forward. You never needed a room full of tools and toys or mirrors to do what you can do with nearly no equipment. You can and do have the power to train clients in menopause from anywhere in the world.
When you realize that large companies (you may have worked for or work for still) are limited. They can’t (or won’t) pivot quickly enough to serve clients. You, dear trainer/coach do not have those limits. You can start a business today, right now, have someone pay you on Venmo or PayPal and start training them. Worried you signed a non-compete? What if you’re training someone in Ireland? And your company is only interested in serving locally community members? During the pandemic all the rules change.
Someone in the world resonates with you. Your voice, your answers, your smile and tone just make them feel “heard.” Join me Wednesday and whether you’re already training clients in menopause or you want to start training or coaching them I’ll show you why:
- there is an opportunity right now that is never going to come again
- you can be ahead of the curve
- your success with female clients over 40 can set you up for incredible business success