One Thing Women Over 35 Who Exercise Should Avoid (why it matters & what to do instead)
Ironically, a journalist asked me to comment on this question as a health and fitness expert. She was looking to highlight what women over 40 should avoid when working to improve their health and fitness. Being I specialize in coaching women over 35, I see many common mistakes.
Well, said journalist's article was cut. So you, my dear Team Valentine Project readers, get to benefit from hearing the answer!
What is the ONE thing that women over 35 should avoid? And why does it matter?
It's essential that women over 35 do not exercise while fasted. While this isn't a great recommendation for any female, it's worse for women over 35 because as we age it becomes harder for our bodies to regulate blood sugar and hormone levels.
If you exercise fasted regularly, consider this: According to the research work of Dr. Stacy Sims, your body will steal testosterone, estrogen and progesterone to make cortisol.
Why this is devastating to your health and fitness: Cortisol stimulates fat storage. You also put yourself at risk for adrenal fatigue and epically poor health outcomes, like hormone imbalances, thyroid disorders, bone loss, skin conditions and future chronic disease.
If you're exercising fasted, you might notice side effects like weight gain in your midsection despite eating well, mid-afternoon food cravings, mood imbalances, binge episodes and eventually... fitness and performance plateaus. While you may not feel these symptoms until later in your day, or months later, they are often due to the hormone dysregulation that takes place with fasted training. I don't know about you, but the last thing I need are my hormones being disrupted more than they already are after age 35!
The bottom-line is: When females exercise fasted, we're doing more harm than good. It's a slippery slope to fat gain, metabolic and hormonal health problems, which is likely what you're trying to prevent by exercising in the first place!
Here's what we can do instead: Try to eat at least 150 calories of carbs and protein prior to training. Ideas include mixing oatmeal with a scoop of protein powder or having a scoop of nut butter with half a banana. If you notice nut butters irritate your stomach prior to exercise, avoid eating fat-based foods (like nut butter), and go with a protein instead, such as Greek yogurt or a scoop of whey-based protein, like Kion Clean Protein.
If you find it hard to eat a meal prior to morning exercise, consider starting small with a quick food, like Kion Essential Aminos, adding a scoop of unflavored protein powder to your coffee, or eat a Go Go Squeez fruit pouch.
As always, context matters: For certain health conditions, like those diagnosed with cancer or cognitive disorders, intermittent fasting may be a strategy worth trying. And, for men who's physiology is vastly different than females, fasted exercise may have its time and place. However, if you are a women over 35 looking to achieve health, running or fitness goals, exercising while fasted is a slippery slope to fatigue, frustration and fat gain!
Looking for more ways to unlock your best health, fitness or performance from age 35 & beyond? Learn how to achieve your goals with less stress, more energy & up-to-date women's science via Badass Breakthrough Academy here.
Wishing you a vibrant, healthy and hormone-balanced journey ahead,
Coach Louise, MPH, CHES, CSCS, ACSM-EP, ACSM-EIM, BCTMB
2020 Outstanding Leader in Health Education, 2021 Top 10 Performance Coach
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