AGING, METABOLISM AND STRENGTH TRAINING
"My metabolism has slowed since I turned 40."
"What in the world happened to my body - I don't eat anything different or any more than I used to."
"Why is my midsection getting more fat than before?"
"This aging stuff is for the birds."
"My body is definitely doing something different the older I get."
These are all statements I often hear from clients age 40 and above! They are frustrated and wondering what can be done!
So what's going on? What is happening? As I turned 40 this year, this topic became more and more interesting to me. How can I combat the undesirable effects of hormone fluctuations on my body as I age?
How can I stay fit over 40...over 50? over 60? Because I'm bound and determined to do so!
WHAT IS METABOLISM:
Our metabolism is the result of all the processes in your body working together to create the energy that keeps you going; the rate and efficiency that your body uses food for energy.
WHAT AFFECTS OUR METABOLISM:
Genetics: body type; genes explain 50% of weight gain
Age and Lean Body Mass/Activity level
Ovulation v. Menopause (loss of menstrual cycle)
Temperature & Surface area
Caloric Intake - too much, too little, the types of foods, etc. A drastic calorie restriction can decrease metabolism and cause starvation mode.
HOW DOES AGING AFFECT METABOLISM:
Decrease in Testosterone and Activity Levels in Both Men and Women: Our metabolism is highest in childhood and adolescence, and levels off in our 20’s. As a young adult, our lean muscle mass = about 50% of our total body weight. By age 75-80 years, our lean muscle mass = 25% of our totally body weight. Part of this is due to drop in testosterone (drastic and quick in women; gradually in men after age 30). Testosterone helps your body build lean muscle. Therefore, without any change in activity level, our metabolism will begin to decline. Why? Because lean muscle mass requires more energy (burns more calories) to sustain than fat.
Aging Causes Decrease in Other Key Hormones:
1. Female Menopause:
Loss of Menstrual Cycle: Ovulation =BIG calorie burner. This process fires up your metabolism, increases body temperature and burns calories (about 300 extra calories per day post ovulation). We need to factor in the adjustment for calorie intake and expenditure when we lose our menstrual cycle, or it WILL cause weight gain.
Decrease in Estrogen/ Progesterone & Estrogen Dominance: A decline in estrogen causes loss of our menstrual cycle. At the same time, there is an even larger decrease in progesterone (estrogen’s “balancer” & our sex hormone). With the loss of estrogen, our bodies try to compensate and make more. It uses testosterone in our fat cells to make MORE estrogen. Women lose levels of testosterone and their bodies try to convert calories to fat rather than use for energy to make estrogen. Although there is a significant decline in progesterone, estrogen still dominates. This menopausal “estrogen dominance effect” means midsection fat storage, fluid retention, mood swings, lower metabolic rate, raised cortisol levels, hot flashes, bone loss, and heachaches.
2. Male “Menopause.”:
Men experience a much more gradual decrease in testosterone levels. This decrease can be characterized by increased body fat; reduced muscle bulk and strength; and decreased bone density, loss of body hair, may have less energy. Low T can also cause emotional changes, decrease in motivation or self-confidence, feelings of sadness, depression, or have trouble concentrating or remembering things.
SO…WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT? WAYS TO COMBAT SLOWING METABOLISM AND DECLINING HORMONE LEVELS:
STRENGTH TRAINING AND EXERCISE!
Change your body composition! If you want to change the effects of hormone fluctuations and change body composition, you MUST strength train. Strength training is the most important! Steady state cardio will burn calories, but it will not change your body composition, it will not build lean muscle, and thus increase your resting metabolism.
Increase intensity and volume of strength training (little rest). A challenging strength training session will increase testosterone growth hormone levels for up to 24 hours. Use interval training and heavier resistance training instead of steady state cardio and lifting light weights to take your cardiovascular system into anaerobic mode. Remember time under tension – use controlled, slow movements to activate muscle fibers. **Weight training = 300%-400% increase in GH.
Increase intensity for cardio training within your limits. This type of training will increase calories burned post –workout compared to steady state cardio. High quality sleep will also increase release of growth hormone. **Running = 266% increase in GH; **Spinning = 114% increase in GH
Prioritize strength training for large muscle groups. This will require more effort (exertion), increase balance, strength, and stability, helping to prevent falls and injuries as we age. Resistance training helps prevent bone and collagen loss, offsets effects of declining insulin sensitivity, AND helps reduce stress levels from hormone fluctuations.
NUTRITION AND SUPPLEMENTS:
Eat Protein, and whole, non-processed foods & Drink water. Protein requires high energy from body to digest and metabolize. It also supplies amino acids to muscles post exercise so that they may repair and grow. Lower carbohydrates and higher protein will also reduce insulin levels in body.
Eat Adequate calories to build lean muscle mass. Otherwise, low calorie diets will force your body to use muscle stores for energy and decrease your total lean mass and metabolism.
Supplements: Estrogen dominance can slow nutrient absorption, decrease Vit b6, calcium, magnesium.
Fat metabolism: B12
Testosterone helpers: Magnesium, Zinc, Vit D
Bone health: Vit D, calcium
Collagen production: Vit C
Thyroid health: iodine, selenium, Vit D
Progesterone Helpers: Vit B6, Vit C, zinc, magnesium, maca
**Reduce or eliminate exposure to chemical estrogens and BPA products