With what information I do have on this delicate subject, I recognize that it is not enough to truly educate and inform my valued readers, so I have called upon the big guns, my friend Dr. Audrey Wolter of Mission Naturopathic Clinic to share with you her abundance of knowledge on this subject and what advice she has for you, so that you can stay on top and in your power during this natural transition in your life!
Menopause is derived from the Greek meno (month/menses) and pausis (pause) referring to the cessation of the menstrual cycle. During this natural transition period for every women, the ovaries begin to slow down in their function. Prior to menopause, the ovaries function to produce eggs and sex hormones, predominantly estrogens and progesterone as well as small amounts of andogens. Without their full function, it is now the job of the other endocrine organs, particularly the adrenal glands, to pick up the slack in the hormone production department. In comparison to the ovaries, the adrenals are known as our “shock absorbers” for stress. Meaning, under stress, they secrete hormones such as cortisol, dhea, adrenalin (to name a few). Under normal circumstances when the adrenals are functioning optimally they will help maintain homeostasis within the hormonal system, immune system, detox and inflammatory pathways. Under prolonged stress, whether psychological or metabolic, the adrenals can become depleted. For women experiencing perimenopause and menopause, depleted adrenals can result in a more difficult transition period. Symptoms that I commonly hear of from menopausal women include hot flashes, night sweats, depression, mood swings, sleep disturbances, fatigue and weight gain.
Some important tips that every woman should know:
- Reduce stress! Incorporate some DAILY personal time. Try meditation and breathing techniques and a regular exercise/activity program.
- Eat a balanced diet with adequate high-quality proteins, complex carbs, good fats and fiber sources through a whole-foods diet. Foods that should be consciously avoided are foods that are more inflammatory such as too much red meat, cow-sourced dairy and gluten.
- All refined sugars should be avoided.
- Consuming 2 tbsp of ground flaxseeds daily, sprinkled over a salad is a natural way to help improve proper estrogen metabolism.
- Support those adrenals…. the earlier the better! One of my favourite herbs is Rhodiola. 100mg once in the morning is a good place to start. This herb is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps regulate stress reactions in the body. Over time, it improves our coping mechanisms.
- Other supportive nutrients for the hormonal system are B- vitamins, Magnesium, Zinc, Omega’s and Vitamin C.
- Sometimes we prescribe phytoestrogens, which help regulate estrogen levels in the body. This group of herbs can significantly improve symptoms of hot flashes, depression and vaginal dryness. One of the best known phytoestrogen is Black Cohosh which can often be found in formulas for menopause.
How can naturopathic care benefit me?
Women seeking out a more naturopathic approach for menopause might expect when coming to our clinic to have a thorough assessment. This may include comprehensive hormone testing including understanding adrenal function through saliva cortisol testing. Also important, is understanding each woman's lifestyle and stress levels, vitality, emotional/mental state, toxicity levels and organ function, pH levels and terrain concerns. Some modalities we use in the treatment of menopause could be a combination of dietary and lifestyle counselling, herbal remedies, single homeopathic and complexes, tissue salts, bio-identical hormones and even injections in some cases.
- Dr. Audrey Wolter, Mission Naturopathic Clinic 250-862-8791
If you have any questions, comments or personal training inquiries, contact me directly at 250-859-2431 or learn more at www.profilefitnesstraining.com
Every fitness magazine and trainer's blog has articles published about what exercises to do to “blast the excess fat”, the how to's on “building the perfect six pack” or the “sexy bikini ready body". It's all out there at the click of a button. For some these are desired, motivational and fun new workouts that can be effective in results while keeping a training program fresh! For others this just may not be enough of, or the right workout to see the desired results that are claimed in the title of the workout. It is common for fitness goers or newby exercisers to compare their current condition, body type and shape to those featured in these magazines, with expectations of achieving a body comparable to these idolized fitness models, just by completing these workouts. This unhealthy mindset and comparison has many not acknowledging their body type and creating unrealistic physical or esthetically pleasing goals.
Yes, of course working out is the best plan of action and following these workouts is extremely beneficial in the reduction of inches, added muscle mass and strength to help alter one’s natural shape, functionality and strength. However, one’s genetic setup and build will not change! If you're a pear shape, you will not magically transform into a hourglass body type. With a high percentage of people striving for an unrealistic image of “perfection” I question how there can be such a significant “gap” in how one perceives themselves with the discontentment attached to their natural build and the unhealthy never ending struggle for bigger and better change and even “perfection”.
What does need to change is how one views their body’s unique shape, weight, size and bone structure. Our body, whether in a state of “perfection” or “imperfection” does not define who we are, we define ourselves daily with our every thought and action. If positive, those thoughts and actions will propel us to maintain a healthy, happy, confident attitude with success in areas of health and wellness in which radiates from within us, having us feel our best and look our best no matter what shape! If we experience negative thoughts and actions the opposite will occur - an unhealthier lifestyle by perhaps over training to achieve our vision of a better body; under nourishing and reducing calories to lose more weight; an unbalanced and unconditioned body due to only doing cardio in hopes to lean down to be “skinny”. This will result in a lack of contentedness, happiness and confidence no matter how great we look! This is all because of striving to be what you are not meant to be and because this is not how your body was meant to be!
This understanding of knowing who you are, knowing what makes you feel great about yourself and acceptance of your body type should be as simple to embrace as learning a basic squat, plank, lunge and crunch, but it's not for some…..for many! Unfortunately, it can be simpler to ignore the feelings of discontent or push away self love, self understanding and self respect, leaving you in a state of self hatred due to the disappointment of not accomplishing the unrealistic body shape goals. The question I ask you is, “How happy are you with your health, physical state, the functionality and strengths of your unique body?” After all…health is not just about your shape!I may be an expert in fitness, health and wellness, but I’m not the expert of you! Only you can be honest with yourself and recognize your habits that have you feeling confident about your positive efforts, gains, lifestyle and body. And it is only you who can be honest with the mental battle you have with yourself that has you fighting who you really are, by not accepting, embracing and working with your natural build.
I challenge anyone who is struggling with body image to follow these steps to help get you on track with training for your specific body type versus fighting against your body's build.
1. Discover your natural body type: Google the different types to see what your body shape would be classified as.
- Straight body type
- Spoon body type
- Top hourglass body type
- Oval body type
- Pear body type
- Hour glass body type
- Inverted triangle body type
- Diamond body type
2. Write down a detailed list of all physical goals that you are trying to achieve currently that has you feeling like you’re battling against your body.
3. Select on the above list of body types which one best describes the body type that you are currently trying to achieve, if it is different from your body type write it down next to your body type.
4. Now that you have perhaps realized the difference between the two body types write down all of the emotions and feelings that you have felt working so hard for a specific, non- realistic, physical goal. List the negative habits, self abusive thoughts, actions and habits that were formed on your quest of achieving these changes. Recognizing a pattern of bad and unhealthy habits is a great way to create necessary healthy and positive changes. Then write down how you want to feel when you are working towards creating your success.
5. Do your online research or hire a personal trainer to assist you in discovering what style of workout, intensity and dietary habits would best suit you to help you achieve your realistic goals for your body type, having you feel great about your accomplishments.
Taking the pressure off yourself to be something that you are not may just give you a sense of peace and offer a fresh outlook on health and fitness. Learning how to work with your body and your body's needs can be an amazing and rewarding feat that will get you on track to achieving the realistic body of your dreams for your body type. Have fun with this new process of training to be the best and happiest version of you!
If you have any comments, questions or inquiries for personal training or wellness coaching contact Kasie directly at 250-859-2431 or learn more about Kasie at www.profilefitnesstraining.com
Hi Kasie! I have been a regular gym goer for many years now and I consider myself to have a fair bit of knowledge when it comes to lifting weights! I have noticed over the last few years that the style of training seems to be changing in the gym. It seems that the more athletic or sports oriented members train less with weights and more with resistance and their own body weight. The workouts that I see them do look challenging and very effective! I am looking to incorporate some changes in my training style. I have asked a few of the members that I see train this way what they are doing. The terms HIIT, tabata, functional training and periodization have been mentioned and have me confused and feeling like I have never worked out a day in my life! Can you please help me understand how I can incorporate this athletic style of training into my lifting routine.
You are absolutely right! You are seeing changes in the way personal trainers and fitness goers are training these days! The typical weight lifting…“single joint exercise” workout is definitely an effective way to build muscle mass and reshape the esthetically pleasing muscles of the body, however; incorporating a strength and conditioning routine will shift the focus from muscle building to developing a highly functional strengthened and conditioned body that functions like “a well oiled machine” with advances in your speed, strength, coordination, agility, functionality and endurance. In the end it will have you performing more like an athlete and reaping the many rewards of your new balanced and more intensive training style.
I can understand how the many types of training styles that were mentioned to you can seem intimidating! They are all great forms to implement into a program, but let's not get carried away just yet, let's start with creating the “structure” of your workout! The first thing I want you to do is master the thought that we are not just performing “exercises” … you are now mastering movement patterns!
First things first: spend a minimum of 10 minutes warming up the body to prepare it for the challenging and effective workout ahead by the incorporation of:
Flexibility: To flex and extend a joint through its intended full range of motion better understood as a static hold. Examples: quadricep, hamstring, calf, triceps stretches.
(Stretching is great to improve static non-moving flexibility, however alone will not do such a good job at preparing your body to move quickly and efficiently). Complete a series of stretches for the main muscle groups before your workout.
Mobility: To move a joint through its full range of motion, with control. Also known as active movement. (Dynamic mobility exercises prepare your body for the vigorous movements that will make up for the more demanding parts of your workout). Thoracic spine, hips, shoulders, are a great place to start, check online for video demonstrations of ideal mobility exercises, or hire a mobility coach or personal trainer to assist you in creating a beneficial for you mobility workout.
The workout: There are many styles and intensities of training - any trainer would need a clear understanding of your goals, strengths and injuries before designing a specific to you workout. If your goal is to incorporate more intensity into your workout, my suggestion would be to combine compound movements; body weight exercises also including a strength component, design a circuit of 4 different exercises and complete all 4 back to back, taking breaks in between each round. See this basic example:
- Squat Shoulder press with desired weight for 10 reps
- Push ups for max reps
- Pull ups - assisted 10 reps or non assisted max reps
- Bear Crawls 10 crawls forward, 10 crawls reverse
***** Repeat for a total of 3 rounds
Circuits are a great way to incorporate cardio and strength in a short period of time, set up 2 or more mini circuits to complete in each workout.
Cool down/stretch: Take the next 10 minutes to gradually allow your heart rate and breathe to lower to a comfortable level, and complete a series of stretches holding each between 20-30 seconds.
Designing your own program does not need to be complicated. Ensure that your body is feeling the positive results of your hard work with your effective program planning. Know the difference between muscle burn and strain or pain. For maximum results seek the assistance of a fitness coach or personal trainer to ensure that your time in the gym is as effective and result oriented as possible with proper movement patterns, form and techniques ensuring positive advancements in your strength and abilities.
Over the years I have been unhappy with my body; I have attempted to go on a diet to lose the weight but found the process too challenging. After a month of struggling and feeling miserable with no real weight loss to show for it, I realized that if I focus on eating healthier with smaller portions, but still allow myself to enjoy the fun family dinners guilt-free with smarter choices, I might enjoy the process of losing weight better. It has helped! I have much more energy and feel better about myself. I am down 10 pounds and am easily incorporating smaller portions and healthier food choices into my life and I am ready to start incorporating for the first time, physical activity into my routine. In the last few weeks I have tried a variety of styles of fitness. I have tried, zumba, yoga, hikes and bootcamps and feel so much disappointment that I don't feel comfortable and down right embarrassed participating in any of the activities. I stress all day about going to the next workout and beat myself up all evening because I did not do well in it and compared myself to everyone else in the classes. I don’t have the money to hire a personal trainer and just can’t seem to pull myself out of what feels like a humiliating and miserable process attending these classes. What can I do?
Thank you for your question and congratulations to you for taking the steps to creating a healthier dietary plan and the new incorporation of physical activity into your routine! Let me start by saying that no one ever loves the first transitions into physical activity! Why? Well, of course there are many reasons and each and every single one of them is a complete ego bruiser - from not knowing what to expect, not having enough strength and endurance to last through the class or activity, the extreme pain and fatigue your muscles are feeling during and after the class, not being able to catch your breathe and of course the feeling that you stand out while everyone is watching you fail, just to name a few! Every person that you admired for their strength, stamina and amazing abilities in each of your attended classes, that had you perhaps feeling intimidated...they all experienced the same fears and emotions at some point or another as well! I promise, you are not alone in your feelings.
Our body goes through a number of biological effects as we workout! Our muscles, lungs, joints and heart. We are shocking our systems in all of our workouts, especially the first few times of incorporation of a new fitness style or activity. So let go of the idea of needing to be great from moment one and change your mindset, from failure and embarrassment to being patient, proud and aware of the positive benefits you are creating for yourself. You might just find that the enjoyment level of these classes changes from misery of participation to feeling great about the past hour and all of your accomplishments! Find more compassion for yourself and be aware of, and let go of your performance expectations - so much is going on in your body as you workout! You are learning your movement patterns, mind-body connections, proper forms/techniques and to-do’s in each style of class, and so much more!
So, give your bootcamp class a try again with a shift in your perception; follow it up the next day with a relaxing and healing restorative yoga class, to give those tired and sore muscles some love; continue on the next day as you smile your way through a body shaking zumba class and embrace the beauty of nature and great company on a scenic hike! Give yourself a month of your new routine and classes - by then if you have not gotten excited with all of the above forms of exercise, you will likely have found one or two that you know are the perfect fit for you, and likely will be more motivated to try find the courage to try something else new! Have fun during your process and be proud of your accomplishments!
If you have any questions, comments or personal training inquiries contact Kasie at www.profilefitnesstraining.com or directly at 250-859-2431.
Read more Kasie's Health & Fitness Tips articles
- Health & fitness questions answered May 15
- Are your expectations unhealthy? May 1
- Reader question answered Apr 17
- Reader's fitness question answered Apr 3
- Who have you inspired today? Mar 20
- Have you abandoned your body? Mar 6
- Health and fitness questions answered! Feb 20
- Do you know your own strength? Feb 6
- Become the master of your own body! Jan 23
- Cold and flu season Dec 12
- A guilt free holiday season! Nov 28
- Spinal health with Dr. Kyle McLeod Nov 14
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