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    153: Feeling Fit and Fabulous After Fifty w/ Debra Atkinson

    The way we exercise after we turn 50 absolutely has to include a few essential elements. Strength training and working smarter, not harder, will keep you in tip-top condition! I’m joined by Debra Atkinson, founder of Flipping 50, to talk about keeping fit in your menopausal years.

    Or listen & subscribe for free on Apple Podcasts | Android

    Key Takeaways

    • Exercise smarter by doing shorter workers with bigger impact. [11:40]
    • Prioritize strength training in your workouts to support your body as you enter your middle years [30:00]
    • You should take a longer period of recovery in between strength training sessions. Aim for two sessions a week. [33:00]

    About Debra Atkinson

    Wellness Coach and Fitness Expert Debra Atkinson has helped over 150,000 women “flip” their second half with the vitality and energy they want. She’s the bestselling author of You Still Got It, Girl: The After 50 Fitness Formula for Women; Navigating Fitness After 50: Your GPS For Choosing Programs and Professionals You Can Trust; and Hot, NotBothered. 

    Debra hosts Flipping 50 TV and the Flipping 50 podcast, an AARP top podcast for 50+ with over 1 million downloads. She is a frequent speaker and TEDx presenter of Everything Women in Menopause Learned About Exercise May Be a Lie. 

    She has 36 years of fitness experience, is an International fitness presenter for associations including the International Council on Active Aging, IDEA, NSCA, and Athletic Business, and CanFitPro. She’s an American Council on Exercise Subject Matter Expert, and prior Senior Lecturer in Kinesiology at Iowa State University. Debra is also the founder of Flippingfifty.com and creator of the Flipping 50 Fitness Specialist program for fitness professionals. She’s a frequent contributor at HuffPost, ShareCare, and other featured outlets and on the Education Advisory Board for Medfit.org.

    Why You’ve Been Exercising Wrong Most of Your Life

    If you’ve been listening to The Girlfriend Doctor podcast for any length of time, you know that research into women’s health, especially in our menopausal years, is severely lacking. Unfortunately, this research is no better when it comes to exercise! 

    I’m joined by Debra Atkinson to talk about how we can create a sustainable exercise plan that will keep us healthy into our 50s and beyond. Debra explains how she discovered the magic formula of exercise after 50: short, 20-minute bursts of exercise where you really get your heart pumping.

    It’s about working out smarter and harder, not longer.

    Debra explains what types of exercise menopausal women should be focusing on. We both understand that we’re taught to think that sit-ups and crunches are the keys to a flat and toned stomach. The truth is, these types of exercises that take us into a forward flexion are actually detrimental to our health. 

    Instead, we should focus on exercises like planks that work on bracing your core. Debra walks us through a simple exercise that helps us learn what it should feel like to engage our core.

    What Kind of Exercise You Should Do After 50

    Debra shares how, as a society, we’ve lost the regular daily exercise of yesteryear. Her mother says she doesn’t regret exercising more in her life because the hard daily labor of working on a farm kept her fit and healthy. These changes are why it’s vital for us to keep exercising well into our old age.

    The types of exercise we should really focus on are foot movement and flexibility and strength training. Both of these will help us as we age; foot movement is beneficial for helping us move quicker, especially if we have a trip or a fall. Strength training will help our entire body and mind, and Debra explains why.

    When it comes to refueling our bodies after a workout, Debra lets us know exactly when and what type of food we should be consuming. There really is a specific time period where refueling does us best. She shares her favorite post-workout food and talks about other options if you’re not a smoothie person.

    Finally, Debra encourages you to create a workout routine you can stick to. It should include two strength sessions, three harder 20-minute sessions, and as many walks as you want every week. She also talks about recovery time between sessions and how you can adapt your routine if you don’t feel up to a workout.

    Are you ready to reclaim your health and fitness after 50? What’s your favorite type of exercise? As always, you can ask me anything and let me hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you have questions, email team@drannacabeca.com.

     

    In This Episode:

    • Why the research into women’s health and fitness is lacking [6:00]
    • Why short workouts are the best way to get your exercise in [11:00]
    • Why you should focus on bracing your core with exercise like planks rather than focusing on forwarding flexion with exercises like sit-ups [16:00]
    • A straightforward exercise that engages your core muscles [18:00]
    • How our cultural lifestyle has changed so we don’t get as much daily exercise as we used to [24:00]
    • Why you should focus on exercises that move your feet in different directions [28:00]
    • When and what you should eat after your workout [36:25]
    • How to plan your workout routine that includes flexibility in your schedule and how your body feels [42:00]

     

    Quotes:

    “It’s much more beneficial to do less exercise, just do it with more purpose. That’s what I found with all those months sitting in front of my computer, I was barely exercising for 20 minutes, but when you only have 20 minutes, you make every minute count.” [11:11]

    “You’ve got to fill this hole up that you’ve dug yourself into. You have to feel good before you can feel great. Restoring before more so that you’ve got the energy to actually do the exercise and you’re looking forward to it, not dreading it.” [24:20]

    “If you have a more active life overall, remember that you’re exercising so that you can play more in life. Not just exercising to exercise. Twice a week is your golden ticket.” [34:19]

     

    Resources Mentioned

    Get Your Free Gift from Debra Atkinson!

    Watch Debra Atkinson’s Ted Talk

    Learn more about The Flipping 50 Cafe

    Find Debra Atkinson Online

    Follow Debra Atkinson on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | LinkedIn

    Join the KetoGreen Community on Facebook

    Buy Keto-Green 16

    Find Dr. Anna Online

    Follow Dr. Anna on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

     

    Transcript

    Debra Atkinson:
    We're on the same page. It's those short workouts, and twofold, number one, it makes it easy to feel I can bite that off, I can do that, 20 minutes is doable, but it's also one of the best things that you can do because it's much more beneficial to do less exercise, just do it with more purpose. That's what I had found with all those months sitting in front of my computer, is that I was barely exercising for 20 minutes, but when you only have 20 minutes, you make every minute count.

    Dr. Anna:
    Hey everyone, those of you in my keto green community. I'm excited to talk with you about something that I alluded to in my newsletter that went out today. I know we all want to talk about those amazing salt and vinegar potato chips that I have written about and I totally love, absolutely, but we're going to go into more than that. One of the things that just definitely on my journey here to Dallas from this very long road trip, and as well as quarantine, I know many of you guys are struggling because you have told me, but the biggest problem that we're having is incorporating movement back into our life, and how vitally important it is. I have dug into my black book, so to speak, and called on my dear friend Debra Atkinson. Hey Debra, how are you?

    Debra Atkinson:
    I'm good, so good to be here.

    Dr. Anna:
    It's good to be here with you as well. We'll tell our audience a little bit about you, for those listening who do not know about you yet, but certainly will by the end of this call fall in love with you like I have, and what you're doing. Just for those listening who are in our keto green community, Debra is in there too. She has been doing our keto green 16 challenge and working it, and really she'll give you her feedback on that too, and Eva Marie here is running around, going into the fridge in just a second.

    Debra Atkinson:
    I'm the founder of Flipping 50, and everything you're doing in keto green 16 so resonated with me, so that's been so fun to do your workout and follow the program. It's been a lifesaver, so even those of us who are on the front lines doing it and teaching it, we're still not immune to the sways and the swells of hormones, so we've got to ride those waves a little bit. You really helped me get over and get through a little battle with too high cortisol, doing too much of this and a little too much stress in my 2019, so I was grateful for that.

    Debra Atkinson:
    I lost five pounds, 5% body fat, gained two pounds of muscle, and seemingly very easily. It was just like this is simple, this is so easy, why wouldn't anybody do this? There's a big plug for you, I love it.

    Dr. Anna:
    That's awesome, thank you.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Yeah, feeling so, so good. My Flipping 50 was born, and I'll tell you this, I was raised by much older parents than the rest of my friends' parents, and my siblings were older, and so I was doing research on older adults my whole life, but long before I appreciated it, let me tell you that. Even as an undergrad, I was given older adults as I went through my courses and the exercise clinic work I had to do and the practicals, so by the time I got to my 40s, I thought, "Well, I've got this, I know how this works."

    Debra Atkinson:
    Then I was in it, I was in that hot minute myself, and I had also taken on some big major stressors, life changes, and I said, "I want to have a bigger reach, and if I don't do this right now, I'm just going to stay here where it's very comfortable. I love what I'm doing, but I'm not going to have the reach," and I'm going to be talking about the need for it. I have this feeling that if you can see the need and you think you can help, you have the responsibility to do it, so I jumped.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Then I panicked and said, "In eight months, I'm going to start paying college tuition. What was I thinking?" I didn't let myself away from my computer for a long time, I was trying to learn, how do I create an online business? I knew my business, but I didn't know how to do it in this little silver box, so I sat there for 14 and 16 hours a day a lot that first year, learning, taking courses. I went from somebody who exercised for hours for decades to 20 minutes, and that was it.

    Debra Atkinson:
    12 and 14 months later, I'm really looking at the videos, I'm looking at myself while I'm editing, and it took that, because we don't see it right here, and I realized I looked leaner, stronger, and I was healthier and had more energy than a lot of my friends in that transitional period. I said, "What is this? Because this is not what I learned, but it's not even what I've taught at a university level." I dug into what happened to me, and is there any science behind this, and realized how little research is out there for women in midlife where they're the subjects.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Because we're a nightmare with hormones going like this, researchers don't really love us, so with such a small amount of all exercise and sports medicine research looking at females, a small fraction of that, probably less than 10% looking at women in perimenopause and post-menopause, I took all of that and that's the only thing we use at Flipping 50 to really help women feel like we get you, we understand you, we understand why it feels like your doctor maybe sometimes, unless they've got somebody like you, or why trainers don't understand your needs. It's not their fault entirely, the textbooks they're using feature studies that are focusing on males in their peak of muscle mass, and we typically are not.

    Dr. Anna:
    True, true, the research on college athletes, especially for diet programs and everything, very dedicated, you tell them what to do and they do it. It's different in the menopause, I mean beyond the physiology, it's also our mindset.

    Debra Atkinson:
    That is true.

    Dr. Anna:
    This is true, Debra, like we will question it 100 ways and need it proven that it is absolutely good for us and it will work for us, because often by the time we get to this age, so humbly true is that we've tried a lot of things that have not worked for us. That makes it a challenge, but let me tell you, after being in the car for two days and being in book launch mode sometimes 16 hours a day at the computer, and doing interviews and feeling it in my joints and in my back and everything, and all the gyms closed and my trainer unable to come, I had a trainer coming to the office two times a week to work with my whole team because I really believe that that is something that will increase the mood and the atmosphere and the collaboration, as well as the well-being and health of our team members.

    Dr. Anna:
    I was missing that tremendously and just feeling it myself. I am not someone, Debra, to be honest, that loves to go to workout. I love to curl up with a good book, anyone listening raise your hand, say amen, say whatever, if you are that way, you are not alone. I am totally that way, but I am always so glad when I leave the gym, [crosstalk 00:08:13] or finish my workout now at home.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Exactly. One of the things we used to say is it's the best place to work ever, because people always leave in a better mood than when they came in. I used to say, I had a client for over seven years, and actually lost her fatally, was the way we separated, but I used to say we had a love/hate relationship. She hated to see me coming, she loved to see me going, [inaudible 00:08:42], but she knew she wasn't going to do it on her own. She also knew it was valuable and she needed to do it, and that's the secret, is finding what is that thing that will help you do what it is you know you need to so that you can love it, you can love some piece of it, some part of it.

    Dr. Anna:
    I love that. Dr. Gabrielle Lyons says, "You have to earn your leisure time."

    Debra Atkinson:
    Right, especially now, when we're sitting so much when we're at work, and everything is so automated and computerized.

    Dr. Anna:
    It is, it is. Talk more about this evolution, what is right for us in menopause? We have a lot of people in our keto green community group that are writing in that have been following you, Debra, has been following your books and working. Many people are like me too, like, "Hey, I'm just totally going to curl up with a good book, and that is my preference," but we know that that's not the right discipline and practice for the long term, although it's good for many things, I am a full advocate of that, but really, getting into working for our bodies in the most efficient way possible.

    Dr. Anna:
    That's why I love your work, I love your Flipping 50 Café or gym membership, it's really like-

    Debra Atkinson:
    Gymbership, right?

    Dr. Anna:
    Gymbership, I love that.

    Debra Atkinson:
    It's a new one, right? Yeah.

    Dr. Anna:
    Gymbership, and doing workouts that are quick, efficient, and whole body and functional, because this is something I noticed after I had a shoulder injury, hooking my bra strap, and then I remember my mom having trouble, or putting on socks. These things we take for granted in our youth really is something that we should never lose, these functions, these capabilities of. Congratulations, by the way, on your TED talk.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Thank you so much.

    Dr. Anna:
    Fabulous, we've put a link in the above notes for it, and we'll put some information, we'll put a link in to your gymbership and this gift you're giving our audience too.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Fantastic, yes. We're on the same page. It's those short workouts, and twofold, number one, it makes it easy to feel I can bite that off, I can do that, 20 minutes is doable, but it's also one of the best things that you can do because it's much more beneficial to do less exercise, just do it with more purpose. That's what I had found with all those months sitting in front of my computer, is that I was barely exercising for 20 minutes, but when you only have 20 minutes, you make every minute count.

    Debra Atkinson:
    You're not at the gym doing this between sets, so sometimes those hour-long workouts really aren't the hour long, I know I see you out there. If we make every minute count, what we're doing is optimizing our use of cortisol, and I'm speaking to the choir here right now, so you can probably go on for volumes about this. Exercise requires energy, we want to use that cortisol in the proper way instead of the chronic fatigue all day, all the time, all coronavirus time that we're in right now.

    Debra Atkinson:
    It's so much more amplified during midlife, but if we can retrain our body to use it and then you're done, then you've taught it it's like a sprint, and then finished and relax, and it's like purging a little bit of that adrenaline, and that's really what you're after. We still, many of us were socialized a long time ago to the longer you do it, if it's good a little bit, then a lot of it must be better, and we couldn't be further from the truth with that. If it's hard and short, stop, it's good enough and you've actually done the best thing you possibly can.

    Debra Atkinson:
    It takes a little while to trust that, because it's so not what we've been conditioned to believe, and I know that there's somebody out there watching that's probably saying, "But I love exercise, I love endurance exercise, and I love it so much." I do too, but I have had to take the Girl Scout's oath and say, "I'm not going to do that right now," because it ends up making you more tired and risking that adrenal fatigue, so you wake up in the morning not ready to go, and you haven't had the fun, but you feel the hangover effect. Those things are telling you the exercise you're doing right now is probably not a good fit for you in the moment you're in.

    Dr. Anna:
    So true, and I want to share this question from one of our Facebook users, Debra. She says, "I need this now, here is my question. How do us older gals tighten up the stomach area? Countless sit-ups, essential oil massages, eating good and all the skin tightening gimmicks on the market, and still I cannot get rid of it, even electrocuted myself with an ab belt. Yep, I did that. I don't need a six-pack, just smooth, not to much for a girl to ask, right?" Debra, I love your honesty, very, very good. I'm sure there's a lot to that story.

    Debra Atkinson:
    So true. Okay, so Debra, first, great name. I have a question, so we need to dig here, so it is loose skin or is it lack of tone in the muscle? I can definitely help you with the tone in the muscle, but the skin is really another thing, so we need to kind of do from the inside out, things like collagen and bone broth and tons of antioxidant rich foods, so that you're getting lots of the vegetables in to help on the skin side. I'm sure that there are some good topical lotions, one of our friends suggests doing body lotion that's got a little [Retin-A 00:14:56] in it, a lower level than you use for your face, but for areas of your skin where you feel like it's a little but more crepe-y or dry.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Be sure you're taking good care of that. As far as the muscle goes, toning the muscle underneath is really what you're after. You mentioned something that makes my hair stand up just a little bit, and that is tons of sit-ups. If I could give you one tip today about toning your core, sit-ups are not a girl's best friend, or your guy's best friend. There's a saying that goes, "We are only so far away from our back injury, and we only have so many forward flexions in the life of our spine." You won't feel it, but injuries can easily come from doing sit-ups and crunches type of activity, but there are dozens more things you can do.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Planks are wonderful, other ways of bracing your core are wonderful, and I've got a whole batch of them I'm happy to share with you, but doing them regularly is key. You want to do things that cause you to brace, not necessarily things that cause you to do forward flexion, because when you think about sitting up right now, if you're sitting or you're standing up, your muscles are stabilizing and bracing. That's what they do 24/7 really, unless we're exercising, that's almost one of the only times we forward flex, when you think about that.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Yes, no more sit-ups, no more crunches. Most women will do exactly what you just did and say, "Oh my gosh, thank you for that, because they hurt my neck anyway, or they hurt my lower back," but we would keep doing them because we've always been told that's what to do. Dump them right now, and focus on a few minutes a day of a good core set. Your core does five things. It does forward flexion, but very rarely do we need it when we're not already going with gravity. We reach down to pick things up, gravity is on our side, we really don't need help doing that.

    Debra Atkinson:
    We need help standing back up, so spinal extension, lateral flexion, so we reach to the side quite significantly many times during the day, rotation, but stabilization is the one thing we do most of all. Sitting upright, unless you're sitting against the back of your chair, you're doing stabilization. Stabilization is the kind of thing that really gets your muscles to pull back in against your spine, and makes them flatter, so you're looking for things to do like hold onto a weight. If you were holding a weight right here, so obviously I'm not, but then I moved it away from my core, now my core had to just kick in, and I didn't have to say, "Tighten up," I didn't have to say, "Draw that navel to the spine."

    Debra Atkinson:
    That's what I was avoiding saying, so actually I don't want you to do that. Those cues, like suck your navel in or draw your navel to your spine actually weaken the muscles that you're actually trying to strengthen. What we need to do is, take a breath with me, everybody just take a breath, put your fingers and hands on your ribcage, inhale, really feel that, blow it up. Then I want you to exhale like you're blowing out a straw, and blow all the way out, but keep your hands down here on your belly. Blow all the way out, keep blowing, keep blowing, what it should feel like is you're deflating a ballon, like your belly and your diaphragm are starting to constrict.

    Debra Atkinson:
    What's happening is you're also feeling your core a little bit, so anytime you're doing any exercise, when you're doing your strength training exercises, focus on breathing to engage that core. Sometimes that's a cue given by trainers or instructors, they'll say, "Engage your core." I've had women before say to me, "My trainer says that all the time, and I have no idea what they mean," so go ahead and ask questions like that. It's important that you understand that, but that's really the feeling, so keep [breathes] when you blow out and exhale when you're exerting.

    Debra Atkinson:
    If you pick up a box, blow out and exhale, because then you're using your core in front and not straining your back. Little things like that will gradually help you a little bit more, so yes, you can, and here's what I would suggest. One thing that's really a dream, if you can, try yoga. Do yoga poses where you're in plank position, you're doing lateral poses, and you will find that a lot of them require a tight core in the way that's bracing and flattening that core. You're doing a lot of multitasking and working your core at the same time as working other muscles and working on your balance and decreasing your cortisol.

    Dr. Anna:
    I love that, because that makes such a big difference, that understanding engaging your core. That feeling of engaging our core is that complete exhale.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Yeah, right.

    Dr. Anna:
    That is so good. Tell us a little bit about what drove you to do your TEDX talk and what that was. I know you lead into a couple really key points that women, especially those of us over 50, and I'll be 54 this month, really-

    Debra Atkinson:
    Woo hoo.

    Dr. Anna:
    Yes, really need to recognize as it comes to working out. I will say this, in working with thousands of women, is that sometimes the under training is as harmful as the over training.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Yep, we're looking for the goldilocks.

    Dr. Anna:
    It's the goldilocks, okay.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Not too much and not too little, and for you, Dr. Anna, and for me and for anybody right now watching, our goldilocks is different, and it's different potentially right now today than it will be two months from now. We keep having to listen, use that feedback, and that's probably one of the best lessons regarding fitness and what you're doing, is listen, what is your body telling you? Because all of those little messages that tell you, "I'm not sleeping," or, "I've got this huge appetite when I exercise," probably are suggesting you're potentially doing a little bit too much, because if you're in that sweet spot, your appetite is better, your blood sugar is more stable and you've got even energy and you get healthfully hungry.

    Debra Atkinson:
    I think you're ready for a meal, but you also are ready to stop, and you understand what that feels like to be full and satisfied. Looking for that sweet spot, that's what I talked about, and I think the two stories that I really illustrated in my TED talk were that the tendency for women was to over exercise, so when there's something we decide, "I want to change this," it's those moments when, "[gasp] That wasn't there yesterday, like what?" Or, "I'm just feeling like I'm seven months pregnant, how can that be, and I'm in menopause?" and not feeling comfortable in your own body, and we want to do something.

    Debra Atkinson:
    When we decide, we decide now we're doing it, and overdoing it is probably, I see more often than under-doing it. I illustrated that, restore before more is one of the biggest tenants of Flipping 50, so it's the number one. You can go on and look at the others once you've done that, but it's like writing checks on an account where there's no money. We all know how that turns out, or I do, unfortunately, I've done that once or twice. When we serve others all the time, we give, give, give, give, we put in a full day's work, we're then coming home to do our other work and feeling like I've got to exercise, I've got to exercise to get that weight off, sometimes we've got limiting beliefs there and forget 50 and 100 years ago ... My mom is 94, and I asked her as I was home for Christmas, I said, "Do you ever regret not exercising when you were younger, not exercising more?"

    Debra Atkinson:
    She said no, I said, "You know I'm going to have to edit that, right? That was the wrong answer," but she said, "Tours were our exercise. Heavens, we didn't need to exercise, we lived on a farm and we had to do everything." That's true, and we don't have that anymore. When we go to work, we open up the silver box and work is at the computer so much of our time, so unless you do have a job that you're on your feet, you also have to consider that. Two of the individuals that I was working with were actually in the healthcare field, they were nurses or healthcare educators and on their feet constantly back and forth in the hospital and doing 12 hour shifts, and then exercising two or four hours in addition to that during the day, and they were exhausted.

    Debra Atkinson:
    We had to stop and say, "Look, we've got to fill this hole up that you've dug yourself into, we've got to feel good before we can feel great." Restoring before more, so that you've got the energy to actually do the exercise, and you're looking forward to it, not dreading it. Check in with what are your feelings right now about what it is you're going to do.

    Dr. Anna:
    I like that, restore before more, so I'll put that in the notes. I just think that that makes a really big difference in looking at what our daily activity is and the concept, and you bring this into your workouts, the functional exercises, how that's important for us especially as we age, and incorporating functional exercises. Describe that a little bit and why that is so important, along with our high intensity interval training.

    Debra Atkinson:
    With the functional exercise, we could cross over and that can be a part of the interval training as well. It's the movements that we choose, and if you think about from the first point we get up in the morning, and one of the very first things we do involves you forward flexing, rotating and then extending within seconds when we get out of bed. We do it again all day as we sit down, we rotate into our desks and our desktop, and when we get in and out of cars.

    Debra Atkinson:
    We take it for granted, unless you've had a back injury, you don't take it for granted when you're there, and you remember what that was like. We need to practice those three planes of movement. We are very linear, we move forward and sometimes we move backward, but mostly we move forward. We need to get back to that lateral movement, and some of us haven't done that since we did drills in basketball in school, and we need to rotate as we're doing things, because we do it from the moment we get out of bed until we go to sleep at night.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Those are the places where we often will get hurt, so you could be exercising and saying, "I exercise," but there are a lot of people who work with trainers regularly who also get hurt shoveling snow. Because what they've done shoveling snow has been nothing like what they've done in their very linear workouts, so it's important that you choose the movements that you're doing carefully. One of the big things that we do at Flipping 50 is we do strength training exercises, and that is a big part, kind of the number one, it's a girl's best friend when we're talking exercise.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Weight training and high intensity interval training are your two first go-tos. When you fill in that calendar for, "What am I doing this week?" those things should be on it, because those are the things that will help you keep your metabolism up, they will help you hold onto fast twitch muscle fiber, and that, again, lends to metabolism, but it also helps us to have those reaction skills, reaction skills we need no matter who you are, to take our foot from the accelerator to the brake at the right time, to catch a falling glass or a child, or ourselves.

    Debra Atkinson:
    We catch our toe on the rug or on a step and we misjudge it, and that can happen at 50 as easily as it can happen at 90, so it will happen to you sooner if we lose those fast twitch fibers. We lose them about twice as fast as we do slow, so when you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. We move slowly, we're always moving, even if you don't necessarily go out, take lots of long walks, we kind of go about our business but we don't necessarily sprint to do it. We don't necessarily do quick movements with our feet, and we need to.

    Debra Atkinson:
    It doesn't take a lot of time, but it takes a couple of minutes at a time, and you can do what I call a finisher. I've you've gone for a little walk, then spend a little time stepping over the cracks in the sidewalk when you get back, do a little foxtrot, take ballroom dance with your honey. All of those things that teach you new patterns and make your feet move in different directions are wonderful not just right now, but for 10 and 20 years from now.

    Dr. Anna:
    That's so true for cognition, that's neuroplasticity, [crosstalk 00:28:47] can increase our brain firing and really help us make new neuro patterns. I love the research, when I was reading that about the ballroom dancing and just dancing in general, that that increases that neuroplasticity. Yes, definitely, definitely do this. Now Debra, will you for our listeners discuss really key components of an exercise prescription, based on your decades of research and wisdom, for those of us in this menopausal transition?

    Dr. Anna:
    Because we do, we want that hourglass shape back, maybe we can touch on that too because as hormones are shifting, we often get more of this straight male shape, and we want that hourglass, so incorporating those exercises that also help us flatten our belly, but keep our hourglass shape. That's all.

    Debra Atkinson:
    One plan, okay, we're done now.

    Dr. Anna:
    That's it.

    Debra Atkinson:
    A couple things, and let me give you the basics, and then we may want to come back to this. Thinking about your specific body type as well, so whether you have always been a little bit more muscular, you respond really well and quickly to exercise, so being a mesomorph, having a little bit more muscle, you know who you are. You potentially are the ones who say, "Whenever I lift, I get a bulky, or I see results right away." You're not going to get bulky, we're just going to give you the formula for that. That is not bulk, that is good.

    Debra Atkinson:
    There are some of you who are very linear, where it's hard to keep that muscle on, and probably fewer of you, we don't hear from you as often, but as we get older, we want to make sure right now you're building some muscle, and some muscle to help you also build your bone and hold onto it, and not increase those losses as you age. We don't want to be frail, none of us. I think if we looked ahead 20 and 30 and 40, and I don't know about you, but I'm going all the way, we don't want to be losing that bone or the muscle, either one.

    Debra Atkinson:
    If you're smaller, thinner, there's a different formula for you, and then for those of you that are my curvy girls and just have always had that Marilyn Monroe and a lot more hourglass, you would say, but maybe that's disappeared a little bit now, you're probably still, that's where I would classify you as body type. Be thinking about that, and we'll come back to it if anybody has identified with one of those and wants to know, "How do I adjust for me?"

    Debra Atkinson:
    Frequency-wise, twice a week strength training, and we need to get specific on this. Twice a week strength training, really picking up some weights and reaching fatigue, so muscular fatigue. We've talked a little bit about fatigue and exhaustion and lack of energy, feeling like you're just a puddle when you walk out of a workout is not necessary, but muscular fatigue when you finish a set of exercises and that feels like I really can't do another one, or I can't do another good one, I feel like I'm cheating if I'm going to do another one, then you've done an excellent job of doing what we call overloading the muscle.

    Debra Atkinson:
    You must overload it so that between the time that you exercise today and next time, that recovery period, this is where fitness happens. Some of us forget that, we think we should exercise every day and every day hard, but what we need to keep in mind is somewhere between 40 and 50, our need for recovery goes up quite a bit for many of us. If you exercise on Monday and then on Thursday, you're leaving a good 72 hours between, that's now more optimal than what we all learned was Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Take a little bit more recovery time, especially those of you that are saying, "I'm not seeing any progress, and I'm tired all the time, or I'm sore when I go to work out again." That's your body telling you you just need another day of recovery, and you can be active, you can go for a walk, go for a swim, you can hop on your bicycle and move your body, but don't do strength training again until you're really feeling, "I'm recovered." Twice a week strength training, and here's why not three.

    Debra Atkinson:
    I know some of you would be saying, "Well, I thought three was better," and it's what we were taught, but in testing of postmenopausal women looking at once, twice, or three times, once wasn't enough, three times was actually too much. What happened with all of the subjects was more couch compensation, they were like, "Well, I worked out today, so I'm going to sit down. I'm going to read the book," they're borrowing Dr. Anna's book. The twice a week group exercised enough that they had more energy, more stamina, more strength, and still had more energy, so they were the ones who then wanted to garden all afternoon, wanted to go play golf with their friends, wanted to clean the house.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Can you want to clean the house? I don't know, but you get the point. They were more active all day, and they were the biggest energy expenders, so we can call that calorie burning. That's not necessarily the goal, but if you have a more active life overall, remember that you're exercising so that we can play more in life, not just exercising to exercise. If you can keep that in mind, twice a week is your golden ticket, and two or three times a week of doing short, intense interval training, 15 or 20 minutes at a time, bookended by a good warmup and a cool down are the sweet spot, and you can do those on same days or other days.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Then you fill in with your light to moderate exercise. You can be active, you can take a walk, and you should any day. That's kind of how I would put it together.

    Dr. Anna:
    I love that, and also that clarity, because too, exercising to muscular exhaustion-

    Debra Atkinson:
    Fatigue.

    Dr. Anna:
    Muscular fatigue, I think that's really important, because oftentimes we don't push our boundaries or our limits enough in these ways. We want to do it, it's like how you say, the goldilocks phenomenon, we want to hit our sweet spot and push us so that there's growth afterwards. What do you recommend too after a workout, as far as nourishment after a workout?

    Debra Atkinson:
    I'm a smoothie girl, so did you [crosstalk 00:35:43] see my video earlier, is that why you're asking?

    Dr. Anna:
    No, I didn't see it.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Timing is so important, it doesn't have to be a smoothie. It is for me because I love them, I started doing that when I was 30. Honestly, I started before I knew what was good for me, so I was having some chemical bombs. It is the first and the only reason why I carry a product, and it's so important that we find a clean one that we love, and it can be a meal. If you're not a smoothie girl, you haven't gotten to that point of bonding yet, a good quality meal, but the sweet spot is about 60 to 120 minutes or one to two hours after you do an intense workout.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Your body is open so that muscle/protein synthesis, basically being able to use the protein that you eat for the benefit of your lean muscle tissue, is optimized right then. Getting about 30 grams of protein at that 90-minute spot is perfection, and there's some proof that as we age, that number actually may climb. 70-year-old men studied actually needed twice as much as a 20-something man to get the same benefits and results. They were able to achieve them, but the 70-year-old man needed 40 grams of protein, while the 20-year-old had 20 grams and got the same recovery benefits. You can take that in right now, but if you're shooting for 30 grams in a meal, whether it's you sit down to a salmon on salad or you're actually having a smoothie, perfect timing.

    Dr. Anna:
    I love that. I think there are so many benefits within that timeframe to actually spike our insulin at that point, to have a muscle regeneration, to support muscle growth and repair during that time as well. Timing after your workouts, eating within that 90-minute window, you like that 90-minute point after your workout, I like that. Debra, what advice will you give our clients too? You have so much information, tell our audience where they can get ahold of you. I put the links, you guys, in the show notes for Debra's amazing, fabulous, you guys have to watch it, her TEDX talk, and also your five free videos that you've given us.

    Dr. Anna:
    Plus, if you guys are on my email list, you've received an email today about the 80 off café, so the $80 off your gym membership, and so that link is also in the show notes, the description of this talk.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Thanks so much, and thanks for sharing that. I have to toot the horn of my members, they are a perk. It seems an unfair advantage to talk about, but I think it's community right now, we're all missing a bit of literal community. I think it's so nice to have this place where the people you're surrounded with are going through the exact same thing that you are going through. I can say that for many of our members, very much like the result I've had with keto green 16, some of them we've done more lives, I can tell you I've done more live exercise with them than I have for the last four years.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Because they've been more active, more engaged, I've been in there with them, some of them are in better shape since COVID started than they were before, and that's something to be proud of, I think, that community and accountability that all of us need. I don't think we ever graduate from the need for that.

    Dr. Anna:
    So true. I need it every day, and I'm so grateful for our online community, our keto green community, our challenge group, all of them. It's just been amazing to be with them on this journey, because it does make a difference, it makes a difference in so many ways. People can find you where?

    Debra Atkinson:
    Sorry, yes, I failed answering my question last time. It's flippingfifty.com is where I'm hanging out, that's all words spelled out, and on all of the social media channels you'll find me at flipping50tv.

    Dr. Anna:
    Flipping50tv, I love it, and your Instagram is fabulous, so everyone be sure to follow her Instagram and her Facebook. Debra has been an amazing mentor to me, and especially if there's an area that, we talk about the entire body, the entire existence in so many ways, mental, spiritual, physical, and all these aspects come together. If we know there's a weakness, like exercise for me, honestly, as much as I love leaving the gym or finishing my workout now that the gyms are closed or closing or limited, but having that community around it really helps you and helps you keep accountable during this journey, as so many people in our community groups find out, like, "I couldn't do this alone."

    Dr. Anna:
    I wrote about this in my potato chip e-zine today, I call it my potato chip e-zine. For those of you listening, if you have not signed up to my blog at dranna.com, be sure to sign up, you never know what you'll receive. The really important thing is that we're not alone. I just finished a five-day water fast, five-day, 19 hour and three minute. I don't know how long, I'm just guessing, but an extended water fast while I was traveling, which I just took it one day at a time.

    Dr. Anna:
    I think that's the way too we have to approach every new discipline and practice, is, "Today I'm going to do this, I'm going to get through today, and just deal with today, not think, 'I've got to do this for the next five weeks, four times a week for even 20 minutes a day.' I mean, let's just look, what do I need to do today, or what's on my schedule for tomorrow that I can check off?" Being nearsighted like that, for me, is very, very helpful in establishing new practices. What do you recommend?

    Debra Atkinson:
    I think what you are talking about is just so very important. I think planning ahead is really important, so whether it's on a Sunday, you sit down and look at, "What am I going to do, what needs to be on my calendar?" so that we don't have to do both, we don't have to both think about what I'm going to do and then do it. Because I think we end up having time to do one of those, but not both, so you don't want to do it random and not have a plan, and you don't want to have to, "Okay, I've figured out what I'm going to do, and now I don't have time to do it."

    Debra Atkinson:
    I think planning ahead, so very important, and then you've got the plan, but the structure gives you freedom. You could show up on that day and say, "I'm not feeling good, I'm really feeling very low on energy, so this high intensity interval training I think should become a short walk," and I think listening to your body once you have the plan is super wise.

    Dr. Anna:
    I like that, because that just gave me permission to have a movement time, so to be able to substitute a movement that feels congruent to my state of being at that moment, [crosstalk 00:43:21] that feels very supportive.

    Debra Atkinson:
    I like to use the 10-minute rule, so if you were scheduled to exercise, this is your exercise time, but you're not feeling it, start. Do those first 10 minutes, and usually at 10 minutes, you will know if you are still not feeling it, you're probably better off taking a rest day, taking an easier day and doing some stretching and calling it. A lot of times, your mood will have changed and that chemistry will have changed, and you will want to continue.

    Dr. Anna:
    I feel that many, many days, and that's being able to do ... Describe also the experience when people get into your Flipping 50 gymbership café.

    Debra Atkinson:
    What a mouthful.

    Dr. Anna:
    I know.

    Debra Atkinson:
    We start people twice a year, so we open on purpose twice a year so that we can take all of those newcomers and we can all kind of initiate and orient to what's happening, what should I do first and second. Because I'll tell you, there's a lot of content in there, and the last thing I want to do is make it a library where you walk in, and you don't really know what you're looking for, and you don't walk out with something because of that. We very specifically suggest, "Here are the steps, ABC, that we want you to go through," and depending on what are your first biggest priorities that you want to work on, we break things into little mini-courses.

    Debra Atkinson:
    If it happens to be weight loss or it happens to be cellulite, or, "I want to exercise, but my joints are really giving me a lot of problems," it's joint specific or bone health, we have nine mini-courses that they can focus on, where it's exactly the content they need first, so they can go through what they need without the overwhelm, and the other information will always be there next.

    Dr. Anna:
    I like that, that there's customization in that, and then your Facebook community, your membership community, which is fabulous. Thank you, and just talk about, what does a day in your life look like? Share a day in your life.

    Debra Atkinson:
    I keep hoping, everybody's watching Netflix, when does that show up? Because I'm not getting it, right? No, it's been super busy during COVID, but it's like you get up in the morning and you're really excited to do what you do because the women that you're helping are so full of gratitude that they are getting the energy and the vitality that they want and need to go and do the things that are unique and that only they can do. That's what keeps me going, but I'm an early riser, so I get up and enjoy my black coffee, thanks to you, and matched just so I can do a little more intermittent fasting.

    Debra Atkinson:
    I'll do some high intensity interval training or some strength training after I've worked for a few hours, because I find that creative time I don't get later if I miss it in the morning. Then I'll end up with, my first breaking fast overnight is a smoothie, usually late morning, kind of a brunch. Then I do lots of meetings, lots of appointments, some private clients, still working with them and we're focusing on ... That café, our membership is my heart, so we take really good care of them. We're constantly building new programs, preparing a masterclass on the topics that they're all kind of abuzz about.

    Debra Atkinson:
    I'm focused on that for a good part of the afternoon and into the evening. There's a couple more usually webinars or podcasts or something, and then I go to bed just as early as I wake up, so you'll find me in my pajamas at about 7:30.

    Dr. Anna:
    Early to bed, early to rise. [crosstalk 00:47:28]

    Debra Atkinson:
    That's right.

    Dr. Anna:
    I love it. I want to thank you so much, thank you for your friendship, love our girlfriend time always, thanks for being available that we could call on you and look to you as a reliable resource. I feel very blessed to be able to share you with our community group, so everyone listening who enjoyed this, definitely give shout out here, a thank you, and check out Debra's site. Flipping50tv.com for the website, and the links that I put here in the show notes to catch up with her and her amazing work and her amazing books and her amazing programs. Thank you Debra, thanks for being with us.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Thank you, thanks for having me. The website though is flippingfifty.com.

    Dr. Anna:
    Flippingfifty, but then there was, flipping50tv is the Instagram?

    Debra Atkinson:
    Yep, all the social media accounts.

    Dr. Anna:
    All the social media, okay. Flipping50.com, flipping50.com, so you guys all check that out, and give a shout out, please share this episode, and I'd love your feedback. I'd love to know what your exercise routine is doing. I know my daughter Britney loves hula-hooping, hooping and hula both, she loves doing hula and hooping, and for me, boxing, yoga, doing these HIT workouts that are functional that I feel like gaining my strength back, that's powerful to me, as well as having that balance, as Debra said, with yoga, that flexibility training and balance training which is so critical as we get older. We're never too old and we're never too young to start something new and fun, just have fun with it.

    Debra Atkinson:
    Amen.

    Dr. Anna:
    Yes, thank you everyone.

    Dr. Anna Cabeca

    Dr. Anna Cabeca

    Dr. Anna is a Triple Board Certified OB/GYN, Anti-Aging Medicine expert, and author of the best selling book, The Hormone Fix.

    Dr. Anna helps women heal the 9 most dreadful symptoms of menopause with natural, safe solutions. Follow her for content on hormonal imbalances, vaginal dryness, menopause (and more) that are medically backed, and created to empower women — not just treat them.