One Thing Women Over 35 Who Exercise Should Avoid + What To Do Instead
Journalists often ask me to comment on this question as a health and fitness expert. Being I specialize in 1:1 coaching women over 35, I see many common mistakes.
If I had to pick ONE thing that women over 35 should avoid it would be this:
It's essential that women over 35 avoid exercising 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. I know firsthand, as this was my story as I faced hormone challenges since my youth. Trying to do "all of the things" to achieve my weight loss, fitness and running goals lead me to a nightmare of conditions I'm grateful to have now reversed.
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 (ex: energy crashing by 3PM), 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 age 35 & beyond as we approach perimenopause!
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: 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 peanut butter), and go with a protein instead, such as low sugar Greek yogurt or a scoop of a high-quality 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 a banana. Also, for those with a very sensitive stomach a solution to try are Kion Aminos, which is a liquid drink containing the building blocks of protein to support your body's energy, hormonal health and fitness gains. Other ideas include adding a scoop of protein to your coffee, eating a GoGoSqueez applesauce pouch or sipping on Tailwind during your run.
As always, context matters: For certain health conditions, like those diagnosed with cancer or cognitive disorders, intermittent fasting may be a strategy worth trying. For men who's physiology is different from females, fasted exercise may have its time and place. However, if you're a woman 35+ looking to achieve health, fitness or running goals, exercising while fasted can lead to fatigue, frustrations, fat gain and eventually, chronic disease.
Want more ways to unlock your best health, fitness or performance age 35 and beyond? Subscribe to the blog below and reach out for coaching to discover your path to better results and sustainable success!