Testing Positive for Menopause

Testing Positive for Menopause

Testing Positive for Menopause

I just recently came face-to-face with getting older and I didn’t like it one bit.

With every passing birthday I was aware that I was getting older; I just never felt or thought that I was. I mean, getting old was what happened to other people, like my husband and my sisters for example.

Of course there was that grey hair I found a while ago. But, that was easily sorted out with a good tug.

Then the wrinkles came, but hallelujah for high-definition makeup, retinol and really expensive eye creams.

I also ignored the aches that weren’t there in my body ten years ago, as well as the declining energy levels (I chalked this up to me learning how to relax, something that is recommended for us high-stung Type A’s).

But, something recently happened that I could no longer ignore, buy a cream to correct, or even drink my delusions away with.

I started menopause.

A Trainer’s Denial About Menopause 

At first I was in complete denial. How much denial, you’re wondering? Epic levels, let me tell you.

One evening I internalized this change in my body when I couldn’t sleep – because we don’t really sleep do we? Instead, middle-aged women “drift” through the night.

Anyways, I got myself so worked up about my lack of a menstrual cycle for the past three months that I convinced myself that this absolutely could NOT be menopause.

It had to be something else.

I was far too young for menopause. This only happened to other women. Older women.

The thought of this not being menopause, and instead being the alternative, was frightening to the bone and I could not keep this to myself any longer. I had to wake up loving husband and let him in on my epiphany.

Now, ladies, I have a tip for you. If you want to FREAK your significant other out, wake them up in the middle of the night and tell them that you think you are pregnant. Works better than a bucket of cold water to the face.

Poor loving husband was up all night having waking nightmares of being in his 60’s with a teenager.

funny-getting-older-quote-Fitness-with-PJ

Testing Positive

The next day I ended up in a local pharmacy, incognito, buying a home pregnancy test. When I got home sure enough I did test positive…for menopause.

Lucky for me, this past last year I have been designing fitness programs and plans specific for peri and menopausal women.

I have had the fortune of interviewing some of the industry’s best about how to handle menopause so I knew what I needed to do to help control my weight, my hot flashes, my sleeping problems, my brain fog and my turn-on-a-dime moods.

What none of these experts taught me, however, was how to handle this change emotionally. Because that was where menopause was really kicking me in the butt.

I did not want to age like my mother!

Could Menopause Be Just Like a Workout?

And then I got to thinking (again when I couldn’t sleep, because those are the best times to think, aren’t they?), menopause is just another cog in the wheel of this thing called my life.

I started relating to it in terms that I knew and could understand.

First, I thought of life as one big workout (cut me some slack, I’m a trainer), and came to the conclusion that menopause is just another rep in this one big workout of life.

And, just like any other rep that I do in the gym I have three choices:

  • I can perform it poorly and set myself up for injury
  • I can do the rep half-hearted and see little to no results
  • Or I can put all of my effort and focus on this one rep and grow

The only difference here was that I wasn’t growing physically; instead, I was focussing on growing emotionally and spiritually.

So, here I am putting all my energy into this one rep and finding out that I don’t mind the burn or the short-term pain of menopause. Because, in the end, I plan on coming out of this a better woman.

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
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50-Minute Total Body Sculpt

50-Minute Total Body Sculpt

50-Minute Total Body Sculpt

If workouts were kids, this one would be the good child. The one that does it’s homework, goes to bed and cleans up its room without any nagging.

In other words: it’s a functionally sound, total-body, great for all levels strength workout.

It’s the perfect go-to workout when you want to train, but you don’t feel like killing yourself (however loving husband would disagree. He was very tired after this workout).

Total Body Sculpt

Tools Needed:

  • A pair of light, moderate and heavy dumbbells
    • Beginners: 3lb – 10lb
    • Intermediate: 5lb – 12lb
    • Advanced: 8:lb – 20lb

Total-Body-Sculpt-full-workout

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
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A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 12

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 12

A Trainer’s Weekly Menu – Week 12

 

This was a great week for meals. Even loving husband has been tolerating the less-meat-more-veggies-bender that I am currently on.

 

With the exception of Monday night.

 

Last Monday I made the most awesome maple bean dish (from my fave blog Oh She Glows), and when we both sat down to eat it loving husband immediately went on a mission.

 

He pushed the beans around investigating every square inch of his of the bowl. Like he was searching for something. Something he just could not believe would NOT be there.

 

When he didn’t find what he was looking for he looked up and asked me “Where’s the rest of the dinner?”.

 

I told him the “rest” of the dinner was my love. He said he would have preferred some beef or bacon instead.

 

Nice guy, that loving husband.

 

Healthy Meal Plan

 

If you need to get yourself back-on-track I urge you to join me with my meal plans. All of the recipes that I choose are low in sh*t and high in nutrients.

 

I also plan my healthy meals so that they fit in into my busy life. My prep is basic and there are no long-winded recipes that only Martha Stewart would love.

 

Just basic meals, using whole-foods.

 

What a trainer eats - week 12

 

Catch Up On Previous Week’s Menus

 

 

FIT TIP: As we age one of the reasons our tendons and muscles get stiffer is due to the lower water levels in the tissue. This makes it even more important that we drink enough water throughout the day. Aim for 2-3 litres a day – and sorry, that does not include coffee, tea or wine.

 

Week 11 Healthy Meal Plan

 

SUNDAY PREP

 

  • Protein pancakes made for the week
  • 3 lemons, cut in half for my daily detox drink
  • Cucumber, peppers, carrots, snap peas cut for side dish munchies for lunches
  • Pumpkin Maple Baked Beans made, ready to re-heat for Monday night dinner
  • One Pot Quinoa Veggie Dish made for lunches Mon-Thurs (Friday is leftover day)

 

BREAKFAST

 

  • My daily detox drink. Click here to get the recipe.
  • Protein pancakes. I made 5 (to last Mon-Fri) and froze them.
  • Each night I grab one from the freezer, thaw it overnight and then re-heat it in the AM by toasting it.
  • For toppings I spread a little almond butter or P&B on top, depending on my mood, and then drizzle some heated raspberry jam on top of the nut butter. Y.U.M.
  • This is the recipe I use, however I wanted to add some super seeds to it this time so I also be added 1 tbsp of ground flax seed and 1 tbsp of chia seeds to the batter.

 

LUNCH

 

  • One Pot Quinoa Veggie Dish, without the chicken. Instead I added a can of black beans for my protein.
  • Cut up veggies (carrot sticks, peppers, cucumber slices, snap peas and grape tomatoes) as my side dish.

 

PREP TIP: When making quinoa, double the batch and freeze the leftovers in single serving ziplock baggies. That way when you need a quick side dish you got one ready to go.

 

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DINNER

 

Monday

 

  • Pumpkin Maple Baked Beans Cornbread Casserole. This recipe rocked, even loving husband wanted more (he knows nothing of the pumpkin in it though so shhhh…), however as mentioned above he was perplexed that there was no meat accompanying it.
  • I didn’t make the cornbread topping, as per recipe. Instead, I went the lazy gal’s route and bought Bob’s Red Mill GF Cornbread mix. The mix is pretty good, but next time I make the beans I think I will go even lazier and just forgo the cornbread altogether.

 

Tuesday

 

  • Salmon Caesar salad. Instead of croutons I use roasted chickpeas. I love this brand.

 

Wednesday

 

  • Fried egg sandwich with smashed avocado. I get home late on Wednesdays and I hate eating a meal that late.
  • BUT, with that said I am also starving when I get home, so I need something filling but yet won’t bloat the hell out of me. Hence a fried egg sandwich using Squirelly Bread, with half of an avocado smashed between the two slices.

 

FOOD TIP: Need to ripen an avocado ASAP. Food bloggers swear by this 10-minute hack: wrap your avocado tightly in tin foil so absolutely no air gets out. Set it inside a baking dish and pop it into the oven at 200°F. Check the fruit’s progress at 10 minutes (or even sooner depending on its current degree of ripeness), and keep it in the oven until it’s perfectly ripe. Together, the heat of the oven and the ethylene gas that is released when the avocado ripens will work to soften the fruit.

 

Thursday

 

Loving Husband and I filming a workout Loving Husband and I filming a recent YouTube workout.

Friday

 

  • Chicken Pesto Pitas and Kale Salad. This is a real easy recipe to make.
  • Buy a cooked BBQ chicken from the deli, some whole-grain pita bread, spinach, mozza cheese slices (or provolone is good too), roasted red peppers and pesto sauce.
  • Assemble the sandwich by spreading 1/4 of the pesto inside the bottom of one pita half, add cheese, then chicken slices and roasted pepper strips, top with baby spinach and enjoy!

 

FIT TIP: People with fitness goals succeed because they know where they are going.

 

Saturday

 

  • Pizza! Loving husband will be filming a long and hard workout with me so I need to show his stomach some love.
  • I also want to go hiking on Sunday and if he eats lots of pizza he will want to hike too so he can work on his bikini body (his words, not mine).
  • Of course, he could just NOT eat the pizza. But, he loves pizza and we have been happily married for over 21 years because we both know when to push and when to back off. Pizza, M&M’s and Coke are where I back off.
  • Cauliflower Crust Pizza for me. I am going to try this recipe, while also adding a few tablespoons of almond flour to help hold the crust together.
  • I will forgo the meat that’s in this recipe and add Roma tomatoes and fresh basil instead.
  • The recipe also claims it feeds four. I say NOT LIKELY. This whole pizza will be eaten by yours truly, in one sitting.

 

Funny pizza quote

 

Sunday

 

  • Slow Cooker Bison Stew. If we go hiking I want something that is hot and ready for us when we get home, and this recipe looks delish.
  • This recipe is also from a new food blogger I just started following, The Inspired RD, let’s see how her food tastes.

 

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
SHOULD BE DOING

GRAB MY 21 DAY FITNESS PROGRAM AND LET ME DO THE PROGRAMMING FOR YA.

 

FIT & FIERCE...
HERE WE COME.

 

PJ ox

35-Minute Bodyweight HIIT Workout

35-Minute Bodyweight HIIT Workout

35-Minute Bodyweight HIIT

Today’s workout is the PERFECT workout to do if you are:

  • Travelling and have no access to equipment
  • In need of a cardio workout
  • Looking to strengthen the legs (especially the glutes)
  • Wanting a good core workout
  • Feeling down and need a smile on your face

This workout only uses your bodyweight and is suitable for all levels.

It is also loving husband’s first harder workout with me and I wish I had a dollar for every time he moaned, groaned or rolled his eyes at me – cause after this 35-minute workout I would have had enough cash for a visit to the ol’ spa.

Loving Husband

I won’t lie. This workout almost killed loving husband. But, it’s not because it’s a super hard core workout.

It’s really because he just has not been working on his cardio lately and he is getting over a really bad cold that lasted for almost two months!

So, nonetheless, two-minutes into the warm up he was already huffing and puffing.

However, he was a great sport and he did his very best (albeit sometimes the wrong exercise at the wrong time). And that’s all a wife and a trainer can ask for.

35-Minute Bodyweight HIIT

 

TOOLS NEEDED:

Nothing

Nada

Not a thing

 

35-Minute Bodyweight HIIT

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
SHOULD BE DOING

GRAB MY 21 DAY FITNESS PROGRAM AND LET ME DO THE PROGRAMMING FOR YA.

 

FIT & FIERCE...
HERE WE COME.

 

PJ ox

Mastering Menopause

Mastering Menopause

Mastering Menopause

We cannot pretend menopause is not going to happen. We cannot wish it away, or hope that it won’t happen to us.

We also cannot think that it won’t affect us. It will, and it will affect those around us too.

So, instead of putting out the fires and the hot flashes as they happen, let’s start learning what changes to our lifestyle and mindset we need to make to give us the greatest impact.

Yes? YES!

What’s the difference, perimenopause and menopause?

Perimenopause happens 8 to 10 years before menopause, when the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen. It usually starts in a woman’s 40s, but it can start in her 30s as well.

Perimenopause lasts up until menopause, which is the point when the ovaries stop releasing eggs (ie. we stop having periods).

To be fully out of perimenopause and menopause (medically speaking), we need to be without a menstrual cycle for one full year.

How will I know when I am postmenopausal?

A woman is considered to be postmenopausal when she has not had her period for an entire year.

Measuring through a blood test called the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level is another way to determine if you are postmenopausal.

FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain). However, the routine use of the FSH test is not needed to help the vast majority of women. Sometimes, the levels can be misleading since the levels go up and down during the transition into menopause.

What are the heck are the symptoms?

  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats and/or cold flashes
  • Vaginal dryness; discomfort during sex
  • Urinary urgency (the need to pee more often)
  • Difficulty sleeping and/or staying asleep
  • Emotional changes (irritability, anger, mood swings, depression)
  • Dry skin, eyes or mouth
  • Brain fog

Women who are perimenopausal also have this barrel of fun to look forward to:

  • Racing heart rates
  • Headaches
  • Joint and muscle aches and pain
  • Changes to sex drive
  • Weight gain
  • Hair loss or thinning
  • Acne

Can my lifestyle trigger the symptoms of peri and menopause?

A number of the symptoms of menopause can be set off and intensified by lifestyle choices. For instance, the following have been known to trigger hot flashes:

  • Stress
  • Caffeine (this sucks)
  • Alcohol (this really sucks)
  • Spicy foods
  • Hot foods
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Sugar
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Fatty cuts of meat

What else can go wrong, after 40?

On top of all of our menopause and perimenopause symptoms, we also have age-related changes happening to the body.

Why we are getting fat

The big reason why we gain weight after the age of 40 is because we are losing a percentage of our lean muscle mass, each and every year.

Muscle tissue burns more calories than any other tissue in the body, both at rest and at work. So, when our lean muscle mass decreases our metabolism takes a nosedive.

Click here to learn how to become a better fat-burning machine.

After the age of 30, women can expect to lose as much as 3% to 5% of their lean muscle mass per decade. Once we reach 75 years this loss accelerates (however for some women this can happen as early as 65 years).

How do you offset this? Not by walking and not by performing cardio. The only way to build your lean muscle mass is with a properly devised strength training program.

Click here to view all of my YouTube Workouts.

Our organs, as we age

As our cells age they don’t function as well as they used to and eventually old cells must die as a normal part of the bodies functioning.

While this is a normal process of age, it does become a concern when the number of old cells in the ovaries, liver, and kidneys decrease.

When these cells become too low, an organ cannot function normally and this is why most organs function less than stellar as people age.

Great news, though, not all organs lose a large number of cells. The brain is one good example. Science has proven that women who are healthy do not lose as many brain cells as unhealthy women do.

It's hard to be a woman funny quote

Our bones, as we age

Bone mass and bone density decrease as we age and will begin to decline by approximately 1% (or so) with each passing year from 30 years old until menopause is reached – at which point we will then see a 2-3% loss each year.

Click here to do a bone-building beginner’s strength workout.

Our connective tissue, as we age

Our tendons (that great stuff that keeps our muscles connected to our bone) are also being affected.

As we age we lose some of the water in our tendons and this, in turn, makes our tissue stiffer and less able to handle stress and more susceptible to injury.

Click here to do a 15-minute morning wake up stretch routine.

Our speed and reaction time, as we age

The number of our muscle fibers are also decrease as we age. This means that our muscles can’t contract as easily as they used to, making us slower in general as well as slowing down our reaction time.

Our heart, as we age

Our heart muscle also slows down as we age. It becomes less able to propel large quantities of blood quickly which means that we are going to tire more easily and take longer to recover as we get older.

Click here to do a heart-pumping, low impact cardio workout.

Our insides get fatter

Body fat increases as we age and the distribution of body fat shifts from subcutaneous (under the skin, evenly over the body) to visceral (around the internal organs).

Visceral fat is deep within the body surrounding our internal organs and is also known to increase our chances of developing: heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, various forms of cancer and other degenerative diseases.

The best part of being over 40 is we did most of our stupid stuff before the internet. - Mastering Menopause blog

Estrogen, how we miss thee

Most of the symptoms related to perismenopause and menopause are happening because we are producing less estrogen.

This production will continue to decrease until the ovaries eventually stop making it.

WTF is going on with my belly fat?

When estrogen declines cortisol and insulin production increase.

And guess what? Both of these hormones contribute to fat gain, especially around the midsection, and in particular as that dangerous visceral fat we learned about just above.

In addition, perimenopausal women may see more accumulation of fat around the belly – even if they are eating better and exercising correctly.

You see our bodies are pretty amazing machines and during times of hormone imbalances our body favours belly fat because its programmed to preserve fertility as long as possible. Thanks body.

Belly fat also produces estrogen! So, it’s of no surprise that when estrogen production from the ovaries slows, the body compensates by adding a spare tire around our mid-section.

 Click here to be rid of the belly fat.

A good night’s sleep. What’s that?

Sleep patterns will also change as we age.

This can either cause difficulty falling asleep, constant waking or full on insomnia – all of which will lead to lower energy levels and fatigue.

Chronic sleep deprivation is also linked to elevated cortisol levels and cortisol is that visceral belly fat loving hormone, in addition it is responsible to increasing our risk for a whole host of diseases, including cancer.

Click here to sleep better.

How to master menopause

Mastering perimenopause and menopause starts with your lifestyle.

For some it might mean dietary changes, for others it might mean adding strength training to their weekly workouts.

While for other women it could be improving their sleep, or adding stress relieving activities to their day.

However, for a lot of women it will mean making more than one change to their lifestyle. This can pose a problem, though.

Adding too many goals, and too many lifestyle changes, all at once is a recipe for disaster.

My suggestion for success

Where ever you are with your symptoms, and whatever your reasons WHY are (because remember, you HAVE to want to want these lifestyle changes), I want you to start with only one change first.

The reasons are both physiological and psychological.

On a physiological standpoint our brains are actually only programmed to operate on 10% willpower, the other 90% runs on muscle memory, or habits.

We need to make these changes to our lifestyle become habits so that the 10% is not battling it out with the 90%.

Psychologically speaking, small changes and manageable goals help us from not freaking out and throwing our arms up in the air two weeks in.

BUT, this does not mean I do not want you to challenge yourself, or that these changes will be easy.
 

Start with one, the rest will follow

Start by picking one symptom that is bothering you the most and then begin making the necessary changes to your lifestyle to help you master that one symptom.

 

TIRED OF TRYING TO FIGURE WHAT WORKOUTS YOU
SHOULD BE DOING

GRAB MY 21 DAY FITNESS PROGRAM AND LET ME DO THE PROGRAMMING FOR YA.

 

FIT & FIERCE...
HERE WE COME.

 

PJ ox

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