Training in menopause has been a journey of trial and error and understanding what works for me. It’s been a journey of awareness, patience and willingness to open my mind to change.
Our body changes when we enter perimenopause and many of the things that we were doing before stop working. For me it was like a wake up call to listen to my body and start doing the things that serve your body the best. Triathlon has been an extraordinary vehicle for me during this transition because it really prompted me to learn and understand what I should be doing in order to thrive during this transition.
The first thing I did was go into heavy research mode. I read everything I could get my hands on having to do with menopause athletes. Actually wait a minute! The first thing I did was fall into a bit of anxiety and depression and cried a lot for many months as I felt and watched my body change and experienced the feeling of being out of control. After I moved myself out of a short period of depression I then I went even deeper into my research by taking many hours of Dr. Stacy Sims classes including Women are not small men and Menopause Athletes. Both of these classes gave me more science as well as case studies. From there I experimented in my own training, nutrition & recovery as well as talked to many other athletes menopause and up. This has given me even more to go on when it comes to the practical side of implementing the science.
Through all of this I feel as though I am in some way trying to get the answers to things that my ancient ancestors actually already knew. We have forgotten all of this because of years of “being civilized” and years of women as 2nd class citizens.
Here are a few of the top line things that I have experienced work for me and also go inline with much of the research.
I need a good amount of intensity in my training plan ~ more than before. This is both strength work on the bike and run as well as HIIT intensity sessions. With the right amount of recovery added in too. I am feeling a significant difference with this kind of training now. I do more strength and interval work in my training.
More strength training because I can actually feel when I don’t do it I loose muscle!
Being aware of my stress levels as this seems to affect my body composition more than I expected. It’s crazy how I retain fat when my stress goes up! It’s a cortisol thing.
I have upped my protein which is helping me a lot in building strength. This one is the most challenging for me. I do take in whey isolate after my training sessions and it makes a significant positive difference.
I will be sharing here what is working and what is not working.