I learn the hard way. Lessons need to beat me upside my head before they sink in. And what I have slowly learned over a 35 year career of doing endurance sports is that to focus on process in training our bodies and minds helps us become better people. As a cyclist, runner, cross-country skier, […]
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I wish I had a dollar for every person at my gym who starts a fitness program, then, after a couple of weeks, never shows up again. Fitness adaptation is the reason so many people stop their exercise and training plans after four or six weeks. People with great intentions don’t much in the way […]
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Combatting the post-menopausal belly fat gain requires dedicated strength training using good form and deep breathing to jump start fat-burning metabolism.
A client wanted to work on the unwanted belly fat that appeared since a hysterectomy. This kind of weight gain is common after this surgery or after menopause due to a slowing in metabolism and a reduction in hormones that affect fat burning, plus the natural effects of aging.
The client, in her late 40s, does cardiovascular training two to three times a week, plus she’s working with a nutritionist on her diet. She also is time-limited during the week.
Since strength training is necessary to kick up metabolism and strengthen muscles, I suggested a simple routine that she can do at home with body weight or some dumbbells. She should do this at least twice a week, three if possible, to reduce belly fat.
The goal is not to increase HR but to get stronger by stressing and fatiguing the muscles to force adaptation. The stronger the muscles, the more your metabolism increases and the more fat gets oxidized. And so therefore the belly fat will begin to melt away.
Slow and Deliberate Focus on Form, Breathe
She should do three sets of four repetitions, slowly and deliberately, and keep her core tight, stable, and tensed.
I’m recommending that she tense and tighten her core with breath held in on the down path. At the bottom of the movement, breath out, then in again slowly, holding the position. Then tense and tighten core on way back up, then breath out, then in again. She should move slowly to focus on stability.
We started with some simple body measurements: tape measure around the belly button and hips. This will give us a baseline data point to see what is working and what we need to modify.
Each of these exercises works on a key muscle group as well as working the core and a lot of stabilizing muscles. The net effect is reducing more belly fat by engaging more muscles.
Push your butt back as you slowly sit. Weight should be centered, but more on your heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes like tiger claws. Go down in three seconds, hold for two second while you breath, go up in three seconds.
– Add weight as you get stronger. Hold the weight with both hands next to your chest and do goblet squats.
– Keep your core tensed on the descent, breathe out on the up.
Single Leg Roll-up
– Lie on your back with arms stretched over head. While raising one leg, do a rollup with your spine rolling off the ground until your arms are outstretched pointing to the ceiling.
– Repeat with the opposite leg.
– Roll up slowly with breath held in, core tightened.
– Stand with core stable and spine straight.
– Hold any kind of weight with elbow at 90 degrees to the side of your body. Keep glutes and core activated.
– Press weight straight up with arm extended to the side.
– Rotate elbow to front of body and drop your hand down.
Single Leg Deadlift
– Keep core stable. Keep shoulders level.
– Bring back leg back and weight up slowly with breath in and tensed. Release breath at bottom..
– Lower back leg and raise weight with belly tensed and breath in.
These can be really challenging for your balance, but they do so much to work off belly fat.
Slowly down and slowly up. Keep core tense and fired. Do these on your knees to modify.
Bulgarian Split Squat
– Make sure your front knee drops over the foot not in front of it.
– Drop back knee slowly. Maintain strong core. Front leg should do all the work.
– Move slowly and deliberately with as heavy a weight as you can use for six rotations
We’ll start with this routine for three weeks, then retest body fat. We’ll modify the exercises as she gains strength.