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  • Writer's picturekarenfitforlifenz

Training Through Menopause & Beyond Part 2: Body Composition

During Perimenopause Progesterone & Estrogen start to fluctuate. This has a direct effect on how we train, recover, build lean mass & our sensitivity to carbohydrate. These effects continue through to PostMenopause when our hormones flat line.

This graph shows how our hormones behave during a typical 28 day menstrual cycle PreMenopause:

During PeriMenopause we can experience poor sleep, hot flushes & brain fog. We also start to notice that we don’t respond to training so well. The fluctuating hormones change our menstrual cycle. Periods can be closer together, further apart, shorter, longer, basically all over the place. This is what happens to our hormones during Peri & Post Menopause:

Whats Going On?

Estrogen plays a staring role in metabolism, especially how we store fat, respond to exercise & recover. As a result we see changes occur in;

1. Body Composition

2. Metabolism

3. Protein Synthesis

4. THINGS Just Seems Harder!

1. Body Composition

Estrogen increases the anabolic(muscle building) response to exercise. When we have low Estrogen we need a different stimulus. This means that it is harder for us to make & maintain muscle.

  • Reduced Response to anabolic stimuli

  • Decreased ability to make muscles

  • Decrease in Bone Density

  • Increased Body Fat

Protein Synthesis Balance Changes

  • Rates of Protein (Muscle ) Breakdown Increase

  • Rates of Protein (Muscle) Synthesis Decreases

  • Less reactive to stimuli from Strength Training & Eating Protein

  • Low Estrogen = Low Bone Density

Low bone density increases the risk of Osteoporosis. If we don’t do anything we can lose up to 1/3rd of our bone mass in just 5 years!

So what can we do to set ourselves up for a strong & feisty future? I’m afraid that endurance running, biking, tramping, swimming & even pump classes wont create the anabolic stimulus we need.

Body Composition Hacks

• Swap Long Slow Distance (LSD) Endurance for High Intensity Intervals (HIIT) , Plyometrics & Heavy Strength Training

• Reduce LSD Endurance

• Be Pedantic about your Protein intake Around Exercise

• High Quality Protein for Recovery within 30min 30-40g!

• 2.5-3g Leucine


• Maintain Lean Mass

• Make Muscle, Stay Strong & fast

• Keep Your Bones Strong

• Reduce Unwanted Body Fat

The amino acid Leucine is needed for recovery, it stops muscle breakdown & starts repair & growth. Example recovery foods; flavoured milk+ handful of almonds, low fat Greek yoghurt, protein shake, chicken breast, salmon fillet.

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