Amanda Thebe is a personal trainer and nutrition coach with over twenty years of experience in the fitness industry. She is the author of the best-selling book, Menopocalypse: How I Learned To Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too!, and a popular guest on podcasts and online summits. Her health and fitness tips have been featured in media outlets including Shape, Prevention, Healthline, The Doctors, and Global News. She lives in Houston, Texas.
Where are you in your hormonal health journey?
Which menopause symptoms have you experienced?
For the first two years of perimenopause, I struggled with vertigo, nausea, depression, and migraines.
“Strength training has been a lifesaver for me during menopause.”
Do you have specific advice you’d like to share to help demystify the experience?
Strength training has been a lifesaver for me during menopause. There are so many benefits that transcend outside of the gym. Being able to lift weights heavier than my own body weight is so empowering that it has improved my confidence, my energy level, my mental health, and my overall body image.
Instead of paying so much attention to the number on the scale, I am now focused on the amount of weight I can lift, which is completely liberating. Strength training has also been shown to improve vasomotor symptoms by up to 70% (interestingly enough, I don’t suffer from hot flashes), help with anxiety, and improve our health markers against diseases like osteoporosis, CVD, and diabetes. There is no downside.
Do you have words of advice for women starting their strength training journey?
I believe every woman can start somewhere. If you are an absolute beginner, then start by doing some bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, and planks. In fact, you could be planking now as you read this blog post (hee hee)!
For the more seasoned athlete, find ways that challenge you so that you lift heavier weights than you are used to. This will help you maintain and gain lean muscle mass, which is important for all menopausal women.
“We have to be prepared to share our experiences through menopause and not stay silent like previous generations.”
We know menopause can be challenging, but it can also be funny, enlightening, liberating, energizing, and more. Do you have an anecdote or reflection that shows another side of menopause, beyond what we’re conditioned to “fear” as women?
I have tried to find levity in all areas of this journey. When my quality of life was impacted, I found it hard to laugh or be light-hearted about almost everything. But, the process makes us evolve and become so resilient that it almost feels worth the struggle. I look back at those dark days when I thought I had lost myself and hardly recognized the person I had become. Now, in postmenopause, I feel such relief and joy knowing that I have regained my sense of humor and my playful personality has returned. There is hope.
Is there anything you wish your younger self would have known?
We have to be prepared to share our experiences through menopause and not stay silent like previous generations. Going into perimenopause with absolutely no knowledge made the whole experience more challenging than it needed to be. We have to pave the way for the next generation of females entering perimenopause