When Hustlers came out in 2019, it seemed like all of America lost their minds, turned to their phones, and asked the question, "How old is Jennifer Lopez?"
The answer? 50.
This was not the first time that the media couldn't fathom the idea of women "of a certain age" being strong and powerful. Every couple of years, an article about Madonna's trend-setting biceps comes out, with people in awe of her strength at 62. Angela Bassett, also 62, is constantly asked about how she keeps up her physique. While we too want to know how they do it, the underlying implication is that society is shocked by strong, older women. Even some of our finest athletes, like 39-year-old Serena Williams, have been criticized for being too old to participate in tournaments (we're pretty damn sure she can make the decision for herself). While we may not have access to J.Lo's personal trainer, or share her genetics, feeling strong in your body is a healthy and important goal (yes, especially for women going through menopause).
Angela Bassett, age 62, dancing circles around Jimmy Fallon
If you're struggling with some of the many symptoms of menopause (weight gain, mood shifts, muscle tension, fatigue, just to name a few), taking the time to strengthen your body can feel near-impossible. On top of that, with so many resources out there, finding menopause-specific workout advice can be difficult. However, naturally badass women are rising to the challenge. After experiencing severe menopause symptoms herself, fitness and women's health expert Amanda Thebe (with the outstanding moniker "FitnChips") shares her insight and advice in her new book, Menopocalypse: How I Learned to Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too.
"Becoming strong has transferred over to my everyday life. There is no downside. Being able to lift weights heavier than my own body weight is so empowering that it has improved my confidence outside the gym. It has also improved 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.
One of the reasons I’m such an avid supporter, as I’ve mentioned, of strength training for women is because of the impact it has had on me. Becoming strong has transferred over to my everyday life. There is no downside. Being able to lift weights heavier than my own body weight is so empowering that it has improved my confidence outside the gym. It has also improved 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.
Too often, we think of strength building as something for vanity-seeking glamor girls and bro-science meatheads in the gym. That’s a pity, because it has such a positive effect, no matter who you are. I’ve seen my female clients become more confident and courageous outside of our training sessions. They try new things or take on new challenges, both at work and at play, and overcome obstacles they never thought they could.
From the age of thirty onward, you start to lose muscle mass at the rate of around 2 to 3 percent each year. This is called sarcopenia. The main cause of sarcopenia is from leading a sedentary life, but when menopause comes into play, you will find your declining hormones can also accelerate your loss of muscle mass, which affects your power, strength, balance, and aerobic capacity.
That sounds bad, right? Well, yes, it isn’t great, but all is not lost. It is important to understand how losing muscle can affect you and your health and why it’s important during menopause for you to strength-train and build muscle.
Amanda Thebe is a personal trainer and nutrition coach with over twenty years of experience in the fitness industry. She is a popular guest on podcasts and online summits, and her health and fitness tips have been featured in media outlets like Shape, Prevention, Healthline, The Doctors, and Global News. She lives in Houston, Texas. She is the author of the best-selling book, Menopocalypse: How I Learned To Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too!
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