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I've worked with so many different types of women from opera singers to stay-at-home moms, school teachers to physicians, and crossroad truck drivers to highly motivated entrepreneurs. But each of these women, as different as they might seem on the cover, shared a common thread: they wanted to shape up and be the best version of themselves after 40! My career - a menopause coach who helps women get fit by focussing on hormones first - is my livelihood.

And I wouldn't want it any other way.

In a weird sort of way, I was built for this job. I used to joke that anything that could go wrong with my body would go wrong. I was born without hip sockets and told I shouldn't exercise much - and that I'd need a hip replacement by 40. I never had a normal menstrual cycle only later to be diagnosed with PCOS. At 27,  I had a stroke then contracted necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria) a few months later. On top of all of this, I dieted constantly and was obsessed with the scale.

But I had a lot of education so I thought I could outsmart my health in the long run. I studied psychology and journalism, then went on to grad school. But after my health failed, I had a come-to-Jesus with myself and took a long look in the mirror. I quit my job and studied to become a personal trainer. I then went back to graduate school for an MS in health & nutrition education.

The rest is history.

Why a Menopause Coach?

When I started working with women in 2004, I was 30. I hadn't even had kids at that point. Most of the women that chose to work with me were already in their 40s. I took a different approach training them from what I saw other trainers doing with their clients. I wanted my clients to do everything outside the gym that they were doing inside the gym - so my approach was very functional.

I never understood the point of getting my clients strong in the gym by doing movements that didn't translate to their daily lives. What good would it do to get strong in the gym doing an isolated movement only to pull a muscle or bending over to pick up a heavy box outside the gym?

It turns out, when it comes to fitness, this approach really worked for my over-40 group of women. This was then and is now my approach to getting women strong - and it works!


But that's just 1/3 of the formula.

After I started training, I earned a second master's in health & nutrition education. This is where everything changed for me. I now understood my clients and what they were going through so much more. As I got older, I too, experienced the swings in hormones, and how they affected things like appetite, fat storage, weight gain, as well as muscle mass, energy levels, moods and so much more.

Meal planning became a bedrock of my work as a menopause coach. My clients range from peri-menopausal, menopausal and post-menopausal women, many of whom had been told that they'd never be able to lose weight after a certain age. I love showing my clients what they're capable of and that age is never a show stopper!

Educating my clients about their hormones - and how those hormones are affecting them because of what's happening to their body and what's happening in their life - is the real game-changer.

After women understand that they can control their weight and gain muscle much easier after they learn how to "read" their hormones, everything comes together for them.

As a menopause coach, this is how I help women get fit over 40

My path was messy, but here I am - armed with empathy, knowledge and a formula that helps women of all ages lose unhealthy visceral (belly) fat - not to mention improve their diets and develop muscle! It simply works. Peri-menopausal, menopausal, post-menopausal. My clients are able to change their bodies, gain control of their lives and lose belly fat.

Here is some of what I focus on with my clients.

Getting fit over 40: what's your lowest hanging fruit?

I could never imagine my clients thriving with a one-size-fits all approach Every body is different, largely because of our hormones, so different considerations need to be taken into account.  What someone should eat or not eat, how much someone should exercise or ease off, and approaches to managing stress all vary greatly from person to person.

I begin working with my individual clients by really getting to know their goals. Then I help them refine their goals and get crystal clear on what they're willing to do to get there. I also work with them to understand what it is that nudged them to approach me in the first place.

Excess body fat is a symptom. The cause is always unique for every woman.

I never assume the reason women gain belly fat is because they just sit around eating junk food. That's usually not the case.

By the time a woman approaches me for coaching or one of my programs, she's motivated...and I already know she's smart. Those are the two bricks in the foundation of any successful collaboration.

Lowest hanging fruits might look like:

  • Working 50+ hours a week
  • Kids absorbing the ability to prioritize healthier choices
  • Choosing wine over workouts
  • Opting for take out instead of taking the time to meal prep
  • Fad diet cycling (metabolism messer)
  • Peri-menopause and menopause
  • Medications that have side effects
  • Unrealized diet hangups
  • Not sleeping enough
  • Relationship stress
  • Over-caffeinating throughout the day

This is a very short list of how my clients have gained belly fat. It's usually not by eating sleeves of cookies day-in and day-out.

A BIG part of what I do is explain how the most unsuspecting things in their lives shift hormones within their bodies that trigger the accumulation of belly fat.

A Coach Through Menopause: What Do Hormones Have to Do With It?

Hormones touch every part of our body every minute of our lives. Young, old and in between, we are in the passenger seat while our hormones are at the wheel. Trying to outsmart our hormones, or tinker with them - usually without know it - often results in weight gain.

As a menopause coach of women over 40, hormone discussion is a must. We have dozens of different hormones circulating throughout our body all day, every day. When one hormone is excessive or deficient, it throws off other hormones. A good example of this is how cortisol and insulin respond to one another.

If you are stressed, your stress hormone, cortisol, rises. When cortisol rises, it releases sugar from your liver into your blood stream. This naturally causes your blood sugar levels to rise. When your blood sugar levels rise, insulin rises to pull the blood sugars back down. Insulin doesn't put the blood sugars back into your liver, rather, insulin deposits the sugars into your fat cells. The result, even in the absence of eating anything, belly fat.

Most women over 40 who want to get fit know that their relationship to their hormones becomes more involved and complicated. Women's estrogen levels can vary wildly from person to person. Some women begin their peri-menopause phase in their mid-30s, and others in their late 40s. What happens until a woman completes menopause can be an unforgiving roller coaster of physical and emotional swings that leave many of us not knowing which way is up.

As unrelated as this may sound to fitness, weight loss or fat loss, hormones is probably the most important thing to understand. When I coach women over 40 who want to get fit about their hormones, success follow.

Long gone is the notion that once a woman hits menopause, weight gain is expected and life will never be as pleasant as it used to be. That's BS as far as I'm concerned. We women have much more control over our bodies that we realize. It's just a matter of connecting the dots from hormones to diet to exercise to rest. Everything from that point on falls into place.

Our hormones are the receivers of signals we send our body. Women need to turn the dial and change the signal.

When women over 40 want to get fit, understanding what your hormones respond to is crucial for not just weight loss, but easing stress and anxiety, developing muscle as well as regulating appetite and cravings.

The Menopause Coach Talks Lifestyle

As a coach who helps women over 40 get fit by focusing on hormones, an essential part of their program is developing a fitness program for them that won't overwhelm their current life, but still stretch them so they change.

We've all seen the pictures of little old ladies too weak to do much of anything. Even though muscle loss can be expected, it's not as if we wake up one morning and poof...our muscle is gone. The average person loses 1 to 3% muscle mass every decade over the age of 40. This is true for men, too. Muscle loss is a slow, steady process that can be buffered by exercise.

No one needs a membership to a gym to stay fit, but a commitment to prioritizing the time to exercise is needed.

Even if weight loss or losing belly fat isn't a concern for my clients, fitness should still be a priority. With muscle comes other elements of fitness, including mobility and flexibility. All three contribute to greater overall health, improved metabolism and a significantly reduced risk of injury.

Moving in a way that keeps joints more open and muscle stronger needs to become of a lifestyle commitment.