Are you tired of sifting through the noise of social media to find the right workout for women over 40 to reduce body fat? Are you sick of seeing advertisements from women and in some cases men, who are much younger, selling their latest body burn program for women over 40 or for menopause?

Well if you are, let me be your guide to the evidence-based solutions for shredding body fat, boosting muscle mass, and increasing your health span for women in their 40's and beyond.

We're talking about the real deal here, not some fad or gimmick.

So let's cut through the clutter and get down to business. The science is clear and I'm here to break it down for you in a way that's easy to understand and implement. Say goodbye to confusion and hello to results with the best forms of exercise for women over 40.

As we move past 40, one of the things that happens is we start to accumulate more fat around our belly area while losing muscle mass. It is not the most pleasant change to see but it is one of the changes that come with age, declining hormones like estrogen and our lifestyle choices.  

For some women it feels like your body has changed overnight? You feel like you have gained 10-12 pounds without changing anything.

The downside is that this shift in our body composition can increase our chances of developing some serious future health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and mobility issues. It is definitely not ideal but it is something we need to be aware of and take steps to mitigate as we age.

The good news is there are ways to combat these effects and maintain a healthy body composition. It's all about finding a balance that works for you and your body, based on the latest evidence, and making small changes that add up over time and you can keep your body strong and healthy for years to come. And who knows, just like me, you might even discover a newfound love for fitness along the way.

As we age, our bodies can become more resistant to insulin, which is a hormone that helps regulate our blood sugar levels. This can make it more difficult for our cells to absorb glucose from the food we eat. Insulin is like a traffic cop, directing glucose to the right place.

Over 40, our cells aren’t as responsive to insulin and our muscles start to shrink and both these things mean not enough glucose is entering the cells and too much glucose its staying behind in the blood. So, what does our body do? It's smart. It knows that too much glucose in the blood can be toxic, so it starts shuttling it away where it can, and some gets stored as fat. And not just any fat, but the kind that likes to hang out around our midsection.

Exercise can help reduce our risk of insulin resistance and also improve mobility by keeping us flexible and strong, but which type of exercise is recommended?

Firstly lets' take a look at what the guidelines say? Current exercise guidelines such as the American Heart Association 2018, have been focussed on what we call AET (Aerobic Energy Training ) and set at 150 minutes per week moderate intensity or 75 minutes per week of intense activity.

There is however new research suggesting that resistance exercise training (RET) could be just as effective as other forms of exercise, with the added bonus of helping to increase muscle mass and improving insulin resistance. The idea is that when we do resistance exercises by lifting weights our muscles contract and grow, which in turn makes them more sensitive to insulin.

Also our bodies use a special pathway called GLUT 4 during exercise to shuttle glucose into our liver and muscle cells, which helps prevent it from being stored as fat. How awesome is that? So not only are we getting stronger and more toned, our bodies are becoming more efficient at getting glucose into the cells where it is needed.

resistance exercise training

Here is some more exciting news for resistance training, get ready to pump some iron and pump up your heart health! The Women's Health Study 2017 found that resistance training (RET) is a powerhouse when it comes to reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

And get this - just 60-120 minutes of RET per week can lead to a whopping 22% reduction in CVD risk, putting it on par with aerobic exercise (AET). But that's not all - RET also flexes its muscle by improving blood pressure, blood lipids, and vascular function. So, let's get lifting and show those blood vessels who's boss!

The latest research confirms what we've suspected all along: moderate RET is the way to go. And not just for women with CVD, but for anyone looking to reduce their risk.
The magic number? 70% of your 1 rep max. It's like the Goldilocks of weightlifting - not too heavy, not too light, but just right.

So if your max squat is 50kg, aim for 35kg in your working sets. Your body will thank you.
And the best part? It's safe and effective. No need to risk injury or burnout trying to lift more than you can handle.  If using machines or dumbbells always try and lift until you feel you only have 2 more left in the tank.  This means the last 2 reps need to be challenging and you could probably do 2 more before failure. 

So go ahead, pump some iron and reap the rewards. Your heart (and your muscles) will thank you.

A recent study by Stamatakis 2018 analyzed 80,000 adults and found that resistance exercise training twice a week can reduce your risk of cancer by a jaw-dropping 34%. And if you're a cancer survivor, RET can lower your risk of all-cause mortality by a whopping 33%. That's right, just two sessions a week can make a world of difference.

By pumping up those muscles, we're not just looking good, we're reducing the markers of inflammation that contribute to cancer risk. It's like unleashing a legion of tiny warriors to fight off the bad guys. Move over, traditional organs! Skeletal muscle is the new endocrine superstar, releasing powerful myokines into the bloodstream that work wonders on our bodies.

These tiny molecules pack a big punch, fighting inflammation and boosting insulin sensitivity in our tissues. It’s like having a secret weapon hidden in our muscles, ready to fight off any health challenges that come our way. So, next time you hit the gym, remember that you're not just building muscle, you're also unleashing a powerful arsenal of myokines that can transform your entire body.

So in summary RET 3 times per week:

  • improves muscle mass
  • improves insulin sensitivity
  • improves blood glucose control
  • improves vascular function
  • reduces inflammation
  • and reduces risk of CVD, diabetes and cancer 

There are so many reasons to start RET along side AET, to help reduce body fat and decrease the risk of disease, increase health span and enhance mobility. Who would have thought that lifting weights and building muscle would have so many positive effects on health and a knock on effect of looking strong and amazing.

My top advice? Lift challenging weights three times a week and get your heart racing with two short sharp high-intensity sessions, such as sprint intervals which can be done outside or on a treadmill or rower. And don't forget to step it up every day with a daily step count. Resistance training is the key to reducing body fat, building muscle, and fending off chronic disease, especially over 40. So, let's get lifting and keep those gains coming!

You're Invited to the Free Masterclass

Reach Your Ideal Body Weight and Feel Great About Yourself, Without Restrictive Diets


Join the Group ...

About Rhoda ...

Rhoda is an award-winning dietitian, mature age model, and CEO of Sayvana Women.  

She is the creator of the Elegant Eating Solution, an affordable program that helps women avoid weight regain and feel great about themselves, without restrictive eating.

Elegant Eating is based on the science of protein leverage and follows the unique R.E.M.A.P approach to successful aging.

Learn More About Elegant Eating and How to Get Started

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!