If you’re not yet in your menopause years
Prioritise building lean muscle. Because it’ll be way harder later.
Building lean muscle is difficult for most women as it is. Partly because of the low levels of testosterone and partially because most women (that I know) don’t eat enough to build muscle.
So, dialling in your workouts and nutrition to support lean muscle is crucial in the pre-menopausal years.
As for the actual workouts, here are some guidelines.
Resistance training with lighter weights is not appropriate for women in perimenopause and beyond.
The training to build lean muscle in the younger years doesn’t trigger enough muscle fibre contraction to produce the stimulus you want to get to simulate the effects of flatlining estrogen and progesterone.
This means that not only are you not building muscle, but you’re also leaving all the other strength training benefits on the table:
– Increase strength and power
– Increase metabolic rate and decrease visceral fat
– Build joint strength and stability
– Increase bone mineral density
– Enhances the immune system
– Reduces hot flashes
To trigger that stimulus, you have to go heavy. We’re talking <6 reps per set. You might be able to get away with sets of 8.
The lighter resistance training can still have other benefits, such as when doing high-intensity interval training (HIIT). But HIIT alone won’t replicate the benefits of heavy strength training.