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Peri-Menopause, Low Carb and Fasting in Women Athletes

It is so easy to fall into common nutrition traps or trends that we think are serving us but that are really stopping us from reaching our fullest potential. Common diet and nutrition trends like intermittent fasting, keto, and low carb are not designed for everyone, especially women entering perimenopause or menopause that are athletic.

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Key Takeaways

  1. Remember that women are not small men and the diet and nutrition trends out there are not for your female physiology
  2. Change your mindset around fueling and recovery practices that are tailored to your unique body
  3. Stop being afraid of carbohydrates and feed yourself with proper whole foods that are going to improve your training

Understanding the Science of Women’s Physiology with Dr. Stacy Sims

In Part 2 of my conversation with Dr. Stacy Sims, she is breaking down the science behind why these common nutrition and diet trends are not working for your female physiology.

Listen to Part 1.

Stacy T. Sims, Ph.D., is an applied researcher, innovator, and entrepreneur in human performance, specifically sex differences in training, nutrition, and environmental conditions.

She is passionate about teaching the world why women are not just small men and empowering women to make choices that are supporting their bodies through every phase of life.

What Works for Men Doesn’t Always Work for Women

If you have ever thought to yourself ‘why is this diet working for my male partner but not for me?’, you are not alone. The truth is most of the diets out there like intermittent fasting and keto do not take into account our unique female physiology.

This is only amplified even more when our hormones start to change as we approach our 40’s and beyond. There is a reason that these common diet and nutrition trends are not working for you, and it is not your fault.

Women are Not Small Men

Females have a different threshold for calorie intake, oxidative stress, and countless other biological responses than men do.

This is why we need to take a deep dive into what is going on with our bodies at every phase of our life so that we can mitigate the symptoms and see the results from our training that we are hoping for.

How are you fueling your body to ensure that you are supporting it in every way possible? Share your thoughts about this episode with me in the comments below.

In This Episode

  • Learn what the research says about intermittent fasting when it comes to women who exercise (5:25)
  • Why it is not your fault if you are not seeing the same results as a man using the same nutrition methods (10:51)
  • The problem with a keto diet as an active woman getting close to menopause (14:36)
  • What you should be putting on your plate if you are a woman who exercises in her 40’s (18:50)
  • How to stop focusing on the scale when you are not seeing the results you want to see (28:06)


“If you look at the longevity data of exercise, it is more stimulating and more robust than intermittent fasting or time restricted eating.” (6:16)

“When we look at ketogenic and the lack of diversity and a huge overgrowth of the phyla that promotes obesity, then it is definitely not a win for women, especially when we start hitting this change over of our hormones.” (16:25)

“If you don’t have carbohydrates, you are not going to hit your training measures. You can’t hit high intensity, you can’t lift well, your body needs carbohydrates.” (20:11)

“I don’t want people to think that I say all this stuff and I do it all the time and it is easy for me. Because it’s not. It’s hard for everyone, you just have to be very cognitive.” (27:05)

“The weight on the scale is not representative of what is actually happening. So we have to live through that little bit of transition and freak out in our minds that something negative is happening. But know that weight on the scale is not representative of what is happening inside the cell, what is happening with inflammation going down, or increasing the stuff that is in the muscle. So just be patient, just be patient, don’t freak out.” (30:18)

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Peri-Menopause, Fasting and Low Carb in Athletic Women w/ Dr. Stacy Sims

Steph Gaudreau
When you’re an athletic woman in your 40s, who loves training and you want to get stronger, it is so easy to get pulled into some of the common diet and nutrition trends of the day. And start noticing that your performance, your energy, your muscle, your strength are just sliding away. You’re not alone if you’re experiencing this.

And today on the podcast, I’m welcoming back Dr. Stacy Sims for part two of our discussion about what women in our 40s and beyond who our athletic need to be aware of. So we maintain our strength, our power, our stamina, or endurance, and we have fun while we’re doing it.

In this episode, we are diving into these common nutrition trends and she is busting some big myths today, you are not going to want to miss this. If you’re an athletic 40, something woman who loves lifting weights, challenging yourself, and doing hard shit, the fuel your strength podcast is for you.

Apply for Strength Nutrition Unlocked

You’ll learn how to eat, train, and recover smarter. So you build strength and muscle, have more energy, and perform better in and out of the gym. I’m strength nutrition strategist and weightlifting coach, Steph Gaudreau. The Fuel Your Strength podcast dives into evidence-based strategies or nutrition training and recovery. And why once you’re approaching your 40s and beyond, you need to do things a little differently than you did in your 20s. We’re here to challenge the limiting industry narratives about what women can and should do in training and beyond. If that sounds good, hit subscribe on your favorite podcast app. And let’s go!

Steph Gaudreau
All right, welcome back to the podcast. Super excited that you’re here. Make sure you hit that subscribe button. We are going to be getting into it on part two of my episode with Dr. Stacey Sims. Now we’re welcoming her back to the show. She was here in 2017. She’s back on the show, she’s still talking about why women are not small men.

And she has a new book coming out very soon called next level, which is really designed for women in menopause, and performance. In this episode, we are frankly getting into a lot of the stuff that I hear from all of you in the community. And I’ve tried a lot of these things before myself in the past, I was in my 30s. And I was a little bit more resilient to it at the time.

But we are getting into some of the really common approaches to nutrition that are aimed at women in our 40s but are not usually a good match for us if we are athletic and highly active. And we are covering stuff like intermittent fasting, fast training, low carb, and ketogenic diets, and so much more.

So if you’ve ever tried any of those things, and it just has not worked out well for you, she’s breaking down the physiology, our female physiology, what we need as athletic women, and why these are oftentimes not an appropriate match, you’re definitely going to want to stay tuned for all of the science that she’s going to be sharing.

Book a Call for Strength Nutrition Unlocked

Steph Gaudreau
All right before we dive in, just a friendly reminder, applications for Strength Nutrition Unlocked, my high-level coaching program are open. You can get more information at StephGaudreau.com/strong. This is my signature program. This is high-level coaching and accountability. And this is really for women who are ready for that transformation. And so if that’s you, you’ve been putting in the effort, but not seeing the results with your strength, your muscle mass, your energy, and your performance, we want to help you really start to see results. So you can go ahead and fill out the application over at StephGaudreau.com/strong.

Steph Gaudreau
Alright, let’s go ahead and dive into part two of this episode with Dr. Stacey Sims. And if you haven’t heard part one yet, definitely go back and check that episode out first. Alright, so let’s switch to the other half of this I think the equation which is gonna be a shit pile I feel like is the nutrition aspect of it.

And I can tell I say this to last because this gets people really upset or confused. And rightly so there’s a lot of like you said, information that’s really not targeted toward women. It’s not based on research that has been done on women. And we end up with this bad game of telephone as I like to say where it’s sort of like you Oh, it’s morphed into something that it really wasn’t intended for or the population that it was intended for. So I’ll give you the choice, do you like to start with intermittent fasting or keto?

Is Intermittent Fasting Good for Women Athletes in Peri-Menopause?

Dr. Stacy Sims
Oh? Well, I’ll start with intermittent fasting. How about that?!

Steph Gaudreau
Okay. Okay, so what does the research tell us? You know, in terms of women in our physiology, especially as we’re heading toward the menopause transition? What is the deal with this protocol, this way of eating? Is it a fit for athletic women or not? Settle it here for us right now?

Dr. Stacy Sims

Steph Gaudreau
Okay, that’s a one word answer. There you go.

Dr. Stacy Sims
So you know, intermittent fasting time-restricted eating, there’s a whole bunch of stuff out there about how it promotes longevity, it dials down mTOR by exercising the same thing. So this is, the big piece of the conversation that’s missing is if you look at the longevity date of exercise, it’s more robust, and a stronger stimulus than intermittent fasting time restricted eating.

The idea behind intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating was calorie deficit, right, because we have an abundance of calories. And we know that if we have an abundance and our bodies and using it, then we start to see residual inflammation, and we start to see high oxidation rates. But the stab of that is when we look at the female population, our threshold for calorie needs is different for men.

How Many Calories Do Women Athletes Need?

So if we’re looking at maintaining just the baseline of calorie intake and nutrition signaling to the hypothalamus, to maintain endocrine health, the baseline calorie intake for women is around 30 to 35 calories per kilogram of lean body mass.

Dr. Stacy Sims
For men, it’s 15. When men drop below that we start seeing low testosterone and issues with the endocrine system and help women, when we drop below that 35 or 30 Mark, we really start to see all the negative changes in thyroid luteinizing, hormone pulse, estrogen, and progesterone. So just right there, women need twice the baseline intake.

So we start looking at intermittent fasting and where those calories come from. The other problem is where the timing of the food, most people will extend their fasting throughout the morning, right, they might not eat till 12 or one o’clock. And a lot of women will get up in the do faster training, then they’ll go and they might have some tea or water trying to extend them fast. And they keep their body in this catabolic breakdown state.

We know from the research that if you are normal weight, maybe a little bit overweight. The first thing that goes in this catabolic state is your lean mass. So as women who are entering into this perimenopausal state or the state of a hormone profile that promotes the mass loss, then you’re doing intermittent fasting with fasted training, you’re staying in this massive catabolic state and you’re losing your lean mass just by the nature of how you are not fueling your body.

How Dieting Can Result in Loss of Lean Muscle Mass

Dr. Stacy Sims
The other aspect is when we start having these ratio changes of estrogen, and progesterone, we end up with a higher baseline level of cortisol anyway, so we’re in a sympathetic drive, we’re in the sympathetic state if we are adding that fasting in there, and the time-restricted eating, when we’re not putting our calories when our body needs it most, then we’re perpetuating that baseline cortisol to be higher, and we’re staying in the sympathetic drive.

And the result of that is poor sleep, digestive problems, and loss of lean mass. And not to mention, no one wants to work with you or be around you when you’re hungry and angry all the time. That’s just kind of anecdotal. But when we look at the science, part of the aspect of intermittent fasting is to create a greater expression of mitochondria in the muscle so that we can overcome oxidative stress.

That remember I said earlier that women already are different from men with regards to mitochondrial responses. Women inherently have more ability to overcome oxidative stress. So when you’re adding intermittent fasting and seeing the research is coming out about telomere length, oxidative stress, glucose control, more focus, more parasympathetic drive, all of those things are appropriate for men.

Effects of Intermittent Fasting in Women Athletes

But we don’t get that in women. And women who don’t have an upregulation of oxidative have control so to speak. So our mitochondria are already predisposed to being able to overcome more oxidative stress but if it doesn’t get nutrition, you don’t have the signaling on For that, we see again more sympathetic drives.

So we don’t get that parasympathetic relaxation that men get, we see an increase in our lean mass loss. And women don’t get better glucose control, because of the fact that estrogen progesterone already perturbs our glucose and our insulin across the menstrual cycle. So if we’re not getting food, and we’re not getting our luteinizing hormone pulse, and our hormones take a hit, we also have a misstep in our glucose control. So for all the reasons that people are saying intermittent fasting, does not work for women, especially women who are exercising.

Steph Gaudreau
Again, if you’re just like, I hear this so much from women, right? They are, they’re exercising or they’re lifting, they’re going out into their fasted training, like, I’m trying to be really diligent, I’m doing the fasting. And you know, sometimes they’re doing it alongside their partner, their life partner.

And they’re like, but he’s getting generally to he, it’s male, that he is getting great results. And meanwhile, I am not like things are getting worse for me. And I just need to be more diligent, I guess, you know, I’m not trying hard enough. And so it gets put back on. As they’re not either they’re not doing it right.

Dr. Stacy Sims
I know, I, I see it all the time, I get people coming to see me they’re like, I don’t understand my life partner has been whatever male partner is doing keto, intermittent fasting, a low carb, high fat, whatever the diet trend is, they’re leaning up, they’re getting fitter, they’re getting faster, but I’m getting slower, tired and fat, what’s going on? I must not be doing it. Right.

Low Energy Availability and Peri-Menopause

I must be cheating and not really realizing, oh, I need to drop this need to drop that like, no, no, your body needs food, because you’re in a low energy state. And it comes back to low energy availability, relative energy deficiency in sport, which has a huge high prevalence and recreationally active women. And it’s not necessarily the lack of calorie intake, but it’s the misstep of where we’re putting those calories. And it’s really important when you get to your late 30s, early 40s, to be doing that nutrient timing, you want to fuel for what you’re doing and recover from it. So that your body especially the hypothalamus, gets the signaling that there’s nutrition coming in.

Dr. Stacy Sims
And again, in the hypothalamus, we have a sex difference in the ability to understand that nutrition. So men have one area in the brain that has kisspeptin neurons. So women have to, we have to because we have a menstrual cycle. And so if those kisspeptin areas are downregulated, then we have that misstep in different functions. And this is why women start putting on fat and circuiting slow and tired because the body’s like shit, I need to conserve, conserve, conserve, conserve. All of those trendy diets, again, are geared for men, primarily men in a clinical population.

And then when you put it into the active population, and you put it in the female active population, get pushback, because people are like, wait, no, I’ve been doing keto. And it works. Great. I’ve been doing intermittent fasting, it works great. And I probably hold it for maybe we just Yeah, at the most. And then you’re off the cliff. And it’s really hard to come back. Really, really hard to come back.

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think earlier, you mentioned about, you know, the sort of the basement, right, that’s 30 kilocalories per kilogram of fat-free mass for women compared to 15 for men. And I don’t think people realize that that amount of time it takes to get that disruption in the United States, hormone pulsatility is something like five days. Yep. Right. So we’re not talking about like, months and months later, or the next year. It’s like, this stuff happens relatively quickly. Because like you said, your body is just like, oh, shit, what’s going on here? And I need to sort of write this shit before. Yeah, the wheels start to fall off. That’s the wrong metaphor. But you know what I mean?

Dr. Stacy Sims
And it’s, it’s primarily because it comes back to biology, right? So women are designed to reproduce if you don’t have enough calories, it’s going to stop the menstrual cycle, because it’s like, Wait, I don’t have enough to support this human right now. And I definitely don’t have enough to support growing another human in this unit. Yeah. So let’s stop the ability to reproduce, and it happens really fast.

Keto for Women Athletes – Is it Supported by Research?

Steph Gaudreau
Yep. Okay, so let’s do keto next. I feel like we’re just going through the spin the wheel of nutrition stuff. What about keto and active women? Especially as we’re getting toward the menopause transition?

Dr. Stacy Sims
Yeah, women need carbohydrates, full stop. Women need carbohydrates, again, for the hypothalamus but also if we have low carbohydrate intake, then we get a misstep in our appetite hormones. We also see in the longer term research with keto we don’t get a good lipid profile or cardiovascular effects in women like we do in men.

And again, the whole idea behind keto is learning, teaching your body to use ketones instead of carbohydrates. And that’s not the appropriate people for women either. Because we are already designed, like I said, to use more fatty acids and amino acids, and if we don’t have carbohydrates, then our body’s like, hey, how do I get into what I’m supposed to be doing from natural healing standpoint?

When we really dig down into keto and the nuances of has on the body, we also have to look at gut health, right. And so when we look at keto, we’re not getting the prebiotic or the probiotic food for the gut bacteria. And when we’re looking at what’s happening from a hormone perspective, especially when we start having the changeover, we need really good gut diversity.

In order to help sensitize the estrogen receptors sensitize the progesterone receptors to produce BDNF to produce butyrate to produce all the metabolic compounds that our body needs to process vitamins, minerals, endocrine, system immunity, and when we’re looking at ketogenic, and we get the lack of diversity and a huge overgrowth of the phyla that promotes obesity, then it’s definitely not a win for women, especially when we start hitting this changeover of our hormones.

Benefits and Downfalls of Keto for Women

Dr. Stacy Sims
What frustrates me the most is there was one study that came out looking at the ketogenic diet for postmenopausal early postmenopausal women. And they did lose weight in the early stages of a ketogenic diet. But there’s no follow-through in the education of the physicians.

So now there’s this huge amount of, of, I guess, conversation in the medical world that women who are postmenopausal should be following a ketogenic diet to prevent, that visceral fat gain and to prevent negative body composition change.

But if you look at that one article, it was clinically obese women who were post menopause, not doing any activity, and needed to lose weight. And because fat is so satiating, their calorie intake was lower, which is why they lost weight. With follow through four months later, is their blood lipid profile was a mess, and their lean mass had gone down. So not only were they losing weight, they’re losing essential lean mass, and they were not getting any help.

So there’s that misstep as well as the conversation because I see it all the time, where peri and postmenopausal women are putting on that material fat, they’re having body composition changes, and the automatic responses to PETA that follow through his poor health. So when I look at keto, and people are telling me that they’re doing this, I’m just like, No, please, no, no, it’s not beneficial for gut health. It’s not beneficial for the heart or lipid profile, not beneficial for trying to work with the hormones that you do have. And it does not promote the proper weight loss that you’re after for body composition change in men different story, different story, different outcomes from it again. So we’re looking at women, not appropriate.

Should Menopausal Women Cut Carbs?

Steph Gaudreau
Yep. With the carbohydrate issue. I know there’s so many people who are just absolutely terrified to bring carbohydrates back in and they said low carb for a really long time. You know, tell us, maybe just a few things that you think people should keep in mind in terms of like, what do we actually put on the plate? You know, what kind of carbohydrates are we talking about? And I think I think we tend to think of like all carbs are things like doughnuts and wine. And that’s not the case. So what are we really looking at here in terms of adding that carbohydrate back in and putting things on the plate?

Dr. Stacy Sims
Colorful fruit and vegetables. That’s all I can say. Right? So we look at people that are afraid of eating fruit because Oh, it’s high in sugar, but it’s not a preface that fruit is very smart because it comes from nature and we’re eating hope. You also are getting fiber. Fiber wraps the fructose so it doesn’t have an impact on the liver and the body like fruit juice, or added sugar. So we’re looking at people are afraid to eat fruit because it’s “high in sugar”. I might know you have fiber, we need the fiber for our gut. The fiber helps control how much fructose impacts the body right?

So you want that’s why we say eat vegetables, right? So we look at eating lots of colorful fruit and veg to promote gut health. So we need that because the gut bacteria feed on the fiber from fruit and veg. So if you’re afraid of carbohydrates, start by adding more fruit and veg. I’m not saying eat a baguette, I’m not saying eat a big bowl of pasta. Right?

I’m saying add in the Fruit and Veg and then you can start adding in a little bit more of your complex grains. Because the other thing is if you don’t have carbohydrates, you’re not going to hit your training metrics. You can’t hit high intensity, you can’t lift well your body needs carbohydrates. It is the essential food for that, that immediate, like fast twitch stuff that we need.

ATP goes down ATP, and you need glucose circulating carbohydrates. You don’t have it. You’re kind of putting yourself in the gym in a bad situation. Right? So we need carbohydrates from a training perspective. And then we need it for overall health.

Why is Protein Important in Menopause – Especially for Athletic Women?

Steph Gaudreau
Yep. All right. Last thing and this maybe won’t be as as a maybe annoying, but maybe it will be because I hear this a lot is like, Well, I mean protein, we’re kind of like people are pushing way too much protein. You know, like, we probably don’t need as much as people say, what do we think about protein? Sell us on protein and why it matters.

Dr. Stacy Sims
So you’re on protein, especially as you get older? Yeah. So protein, I think part of the problem with the protein conversation is all geared to towards muscle mass, right? Oh, you can’t really absorb more than 30 grams for muscle protein synthesis. But it’s not just about muscle protein. It’s about having an available amino acid pool for things like neurotransmitters and maintaining an even equilibrium between serotonin and dopamine.

And what happens when estrogen crosses the blood-brain barrier, and then all of a sudden isn’t there. So we have to look at the amino acid profile and circulating amino acids because it goes much further than just if we are lower in protein, then what’s the first response body takes lean mass, these this amino acid. And when we’re looking at as we get older, we come more anabolic resistance. So if we are looking at women who are perimenopause are starting to have that hormone shift, we actually need more protein post-exercise. Because now we’re looking at exercise to provide the stress this hormone used to do.

Dr. Stacy Sims
And we need to follow it up with a really good strong dose. Because when we look at what’s happening, especially from the muscle standpoint, we usually have three pathways for muscle protein. We have IGF one that is stimulated by estrogen, we have mechanical work, which is exercise, and we have amino acids, we lose estrogen and IGF-1. And then we don’t have enough protein, we just have mechanical stress, there’s no stimulus for mTOR and muscle mass development.

So the conversation around protein we see in guidelines and stuff. When we look at the backward aspect of how we got to these guidelines. The recommendation for women comes from what they found in sedentary older men that kept them in nitrogen balance. So what do sedentary older men have to do with active young women nothing. And then when we start looking at the research is coming out, especially like endurance versus resistance trained women, we see the protein needs to increase.

And we’re looking at that 1.8 to 2.0 grams per kilogram body weight, to be able to progress and adapt, especially in endurance space, because endurance is so fuel depleting and then, you know, breaks down muscle so rapidly, we can look at their resistance training space. And we’re looking, you can get even higher because you can keep regular doses of protein throughout the day to be able to maintain the saturation for lean mass development and brain health and amino acid profile that’s going. So I think part of the pushback on protein is it’s hard to get that amount of protein in a lot of protein food isn’t that tasty? Like a big slab of meat? If you’re a vegetarian, you’re like, No thanks.

Dr. Stacy Sims
Right? So it takes work to get that amount of protein in, but it’s super important. And we also know that if you’re in a calorie deficit, if you have a higher protein diet, then you don’t lose lean mass. And you don’t get into that low energy state that we’ve talked about earlier. Protein has lots of different functions, and it’s super important.

Steph Gaudreau
Absolutely, yes, thank you. Again, I just like can someone else just say this too, because, again, again, they get a lot of pushback. And I understand like, it’s when you’re busy and stressed out and you have a ton of stuff going on. It’s easier and I’m using air quotes here. It’s easier, in theory, to not eat. Right? Right.

Because as you take one thing off your plate no pun intended that you have to do it’s it’s easier to you know, you’re getting stuck get stuck into work and you know, the day goes on and you’re like, Oh, you know I didn’t have my snacks. Well, you know that. Oh, well, I guess you know, I just missed that meal. And so it’s easier in a lot of ways to, I guess fall into these pretty common nutrition traps that then make the training more difficult. You’re not getting the recovery, you’re not getting the benefit that you want to see.

And so to your point, yeah, it does take, it takes work. And that’s where you know, working with a coach or help give getting help from somewhere having some accountability really sitting down and taking a, an approach, it’s gonna work for you. But you can chip away with it over time, and getting in there, I think is so important. But knowing it’s not necessarily going to be like you just don’t eat and like you move on with your day.

Dr. Stacy Sims
so I mean, like, I find it really hard. But people were like, Oh, you talk about all this stuff. And you look lean and strong. Like, it takes a lot of work. So I’ve been traveling, I got back from traveling, it was school holidays, is like how do I get work done with my kids off for two weeks. And then my husband had surgery on Tuesday. So it’s been a lot of high stress. And when I’m traveling time zones because coming from New Zealand stayed the course of three and a half weeks, I lost four pounds, but that’s not fat. That’s muscle, I looked down on my legs and my butt, and I’m like, where is my muscle. So my body just chewed through it under the stress. So now my gosh, all those like four to five months of trying to build that is gone. It’s going to take me that much longer to get back if I had been more onto it and, and paid attention and not relied on appetite.

Dr. Stacy Sims
Because appetite goes out the window when I’m I really have to pay attention and eat more. Because stress is killing me. Right. And it’s not Well, life stress, because everything is stressful, but the travel stress and everything that comes on to it. So I’m not saying it’s easy, it’s really hard. But I’m in my mid-40s and building the masses so hard, really, really hard. So now I’m like shit, I’m gonna have to spend months and months and months trying to build the best day last, if I’d only been a little bit more cognizant and careful that I wouldn’t be starting from ground zero again. So I don’t want people to think that I say all this stuff, and I do it all the time. And it’s easy for me because it’s not, it’s hard for everyone, you just have to be very cognitive.

How Does Body Image Affect Athletes?

Steph Gaudreau
Absolutely. I guess the last thing I’ll ask you is, you know, I know there’s a lot of people out there who, by virtue of the, if they are competing, or they’ve been in a sport, you know, even like cycling, or there are people that have competed in weightlifting sports, where they have to make a certain weight class, or can still be a lot of scales watching in our communities.

And I feel like this is so hard, it’s a woven into our society, our culture and like into some of these sports that we participated in, and it’s very normalized, and like a lot of coaches even will push leanness and you know, all of these things, and it can really create a pretty big clusterfuck. Yeah, you know, for women who are coming into this period of, of, of time, and are really like I, okay, I’m on board, for the exercise changes onboard for eating more. And like, I’m gonna start eating breakfast and putting more protein on my plate. But then they watch the scale. And they’re not seeing the changes that they want to see what would you say to those people?

Dr. Stacy Sims
Yeah, so there’s a few things, we know that weight on the scale is not representative of what’s actually happening. When you start eating more carbohydrates, your body is going to start storing more glycogen, which is useful. But with glycogen, you also store water, which then appears is weight on the scale. It’s not a bad way, it’s actually quite functional.

And if you dehydrate yourself, the weight goes down, which is not functional. We look at eating more and building more lean mass, the weight on the scale might go up, right. But body composition is changing. I wish we could go back to the 80s and kill the whole messaging of the fat-burning calories in calories out because it’s been so detrimental for this whole like mentality and age group. I work with some Olympic lifters and their coach and their young upcoming and talking to the coach about what was happening and their performance wasn’t where he wanted it to be because they were trying to stay within their eight or their weight categories.

Dr. Stacy Sims
So he decided that he was going to tell them not to think about the weight category he wanted them to eat, to be able to lift to be able to improve their lifting and to get their periods back if they were missing, or to maintain good menstrual cycle health. Over the course of four months, these women did that. None of them went up in weight class, but they all improved their lifts and lost body fat because all of a sudden they were fueling for what they were doing. And they were able to train appropriately and get adaptations. And the weight on the scale didn’t change or went down. So there is a transition when you start doing these things that the weight on the scale is not representative of what’s actually happening. So we have to live through that little bit of transition and freak out and Our mind is at something negative is happening. But know that that weight on the scale again is not showing you what is happening within the muscle. What is happening with inflammation going down or increasing the stuff that’s in the muscle? So just be patient. Just be patient. Don’t freak out.

Steph Gaudreau
Don’t freak out. Absolutely. Yeah. And that can be the hardest part. Because again, we’re conditioned to think that the weights going up to something must be wrong.

Dr. Stacy Sims
Right? So conditioned to that, but think about it. If the weight goes up, you’re getting stronger.

Steph Gaudreau
Mm-hmm. Absolutely It’s been so fun to have you back on the show. Tell us about your book. Where can we get it once it is out?

Dr. Stacy Sims
Yeah, the new book is called Next Level Guide To Kicking Ass Through Menopause And Beyond. So it came out because when Roar came out, we got all these questions from peri & postmenopausal women going, ‘hey, you have this one chapter. But it’s like, yeah, okay.’ So the book is a continuation to do the deep dive on what’s happening with our bodies? How do we mitigate it? What is menopause? Hormone therapy? What is adaptogens? How do I change up according to what my lifestyle is? What is heavy lifting all the things right? So pretty excited about this. And it comes out on the 17th of May, which is so close now, after waiting for so long for it to come out?

Steph Gaudreau
Yeah, I’ve uh, yeah, writing a book is not for the faint of heart. One does not just write a book to kind of paraphrase Boromir in Lord of the Rings, you know, one does not just simply walk into Mordor one does simply not just write a book, it takes a lot of work. So congratulations to you on that.

Dr. Stacy Sims
Thank you, thank you!

Steph Gaudreau
We will definitely link all of that up and get that into people’s hands because it’s going to be a really important resource.

Dr. Stacy Sims
Thank you, I appreciate it. And the more we talk about it and normalize it, the better it is, across the board.

Steph Gaudreau
Absolutely. Thank you so much for sharing all of your wisdom and your big brain with us. And, you know, for continuing to trailblaze in this area and stand steadfast. Despite all I know, it’s hard. I know, it’s a tough road to walk. But it’s also very, very impactful. And I know you’re changing a lot of lives because of the work that you’re doing. So thank you for being here on behalf of the community. And I can’t wait to see where we go from here.

Dr. Stacy Sims
Thank you, I appreciate it.

Steph Gaudreau
All right, there we go. That is a wrap on this two-part series with Dr. Stacy Sims, of course, her new book comes out very soon. So go ahead and head over to your favorite online retailer or bookstore and grab a copy of Next Level. It’s an excellent resource if you’re really looking for more in-depth information way more than we could cover in this show. But it really goes into the science, the physiology, and understanding of how your body is changing, and why we can’t keep doing the same thing as we did in our 20s and 30s. And why the things that work for our male companions don’t often work for us. It’s not just in our heads.

I hope you found this interesting and thought-provoking. And I’m going to ask you a couple of favors. First, share this episode on social media or with a friend, just tell someone that you care about. Maybe it’s a training partner, your friend, your mom, whoever it is, just tell someone else about the show, because that really helps to spread the word. Make sure number two, you hit subscribe on your podcast app as well. And lastly, of course, if you think the information is great.

Steph Gaudreau
But now I’m ready to really get serious about this and start putting things into practice. This is what I help women do in my strength nutrition unlocked program. This is high-level coaching. This is accountability. And we really will help you get results. I know you’re strong, and I know you’re independent. But that doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone.

And I really want to see you be able to get results fast so that you can move on and feel good and live your life and be present and feel like a badass. The time is now. Not three years from now. We’re going to help you to expedite your results. So go ahead and find out more you can find the application at StephGaudreau.com/strong. That does it for this week. Thanks so much again for being here. And until next time, stay strong.

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Steph Gaudreau

Hi, I'm Steph Gaudreau (CISSN, NASM-CPT)!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


Purpose built for strength, fitness, and athleticism. This is a templated, app-based 12-month progressive strength program for women over 40.


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For athletic women 40+ who want to get stronger, build muscle, boost energy, and perform better. Implement evidence-backed strategies to fuel, train, and recover smarter with the support & accountability you need.

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