Have you reached the remarkable age of 45 and beyond?
Are you feeling the need to adapt your fitness routine to better suit your 45-plus-year-old body, or perhaps you’re looking to kickstart your fitness journey from scratch?
If so, get ready to be inspired!
In this week’s episode, we have a phenomenal guest who is here to empower and motivate you on your fitness journey – Cam Allen, a dedicated fitness and health coach specializing in women aged 45 and beyond. Cam is about to show us all that staying active and healthy at 45+ is not only achievable but also incredibly rewarding.
In this episode, Cam shares her fabulous four keys of the Midlife Muscle Protocol:
First, strength training. Second, rest and recovery. Third, be an active human. And fourth, a dash of cardio.
Sounds intriguing? We thought so!
Now, It’s time for those muscles to come out from the shadows and shine. So, dust off your weights and come on in!
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Rita Black: Have you hit menopause or beyond and are thinking that you either need to update your fitness regime to meet your 45 plus year old body, or just plain get started with a regime? Well, in this episode of the Thin Thinking Podcast, you are about to be inspired. My guest, Cam Allen is a fitness and health coach for women 45 plus. She is going to motivate us all to get moving, but in a way that works for the fabulous female 40 form and above. And she's gonna hit us with the fabulous four pieces of the midlife muscle protocol. One, be an active human, two, strength training, rest and recovery. Three and four a dash of cardio. Sound intriguing? So muscles, are you ready to come out from the shadows? I hope so. So dust off your weights and come on in.
Rita Black: Did you know that our struggle with weight doesn't start with the food on your plate or get fixed in the gym? 80% of our weights struggle is mental. That's right. The key to unlocking long-term weight release and management begins in your mind. Hi there, I'm Rita Black. I'm a clinical hypnotherapist weight loss expert, bestselling author, and the creator of the Shift Weight Mastery Process. And not only have I helped thousands of people over the past 20 years achieve long-term weight mastery, I am also a former weight struggler, carb addict and binge eater. And after two decades of failed diets and fad weight loss programs, I lost 40 pounds with the help of hypnosis. Not only did I release all that weight, I have kept it off for 25 years. Enter the Thin Thinking Podcast where you too will learn how to remove the mental roadblocks that keep you struggling. I'll give you the thin thinking tools, skills and insights to help you develop the mindset you need, not only to achieve your ideal weight, but to stay there long-term and live your best life.
Rita Black: Hey, you come on in. Sit down, get cozy. Alright! Now that I am an official empty nester, it is very official and all the tears have dried, well, most of them. I am now using some of my extra empty nest energy and dive bombing into my garden. Yes. Filling the void with dirt. So I don't know about you, but I love, love, love and it's probably because I'm a Virgo, but I love month by month guides. You know, like in those magazines or those blogs that are listicles that just tell you, you know, do this, then do that, then do this. So I have this book from the nineties, the early nineties on gardening in Southern California, and I think I got the last edition off of Amazon because it was used and they don't really sell these anymore. And it's so classic.
Rita Black: And I love it because this woman literally takes you month by month through what to do in Southern California. You know, the month of September, the month of October, et cetera. And boy does she, is she zealous about gardening? I mean, the things she's having you do I think you need, you know, gardening to be your full-time job with regards to, well, it is her full-time job. And I'm sitting here going, do you realize I have a full-time job? But anyway I'm an apprentice and I do sit at her feet. I sit at the feet of the mentor, right? I've got my apprentice mindset cap on with regards to gardening. So it's fun to be in learner mode and to have this woman named Pat who wrote this book over 30 years ago to be my coach. You know, and I remember when I bought this book, it was a while ago, and this woman, you know, there's a picture on the cover and she's got the nineties, you know, tortoise shell glasses, and she's got the, you know, the sweater from Eddie Bauer on. I remember when I bought this book and this woman named Pat seemed old, but now I look at her and I think she's probably around my age.
Rita Black: Did you? Maybe you're like me. I don't know. But I remember when I was watching the Brady Bunch in the Partridge Family in the seventies because I was a devotee of both those shows. You know, I thought Shirley was, you know, an old lady and so was Carol Brady. But now when I see a rerun, I see, wow, they were beautiful and probably, you know, in their early thirties, they were probably about five years older than the children they were supposed to be, you know, mothering. I think there probably wasn't that big of an age gap between Carol Brady and Greg Brady. And in fact, didn't they go out on a date once? Yeah. Well, we don't have to go down that.
Rita Black: But anyway, speaking of aging and coaches, I am really excited to introduce to you a colleague of mine who I think is pretty cool. She is an expert on a lot of things, about women over 45, especially our muscles and how we work out, which I absolutely love. Cam Allen is a fitness and health coach who's all about empowering women through menopause. She's on a mission to help you boost muscle strength, rev up your metabolism, and help you thrive. During midlife, she created the midlife muscle strength programs and the innovative move, the dial method. These programs are like your personalized fitness journey companions for navigating the midlife adventure.
Rita Black: Hello Cam and welcome to the Thin Thinking Podcast. We're excited to have you here today.
Cam Allen: Thank you so much. I'm so glad to be here as well, Rita.
Rita Black: Yeah. Your reputation, what do you say precedes you, comes ahead of you? I heard about Cam through somebody else and I was like, I've gotta talk to this woman. 'cause Cam helps women who are over 50 really learn how to work out for women over 50 because it's different, which we're gonna hear about and and get fit and healthy and confident. So we're excited. But I first wanna know, 'cause you've got a really interesting story of how you got into this. So please just tell us a little bit about you and how you got started helping women over 50 with fitness.
Cam Allen: Yeah, so it started back way back when I was in my forties at the end of my, I taught elementary school for 18 years and I left the classroom in 2009. And so when I left, I was in this middle of turmoil at home and were we gonna stay married after 20 years, all the things that sometimes happens. And I discovered CrossFit and so I started exercising and exercising was my way of dealing with the turmoil at home. So I left the classroom and went into the gym and that became my classroom. And so throughout my forties, I was exercising like crazy. I was probably not nourishing myself enough to support the exercise I was doing. And I learned that lifting weights was very empowering. So in this pit of my life at the time and throughout my forties, it took a long time. It was a long process, but I learned how to feel empowered and strong physically and mentally using weightlifting for sure. And CrossFit in general.
Rita Black: Wow. Yeah, I mean, CrossFit is huge and I think when you were doing it, it was like the new thing, right? It was really huge.
Cam Allen: Yeah.
Rita Black: And what, I'm kind of curious, like what age range were you teaching and what made you decide to leave teaching? Was it just too much burnout? Like was it just too crazy?
Cam Allen: I was mostly a fourth and fifth grade teacher. Math, Science and Social Studies for most of my 18 years. And I think it came to a point, it was 2009, I'll never forget. It was a year I turned 40 and I was aware that my home situation, you know, was in turmoil and so I knew I needed to do something. So I decided to leave the classroom. My principal was leaving that year as well, so I was like, this is a great time to exit. My kids at the time were in middle school. I think my son was going to be in eighth grade. My daughter was gonna be in fifth grade at the time, and they were also at the school. So it was just seemed like a right time to leave and like, figure out my life. You know, I had a midlife awakening at age of 40. It wasn't exactly what I planned, but you know, that's what happened.
Rita Black: Right. Well, and you, you did the best and you thrived, you got into CrossFit and then, and then what happened? So you were at your peak fitness at a certain point?
Cam Allen: I was for sure. We have something called the open and you qualify for the regionals. And at the time period I qualified for regionals in my age bracket. So when you're a master's athlete, when you're over 40, they put you in five year increments. So I finished 100 something in the world that year. Like my fitness was like on on point, and it was an accident. Like I wasn't training for this, it was just like a process of workouts that the whole world does at the same time. And I was like, wow, I'm really like, I can do this. I didn't know. It was, felt very empowering for sure. But the downside, probably when I was about 48, I noticed unexplained weight gain. I was exhausted, my skin was dry, my hair was falling out, like classic hypothyroidism kind of situation. And I was at the doctor for just a regular checkup and she's like, do you have anything else on your mind? I'm like, yeah, you know, all these strange symptoms, like what? You know, have you ever had your thyroid tested, she said. And I said, nope. And that was the beginning of like an 18 month period where things were going strange. I had very strange injuries, my bicep tendon, my pinky, and then the hypothyroidism. So it was a time period where my body was like, lady, you're doing too much and you're not eating enough and you need to rest and recover more. So it was kind of like a train wreck actually.
Rita Black: Right. Wow. Yeah. You must have been burning some serious calories at that time. Yeah. So so then what happened? I mean, so so your body broke down. You broke down, like stop stopped. So you stopped doing CrossFit, I'm assuming?
Cam Allen: Well, it didn't, not that fast. What happened was at the end of this 18 month, I noticed, I went to the OBGYN and she's like, your uterus feels enlarged. And lo and behold, I had fibroids that were the size of like a five month, oh, I would look like I was five months pregnant at the age of 49. It wasn't good. It wasn't a good look. And I ended up having a complete hysterectomy. Up until that point, which puts you in surgical menopause, which is a whole another thing. Right up until that point, I think I had one hot flash in my forties. I remember specifically, I was in the kitchen with my daughter and I was like, what is happening? Am I sweating? I had her feel my neck. It was crazy. And then I went into surgical menopause overnight. And so my 50th year of life was a rollercoaster for about six months until I figured out my hormone situation.
Rita Black: Wow. And so how did, so you had the hysterectomy and then obviously, hopefully you felt better on one hand, but then you had no hormones. And then did you take some bioidentical? Like did you work those out? You did, okay.
Cam Allen: I did, yeah. So it was a, the doctor that did the surgery put me on oral estrogen that was not bioidentical with no progesterone, and I didn't know if I was coming or going. My moods were crazy. I would cry hot flashes all the time. It was a lot. And so that is when I went back to school to become an integrative nutrition health coach because I was like, I have to figure this out. Like, I am worth this and this is not normal. I would've rather had the fibroids and looked five months pregnant than what's happening right now. So that's when I went back to school.
Rita Black: Oh, how cool. And then, so what did you find out and how did you transition through all of this and did you, so you got your thyroid tested as well and what were you doing for that? Was that all part of this transitional period? Like with the hormones with the thyroid? Because the thyroid is hormonal, so like, put all these pieces of the puzzle together.
Cam Allen: It was a lot. The thyroid happened first and then the fibroids were like 18 months later. So it was this 18 month period where I was experiencing weird injuries. And so the thyroid I was just seeing a regular doctor for that. That seemed to be managed pretty, pretty well with medicaid, with hormones. But the hysterectomy was not, that was not the case. It was a mess. And so ended having my hormones tested and I found a functional medicine doctor in my area and I still see her today. And that's been the game changer as far as that part of my story.
Rita Black: Right. Oh wow. That's amazing. So then how did you, so you continue to do CrossFit because I'm trying to find out like the, the lineage, the working out.
Cam Allen: Yeah. So after I recovered from surgery, because that takes a minute, once I recovered from surgery, I was still coaching, I was still managing the gym at this point. We were under new ownership and that's another story. But once I tried to return to CrossFit, I realized, I call it my go button was gone. There was no more go button and CrossFit did not serve me. And if I did a traditional workout that I had done for over 10 years, at this point, I was exhausted and on the couch for days. And like my recovery was really slow and I thought, this isn't normal. Like, what, what is happening here?
Rita Black: Wow. And so what happened? What did you do? What happened next?
Cam Allen: Well, I continued coaching for a while and I realized that it wasn't for me, but I was still coaching. So like between classes I would do like just traditional strength training and not the crazy CrossFit kind of workouts. What I realized was that at some point, if you don't have your hormones on board, that kind of workout doesn't support you. And so what I realized was there are other ways to work out in midlife that I could not go back to CrossFit. If I went back to CrossFit, I would be returning to the thing that also messed up my hormones from to the begin with. So I had to change what I was doing.
Rita Black: How does, I mean, do you, I mean maybe you don't have the complete explanation or the layman terms, but why would doing something like CrossFit mess with your hormones, are you just creating too much testosterone? Like how, what's the mechanism?
Cam Allen: Yeah, so it was really my adrenals. And so I was living on stress and cortisol and I was, at that time, I don't even think I was eating red meat. I was probably a vegetarian still. I was not eating enough calories to support my exercise. We call that overreaching. You might hear it as over exercising. I was going beyond my cal, what I was eating,you know, with calories. Yes, exactly. And so yeah, I would say that's it. It was really my adrenals. And then once you have a complete hysterectomy and your ovaries are no longer in your body, your adrenals take over some of your sex hormone production. Now it's way less than your ovaries. But if you're still running on cortisol and adrenaline, they're gonna choose that over making your supportive sex hormones or sex hormones are very protective and without them you're a different person. That's what happens in menopause.
Rita Black: Right. So mentally, emotionally different. And then physiologically different as well. Because nothing's balanced out.
Cam Allen: Nothing. And it's really hard when you define yourself as an athlete or that kind of exercise. And that's part of your identity, changing your mindset around that kind of exercise. That was challenging. And sometimes there are still days I'll see a workout and I'm like, I'm gonna do that. I've learned how to modify them more appropriately for my midlife situation. But that still happens like once or twice a year. I still overreach and I'm like exhausted the next day and I'm like, yeah, Cam, you went too far, you pushed it too far. So it happens.
Rita Black: Yeah. So then I'm picturing you, you're gone through your hysterectomy. You were, you know, your go button wasn't working anymore. How did you transition out of this time and where were your kids at this time? Like how old were they at this point in your life? Were they still in middle school or what they were like now in high school?
Cam Allen: Yes. I believe my son was in college and my daughter was a senior in high school in 2016. So yeah, they were older at this point. So this story that I'm telling took over 10 years, you know, the separation, the divorce and, but it was in the last 18 months you know, of my forties when all the injuries and the diagnosis came for sure.
Rita Black: Not a great way to enter into your fifties. I'm sorry.
Cam Allen: It's alright.
Rita Black: Well, something good came out of it because you made some discoveries, right?
Cam Allen: Absolutely. And when I went back to school and I reworked every, I learned how to heal myself first. Like what is going on? I was working with a doctor. I went back to school. There wasn't a book about exercise or hormones or there wasn't a class. I took so many classes, read so many books, did all the certifications, trying to uncover exactly how can I exercise. The strength training is like, I love it. Like, how can I do this and still have energy tomorrow and not be on the couch.
Rita Black: Yeah. And so what, and so you discovered now is this part of what you would call your four keys to midlife fitness. These were the four things that helped you get going but in a different way?
Cam Allen: Absolutely. So there are four keys to midlife fitness and they are, we'll start with the first one, strength training. Strength training is the foundation as far as it goes is like building muscle has a confidence benefits, but it also has health benefits like blood sugar and your bone density and all the things. Muscle is definitely like the key for that first, the first piece.
Rita Black: And would you say that like, because I am, I'm 59, well, no, I'm not 59 yet, but I will be 59, a couple of weeks somewhere in my future. And I, you know, I do some strength training, but how much is enough? Like what would you suggest, you know, to somebody who is in their above fifties? Like when you say building muscle, we lose muscle too every day, you know? Like our body is now in muscle losing mode. And I'm hyper aware of that 'cause I can feel it. How do you combat that with what you're talking about? And obviously it's not strength training, like the CrossFit strength training.
Cam Allen: No, it's not. So it's -
Rita Black: A different format, right?
Cam Allen: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. So doing strength training about twice a week if you're in perimenopause maybe three times a week. So two to three times a week full body, meaning you're working not just your shoulders, not just your arms, you're working your entire body in a session. And it's just twice a week, maybe three times. Like I said, I really like the best way to know if you're lifting heavy enough is the last few reps of each and every set should be challenging. We wanna challenge our muscles, we want to stress them out a little bit so that they grow in the meantime. We have to give them nutrition and time, but we also have to stress them enough. We have to give them, stimulate them enough so they can grow.
Rita Black: So it's not a question of, you know, when you made that transition, not lifting heavy weights. It's just a different way to go about the strength training itself. I never did CrossFit, so I'm sure there are listeners who have, and they probably understand more, that seems more of a, it's cardio with weight training at the same time. Is that correct? And was that just too crazy? Too crazy that that was the part that was a little crazy. Like trying to kill two birds with one stone, you kill yourself instead.
Cam Allen: Yeah. And I think it's because the second key element is rest and recovery. So I believe that when you are lifting weights, it's okay to rest between sets. I want you to rest, you know, days between your workouts. Actually I'd like for you to take two rest days away from the gym. So if you're a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday work router, you may need to work out Mondays and Thursdays. Now you need an extra rest day between that. That's another thing that happens in life. And I think a lot of times we think we're supposed to exercise more. Our bodies are changing and in life and we're like, why is this happening? I'll just go back to what I always did. I'll just exercise more. And actually that's like the opposite is what's gonna happen. There may be too much stress on your body depending on, you know, where your estrogen levels are if you're in menopause or not. Estrogen is very protective and it helps us build bones and it helps us, it protects our brain and also helps us build muscle. And so if you're in perimenopause, your estrogen's not there anymore. It's not there to protect you from stress.
Rita Black: Right. So now would you, just talking about stress levels and recovery, you are fine with somebody doing cardio in between their things 'cause they aren't stressing their muscles, they're just elevating their heart rate and their pulmonary system.
Cam Allen: Absolutely. And actually there's a lot of benefits from strength training for your cardio health as well. I was reading a study about that recently. So, you know, strength training also helps you think cardio is the only way to build your cardiovascular health, but also strength training can do that as well. So yeah, strength training like two or three times a week, making sure you have extra rest days in between where -
Rita Black: And you're doing, oh, go ahead. Sorry, I interrupted you.
Cam Allen: In CrossFit days it was, you know, you're working out Monday through Saturday or you know, if someone came in. That was crazy. It was not Smart cheese market.
Rita Black: Really. It's a world, isn't it? It's like, people just get possessed by their CrossFit. And I know I had a friend whose husband did it and you know, during the pandemic that his gym closed down, I think he almost went crazy.
Cam Allen: Yeah. Right.
Rita Black: I'm sure there were a lot of people that happened too. So it's like an addiction in a way. So you recommend, and that workout should be like, if you're just starting out working out, obviously that's gonna be a different length of time than somebody who has built up to an hour or half hour or 45 minutes. What are you suggesting is optimal?
Cam Allen: Usually 30 to 45 minutes, twice a week is, that's it. And that's for all levels because if you are lifting weight a heavy enough weight for you, you'll know because the last few reps of each set will be challenging. And so as you get stronger, you can use a heavier weight or if you don't have a heavier weight at home, what I suggest is just moving slower so your muscles stays turned on for longer while you're lifting a weight. So that works for everybody wherever you're starting, whether you're a beginner, use a weight that's appropriate for you, or you're more advanced, you just use a heavier weight for you.
Rita Black: And do you think that it's better to work with free weights versus doing a machine, like doing the machine reps, like circuit training or something like that?
Cam Allen: Well, I just read a study that actually both ways build the same amount of muscles. So whatever you -
Rita Black: That's interesting.
Cam Allen: Yeah. I just read that like over the weekend. So, I I use free weights. If you go to a gym that has a machine, you're of course you're lifting weights, you're still gonna build muscle the same way. I personally use dumbbells here at home. And I like it because I feel like there's extra core benefits because you have to have your core more organized when you're moving your arms and your legs independently of each other.
Rita Black: Right. That makes sense. So, we're working out twice a week. 30 to 45 minutes and then we're resting and restoring. I have a question about that, 'cause I bet, you know, 'cause a lot of people we notice that, so when you are lifting weights, you're making little tears in your muscles, right? And then the water goes to repair the muscles and part of the building the muscle is because it tears and then the muscle has to kind of reformulate around the tear. Is that correct?
Cam Allen: That's correct. And that's when we get stronger is not actually in the workout. It's in the recovery, you know, eating your protein and taking days off the gym. That's is it.
Rita Black: And this phenomena happens, which is very frustrating for a lot of people who are watching the scale. I mean, just meaning like getting on the scale a day after their workout, they'll notice the scale is up because of the water that goes to the repair the muscle. Isn't that correct? Like you can like be up a pound or two in water weight because you've basically torn all your muscles and now your body's repairing itself.
Cam Allen: Yeah. Yeah. And then our body uses a lot of energy to repair. So you need to make sure you're eating your protein. Which we actually need more menopause than we ever did. That's another change that happens.
Rita Black: What do you recommend? Because that's a question I get from a lot of people too. You know, how much per pound would you recommend or it's per pound, right? How much your weight is.
Cam Allen: Yeah. So you could do use your ideal body weight and then that would be your number of grams of protein per day. In menopause, you could go up a little bit from that. But what I do when I'm working with people is where, let's figure out where you are and let's slowly bump that number up, you know? So,
Rita Black: Because that can be a lot for people who haven't been eating protein, especially vegetarians. Is there, do you have good protein sources that you would, 'cause this is another question I get all the time, like for vegetarians, like what protein should I be eating then, you know, if I'm vegan or vegetarian.
Cam Allen: Right. So like all of your beans would be great. Quinoa's a great source as well. Hemp hearts is another thing you can add to salads or to smoothies which also has healthy fats. Those would be some of my top vegetarian sources. And you know, I think Truvan has a great plant-based protein powder.
Rita Black: Oh, okay. Truvan. And is that made from pea protein or is it
Cam Allen: It is. Yeah. It's pea. And it's clean ingredients. That's the food babe on Instagram. Check her out. If you know her, her name's Vini. Anyway, she was one of the instructors when I went back to school to become a health coach. And so I love her stuff. And that would be another plant protein. That's appropriate. It's a, you know, a way to add more protein to your life if you do marine. You could do marine collagen as another way. Some of my vegetarian people who are like, well, I need something. I know two people specifically that are now using the marine collagen just to help them get their protein.
Rita Black: Is there protein in collagen?
Cam Allen: Yeah. Yes. It's not a complete protein. It has eight of the nine essentials, but it's better than nothing, right?
Rita Black: Yeah, no, for sure. And so protein powder, and well, what about us people who are, you know, don't eat a lot of meat or don't eat any, but we're, you know, maybe we eat a little chicken, like what, what would you say the best, like how much you would disperse that out throughout the day?
Cam Allen: Well, I would start your day with a savory breakfast. Like protein is the, you know, 30, 40 grams if you could start there. That's amazing. And there's also a lot of indication that that'll help control your blood sugar as the day goes on. If you start your day off that way, then the day goes better. We always joke on Amelia and I, she's my podcast partner. We ate bagels and orange juice and went off to high school and our blood sugar must've been on a rollercoaster all day.
Rita Black: I know. I think about the way that we were told to eat. Yeah. Yeah. Cereal and orange juice and -
Cam Allen: Right.
Rita Black: Crazy,
Cam Allen: Crazy. But we're wiser now.
Rita Black: So savory breakfast gets you going and again, it sounds like you get a good part of your protein in for the day. So we have workout, rest and recovery. And then what is key number three?
Cam Allen: Being an active human. And that includes walking and, you know, taking the steps and parking farther away. And it's all your non-exercise activity, which accounts for about 15% of your daily calorie burn, if you will, your daily, daily metabolisim.
Rita Black: I was gonna say your sedentary calories, but they aren't really sedentary.
Cam Allen: Yeah. Right. All of those things matter. And in midlife they matter even more so be an active human. Yeah. We can also think about walking and blood sugar since we just talked about that. If you are walking after you're eating, you can lower your blood sugar response to food by like 75% by walking after you're eating. So that's like another way to double dip, if you will. Help your digestion. Help your blood sugar. And then moving like that helps, you know, as far as your non -
Rita Black: I've read that. Yeah. As well. Like, on this podcast, I talk about the blue zones, the longevity diet or just longevity way of life. And I think they saw that active people, meaning just that their lifestyle provided them, you know, movement, having no car. Like a lot of these are villages in the middle of nowhere. So they're walking everywhere. They're walking to church, they're walking down to their work and or to herd the goats. I said, oh, we need some. We need a new goat movement. Like a new everybody owns a goat and you know how LA is like, 'cause I live in LA and it's the you know, fitness capital of the world. I said, that's a new goat. New goat workout where you're hurting your goats at the Griffith Park passage to -
Rita Black: Anyway, so being active human get, you know, even it's interesting, they were saying that people cooking was a very physical activity and that actually, you know, like, 'cause when you think about it, you are grabbing pants, chopping, moving your upper body a lot in the cooking process, I guess doing laundry and gardening. I know I do a lot of gardening, so I'm moving my body a lot. So that's really cool. So, okay, we're gonna be active humans. Love that. Yes. And the walking after dinner too, I did hear about that is awesome for lowering blood sugar. And I think that is another blue zone thing.
Cam Allen: Yeah. And then the fourth one is a dash of cardio, which we mentioned earlier. As far as cardio goes, like the recommendation in menopause is about 45 minutes a week, which is way different than what I was doing in my forties.
Rita Black: What?
Cam Allen: I know. What is that? Shocking. My favorite way to do cardio -
Rita Black: I'm sorry. I totally interrupted you. I'll just let you talk and then we'll come back around with the question.
Cam Allen: My favorite way to do cardio in midlife is do interval training, but I call it hurt, high intensity repeat training, which allows more rest in the, in, I like rest. Rest recovery's one of the four key elements. So we're adding more rest to our intervals. And that's a great way to do interval training or cardio workouts in midlife. And it's simply resting until you can go, until you can go again. Which means, that's amazing.
Rita Black: So what would a workout so, you're saying a dash of cardio. So over a week long period, how many cardio events would you have?
Cam Allen: It depends on if you wanna do all 45 minutes in one day or do you wanna spread it over two days? I think over two days makes a lot of sense. 'cause It's not that much, right? You're just doing a dash of cardio. And I really like it doing intervals this way because it's based on your effort of the day. Like you wanna work at 80% of your max of the day, and it gives you permission to say, okay, I'm done for today. My energy's gone. I'm finished. And so that's what I like the most about it. It's four to 10 rounds is what I usually recommend. And when your rounds fall off, when your effort falls off for the day, then you call it a day, you're finished.
Rita Black: So when you say four to 10 rounds, it's like you're doing 80%, like, if you're running or walking or on the treadmill or whatever, and are you timing this? How are you knowing when you're, you're at your 80% end of stop and rest and then do the next one?
Cam Allen: Great question. So it's anywhere from like 10 to 20 seconds. So we're doing like a really intense burst of energy for 10 to 20 seconds, and then we're resting until we can go again. So if you're on the treadmill, you go, go, go, you're 80% and then maybe go to a walk and you're catching your breath and you're letting yourself recover. And it may be two, it may be two minutes. And in the CrossFit world, it was 10 seconds, we did timers all the time. And 10 seconds. We need more time. And then we can go again to get into that intense 80% of our effort of the day.
Rita Black: And so this might look like, and you said how many times we're doing this? 10 to 40?
Cam Allen: No, no. Four to 10 times. Four to 10 intervals.
Rita Black: Okay. Yeah. Got it. And then you're done. And then you might do that not the next day, but a couple of days from there. And that is, that sounds very intense. So that versus like a, you know, a lot of people might get on the treadmill and go 30, 40, 50 minutes per day, just like not at 80%, maybe at 40% or 50%, but they're just kind of, you know, doing that just to go at a steady pace that's not as effective for somebody over 50 than doing these intervals. The interval training.
Cam Allen: Yeah. So interval training's really great for visceral fat for our belly fat, which is like an issue. People talk about that in midlife, like the menopause belly, where did this come from? And so interval training's really fantastic at that. And also it, it honors your hormones. We talked about stress earlier. There are times when you're gonna push too far and you don't wanna end up on the couch couch because if you end up on the couch, then you're not an active human, which is violating one of the four keys. And so we want to feel the intensity and then be able to do something tomorrow. Like if we go too far today and we don't do anything tomorrow, then we're, then we're not following the four keys of fitness and, you know, at this stage.
Rita Black: So after those two workouts though, then you're done for the week as far as cardio training and then you're just being an active human, meaning, and that includes like walking long distances, taking your dog for a nice long walk or going for absolutely a hike or doing something like that. So it's not saying don't go hiking or don't go bike riding, but it's just like you are setting aside two very specific, I'm working on cardio training sessions and then a couple of weight training sessions, and then as far as your like official, you know, I'm over 50 and I'm working out and I'm doing what I can for my body. You're doing that. And then the act of human is move your body, just move, move it.
Cam Allen: Move.
Rita Black: Yep. Yeah. Move it, walk around the block, walk around the lake.
Cam Allen: Absolutely. And, that's, I like to think of that is, you know, walk, walking by yourself, walking with your spouse, walking with your dog, walking with your girlfriend, whatever that is. It's kind of the fun thing. And I also like to think, excuse me, cardio is fun. Like pickle ball's big in our neighborhood. Is it picking where you live too?
Rita Black: Yes, very much so.
Cam Allen: And I would put that definitely under cardio. It's intervals, right? It's interval training. And so I like to like the cardio to be the fun part of your life. So if you love pickleball or my sister loves tennis, you know, then let that be the cardio part of your life. And then the active part of your life is more like hiking, walking things that are less stressful on your body where you are just moving.
Rita Black: Right, like swimming and such. Okay. I get it. Well that makes total sense. And it really does sound doable. Then what about like, any yoga as well that you would see that as part of your move, your body?
Cam Allen: I think so, yeah.
Rita Black: Yeah. Do you have any opinions about like yoga or Pilates for women over 50 as far as like course training and stuff like that? Or do you feel like the the strength training is enough?
Cam Allen: I feel like the strength training is enough, but if you love Pilates, then you should do some Pilates. Maybe not as much, maybe just one day or two days a week, maybe you need to pull it back. I feel like it, out of the four keys, I don't know. Every time you strength train, every time you're building muscle, you're investing in your future. And so that's really important. So I would put that first and then see how your week plans out. You know, if there's a class that you love and there's people that you love in the class and the instructor and all that, I would never take that away from somebody. But making sure the strength training comes first.
Rita Black: Got it. Okay. And who do you work with? Like how old is the oldest person that you're working with now? I mean, like, is are you too old after a certain point to really start strength training? I mean, I'm sure the answer is no, but what's your opinion on that?
Cam Allen: You're not too old. I did not lift a weight until I was 41, I think. 40 41. And it was amazing experience. And I went a little crazy. I don't want anyone to go crazy. There's a way to build muscle and have fun with your, with your workouts and build your confidence without going too far. Yeah. So I would say most people are in their fifties that I work with personally, but you're never too, you're never too old.
Rita Black: Yeah. I, I found this woman on YouTube and in one of my podcasts I talk about her, she's this Japanese woman whose husband told her she was too fat and she wished she was about 65, I guess she had gained, you know, 30 pounds or whatever. And she's just started working out and she became a fitness trainer when she was 87 years old.
Cam Allen: Oh, I love it. Love that.
Rita Black: Isn't that crazy? And there's some videos of her teaching classes, like at, at the age of 90 or something. I mean, it's insane. It's, but it's such a great story. Very inspiring to me.
Cam Allen: Very inspiring. I feel like your fitness should enhance your life. We just got back from Washington State where we hike through three of the national parks up there, and that's why I strengths rain, you know, to do those hikes and climb those mountains and like, feel good about myself. That's, yeah. I like to connect the why, like why are you working out? Are you worried about bone density? Are you worried about your adventures? What is it for you? And if you can tie that to why you're working out, I think that's very helpful.
Rita Black: After you work out, that's great. That's so important is that mindset piece, is that the why? And connecting it to something that's not just like, well, I have to, or it's good for me, but like, oh, this allows me to have good posture. Mm-Hmm.
Cam Allen: Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely. And it's a very reasonable, logical plan. It's not crazy. That's what I want people to know.
Rita Black: I love that. Your plan sounds very, yeah. Very doable. So what about stretching after you work out? Like, is that part of it as well, like stretching out what you've done? Or is that not so important? I'm just curious.
Cam Allen: Well, I, I like a dynamic warmup, which is like a moving warm warmup. And like, I don't want you just to stick your leg up and stretch. I want you to move to get warmed up. And then I, I believe in recovery, one of the things that we did in the CrossFit gym was I had a mobility certification, like how to take care of your human body. Like, what can I do with this lacrosse ball? How can I make myself feel better? So I believe in foam rolling and using a lacrosse ball and stretching. Yeah. It's really about midlife. I think it's really about learning how to love and care for yourself in a new way. Maybe exercise used to be a punishment or maybe you took a, I don't know, you punished yourself for eating something or what was your mindset around exercise? But now in midlife, your body's changing. Your hormones are changing. It's about loving and carrying yourself in a new way. So if you need to stretch or you need to foam roll or you need to schedule a massage, I encourage that.
Rita Black: I love it. Well, now you have, tell us about your jumpstart Academy, because Cam has a free seven day. Well, tell us about it.
Cam Allen: Yeah, so it's a free seven day experience, if you will. Some of the days it's education, it talks about protein and you know, stuff. But then there are also workouts which are spread out, like I described. They're not 1, 2, 3 in a row. So there are three workouts over the course of the week. It talks about the parts of your metabolism, which we talked about a little bit today. Talks about the need for protein as we age and go through midlife. And so it's an experience. So it's workouts and educations and it's free seven days.
Rita Black: I love it. And that link to sign up for that will be in our show notes. So definitely if you're interested in seeing what Cam has as far as the workout and what she recommends that you do, what we were talking about here today, this is a perfect way to get a taste of that. So.
Cam Allen: Yes. It's the workouts included are exactly how I program. So you'll see what, how, what strength training looks like to me in midlife versus CrossFit.
Rita Black: And then if you love it, then you have a membership that you people can then join and they're doing more with you.
Cam Allen: Yeah. It's called Move the Dial. And it's been this great community of women from all over the United States. I actually met one of the members in Washington last week when we were on vacation. We had dinner at our house. It was so fun. Isn't that awesome? Yeah. It was awesome. Cooked for us. Yes. So it's a really intimate group of women who are from all over the United States. And yeah, we have live weeklies and there's workouts and all the things to help you support your midlife.
Rita Black: I love it. Okay, so all of that will be available for you in the show notes. So check it out, you guys. Cam, I wanna thank you so much. If there was one thing that you could, you know, that first step that anyone could take, you know, to start moving more, to, to get stronger, what would, what would you say your first step was? If I came to you and I was like, I'm a mess. What do I do? What would be number one?
Cam Allen: I, you know, I would make sure you're taking walks every day. That would be one. And then two, get you to pick up some weights. I really want you to pick up some weights.
Rita Black: Okay. Yeah. Okay, great. Great advice. Okay, well thank you very much. It's been so wonderful to have you on. This has been really enlightening. Thank you so much.
Rita Black: Thank you so much, Cam. I love that she made a complex and overwhelming subject seem so doable. Don't you? Just like that gardening, breaking it all down. She broke it all down for us. I love that. Thank you, Cam. So don't forget to check out her amazing freebie free seven day Midlife Muscle Jumpstart Academy. The links are in the show notes and have an amazing week. And remember that the key and probably the only key to unlocking the door of the weight struggle is inside you. So keep listening and find it. I'll see you next week.
Rita Black: Do you wanna dive deeper into the mindset of long-term weight release? Head on over to www.shiftweightmastery.com. That's www.shiftweightmastery.com, where you'll find numerous tools and resources to help you unlock your mind for permanent weight release tips, strategies, and more. And be sure to check the show notes to learn more about my book From Fat to Thin Thinking. Unlock Your Mind for Permanent Weight Loss.
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