Are you struggling to see progress when going to a gym? You’re not alone. Here’s why, in our experience, gyms don’t work for women over 40.

When it comes to dropping a dress size, one thing that most people will try is going to the gym. Yet, we can’t tell you how many women over 40 we have worked with who gyms don’t work for. Maybe they went frequently in their younger years, but are no longer seeing results as they get older.

This can be SO frustrating, leaving many women feeling completely stuck and unable to lose weight no matter what they try. Which is never a nice situation for anyone to be in!

The truth is that going to the gym is not always the best way to see results for women over 40. And it can be a complete waste of time and money if you’re not doing the RIGHT things at the gym to get the results you want.

We’ve helped more than 6,000 women over 40 to see incredible results, get back into all their clothes and feel amazing wearing anything they like… without having to step foot in a gym at all!

So in our recent podcast, we reveal why going to the gym might not be ideal if you’re a woman over 40. Plus, we talk about what to do instead, so you can drop 1-2 dress sizes in the next 12 weeks from the comfort of your own home! Here’s what we recommend.

Why gyms don’t work for women over forty

It’s a fatal assumption that you simply need to eat less and move more to lose weight. So, women will often join a gym, start doing classes like body pump, spinning and HIIT, or even run on the treadmill, use the bike or the cross trainer. Maybe they even get a PT who makes you do a load of burpees and box jumps!

This can work for women in their 20s and 30s, but it doesn’t work for women in their 40s and 50s. Here’s why.

For women over 40, there are significant changes happening physiologically. The sensitivity to the stress hormone cortisol increases with age, and this increases 3 times more for women than for men. If cortisol levels are too high, it makes losing weight very difficult, as it leads to 3 major problems, inducing the Weight Gain Triangle. These are:

  • Leptin resistance – increases cravings and causes you to not feel full even after eating
  • Insulin resistance – makes it harder to lose weight, and easier to gain it, especially from around the middle
  • Thyroid deregulation – slows your metabolism down, meaning you have to eat less and less to lose weight

All of these make it much harder to avoid gaining weight, let alone lose weight.

However, the mainstream health industry isn’t aware of this. Everything they do is generic and isn’t catered to anyone specifically.

As we’ll come onto, a lot of gym-based exercise, whether it’s classes or PT sessions, trigger this Weight Gain Triangle which makes it almost impossible to lose weight as a woman over 40.

Plus, changes in the female sex hormones, oestrogen and progesterone, start to happen, even years before clinical menopause. This can lead to joint aches and pains, bad knees, a bad back, mobility issues and much more.

These are made worse if you are carrying a bit of extra weight, as it puts more load on the joints and causes more inflammation!

Most gym classes and PT sessions are high-impact, and will make all of these things worse. They also don’t address the nutrition side of things correctly (if at all), which, if you make the wrong choices, disrupt these hormones a lot more.

Equally, muscle mass decreases with age (if you don’t do anything to counteract it). This can lead to feeling less toned and more flabby, having less shape to your body, and feeling weaker, having poorer balance and being less energetic.

Here’s what we recommend

The best approach for women over 40 must include three things. It must keep cortisol levels low to moderate, as this blocks weight loss, be gentle on the joints, as this will quickly lead to injury and having to give up, and build muscle mass and bone density, to keep your metabolism high and maintain your health.

Unfortunately, the majority of gym classes make all these things worse, not better, and they only focus on exercise!

In order to achieve your goals, everything you do – exercise, nutrition and mindset – must be optimised to avoid the Weight Gain Triangle for women over 40.

This rules out a lot of exercise. Here are some pros and cons of certain exercises.

Cardio e.g. using the cardio machines at the gym

Good for: Improving cardiovascular fitness

Negatives: Reduces muscle mass, meaning you have less body shape, makes you flabbier and more toned. It can be high impact too. This also triggers a relatively high stress response, which means cortisol will be elevated and will make fat loss more difficult.

HIIT training and gym classes

Good for: Getting fit quickly, and good for younger people who aren’t carrying excess weight

Negatives: It’s highly stressful on the body, which will trigger a high stress response and make it hard to lose weight. High-impact exercise also has a high injury risk for anyone carrying extra weight or with existing joint problems.

It’s not about exerting more effort, it’s about doing the right approach that’s right for the goal you want and the results will come easily and consistently.

So, what’s best?

In our experience when it comes to exercise, low-impact strength training (LIST training) is by far the most effective training for women over 40. This involves slow, controlled movements with body weight or moderate weights.

It keeps stress on the body low, meaning your body stays in an optimum state for losing weight. It builds muscle, which tones you up all over, reduces bingo wings, flattens your stomach AND increases your metabolism, meaning you can eat more and still lose weight easily!

It’s very efficient too. Our clients only train three times a week for 40-45 minutes and they often lose 1-2 stone in 12 weeks.

And, it can be done from home, so you don’t need to waste time commuting to and from the gym. There’s no jumping around, so it’s gentle on your joints, and there’s a low injury risk.

Plus, it still improves cardio fitness!

Combine this with a nutrition approach which avoids hormone-disrupting foods (WADS foods), has hormonally balanced eating and is very flexible, and you’re sure to see the results you deserve.

To find out more about how Trinity can help you see the results you deserve, simply click here.