HRT and Resistance Training

Next week begins the annual ritual of making resolutions to clean up your eating… hit the gym 5 times a week… drop a pant size or three… need I go on?
While all these are excellent thoughts, and most will start out with a bang. However I want to give you a bit of food for thought as you begin planning your 2019 fitness plan.
There comes a point when diet and exercise begins to be less than effective for all of us.
Weight begins creeping up, clothes are getting a bit snugger than before, or you notice your energy levels aren’t were they use to be.
Adding to the frustration, no matter what changes you make (increase cardio, adjust resistance training, drop/raise calories, go on/go off keto, etc) nothing seems to work or break the cycle.
Before throwing in the towel, and sitting down with a fork and a Key Lime Pie, the logical next step would be to speak to your physician, right?
You make an appointment, and having a few tests run, you learn your hormones decided to mimic an Olympic diver by taking a deep plunge and holy hell you feel every… bit… of it.
After evaluating your options, hormone replacement therapy is suggested, and the belief everything will snap back in regards to your workouts and weight, right?
Well not always,
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is becoming a popular treatment option for both men and women, but for women in particular you may need to reevaluate how you prioritize your workout sessions.
Increasing cardio is but one of the tools you will use, however an essential factor is to balance cardio with quality resistance training.
Making resistance training a staple, and not an afterthought, is crucial to improve metabolic muscle and decrease body fat once you go on HRT; however myths still do exist in regards to women utilizing intensive weight training:
          “I don’t want to bulk up…”
          “I don’t want to get too muscular…”
          “It’s too late to train to get stronger…”

or my favorite
          “I just want to get long lean muscles and just tone…”  

 

As quickly as I like to say these myths are utter bullshit, and they are, I can understand and empathize their fears.
Let’s face it, society has inflamed most if not all these stereotypes.
Don’t believe me?
Just catch any episode of Dr. Oz, click on an Instagram model page, or glance at the magazine covers in the checkout lane of any grocery store to realize what is being shoved down our throats is a perpetual lie.
Ladies I’ve got news for you, while cardiovascular conditioning is important to a successful weight loss plan, so is including resistance training with your exercise program.
To begin, let me qualify what I define as resistance training; I am not referring to biceps curls or cable triceps for 20-30 repetitions with a light dumbbell or barbell.

 

Resistance training to me is defined by movements you can perform for a maximum of 4-10 reps with good form.
To demonstrate the impact of adding resistance training can make with your results, let me introduce you to my client Valerie.
Valerie is in her 50’s, and has been training with us for a few years. She and her husband train 2-4 days a week, she runs weekly with her running group, participates in 5/10K runs, and dabbles in the occasional OCR race.
A little over a year ago Valerie started noticing her workouts were not as productive as once before, she was not recovering as quickly between her runs, and her weight had slowly started creeping the other way.
Valerie decided to speak with her physician, and consulted with a hormonal specialist who recommended HRT as a treatment option.
Fast forward seven months after beginning HRT, and while she had made progress, she was not overly happy.

 

 

This is when Valerie and I decided to take drastic action and completely overhauled her training regimen.
Valerie’s workouts were revamped to focus on a healthy dose of intensive strength training supported with metabolic and aerobic conditioning.
Over the course of 16 weeks (two 8-week training cycles), she made unbelievable progress during this time and the proof is in the pictures. 
This picture was taken May 2017 of Valerie with her running group, and could be said this is the picture that started it all. As I mentioned, Valerie was extremely active so this is not a case of being deconditioned or under-conditioned. This was taken just a few weeks before she consulted with her physician.

Valerie in May 2017 with her running group.

Fast forward to March 2018, and this picture was taken during the 2018 Dallas St. Patrick’s Day parade.
While Valerie had regained some of her physique back, had more energy and generally felt better, she was still not satisfied with her progress. This was just a few weeks before we began her first 8-week training block. 

 

 

The following two pictures were taken in June 2018, and the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” would fit perfectly here.
The picture on the right was taken exactly 90 days from the date of the previous picture, and Valerie had just completed her first 8-week training block. The picture on the left was taken around the same time with her husband Dominique. 
These pictures succinctly demonstrates how far Valerie had come in a short period of time don’t you think?

Now you might be interested in which exercises did I have Valerie concentrate on to make this incredible change you might wonder?

I’m glad you asked 😉

Leg Presses, squats, deadlifts, back rows, carries, and a variety of presses were the meat & potato lifts she focused on in the beginning. Working up to 315 to 355 lbs for reps on the leg press wasn’t out of the question, and the same applied with heavy deadlifts for reps of 6-10, sometimes more, with over 135 lbs using a trap-bar.

Valerie’s resistance training was complimented with metabolic conditioning using bodyweight movements, kettlebell swings, battling ropes, sled pushes, BOSU and weighted hip extensions, sprints, plenty of stability ball work and Valerie became intimate friends with the Concept2 Rower although I understand this was to be a ‘love/hate’ relationship ha!

In regards to nutrition, I had Valerie focus on whole nutritious foods during this program. Lean proteins, plenty of veggies, healthy fats, and unprocessed starchy carbs were rotated in and around her workout schedule in order to maximize fat loss without sacrificing muscle or performance.

With the exception of coffee, Valerie did not use herbal stimulants or weight loss products during the program, and I honestly don’t think they would have made a substantial difference do you?

Send in your comments or questions if you think this would work for you, but I think this proves age is simply a limitation in your mind when it comes to transforming your body. You just have to want it and not quit, it IS that simple.

Have a wonderful and safe New Year’s next week!!

Steve

2 Responses to “HRT and Resistance Training

  • Colleen
    9 months ago

    Great write up!! I agree with all you said. I’ve spent the last 5 months traveling for work, sleeping in hotel beds, eating like crap, gaining weight and can’t bend over to save my life.

    I’ve gone back to my previous position, which I’m very happy to be doing and to get back to my life and back into shape.

    I’ve had all the blood work just 2 months ago and I’m good!! Just need to get back in the swing of things…. this is where you come in.

    What does that look like for me, with my back of course. I do want to increase my cardiac activity for sure.

    I’m anxious to hear from you.

    Blessings my friend!
    Colleen

    • Steve Trentham
      9 months ago

      Thanks Colleen!!

      I hope you had a wonderful holiday with the family. Traveling for work can definitely be challenging, but I am glad to hear you have taken a new/old role back at work ha! Let me know when a good time to get together would be and we will get a plan in place! You’ve got my number 😉

      Great to hear from you!
      Steve