Stronger by Science, etc, but for older women?
March 25, 2022 4:26 PM   Subscribe

I love Stronger by Science and Ask a Swoll Woman, but I'm a woman in my 50s and often feel like the advice they give doesn't apply to me. Are there any websites, podcasts, etc that are specifically aimed at women who are 50 and older?
posted by The corpse in the library to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (15 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
Train with Joan is an excellent Instagram account and she also has a YouTube channel and an app. She's in her 70s. Personally, as a woman in her 50s who found powerlifting 3 years ago, I've found the nutrition advice from younger pros isn't always for me, but the actual fitness part of strength training applies just fine.
posted by donnagirl at 7:33 PM on March 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

Honestly, I don't think that much changes because you're in your 50s. Start light, progress sustainably, work hard, recover well, grow your knowledge of lifting and yourself as you go.

I really really like Greg Nuckol's 28-Free programs you can get from that Stronger By Science site (great site, I love it). There are a lot of options so you can mix and match based on your training level/experience and the progressions are auto-regulated which makes it easy to progress as fast or slow as you're capable of. Beyond that my general advice for beginners is to pick something proven that tickles your fancy and do that until you stop making progress with it. By then you'll likely have some idea of where to go next yourself.

But don't take that to mean you need to go full bore. It doesn't take a ton of volume or intensity for resistance to provide health benefits so even if it doesn't feel terribly hard for you it's still crazy good for you. Pretty much any resistance training is.

I think you've got the resources you need (though even a few sessions in person with a coach to work on form would likely be a great value) so you should just make a plan to get going and go.

I didn't start doing anything athletic until I was 35 and started lifting. I'm 41 now and will be competing in my 2nd powerlifting meet later year. It's a meet for "masters" lifters meaning age 40+. There were a bunch of women there in their 40s and 50s and few older than that.

I love powerlifting meets because everyone there wants everyone to hit all their lifts always, full stop. But there are plenty of other ways to train and the best exercise is the one you'll stick with. I still hope you check out some powerlifting.
posted by VTX at 8:34 PM on March 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

I am a huge fan of Fitness with PJ.
posted by Gin and Broadband at 2:25 AM on March 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

You may want to check out this book by Stacy Sims aimed at women going through menopause. Her other book Roar also contains highly accessible female-specific guidance on nutrition and training.

Also some things I’d heard were helpful from a previous gym-mate who lifts and is 50 and going through menopause -
-She started HRT to aid with menopause symptoms
-She increased her protein intake to maintain her strength better. I recall her mentioning that she had to personally find the right amount for herself through trial and error
-She also ensured there was sufficiently heavy lifting in her programming (squats, deadlifts, bench) to maintain muscle mass - but bear in mind that she is an experienced lifter and she was lifting as much as, if not more, than people in their 20s and 30s. YMMV.

Another thing that may help would be to look for a coach / trainer in your area who has experience working with women in your age range, or at least a trainer who has experience working with female lifters.
posted by pandanpanda at 9:38 AM on March 26, 2022

Before I make any recommendations, I’d like to know what things you feel don’t apply to you and why. Are there moves you aren’t capable of yet? Is the approach or voice making you feel like you’re not the target audience? Are there specific circumstances you feel aren’t being taken into account? Knowing this could help eliminate options that echo the problems you are experiencing with the programs you already mentioned.
posted by Fuego at 10:11 AM on March 26, 2022 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Studies about protein intake where all the subjects are college students. Discussion of body fat percentage where none of the subjects are going through / have gone through menopause. Discussion of one-armed rows where all the subjects are male. Discussion of injury and recovery where all the subjects are under 50.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:42 AM on March 26, 2022 [7 favorites]

Krista Scott-Dixon is one of my favourite fitness people in this space. She’s pretty fantastic. Posting from my phone but she’s worth a google! She published an e-book a while back called F*ck Calories that I quite enjoyed.
posted by lizifer at 11:45 AM on March 26, 2022

Response by poster: I have professionals I work with, so this isn't necessarily about coming up with a training plan for myself. I enjoy listening to podcasts and reading about fitness, but would like more that focuses on older, female athletes.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:46 AM on March 26, 2022 [3 favorites]

Not really anything to add except that the lack of fitness research on something other than 20-ish year old untrained males (read: undergrads) is widely lamented for a variety of reasons. Occasionally trained males (and even the odd woman!) get compared untrained lifters but even that much is pretty rare.

I feel it for different reasons but I feel your pain.
posted by VTX at 5:01 PM on March 26, 2022

There definitely is a dearth of research in sports science done on women specifically, and we are only just starting to see more awareness of issues like RED in female athletes. Am going to follow this thread to see if anything else turns up.
posted by pandanpanda at 11:20 PM on March 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

Echoing those who have said that exercise science is not known for its generalizability when it comes to anyone who isn’t a 20something white male. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be changing at a satisfactory pace. However, you may be interested in Molly Galbraith’s work, which, while aimed more at coaches, is specifically about training women across all stages of life.
posted by Fuego at 7:28 PM on March 27, 2022 [2 favorites]

I (male) recently hit 43, and have only recently got back into barbell training after about a 3 year lay-off due to accumulated injuries, but anyway, I read the book The Barbell Prescription by the Greysteel guy, and while it's a guy who wrote it and many of the examples/perspectives are (of course) guys, it does explicitly address and talk about and program for women. So, not the focus unfortunately as per your request, but the book and website may have some material of interest to you.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:56 PM on March 28, 2022

I don't know if you're still checking for answers on this but you might like the Thick Thighs Save Lives podcast. It's two sisters in their 30s who are really into fitness and weight training. One of them owns the Constantly Varied Gear fitness clothing company. They have a lot of great interviews.
posted by apricot at 12:20 PM on August 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

Oops, forgot to add this! Stacy Sims was mentioned above. She has a list of interviews and media on her site. I have listened to several of these. I read her first book Roar, and plan on reading her second book about fitness and menopause.
posted by apricot at 12:22 PM on August 11, 2022 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Her second book, Next Level, is on the table in front of me right now, and so far it's just what I'm looking for. Recommended!
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:09 PM on August 11, 2022 [1 favorite]

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