The UCAN Podcast – Nutrition for Active Women with Dr Krista Austin

The UCAN Podcast -  Nutrition for Active Women with Dr  Krista Austin

hi everyone this is Natalie with you can I'm joined today by dr. Krista Austin dr. Austin did her doctorate in sports physiology with a focus on sports nutrition some of her career highlights she's worked with the Olympic Olympic Trials committee English national teams a wide array of elite athletes and beginner athletes alike and then of course today's topic you've worked with a number of female athletes so welcome dr. Austin and tell us a little bit about your experience working with women hey well glad to be here for everyone and the experience I've had with female athletes has ranged from the developmental female who's trying to work their way up through the development system within a national governing body of sport and compete at the elite level to women who are in menopause today and just working to maintain body composition trying to still compete at sport to keep it fun for themselves and then of course throughout the years we've dealt with things like pregnancy I'm having you know a healthy menstrual cycle and what it means to be a healthy female athlete and still compete even at the highest level of sport or just being you know developmental whether it's at the collegiate level or the high school level and so hopefully today we can share some of those insights into how nutrition and exercise has kept them healthy and the role it plays across the lifespan awesome and that's the topic of today we you know we were talking about putting something like this together it was women and fitness and exercise fitness and exercise and nutrition and you know one thing that we did want to do is create a conversation that you could share with your daughter your best friend your mom basically any woman in your life that you feel could benefit from some of this information so it's meant to open the conversation but there is something that it's not meant to do and you can tell us that yeah so what it's not meant to do is to ever replace the advice given to you by a health care provider and so we're going to do some education today a lot of it stems from my Female Athlete saying where do we find out about these topics and where can I go to find these sources and it's not really out there they said and so especially when it comes to pregnancy or developing as a young female so that's what we're looking to do today but it should never replace the advice of a qualified medical provider so know that we're sharing with you but that if you have specific health concerns we do want you to seek the advice of a qualified medical position probably or one of the other licensed health care providers to address the issues that you may have going on so absolutely great well so let's start with the big one that's the state of the state for women's health what are some of the biggest health concerns facing women in America yeah so the biggest one today is actually heart disease and heart disease has been linked very heavily to people who are not physically active or who are not eating correctly and so if we take a look at a really prevalent reversal study that actually came out of the University of Adelaide where they look to reverse what's called atrial fibrillation which is an arrhythmia that can result as a function of developing heart disease they actually did so by having the individuals engage in corrective behaviors with regards to nutrition and exercise when they lost 10 percent of their body mass they actually were putting into remission the atrial fibrillation itself so we know that heart disease is heavily tied to nutrition and exercise it can help prevent plaque buildup if we do things like reduce saturated fats and eat more Whole Foods and lose our excess body fat we're going to have a healthier heart overall and so learning to pay attention to this area is important for everyone especially as our country needs to work on improving its state of health and reducing heart disease diabetes and things of that nature other areas that nutrition and exercise can help in some of the top leading disease states that we see in women are cancer stroke and diabetes and so all of these areas can start to be improved by just actually exercising and eating healthier and so the fact that these associations exist with a lack of exercise and a lack of eating Whole Foods or having too much sugar or excess caloric intake we actually want to pay attention to them so that our lifespan can be as healthy and long as possible right when you hear about you know American health it seems to be obesity obesity obesity overweight overweight overweight and these are very important topics of health but you know we talk about messaging a lot in between you and I we're putting this together and it seems that the messaging is all about getting your body weight or your body fat down for other reasons but it's important to note that like by doing that you're also helping reduce risk for these other like heart disease cancer stroke and diabetes right and I think that's one of the biggest things I've stopped focusing on body weight with the women that I work with because a lot of times once we have a new and higher body weight we also have a lot more lean body mass or muscle mass sitting underneath that light and the norms that are out there today don't really account for that so like body mass index doesn't tell you how much weight is actual muscle mass so I have a lot of my females they'll get what's called a DEXA to take a look at their bone density first and foremost you got one set of bones and so you want to make sure they stay healthy but also to let them know how much that mass is actually muscle and what do we really want to do with their overall body mass to help refine their nutrition program instead of just listening to a lot of social media and the fact that epi epidemiological data keeps saying to Americans your BMI is increasing your body mass index is increasing and this is associated with poor health so to get the women refocused on something that's more meaningful I think to them which is just itself and taking care of your body we go in and focus on the things that I think truly matter which is how well are you doing how do you feel and how can we get you to accept that being stronger fitter is where we want to go and not so much the actual number on the scale so learning to stay away from the hype a little bit and really just focusing on what's best for us definitely I'm sure that's a lot more motivating as well you know so how doesn't help so if they have to you know we talked about with these major health issues facing American Way getting a DEXA scan is a good way to know where you start starting what are some other just baseline either measurements or baseline tracking metrics that you help them or you connect them to to help understand where they're at well we actually go to measures of physical activity so I said let's set some goals you know they'll come in and they'll say oh I have all this body fat mass okay that's the first thing they notice they you know show you their arms or their different body parts and say I have all this back mass and I say okay well we're not gonna look at the scale we're not gonna look at body weight let's go in and see how strong you are let's see how much we can improve strength let's see how much we can improve your ability to run a mile for instance and sometimes that's just a huge goal I've started with some women who have to walk the mile and then later on they run under six minutes for the mile eventually just because leaned up yes they've lost body weight to a certain extent it just all depends on the individual and what they're capable of doing but over time we just shift the focus off of weight and saying how strong am i how much muscle can I build and help it can I get how much can I take care of myself so we start there rather than going in and starting with how much do I weigh we also look at parameters in the blood of just how healthy and my cholesterol hemoglobin a1c and just say okay if I have these or I don't have any of these maybe how can I continue to prove my health my overall well-being when I look in the mirror do I realize that I have a human sitting here and they're unique that need to be the woman in the social media ads and that in fact you know my clothes do fit better they're looser and the number on the scale doesn't mean as much so we look at what we're achieving in workouts rather than a number on a scale great great and then when it comes to nutrition you're a big fan of tracking and I know and I am too but you're also a big fan of my fitness out right yeah I am you know it's one of those things that's a simple tool that anyone can use anyone can have an account and they can look at simple things like the amount of sugar they take in and it gives you feedback on the macronutrients that they're actually consuming what is the distribution are you with them what's called the acceptable macronutrient distribution range when they go and look they say oh I'm having you know 70% carbohydrates and I'm supposed to be between 65 to 45% carbohydrates and I'm taking in 90 grams of sugar rather than the 60 grams of sugar I should be taking in and it's a great way just to slowly create modifications that they can implement themselves and they can do it off and on they can look at total calories taken in it has a barcode scanner it has the ability to put in unique recipes to help you track and it's just a great way for someone to be empowered to do so they can link it to their physical activity device whether it's a heartrate monitor or just a basic fitness tracker and give them some idea of energy in energy out and so we try to find things that people can do on their own that actually empower them to begin to take care of their actual health just like if they say well gosh you know I went to my doctor and they said I don't need another blood assessment we find out about things like request a test or whether or not your insurance company allows you to work with a laboratory to order your own blood tests for something like vitamin D or iron or you just your lipid panels because you want to track it because you're trying to be healthier and just not getting that one off test a year or we send them to their doctor to say hey I want to track this and see if we can get their doctor engaged I've got some great female doctors that are wonderful about doing that they want their women to be more active and healthy and want to give them the feedback that they're actually you know doing better or they're not doing much of anything either way they're still healthy and what they're doing with their nutrition and exercise is the right step right so I mean establishing establishing like healthy exercise and nutrition patterns as early on as possible it's really just good for the overall life cycle and we're gonna move kind of into like the life cycle of I would say the typical woman with sensitivity to the fact that not every woman's experience on every females experience is the same but we're gonna kind of go through the standard life cycle and what that means for exercise and nutrition further for women so let's start with something that I'm after talking to you very embarrassed about how little I know about it let's talk about the menstrual cycle yeah so the menstrual cycle itself is typically you know started off and definition by the actual initiation of the bleeding you know and that's how most people know that that starts day one it can last up to eight days for most women it lasts about four to five days that's the average duration of that menstrual cycle and that's what we call the actual menses before it moves into what's called the follicular phase and that is where we start to see a re increase in a hormone called estrogen because as you move from follicular you go into a phase of what's called ovulation and ovulation is where the ovaries have released the let the egg itself and because of the rise in estrogen we get a stimulation and a hormone called luteinizing hormone and it's very pulse at all it helps the egg get ready to potentially be fertilized now the egg is fertilized that a woman's going to become pregnant but if it's not they actually move into what's called the luteal phase in which they are gonna let that egg tour and really get prepared to be shed during the next actual bleeding component the menses itself and during the luteal phase we see Rises and hormones like progesterone and prolactin that oftentimes give women these what we call premenstrual syndrome septums which they feel like is you know just marked by an increased and overall body fluid maybe they get a little more Moody and so what we try to do is teach women to manage these different phases of the menstrual cycle with different nutrition strategies knowing what they're good at exercise wise and just putting behavioral aspects in place to kind of help control how those hormones shift or to maybe even take advantage of them which we do an elite sport on a regular basis to say look they're far more anaerobic animals on days five through ten than they are on days let's say you know 15 to 24 when they're in the luteal phase they're far more aerobic and so if we teach one of those things typically they can take it Vantage of certain hormones being in place and also kind of mitigate some of the you know symptoms or side effects of other hormones so that as they go through those phases they actually have a much better experience I guess you could say and those around them do as well so once the kenai the luteal phase you know they're back to the point where the you know egg itself is shed and and they have the bleeding component again of the menstrual cycle and that process continues over and over again either until you hit menopause or if it's interrupted by pregnancy which is sometimes a good thing it's something that's want it we keep going through this as a female and oftentimes what we focus on is how do we manage this so that we can optimize our training and optimize our life itself and that's a lot of what we do focus on with nutrition and how we structure the training so yeah let's start with the anaerobic animal because first of all that's very attractive to me it's like we hold on I can take an advantage of this like this doesn't happen just trash my workout I think this is anecdotal on my part a lot of women it's just on day five just so I'm understanding day five is like five days after you start your menses yeah that right so then you really have because of that hormone response may be a slight advantage to do high-intensity interval training or lifting is that about right yeah that is a lot of times what we've done with elite athletes is to take that period and stack you know what we would call hit training typically for you know most of the everyday people that's how they refer to it or we focus on the anaerobic energy systems and often times they can stack those workouts one right after another for a period of about a week and just do extremely well at them I mean I've tried it myself and I'm like wow this really works I can come back day after day and do this explosive and tenable interval training and I'm not as compromised so sometimes we do take up their carbohydrate intake during that time so they can focus more on that energy system and try to take as much advantage of that as they can and that's where sometimes women go how I'm doing really well and it's kind of nice because we just your menses usually don't feel great you maybe took a couple days but you need to when it doesn't feel like your legs even exist quite frankly a lot of times most women will say their legs feel dead and they said go exercise and they need to give themselves that 1 to 2 day grace period where maybe they just do some non impact exercise or they just take a break and have a day off so that they're like completely dead to them but then they come off with that and they actually feel good not only because their legs have rested but because they're in this anaerobic annual phase and so we'd like to let them go in and take advantage of that over and over again where as we get out of that follicular phase you're no longer really the anaerobic animal that you were because estrogen has gone in and you know done its thing to increase luteinizing hormone and you're moving into the luteal phase which is where we see that women oxidize fat that much better mainly because progesterone becomes involved and you also have an increase usually in total body fluid because prolactin or hormone responsible for helping to retain fluid has increased as well so we'll usually say okay we're far more aerobic during the luteal phase let's work on that aspect and like let that be the predominant focus there and you notice that that's when they do that much better now we don't leave the anaerobic stuff alone but we do not let it predominate during that phase of the menstrual cycle and then again of course as all those hormones dip the estrogen progesterone did we use exercises we go into menses to help mitigate sometimes symptoms of you know just depression or the mental aspects that can come with going into the actual menses and so we have to be cognizant of that when we're working with a female because it can impact the quality of their training and how you maybe want to implement rest days or the type work that you have been doing so to take advantage of that is usually really important and to be cognizant of it I can't tell you how many women I've met or how many people who are in my field who completely ignore it and then are you ignoring it because this is something that every female goes through and they need to be able to move through it without too much of a psychological impact but we also need to acknowledge that it's there and take advantage of what we can when we some women don't feel it much at all others feel it very dramatically and I remember working with a male colleague once and he said well Krista just teach the girls to you know ignore it and just move through it and I said no we're not going to do that we're not going to not acknowledge that they're having their menses at the moment you know if you do that then it puts the mindset that people just don't care and so I said no we're gonna acknowledge it we're gonna try and period eyes appropriately schedule competitions appropriately so that they don't have to deal with the menstrual cycle when they're competing so it's actually important to acknowledge so that you write the right workout for the days when they don't feel so great and when they are feeling great you go any take advantage of it so right definitely as a coach it's something and like you said there's a lot of individual variability I'm sure some women are like yeah it happens it doesn't impact my training it doesn't affect my energy levels and that's great but that's also not the case for a lot of women out there and you know women that might just be focused like you know I'm thinking of the a woman that might be an endurance gal who's listening to this just for herself it's like oh there are some days that I don't have to just drag myself through an endurance workout if they for those women they're either listening to this that are like I mean every day five to ten after my period starts I just feel like I have to force myself through these you know aerobic endurance workouts cuz I like to run marathons or I like to do Iron Man's it's like maybe maybe try or maybe experiment with doing some lifting or some sprint work that's higher intensity short bursts of exercise efforts which is and then you also mentioned that you know it's kind of very validating with the cravings like you maybe can't afford it's little more carbohydrates given your output and that might be the time to indulge a little bit and feel good about it yeah and that is when we sit there and say okay if we're gonna go do a whole bunch of hit training and women can actually make what's called a clinical workouts where we make a hit training session that's only as impactful stress wise as an aerobic session and there are ways to do that a little probably too much detail for this webinar but you can create those type of scenarios over and over again to help you get through and do highest quality possible– and focused more so on those carbohydrates and enjoy them because you kind of just came off that menses phase where why don't say I just felt up and I let's go in and make our bodies feel good and it's you know okay to have some chocolate it's okay to have a little bit of sweet or some type of carbohydrate that you really like conversely if you start moving into the luteal phase and you give your body all that carbohydrate that's actually not going to be as beneficial because it's not going to help the mood aspects of that phase as much that's when we actually teach women to increase their protein intake really focus on the low glycemic carbohydrates really emphasize study blood glucose levels and monitor how much sodium they're putting it the sodium actually usually contributes to the increase in water retention during that phase so for some of my women I select cognizant of that and increase your protein decrease your sodium you not below 1500 milligrams ever but try to help those symptoms of fluid retention and moodiness and there's one published article out there about that doing that will be and it does seem to help premenstrual syndrome a good bit especially if that's something that you noticed to be impacting your body but you're also more aerobic than more aerobic you are you want to rely on fat as the fuel source and so you don't want to be putting in all the carbohydrates especially high CMAT carbohydrates at that point in time so there's a benefit to understanding what phase of the menstrual cycle you're in and how that should impact what you're taking in nutritionally there's small shifts there's none massive shifts during these time periods but they're small enough difference and that's what that goes back to even what we talked about in the beginning these are small shifts like it's these these are measurable attainable goals that can just moving the needle just a little bit to just make your overall training periodization whether you're an amateur recreational athlete or a professional athlete these things can make a difference in the quality of your training the quality of your you know mental health surrounding your training surrounding your menstrual cycle and it can help move the needle so what happens when we don't when we do actually fertilize that egg and you come pregnant so let's talk about kind of just basics of prenatal exercise and nutrition are there considerations yeah so you know prior to getting pregnant a lot of what I've done with some of my females is to actually rest them there is one key study that was done years ago that show even in weight stable females that luteinizing hormone the hormone that's going to help you with ovulation and let me give up to to fertilize that egg can become less pulsatile and the more pulsatile it is the longer you kind of have that fertilization period open and so we want to actually optimize that so when women have been in heavy training or they're regularly exercising I say let's sit down and let's actually take a break for about a month maybe they put on a little weight and let luteinizing hormone come back up and be as pulsatile as possible and we do that just as a means to help prepare their body typically the increase in body fat mass I think also helps those women get pregnant and oftentimes those women say ham I want to be competitive whether it's at my local triathlon or my fitness competition or what-have-you and I want to have my child as soon as possible and they they are planning for this so we do we sit down and we rest now just because you're physically active doesn't mean you can't get pregnant while you're physically active you absolutely can as long as you're having a normal menstrual cycle okay every you know 24 to 30 days if you're having one you can't impact get pregnant but I will just say that for my females I've always sat them down and made sure that their body is prepared let them put on a little bit of weight we need to or even if we don't need to and we just keep a really healthy nutritional intake it's still low glycemic we keep steady blood glucose levels but get their body as prepared as possible and then once they do get pregnant we continue with that focus on low glycemic nutrition and making sure they have stable blood glucose because one we want them to have good study energy as they prepare to train underneath that state and making sure that the baby has the you know increased caloric intake within the body and the right type of nutrition because it can't impact them as well and so we pay attention during those first few months just to how much we you know eat and train based on how am I feeling while I'm while I'm pregnant the other reason we start to pay attention even more so to blood glucose levels is because we want to prevent what's called gestational diabetes and sometimes women get pregnant they say oh this is my excuse my you know willingness to go out there and just eat whatever and I'm like hmm not really a great idea you need about 300 calories more per day while you're pregnant I mean yes you're going to put on some weight however we don't want it to be something where you go crazy and maybe a dot lifestyle changes in nutrition that are not that healthy for you but what we do with these females is we continue to train I have one right now that is pregnant and this is her second baby and we noticed during the first one we kind of took it a little bit easier we weren't really sure but this time we're actually maintaining exercise intensity and we're modifying her training based on her actual biomechanics like can she still run without possibly injuring herself with the way the baby is actually growing do we need to rely more on cycling being on the bike she's a triathlete to help facilitate some of the intensity workouts because as she moves into that fifth and sixth month she really is starting to grow she's heavier than she was with the second child and so we pay attention to those things still eating healthy but modifying training based on how she needs it and we do all of our training based on rate of perceived and the reason we do that is so that she can account for these variations that her body's experiencing as she goes through the actual pregnancy and the increase you know just the body heat overall and I'll say okay do you feel really hot okay well let's stop and back it down maybe we do need to walk but what we find is that the more fit they are the better they actually tolerate everything and we focus in on things like strength training and that's to help give the joints and muscularity just that overall stability so that when they do come back from having the baby they maybe have a better chance at going back into activities where they're going to bear their bodyweight pretty heavily like running and it's just about saying how strong can I get before I have to give birth and so often times we're still training for whatever it is they want to train for but we're also focusing in on aspects that will help them come back from the pregnancy that much quicker I mean being able to maintain intensity of training will we'll do that what I can tell but if we just sit down and do nothing then that's when you know I typically see them lose so much fitness that they have probably a tougher pregnancy than I would expect and especially their return into it now if you don't exercise at the moment and you want to do so when you get pregnant that is absolutely fine as long as your doctor gives permission to do so but you want to start with low intensity activities like walking trying to swim or aqua jog things of that nature and possibly hiring a personal trainer or someone to work with you that can put some a set of eyes just on you and how you're moving while you're pregnant to help create modifications that are safe for you so often times we talk about women you know who are already physically active there's a lot of women that once they become pregnant they realize oh I really need to be as healthy as possible during my pregnancy this could help prevent gestational diabetes let me start to work out and that's where they do need to start with a very progressive exercise program to start to do that right and that that makes a lot of sense you know the level of fitness that you have that coming into a pregnancy that certainly that already gives you a format for what you're capable of and then you can make adjustments based on rate of perceived exertion which is what you've talked about and because they're their training set is higher they're habituated to exercise they're able to make good judgment calls for the most part on what is and what isn't okay but just like you said and I'm sure this happens all the time you know you get pregnant and it's like oh I I need to exercise through this I need to maintain my levels of fitness and that's where you would want to make sure that you consult with somebody and say hey what's a safe level of progression for a beginner I haven't been working out but I'm pregnant now what should I do yeah and typically what most trainers are going to do is move you towards the recommendations for health and wellness we just bill to 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise and moderate means more than just moving around the house so that could be just starting to build towards 150 minutes of walking at a pace that is comfortable to you it also means usually strength training two to three days a week so it doesn't have to be anything extra significant but they should start moving you towards activities of daily living that can improve your return which once you come back from pregnancy and meeting the guidelines that have been set forth for health and wellness and it's just all in an attempt to help you be healthier while you go through that pregnancy they'll also probably focus on core training getting a good strong set of abs as you go through is something that we focus women on whether or not it's about focusing during the pregnancy I'm not really the delivery component whole bit you know we don't truly know but it is something that most women say they feel like is helping them as they go through it so it's all about trying to prepare for that baby and coming back as strong as possible we'll have to carry that child around so I tell a lot of women to go get strong is probably a good idea because the babies knocking it lighter it's gonna get heavier that's the whole idea so it's one of those things work and help any female to be more active and just start to really pay attention to nutrition oftentimes they don't pay attention and they think it's just their time to eat whatever they want and I say no this is actually time to start dialing it in it'll make you better to come back from that baby right and it also speaks to you know even before pregnancy is on the horizon for you if you were to be tracking beforehand and kind of know in general and nobody's perfect we all have areas that we could improve on but know your general behaviors and then now knowing that about 300 calories a day during pregnancy is what you need if you've been tracking and you kind of know where you're at that will also help probably dial it in more make you feel empowered that you know what to do for yourself and your health and your you know baby's health through your pregnancy that's right yeah then babies comes let's talk about you know right after like postpartum exercising you know exercising nutrition you know what are some just I you know general like guidelines yes typically once you've had the baby assuming there were no complications during pregnancy they'll usually tell you to take one to two weeks just really light most women start moving around the house after a couple days and not really feel anything do their activities of daily living and then start to do simple things like going for walk a leisurely walk and just taking care of the baby you have to realize that during this time you've got a lot of shifts in hormones it might be that you could have a lowering of thyroid hormone post pregnancy some women even develop what's known as Graves disease after pregnancy and so just know that your body is starting to go through all these hormonal shifts you've got a hormone like prolactin that's elevated because you need to produce breast milk a lot of women do want to you know breastfeed their child and we start to focus in on things like drinking more fluids making sure you're getting an even greater increase in calories up to 500 extra a day is usually the recommendation with the range being about 450 to 700 depending on maybe how many children you have especially if you have to blend you might need four and really starting to let women just re-equilibrate celebrate their bodies the best they possibly can and exercise and good nutrition principles can help us do that you don't want to take in all those exercise calories the pregnancy calories injuncted you want those to be healthy foods that give nice steady blood glucose because that's the fuel that's going to come to your child especially if you are breastfeeding and a lot of my athletes have breastfed they even go back into competition still breastfeeding and I had that went back to her first Olympic distance triathlon she breastfed the child before she started the race went through it won it and then walked across the line the baby was hungry again letting the husband know uh-huh and she said just give me my child she went walked over and just started breastfeeding again right after the race but she hydrated usually very well but things we went through for her because she wanted to stay breastfeeding was to actually deal with the fact that she had more mass on the top of her body than she was accustomed to we had things like change sport bras learn to deal with a little bit of back pain and try to you know off set that with our weight training so things like that are something you have to deal with those pregnancy if you want to get back into your actual levels of physical activity that existed prior to the pregnancy and still do things like breastfeed the child your joints are of concerned because the hormone prolactin is increased and it can create more laxity in the actual joint itself and so one of the reasons we do the strength training and stay focused on that is that the joints stay as safe as possible so you get back into those more dynamic and weight-bearing type activities but be patient with yourself you want to breastfeed except that you're probably gonna have to sit a little bit heavier than you typically do you're not going to get straight back to pre baby weight or the way you looked with before the baby was conceived and born and just give yourself that time to enjoy the moments with your child because she said look I want to breastfeed for as long as I can and I said sure great we got back into shape and then eventually the weight did dissipate once she stopped breastfeeding but still able to compete really well didn't set any PRS during that time but she was still able to build back into where she was and then went on to set PRS in the following year so it's about family planning and accepting that we got to take a little bit more time and I think it's well worth it for most women they want to take that time with their child yeah there's so much it seems like there's so much of an emphasis of pre-baby weight and pre-baby body and it's just like well you are nourishing the life of a young infant so there's that and you had this great story I think you told me offline about you know one athlete and she took this very lean in general and even like about 10 pounds heavier after having her first baby she was setting pr's at a heavier weight and you had to kind of coach her to stop looking at it because not only are you performing what you did before your baby you're heavier and that's okay yeah and I just told her I said look it comes from the strength training that she did while you were pregnant and if you're able to stack workout after workout and maybe you are 10 pounds heavier that's absolutely fine maybe we found a new racing way maybe you weren't at an ideal weight prior to getting pregnant and having the baby and what have you maybe you need to sit a little bit heavier you know but with time you will lean back up and because she was so focused on a more endurance type event I said look you're not doing the dynamic intense training that will actually lean you up and help get the weight off but give yourself time you're coming back so quickly and sure enough the athlete went out and set it a beautiful PR six months after giving birth so I look at that and I say look yeah you are heavier than you were before you were pregnant but don't worry about it let's use it and take the increase in blood volume that usually accompanies being pregnant and you know breastfeeding and working with all that and just use it to your advantage if you can go out and set those PRS you know that soon afterwards then we're definitely doing something that's right it's that much better and eventually the per body did lean back up and she said oh look once I got more intense dynamic exercise that I know I'm capable of then I'm absolutely fine you know I'm able to get back very close to where I was maybe not exact but very close and still compete at a very high level and I've had others that you know they have walked out you know three months post pregnancy as having been elite athletes and they're practically back to doing you know what it is they were before they ever even had that baby and competing on the international stage a little harder to measure and some of those athletes because it's an anaerobic endurance sport and it's very technical tactical but they were able to come right back and still make the same weight one was in a weight classified sport that they did just as easily before they had to be but it was all about planning timing and working towards what we knew was coming and I think that there's someone helping you do that and knowing the physiology of the body is a huge advantage to most women postpartum because we can help mitigate and prevent some of the things that you know they report and help get that that body back that strength and what-have-you so right it's not and not hating the process right again you're focusing on performance based outcomes ability based outcomes there's enough messaging there's enough pressure to get back to a certain number and again I love this message of that's not really what it's about and sure maybe for your own reasons you want to get back to a certain number but that gap between having your baby and back to whatever that original goal is let's not hate yourself in the process there's other things to be gained yeah and most women do lean right back up if we get everything right it's when we don't get things right we don't prepare with the physical preparation prior to getting pregnant physical preparation while you're pregnant and then in how you initiate activity afterwards is all a part of getting your body to respond the way you want it to respond right so let's let's move on from pregnancy and let's talk about menopause oh yeah the fun one now this is where women really come to me and say what am I gonna do I have so much more body fat okay and that is the biggest thing that women start to notice when they go through menopause is that because they are losing the hormones estrogen and progesterone and even testosterone is starting to take a dive for us is that they not only along with all the symptoms of hot flashes and maybe not being able to sleep well at night they're getting massive changes in body composition because those hormones are not there and what they have to realize is that one of the ways we can start to mitigate that and actually maintain the muscle mass that we have is through strength training and so as we get older I actually get women to try and focus even more so on strength training so we can try to maintain that muscle mass and your resting metabolic rate doesn't take the dive along with everything else as you do move into menopause and that's typically the biggest thing they notice the increase in body weight is a few different things one is the loss of muscle mass will decrease the resting metabolic rate but also the fact that if they're not sleeping well at night they get up and sometimes they eat and they unintentionally eat trying it themselves back to bed or because you're not sleeping well you do put on weight because such an important part of the recovery process and getting your metabolism to work right and so any nutrition plan once you hit menopause needs to include the right physical activity especially a focus on strength training not only that from a strength perspective and a muscle mass perspective but the fact that your bones are going to need it just as much because they don't have the estrogen and progesterone that we're helping to keep them as healthy as possible the other thing that women start to look at at this point in time is hormone replacement therapy and is this right or wrong for me because those symptoms will in fact be there they start in perimenopause and then once you have finally not had a menstrual cycle for 12 months straight we typically say you have finished menopause and now you're in the post menopause phase and so again the symptoms will kick up in terms of night sweats not being able to sleep well hot flashes things of those nature and they say you know what am I going to do and so sometimes some of the biggest health concerns for women is having to go on hormone replacement therapy what is it going to do to my body weight and composition so we actually do start to again find more of a healthier viewpoint on what we're going to focus on as they go through that with their medical physician to help them alleviate some of the symptoms some women don't feel it at all they have a really easy menopause that's right we're really happy for those females and hopefully you are one of those lucky ones but often times women go through those symptoms they say how do I alleviate them and good nutrition and exercise are a part of that and working with your doctor to help you manage whatever does come about as a function of menopause and making sure that you know your body is uncompromised as possible right i sorry dinner but can you talk a little bit about how you use heart rate monitoring with all this yeah so one of the things that we do see with menopause because of the absence of estrogen is that there's an increase in heart rate for any given exercise intensity I've had some women who have tracked their heart rate for years they've been really good cyclists and they said I had this beautiful curve from low intensity to high-intensity exercise and all of a sudden you know I've got a much higher heart rate at a given workload and I can't work as hard which is part of why their body weight and composition starts to become compromised so that is something that often times I say okay take this in to your doctor and show it to them because those hormones are dropping off we know that they're going through perimenopause which is what it usually starts and we need to start making adjustments and the question is what adjustments do we need to make so they can stay competitive with their friends going out and training with them that's usually one of the biggest things they bring up and staying as fit as they were prior to entering any phase of menopause so we do see an increased heart rate at a given work intensity as you go through that but that is a function of the hormones changing it's ok we can overcome it we just sometimes have to train a little bit smarter than we did and that's where when we get stronger I think the strength training pays off to help us produce more force in a much more economical manner and so we find ways to get up and around it so they can still go out and train what they want to awesome and you've mentioned before that this is kind of going back to the food tracking nutrition tracking in the beginning this if they haven't been doing it and they do and women do notice some of these changes this might be a good time to revisit like let's start again let's see what I'm taking in and maybe make some adjustments from there right and that's you know periodically with all the women I work with we do assessments we just said let's take three days or let's take a week and take a look at what we're taking in what are we burning what heart rate zones are we looking working in because the they don't know how their body is adjusting to all these changes and heart rate has been one of those for me that especially the more recreational we are as a female athlete or Fitness goer the heart rate becomes even more relevant because it can tell them how many calories they're burning how to dial in how many calories are taking in and it helps them manage their weight that much better especially if all of a sudden they want to lose some people also don't understand that they're spending a lot of times and what we call zone water zone – heart rates which are these really low intensity and they just don't count for as much and so when all of a sudden we've realized that we're spending all the time there we can use the heart rate kind of hold us more accountable and help us increase the intensity of training and do so accordingly so that's one of the ways I use a heart rate monitor with women to give them that feedback and help them reach the goals that they have I have to do it as well the older I get dependent I become on heart rate because it is just very evident that I'm not working as hard and sometimes it's because as we get older we don't want to push to work as hard but we actually need to help maintain lean body mass and I are just overall metabolic rate and keep our health up right and that's something accessible you know you can have a heart rate monitor that attaches to your phone that's an accessible tool of am i working this hard and I've even you know I've definitely fallen victim to the doctor Austin what is your heart rate monitors say kind of like oh you're right I'm not working out I just it feels like it here but so it's not really happening so accountability and honesty are huge in that too yeah and I have to you know I find for myself I have to do that as I've gotten older and older I just cannot compartmentalize as well and work is hard intentionally and so I've started especially with the risk based heart rate monitors you know people say oh I'll Christa they're not as accurate or what-have-you but there's so much more convenient and so if you get a good one then you can at that develop your own heart rate zones and even share that with whoever is training you that something great about it is that they've got apps that actually allow you to share how hard you've been working and have maybe your trainer holds you accountable as you're doing doing so to help you manipulate body weight and composition and so that is something that I've grown more and more attached to I used to kind of push back on it because I didn't want to you know give in to technology sometimes but it's something I used more and more so today to help especially the everyday female just manage body weight and Composition awesome and so I want to wrap it up just taking this way back full circle for the life cycle you've got some great advice or guidelines for young women like young athletes hit just hitting puberty you want to to exercise and nutrition what are some things that you think young women should know young active women should know yeah well I think they need to realize that once they start to hit puberty you're gonna get an increase in the female hormones okay it starts to change their body and they may get an increase in body weight and body fat levels even if they're not being very cognizant of what all of a sudden they're starting to take in and as a result we usually recommend being as preventative as possible by starting to teach these young female athletes to be as smart about their nutrition as possible okay because as their body weight increases their body starts to change they all of a sudden might hit the you know reject button and start to not eat and start to develop unhealthy exercise options so the best thing we can do is to begin to educate them on what types of foods they should be taking in or not taking in and the potential consequences and what is the role of exercise and the development of muscle mass and the development of bone density and oh by the way we want to have our menstrual cycle every month and we want to have a healthy relationship with they don't develop eating disorders and develop amenorrhea things of that nature that are so common in young women because of the messages that they receive about their body whether it's what they should look like for a certain type of sport they're participating in or whether or not they see social media models or the person who's on TV and they say I want to look that way and so my advice to most moms is to start early on or if you're a female who has significant influence with the young woman start talking to them early before they even get their menstrual cycle and putting healthy nutrition habits and the earlier you enter being the more of an impact you can have for that young woman and help just keep them safe awesome great and then I'll just kind of finish up here you know I love that you can we work with and consult with a number of different scientific brains like yours and it's great that we can bring this your knowledge to our mo customer base so if you were you know speaking to the women who are going to be listening to this and and maybe maybe some men too which would be great there's male coaches out there who coach female athletes some things that you know the you can products even in all of this we talked about like nutrition and things are there ways that they can plug in specifically or is it just kind of an overall the same way to use it same thing well you know what I do is I actually with the uCam products I use them because they are very low glycemic and want to optimize health and we do that through the consumption of a low glycemic carbohydrates but also it gives you very steady energy during a workout so they don't have to usually consume as much as you would have I see Matt carbohydrates and it helps them perform better we know that carbohydrate prior to exercise has been shown to improve performance and even during exercise helped us just you know create a greater output and so often I teach young women or any woman how to use the product to not only give them the best study energy so you get the best workout but also how to use it strategically to just kind of help them create healthier snacks so we might look at some you can into a yoghurt or into their oatmeal to help them feel fuller longer and have the carbohydrate they need because carbohydrate availability is important for an exercising female but also the right type of calories and then we use the hydrate product to help them stay hydrated people walk around dehydrated all the time anyway and if you're out there sweating and you're losing electrolytes we need to put them back into your body we don't want you drinking just water and so teaching them to use the hydrate to sip on it throughout the day to replace Bluest basta sweat not only helps their cognition as they go throughout the day but also just helps them from a health perspective to remove the waste that were developed during training and just maintain an overall healthier blood flow so the reason I use the products is because they are better for you in terms of health and I don't want them so dependent on sugars so it's just about giving them steady energy letting them have the best workout possible and also taking care of their health at the same time dr. Krista Austin thank you so much I feel like I've gone through a class that I should have learned 15 to 20 years ago so hopefully we find this helpful any final words from you um you know if you have questions in this area maybe shoot them to natalie see if we can't answer them but also talk to your doctor or health care provider about the issues that do come up whether it's PCOS and continence you don't let those factors hold you back talk to someone about them and you know exercise and eat right you want to prevent the heart disease from developing and you can do so with the right behavioral habits or you can prevent it a good bit so do what's better for you and help yourself and feel empowered and it's not always about the number on the scale so awesome thank you so much we will catch up with you guys soon

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