Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss

Ep 26: Sustainable Fitness, Physiology, Fat Loss, and Running at Any Age with Louise Valentine

September 20, 2022 Louise Valentine Episode 26
Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss
Ep 26: Sustainable Fitness, Physiology, Fat Loss, and Running at Any Age with Louise Valentine
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Show Notes Transcript

Today I am joined by Louise Valentine to talk about how to achieve sustainable fitness goals by doing less rather than more, how to work WITH our physiology and not against it, how to optimize health for women 35 and older, and actionable tips you can start applying right away to unlock your best health despite age, a busy life, or obstacles.

Louise is a Physiologist, best-selling author, avid runner, and military spouse. She was named #1 Health Specialist in the U.S., has worked for the NFL, and published research on how to solve the root cause of health and fitness problems.

She is now CEO of BreakingThroughWellness.com, where she offers one-on-one coaching, courses, and the groundbreaking Badass Breakthrough Academy for women runners and fitness lovers age 35 and beyond.

Just some of the topics discussed in this episode:

  • Overcoming health diagnoses at any age
  • The root cause of health and fitness problems
  • Doing less, not more, for sustainable success
  • Strategies for sleep, working from home, carbs, and more
  • Working with our physiology
  • Pitfalls to avoid when improving health and fitness
  • Considerations for women over 35 when it comes to health and fitness
  • Running for sport and for health: myth vs. reality when it comes to fat loss and body composition

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Philip Pape:

Welcome to the Wits& Weights podcast for busy professionals who want to get strong and healthy with strength training and sustainable diet. I'm your host, Philip pape, and in each episode will examine strategies to help you achieve physical self mastery through a healthy skepticism of the fitness industry, and a commitment to consistent lifting and nutrition. Welcome to another episode of Wits & Weights. Today, I'm honored to be joined by Louise Valentine to talk about how to achieve sustainable fitness goals by doing less rather than more how to work with our physiology and not against it, how to optimize health for women 35 and older and actionable tips, you can start applying right away to unlock your best health despite age, a busy life or obstacles. Louise is a physiologist, Best Selling Author, avid runner and military spouse. She was named number one health specialist in the US has worked for the NFL, and published research on how to solve the root cause of health and fitness problems. She is now CEO of breaking through wellness.com where she offers one on one coaching courses and the groundbreaking badass Breakthrough Academy for women runners and fitness lovers aged 35 and beyond. Louise, thanks for joining me on the show.

Louise Valentine:

Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Philip Pape:

Yeah. So am I. So to start off, can you just tell us a little bit about your background as it relates to your diagnosis, your health diagnoses, and then what you call turning breakdowns into breakthroughs?

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, you know, at a young age I was I got this message that I wasn't built to be a runner, I had such a strong genetic history of all these health diagnoses, that that would ultimately be my faith, my fate. And, you know, this motivated very young age, I was really interested in health and fitness, I got multiple degrees and an exercise science physiology. And I wanted to arm myself with these tools and strategies, so that that wouldn't be the case that I would be healthy and resilient. And, and I had this motivation I like I tell the story of turning the treadmill up to like a 10% grade and, you know, power walking in the sixth grade thing, that won't be my story. But, you know, ultimately, I did end up getting some health diagnoses, I did struggle with compromised immune system, infertility, hormonal issues, and ultimately did get diagnoses of both osteoporosis and a stomach pre cancer in my 30s, so I did have those moments where even having knowledge and, and tools and degrees I, I still felt like it was a breakdown moment. And I stand here as living proof, though, that despite what doctors say, they still told me it was impossible to reverse things. Despite what I was told in my youth that I was able to turn those breakdowns into breakthroughs and reverse what I was told would be chronic conditions.

Philip Pape:

So I mean, in your 30s, you got all of these these. There's bad news, I guess, on you know, surprise at that age, especially things like osteoporosis. You know, how did it make you feel? I mean, what, where did it take you at that point?

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, it was incredible darkness. You know, I kind of describe to those that I work with now that, you know, can shift our perspective that health and performance is fluid, it's always dynamic, it's going to have moments that are hard. It's just knowing what to do, and what to say to ourselves when it gets hard that matters. So now that I've been there, in those dark moments, I do have a lot of different tools and strategies to help others work through these moments. But it, it's okay to sit there for a moment and just kind of to feel it though. And it is ugly, and to be mad and frustrated and let that ugly out too.

Philip Pape:

So it was your crucible moment. I mean, it sounds like are you thankful that that happened? In hindsight? Yeah.

Louise Valentine:

Oh, yeah. And, you know, even say, like the struggles of being a military spouse, the struggles in my health challenge, I believe I was given them for a purpose, so that I would see how strong you can be, despite these crazy obstacles so that I can, my struggle can be someone's inspiration, ultimately,

Philip Pape:

that's amazing. And I'm assuming this, this led to a lot of the things that you accomplished later on. And we talked about in the intro. One of those is publishing research. We're big into science and talking about evidence on this podcast, and you talk about solving the root cause of health and fitness problems. So can you just share, expound on that a bit on the research and what you discovered?

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, so I did look at a lot of things like childhood obesity, looking at women's health issues in my master's program set up and things like that and our health and longevity but ultimately, my research fellowship was with the US Army. So I was able to look at health outcomes. All the way from chronic disease to mental health, look at the impact of physical activity, sleep nutrition, on our well being on our health, and the military is always a wonderful population to study because their circumstances are fairly controlled, they do a lot of the same exercises, they may be in the same type of an environment in the field, they might be getting the same meals in their prep prepackaged meals. So a lot of times we learn a lot about the human body and human performance by studying the military.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, the validity study is often dependent on the sample and who's involved and how consistent it is. But so I want to dig a little deeper on that. The root cause, like I want to know the secret, right? What is the root cause of health and fitness? So I'm just curious.

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, so it was looking more so at the fact that it is always individual, we would look at the different troops and different troops would have different problems, like for some obesity was their challenge. For some it was mental health outcomes. For others, it was injury. So yeah, we looked at different impacts of in the individual troops, that each one would have a different health outcome that was their, you know, problem point. So it was then looking at targeted interventions for those specific priority issues. Because you can sit there going to try and have programs for everything. But it's really defining that number one trouble point and starting there, and aligning those resources accordingly. So rather than trying to do everything at once, which I see a lot with those that I work with, and their health and fitness, it's having that okay, what is your priority goal? And how can we be most effective in moving the needle to achieve that goal? Not everything all at once?

Philip Pape:

Yeah, no, I love that approach. And I know you're a one on one coach, just like I am, and you probably every single client that comes in as their unique big rock or big priority that they struggle with. And the next client is perfectly skillful in that area and has something else right? Yeah. So did you did you find common themes like things like biofeedback, specific types of biofeedback, that you could bucket eyes or categorize across? Anybody?

Louise Valentine:

Well, I think we looked at like the foundation of health, if you don't have health, you will not perform. So looking at things like mental health, and then also sleep. So having like that absolute foundation, without certain things, you will not be able to improve your fitness, you will not be energized to perform at your best, whether it's your career, whether it's the military. So what is the Health Foundation? And do you have it in place?

Philip Pape:

Okay, sleep, you hit a trigger with me that Sleep, sleep is a challenge for a lot of people. I agree, whether it's quantity quality. And I know a lot of my listeners are busy professionals, they have families, they have career obligations. And this idea of I know you mentioned doing less, doing less, not more, I think resonates with people were overwhelmed. And things like sleep come into the equation. So tell me a little bit about that concept of less versus more, and how it plays into sustainable success.

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, I think it's really important to look at the your priority goals and your health and fitness, and then start to inventory, the different things that you're doing. And we it's so easy with the noise out there to want to buy like the greatest supplement solution, I see that you know, all the time. And it's almost like a backpack, your game plan. Your game plan is a backpack, and you're just stuffing so many things. And it's try and gain the edge, losing the sight of the things that could actually move the needle and just like taking that focused action. And you'd be leaps and bounds ahead. So I'll use the example of I train a lot of runners. And something I might see with a busy mom who's trying to run her best. She has career goals, she's got kids in soccer, she's running around like a crazy person. So with that stress, she thinks, Okay, yoga is good for runners. So I'm going to make sure that I do yoga on and I'm going to add that into marathon training on top of this crazy season of life. And so I'll stop and I'll say, Okay, so are you driving to your yoga class? Yes, she's driving to it. It's an hour. Well, why are you doing yoga? While I'm doing yoga? Because I have, you know, this, this injury, I just want to make sure I just want to prevent injury and my running to be like, what if I told you, unless you're using that yoga for like mental health and you absolutely love it, we could give you like two targeted strength exercises that you could do at home at home would be more effective. And target your problem area. And we can maybe remove yoga until after marathon training because it takes so much time and energy. Yeah.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, no, that's so true. With with prioritization, you see that all the time. You mentioned supplements, right? The pyramid of nutrition where People just need to focus maybe on protein, and they get in the weeds with, you know, whatever it might be clean eating or something else. So, regarding sleep, so if we dig in a little bit more about sleep, how big of a problem is that for people? How? Or how many people? Does that affect that you encounter? And what would you say are some effective strategies for that?

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, I'll see a lot of women that struggle a lot with sleep. And even like I had, I remember, I had a male triathlete who was struggling with it as well. There's different strategies. And next door, I actually pull it for some of the research with the US military, this concept of sleep banking. So if they have an event coming up the US military, they will add just a little bit more sleep to encourage the soldier or in this specific study, getting extra hours of sleep. And if you do that, just a few say it's like 10 or 10 minutes asleep, 10 minutes asleep, five days a week leading up to the event, you're still banking sleep prior to that event. So what I like to do is I like to encourage those that I work with to look to these events that they have, is it a high stress work week? Can we sleep bank? Is it a an event, like a marathon where you know, you're gonna get up at 3am to make a bus to get to the start line by five? Let's sleep bank. And then of course, looking at different things that influenced sleep like caffeine. Cutting caffeine off is huge at like noon. Can we just cut it off? Dude, maybe

Philip Pape:

long Half Life Care? Yeah. Yeah, I like that idea of sleep banking. And that's, that's adding 10 minutes each day leading up to the event. Yeah. And

Louise Valentine:

if they have more time, of course, let's do 20 minutes. But typically, we're hitting that like eight to nine hour optimal sleep range. For some ultra endurance athletes, we're looking at 10 hours is recommendations. But if we dropped below six, that's the cut point where you're seeing compromised immunity. Five times more likely to get injury, I think is a statistic there. It's just insane what that does to our physiology.

Philip Pape:

So the sleep bank is kind of like carb loading, which these athletes I imagine have to do as well. So So you're saying get more Tom Brady level of sleep? And so yeah, three shift worker level of sleep. So I guess, related to that, then so we talked about people working from home, talking about sleep. People are sitting around all day two, like I've heard the phrase sitting is the new smoking, and you're working all these hours. I mean, I'm working from home, we get burned out by stress, we have a tendency to even do more in that case, because we're not taking the chance to get in a car and go to our workplace. Do you have any actionable tips for those challenges?

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, I mean, I think the one of the best things we can do is like sit on a ball, that will just activate our core all day. And I'll tell you, I've even seen that the difference in my own core from when we moved here to Delaware, I would sit on the couch and work. So it was so comfortable at this big beautiful window, I could look out at us like I love it here, while I stopped sitting on my ball chair. And I saw fat accumulate on my stomach. And I was like, well, that's okay, that's just me. But if we're looking at bigger pictures, like having this ball works your core but if you don't like that idea, a sit stand desk alternate between the two. And I think the biggest game changer that I've seen in the research is just moving at least two minutes after you eat, whether it's a snack, whether it's a meal.

Philip Pape:

I like that. Okay, and you're on the ball right now. What about standing all day, all day, because I have a treadmill desk and I tend to not sit is that a problem. So the

Louise Valentine:

if you don't have back issues as as a byproduct of that. I do see a lot of people that stand too much. And for example, my husband is an ultra runner, and he was standing because he's like, Yes, I'm tough. I'm gonna stand all day. And he ended up having some back pain. So I wanted to try alternating between the two. And I think you'll be you'll be much better off. So it's

Philip Pape:

a good tip. All right, listen to that alternate get a ball and, and you'll be better off. So this is this is working with your body working with your physiology and how we are designed and our biomechanics. And you mentioned that right working within your physiology. So what do you mean by that? Exactly? What are some tips to do that?

Louise Valentine:

You know, there are just over the years, so many simple ways to work with our body and not against it. And I have some, you know, different strategies and hacks that I teach those that I work with, but sometimes it's, it seems so simple. And so it can create so much ease in our life and body from the state of cortisol Go, go go go, which is like fat storage, it's almost impossible sometimes to build muscle to lose body fat. And when we're just trying so hard, you know, especially working with runners and those who are really into health and fitness. Sometimes we really have to just have those moments where we can chill out. So recognizing the state of stress and then having the stress energies in place, whether it is sleep, whether you're struggling with just anxiety in these stressful moments and really high stress job. So one example strategy that I use is just to call it shifting your mind. And you just take one deep breath, think of one thing you're grateful for. And then think of how you want to show up in the world today. So it's I am, and you think, for a lot of times, I'll start my day like that. And I'll just say, I am joy filled as I make breakfast for my kids. And then I go, and I'm, I am that person, right? I just step into that, that joy, and I think about what I'm grateful for. And it's amazing what gratitude can do in terms of hormones, and just shifting that high stress state. So I just have individuals work with that strategy, just one breath. You don't have to do some crazy long meditation, just one breath. If you feel like things are, you know, the trains going off the tracks at work? One breath, think of one thing you're grateful for? shift yourself?

Philip Pape:

Yeah, like that a lot pot positive visualization. But, you know, people will listen to me. No, I'm very direct. I'm not, I'm not into a lot of spiritual things. But I do appreciate the link between the mind and body and what you're talking about. If I were to go to a speech, you know, in front of a big audience, for example, thinking that it's going to go well seems to relieve the stress and getting prepared for the moment. So what you're saying makes a lot of sense. When do you do you advise people journal? Or how would people identify these moments? Because I could see some people doing this just all day, because it's stress is always there.

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, I think that, you know, I say what we do what we say to ourselves when it gets hard matters. And this exercise if of defining what your heart is, what is hard in your life right now? Is it a relationship struggle? Is it you lost? Your job is, you know, during the pandemic, it was the pandemic stress of the pandemic, the unknown? Is it a health challenge? Is it you're struggling with weight gain? And you don't know why, you know, it's just it's so individual, but what is your heart and starting to identify, like, what's triggering it in?

Philip Pape:

Got it? Yeah. And looking back in your week, perhaps and say, this was the thing that that came up the most of cause the stress and maybe I should focus on some of these, these practices for myself.

Louise Valentine:

It really shifts where we start to intervene in our health and fitness, right? A lot of times we're like, okay, supplements, we're looking at the latest and greatest fitness, when if we just kind of went upstream a little bit and looked at like stress, we could simplify things just a little bit.

Philip Pape:

But Louise, isn't there a supplement you can take for stress? Oh, there's like 50 of them? I'm sure they're the biggest pain points of the most supplements? For sure. Yeah. All right. So I guess that leads to a corollary to that, which is people do try and maybe do too much, or focus on the wrong things, and fall into different pitfalls, different traps along the way. We already covered some of them, like taking on too much putting you're filling up your backpack with things that don't matter. So what are some of the mistakes you've seen clients make? And I'm really intrigued to know about some of the like professional athletes you've worked with? Maybe the NFL really interested in hearing about that? Yeah, so

Louise Valentine:

they think they're the worst culprits of doing everything they possibly can to get that cutting edge. So I think that's where I started to realize that there was, there's so many different solutions for everything. And I would have athletes that were, you know, sleep chambers, they were getting cryotherapy, they'd have personal stretch person, I would work with them for massage therapy. They had performance coaches and nutritionists. And it was just so much and so I take a step back and kind of observe and see. Okay, so what are they doing? And what is the science say? And so it was really interesting to start to see like, okay, so what are the minimum? What is the minimum effort needed to achieve that maximum results? And that's kind of the lens that I try and encourage those that I work with to start to think about. You know, for example, if you're looking for energy boosts of cryotherapy, but did you know that you can just spray cold water on your forehead and chest in your shower, to get that same mitochondrial die off, that you're looking for in cryotherapy, that energy boosts it start starting to look at some of these things we're investing in and spending a lot of time on. It's really interesting. There's a lot of different ways, like I said that you can just work with the physiology of your body once we understand what it is.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, and I think that awareness is maybe a big first step a lot of people have taken yet, before you even get into application and what you what you hit on there as the minimum minimum effective dose. I don't know if it's a phrase that, again, consistent with the theme earlier you mentioned of priorities of you've got all these things, but nine out of 10 of them aren't going to get you very far. So you focus on the 10th or vice versa.

Louise Valentine:

I could use an example to have an NFL player that came to me He was looking for just general overall health, he was taking hard hits on the field. And we started him on bone broth, just a great Whole Foods source of collagen, all sorts of nutrition and amino acids. So then he keeps coming to me with all these different things. Like my friend says, I should take this, my friends that I should take this, is this good? Should I take this? So he want one of them was a collagen powder. So I explained to him the benefits of collagen are in this whole food source of bone broth that you're already taking daily on top of an adequate protein diet. Do I think this supplement that your friend thinks is great, is necessary? No. So it's just like the education piece of again, we're just we're duplicating effort in so

Philip Pape:

many ways. Yeah, I just listened to a podcast, they talked about some supplement that shuttles more carbs to your muscles or something. And, and it was like a point 000 1% increase, versus just taking, you know, eating enough carbs? Gosh, I know, I know. You hear that stuff all the time. Yeah. So I'm sure you have a lot of other interesting stories regarding regarding athletes would What did you do with the NFL population. So I

Louise Valentine:

was primarily sports, medical massage therapy. This was years ago, I was working on my Strength and Conditioning Specialist Certification at the time, I worked with a Sports Med staff on that on the team with the sportsman docks, and in the training room with their strength and conditioning staff. So it was more of looking at the the overall total athlete health and how and I was specifically more on like the injury treatment and prevention side.

Philip Pape:

Okay. And now I would say you probably work a lot with women, right? Women, you said particularly 35, and over wiser women 35. And over, and they have to consider their health and fitness. And there's some unique considerations for them. So maybe let's let's dig into a little bit on that.

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, this need for vibrant health and health, energy and Hormonal Health in particular, a lot of us are, you know, maybe in our 20s, we could skimp on sleep, maybe in our 20s we could run super hard marathon training plan, and we didn't feel repercussions. But now we have to be really strategic about what we're eating, when we're eating it, ensuring our Hormonal Health is in place. First and foremost, we're not draining it, and just ensuring that we do we have to be more strategic and women over 35, our homeruns really start to shift our body takes longer to recover. And, and there's a lot of different things we need to do.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, and I was gonna, I was gonna ask exactly why so people so people understand why these things happen. And at what age is right, because when you say 35 To me, that's still a pre still menopausal is not postmenopausal yet, which then other things occur. Is it? Is it primarily down to hormones and other specifics about that people should be aware of?

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, I think the biggest one, and the misunderstanding that I've seen with the latest research coming out is just around carbs, and how essential they are for female Hormonal Health. And then not training fasted. We do need carbs, but we have to be strategic with them. Because yes, our body does not process them as easily, but just eating them around breakfast, around training around lunch is really key times when we actually need those carbs to build hormones. And without it, we start to cortisol, we build cortisol, instead, we store fat, and it's super frustrating. You could eat barely nothing, and you're still probably going to gain belly fat. It's just insane what it does to the hormones. So we need to ensure that that foundation is in place and not training fasted, because again, it's going to do the same thing. Cortisol is just going to spike and it steals from the hormones that oh, hey, by the way, we're losing as a byproduct of perimenopause, too. So yeah, that

Philip Pape:

those are all great insights. I want to dig in on some of those because they are very interesting one one having to do with mealtime and carbs. And the other with cortisol. So maybe started with cortisol. We know there's a timing window between cortisol and melatonin and serotonin, all these things, maybe just simplify, break it down and and help us understand why carbs are important in terms of fasted training, and cortisol.

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, because when we're when we go into a training session, fasted, especially in the morning there, our cortisol is going to spike. And in order for our body to make that cortisol, my understanding is that it's going to steal from our you know, our progesterone and our estrogens. And that's those, we actually need to have energy and vibrant wellbeing. And we need those to recover and just, you know, most of our major energy cycles and ability to to achieve our health and fitness and performance goals, we need our hormones. So with that, we definitely want to avoid the faster training and that's a really hard shift for a lot of women that I work with because there's a lot of that fasting is is the answer. And in certain circumstances, it is like when I had my son pre cancer, you better bet I fasted because I was going to starve those cancer cells, that's part of changing, shifting that terrain in my body to be anti cancer. So there was a time and a place for it. For those that have like, neuro neurological issues, yes, fasting has a place. Maybe every once in a while you do something like a, you have a favorite detox with your functional medicine doctor, okay, there might be a place for it. But to go into your training facet, every single day, I try to like meet people where they're at. But once they change this, are they even just getting like aminos, or a little bit of applesauce, half a banana, it doesn't have to be anything big. Get something into your body shift that biochemical pathway from that state of stress to one that can Hey, support your health and performance is a game changer.

Philip Pape:

I really liked that because we talk a lot about blood, blood glucose control, blood sugar control, and just glycolytic energy from carbs. And you're touching on the hormonal implication and the stressor related to cortisol and carbs. And it sounds like it's mainly for morning training. Because if you're training later in the day, you've probably eaten something. Before that point. Would you say that a large, fairly high carb dinner somewhat compensates for that, even if you didn't eat in the morning or not?

Louise Valentine:

I wouldn't know. And especially for women, too, I mean, just getting a source of protein in the evening to enhance that repair and recovery. Sometimes it's very beneficial, depending on their training volume. If they're a marathon runner, and they're going to a long run, absolutely get some great nutrient dense carbs, quality of your carbs matters. But otherwise, I tend to encourage just the slightly, typically based on the average person's dinner, which is a lot of like pasta, it's just looking at adding those veggies, adding some really great sources of protein and fat. And yes, you can have some carbs, but it's just not the heart of your beer, your meal at that point.

Philip Pape:

Sure. Okay. And then and then the banana in the morning or something. I'm all for that I do a banana on protein shake before my training in the morning as well, I get it. Hey, guys, I just wanted to thank you for listening to the podcast. If you find it valuable, You'd be doing me a huge favor by sharing it on social media. Just take a screenshot, share to your Instagram story, or Facebook, please tag me so I can personally thank you. And we can talk about what you found helpful, and how I can improve again, and incredible. Thank you for supporting the podcast and enjoy the rest of the episode. And then what was the other thing that the timing throughout the day for carbs? You touched on that a little bit earlier? Can you go into that? Yeah, so

Louise Valentine:

it having good carbs post workout for women who are 35. And over looking at like a one to one or two to one ratio, carbs to protein is great three to one starts to get a little tricky. We see some insulin impact there some energy that is going to possibly crash based on a really high carb meal because, you know, looking at that athlete or that fitness lovers, you know intra and pre workout meals, we might want to see up to 40 grams of carbs in that post workout meal, or I'm sorry, 40 grams of protein. So that protein is the heart of that meal. pairing it with with your carbs, of course. So like I said it's going to be their two to one or one to one ratio. Yeah. Yeah. Three to one is it gets hard if maybe you also marathoner.

Philip Pape:

Yeah. To our training sessions, CrossFit or something maybe. Yeah, cool, though, I could dig into this stuff all day. I tend to get in the weeds on this. But it's very interesting. I like I like for people to hear these things. Because I think there's a lot of misinformation and a lot of conventional wisdom around what and when you should eat right?

Louise Valentine:

Yeah. And it's so individual. Let me just say that. I had did like a whole training module and my bad aspects Breakthrough Academy on like, how we like what are your health goals? Do you have health challenges? What's your energy? Like? Do you have underlying conditions do you have how long you're training for, you know, what type of training are you doing? It all matters? So just using that lens and those blinders, put the blinders on listeners where you can and focus on you your goals and what your body's needs.

Philip Pape:

Yes, for sure. And feel free to experiment, right? Nothing's set in stone. Try something for a week, try something you know, for a few weeks and switch it up. Very cool. So, so we talked about women, that one other thing comes to mind was thinking of a client who is post menopause and dealing with the weight gain that sometimes comes from that just just indiscriminant quote, unquote, unexplainable weight gain, right? We all think we know what the science says about why you gain and lose weight. But then there's all these other factors that women face with hormones, and then it seems to present as visceral or abdomen abdominal fat as well. What what do we know? about that, and is there anything we can? What do we have to change at that point? To deal with that?

Louise Valentine:

Yeah, yeah. So that would definitely I'd be looking to see like carbohydrate timing, I'd be looking to ensure she's getting enough protein, I would look to alcohol use, just because alcohol could, really seems to push out that abdominal fat. And different strategies if you are because of course, I enjoy alcohol. So I just encourage the different hacks to help to, like prevent that super acidic shift in your body. And then I would also look to, if she was if she had like a good quality multivitamin, because believe it or not, for there's a couple of foundational supplements that I find are just game changers for, especially this age group of women, myself included, is just a really high quality multivitamin. And the reason why being that when we have that blanket of really high quality nutrition, it can cover the gaps, right, potentially, we don't have to worry about all the complicated lab testing, of course, that's beneficial, too. But if we don't have access to that, sometimes just you know, making sure you're getting really great methylated b 12, making sure you have a really high quality magnesium, you're getting enough vitamin D, and then the other one isn't high quality omega. And those two, you'd be amazed. I've had menopausal women that have said that stubborn five pounds, and they're just like, oh my gosh, it's gone. And I'm like, Oh,

Philip Pape:

we changed a couple of things. fish oil pills. Or the magnesium. You're right. It's just like something is deficient.

Louise Valentine:

That biological pathway to burn that fat and to see the gains of your fitness. It just couldn't run. It just needed some sort of precursor, which we just, we don't know what it was. But maybe it was magnesium. Maybe it was vitamin D.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, I like that thought of kind of, if you think of all your vitamins, filling up little buckets, and then a few of them are empty, and you're just kind of passing water over the entire thing and hoping to fill up the right buckets. Yeah. So what was I going to mention about magnesium, magnesium, fish oil, and multivitamins, what you mentioned? What about and then you said v 12? Creatine? What do you think of creatine?

Louise Valentine:

So honestly, it's one of the best studied supplements of all time. And I've personally used it. I, if an individual wants to try it, there's a time and a place sometimes. I mean, is one of them. That is the most research back. So from like a sports scientist perspective. Yeah, it's cool if you want to try

Philip Pape:

it for performance. Okay, so sweet. I want to get into a little bit more about body composition, right? Because we had a little conversation by email about running, and you're big into running, I want to get into that topic with you. I used to love running and kind of stopped altogether. At some point. Don't do it much anymore. But I get why a lot of people love doing it, both for enjoyment and for competition reasons. And I even just worked with a person training for a half marathon. So some people would say then that, you know, I'm the I'm against cardio, right? I'm against cardio, because we focus a lot on strength lifting muscle mass. And there's the whole interference effect with cardio. But I don't really I think it's a little bit overblown. I think if you enjoy it and keep the volume, reasonable, you can make it all work. But I want to hear your take on that. Because I know you're a competitive runner. And you know, you did that after the health diagnoses. I know you work with others and empower them to do that. So tell me about your love for running. Tell me about the benefits everything about running.

Louise Valentine:

So you definitely hit a nail on the head though running, especially this women over 35 population. My goodness, it is the one of the worst forms of exercises for our bodies. You say? No, it really is. And the reason why is because it is stress. Stress is stress, whether it's fear, whether it's exercise, the good stress or bad stress of you know, high stress work week life, but there is a stress tipping point. And when we are go go go all the time. And we add just six days of running on top of it. It is so much for our body. And you know, I saw a lot of health consequences from you know, the fact Yes, I had underlying conditions, but then I was running so much too. So the more I dug into it, the more I shifted to the simple, less is more type of training. It has it was a big game changer for my health for my hormones, like everything started to reverse and and so it is a little hard for those who want to train very religiously six days a week. But if we add just a little bit of strength training in there, they're injury free, they're energized. They have muscles that they love. And you know what, they're stronger runners and they're not tired all the time. And it's just, there is a place there's a place for run thing of course, I love it. But sometimes for my body I know ultra marathons. Not so great anymore. I tend to shy away from the marathon even anymore, maybe one a year. And, and for other women, it's just sort of looking at their physiology, where are they at in their stress in their life and their age two.

Philip Pape:

So tell us, tell us about that experience with a woman who's been into running runs every day. And you're so you're so correct, I think it might have started in the 70s. If you look at the history of exercise, and running, all of a sudden, there was one pivotal book, I don't remember the title, the running revolution or something like that. And it set off everything that along with the Nautilus machines that you see a benefit. For the modern gym in the modern culture, somebody who runs a lot, and then you get them to change their mindset, start incorporating lifting, what does that evolution look like for a lot of women,

Louise Valentine:

it's sometimes a little challenging, I find there's a lot of fear around strength training, just not knowing. And so that's where we work. And we keep it simple. It's amazing how women can do dynamic lifting. And by that, I mean, you can take away from off the floor, kick it up over your shoulder and over your head and you feel powerful, you see incredible results, you have an energy after doing it. And you're not going to break your back, you're not going to get super big muscles. Oh, by the way, your running is going to get stronger. And you're going to see like, great physique changes. So sometimes it takes time. But you know what, I swear, it's just only a few weeks. For most of them, they they're like my husband's commenting about my muscles. And I'm like, they can see the changes in my body and my clothes are fitting great. And oh my gosh, energy when I'm training and, you know, we switch up the workouts, they might have been running, like slow and steady for six days a week. And we'll just add in a little bit of speed work to get that like awesome, like hit effect. It's like you don't have to go to the hit class. You don't have to overdo it. But let's just add in like 32nd intervals. And at the end of your run, oh, wait, by the way, you feel like you're in college again, running track. It's just the most amazing empowered feeling. And women at any age can do it.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, yeah, that's, that's incredible that and within a few weeks, they start to notice do some of them, then they want to branch off and really get into it, you know, with, I don't know, powerlifting or barbell work or any of that kind of you

Louise Valentine:

know, so I would just say that they're they're just more open to things like a clean and press. For some of them. I haven't seen, I haven't seen anyone turned to powerlifting. But more so just realizing the value of how great lifting makes them feel, but also to injury prevention. Doing some targeted running specific exercises are amazing in just not having like that sciatica type pain, your hips aren't always out of alignment, you don't have low back pain, you're over your calf isn't always getting tight, like all of these things start to shift towards Oh, I don't have the aches and pains I have more energy. It's like a very beautiful place to be.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, that is so true. Even if you're if you're listening, and you're even if you're 6065 years old and never trained before, and I've seen it happen, you start training, all of a sudden, the pain starts to go away, right? I have back pain when I started deadlifting or any any hip hinge movements and really same thing, knee pain start squatting is incredible. So what about when we talk about body composition, I'm sure a lot of your clients do have a fat loss goal, right? They're trying to actually go into a cut or fat loss phase at some point, which is going to require caloric restriction. Now you're gonna have other stressors on the body. So where does running fit in there, if it does at all? And I asked that, because a lot of people think or used to think running is the way you burn more calories. And that's how I'm going to accelerate my diet. let's dispel that myth, please.

Louise Valentine:

Yes. So that's the thing, I'll be looking at an individual's, you know, running agenda. And then looking at the fact like, oh, they will do want to also lose weight. So for an individual, I might discourage the marathon and say, Okay, let's work with the half the half marathon seems to be a sweet spot where we can still those longer runs that you enjoy. But if you really want to target it, weight loss phase, I discourage it typically in marathon training, because again, I don't want you losing bone mass, I don't want you burning out. I don't want you feeling like junk every time you go out to run. And that is the reality of weight loss and marathon training for most. Now, if you're morbidly obese, and you're starting a marathon training cycle, it might be a sweet spot, right? You might see weight loss, you're gonna be in a killer sport from it, right? So context matters. But looking at more of those shorter races, maybe off cycling from the half marathon and doing the 5k. Now that's a place where we can lose that you can maintain your running value, you'll get faster for your next marathon, and maybe it's three or four months, or a year kind of off cycle. But hey, that's great for injury prevention, and you look great at the end, and you're faster, you know,

Philip Pape:

Yeah, so it's almost like an offseason on the running to be on Season on the fat loss and then cycled through the other way. Yeah,

Louise Valentine:

yes. Yeah. Probably. Yeah. Yeah, just setting expectations otherwise, that this might be challenging. And we're not going to pull calories from around your training. That's the number one mistake I see. I think is like, I'm just not gonna eat as much after a run. Like, no, let's maybe pull from dinner. Which is really hard for most because we want to eat a dinner.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, for sure. So with the running, do you are your are you actually helping competitive runners prepare for their events, then? Is that a big part of what you do?

Louise Valentine:

So I wouldn't say that I work with a lot of like, super competitive like sponsored runners. I've like I've had an ultra runner who won 100 mile race, she was awesome. We worked a lot on like, mindset type stuff. Being that I can work on a lot of different aspects of health and fitness. I'm trying to think of I don't Well, I've had a more round mindset, honestly, for more of like, the the competitive side. Otherwise, it's it's pretty recreational. But yes, they have genders to Boston qualify, they have time goals, they might want to get a 127 they might want to get a, you know, 259 like this, you know, these obscure times that we all have runners absolutely have to achieve.

Philip Pape:

So yeah, I wouldn't know because I've never been competitive. But yes, I hear what you're saying. Let's take an everyday person, I guess who wants to just be competitive with themselves? Right? They want to get faster. And they're doing races fairly regularly, you know, a couple times a year, what's what's the the best tip you have for them in terms of, I don't know if it's the strength to weight ratio, or how would they get faster.

Louise Valentine:

I think the type of training rounds that you do are essential. But I see it overcomplicated. And from a physiological standpoint, you truly need your aerobic base, which are your easy runs, you need the net includes like your long run to so that's just going to keep that aerobic system going well recommend two speed type workouts, one might be more like a track based, you might do some 800, repeats, do whatever distance you love, maybe love for hundreds, maybe you love mile repeats, and then having what I call a tempo, which is actually a race pace. Most people don't call tempo race pace, but I love to help the runner achieve that feeling of like I have been here, I'd done that this is my race pace. I know what it feels like, I know what to expect. My body is so incredibly capable, I practice it every week of my training block. And that is a really great place from a physiological standpoint, and a mental

Philip Pape:

standpoint. Yeah, that that see, it's like the theory of specificity, right? Like, if you're gonna, if you're gonna go to a powerlifting meet, you got to practice the lifts. If you're gonna run, you're gonna practice at that pace. I mean, it makes sense intuitively, at least to me. Yeah. And then and then for lifting to support running. So let's say your primary goal is the running and the racing. What is the lifting look like for that type of person? I would definitely

Louise Valentine:

recommend at least two days per week. And I have a very specific like strength and conditioning type exercises that I recommend. One is a single sided kettlebell clean and press. I think that is one of the absolute best running exercises you can do. And that's because we never do anything when we're running on two feet is always single legged.

Philip Pape:

Yeah. So unilateral movements, is it a power cleaning press or full cleaning press? So I just kind of off

Louise Valentine:

from the floor? Yeah. Cleaner press fall. Yeah. That and just deadlifts. Anything working posterior chain, really strong glutes, because we're so quad dominant. So I see and tell

Philip Pape:

them tell the ladies, what's the best exercise for glutes.

Louise Valentine:

Honestly, I just want to make sure they're activated and firing in the first place. And so I have them just do like little Donkey Kicks when they're standing as their dynamic warm up day, just to like, know what that feels like to have a powerful kickback. But I mean, we might do like with a, for some very simple, just like a bridge with some weight in from off the floor. reading some habits, hip extension or kettlebell swings is a really great one. Yeah, it's great for power in running extension.

Philip Pape:

Yeah. And the kickbacks, I guess. Yeah, you're right. I mean, running is a power, sport and speed and power sports. So that's great. All right. Is there? Is there anything else you want to share?

Louise Valentine:

I don't think so. I just think that you know, if there are any listeners who are in that discouraging or dark place to know that, you know, you got this and there is always light, it's just having the strategies and the tools to know how to find it. And if you don't, that's where assembling your army of support is going to be your greatest resource, whether that's a coach, whether that's a loved one, whether that's health care providers, so get your army in place, and small steps. You'll get there

Philip Pape:

small steps and Louise can help you get there for sure. So Louise, remind us again where listeners can learn more about you and your work.

Louise Valentine:

Absolutely. So I have breaking through wellness.com It's your one stop shop. I have my blog. out there that talks everything about fighting disease, general physical activity running wellness, and I offer my badass Breakthrough Academy for women 35. And over, and I do a variety of coaching from youth athletes all the way through pro so you can find all events, resources, courses, and that badass Breakthrough Academy at breaking through wellness.com

Philip Pape:

breakthrough wellness.com. I'll include all those links and show notes for the listeners. And Louise. Thank you again for coming on the show. It was a pleasure talking with you.

Louise Valentine:

Thank you so much. It's great to be here.

Philip Pape:

Thank you so much for joining me today. Before you go, I do have a quick favor to ask. If you enjoy the podcast, just let me know by leaving a review in Apple podcasts. This will help others find the podcast in search results, which makes a huge difference. Thanks again for joining me, your host Philip Pape in this episode of Wits & Weights. I'll see you next time and stay strong.

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