A New Attitude Toward Fitness

Susan B. after a strength training workout. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Or, how I learned to love working out…

For most of my life, “fitness” was one of those words that made me bristle. It evoked memories of barking gym teachers and chin-ups and the slightly bitter aftertaste of sanctimony. I’ve been pretty active at various points in my life, but I could never get interested in going to a gym or doing goal-driven workouts.

But…things change. After several decades of working desk jobs, I knew I’d lost strength and mobility. I was worried about losing lean body mass after menopause, as well as osteoporosis and posture problems. Plus, I want to maintain the kind of strength and stamina that come in handy for traveling.

Two years ago I began a weekly private Pilates session, and over time could see subtle improvements in my posture and muscle tone.

But I knew I needed to do more. Last year I began taking Iyengar yoga classes at a local studio and loved it. But then the studio had to close in March due to Covid. I did some online Pilates classes, but missed the regularity of a schedule.

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Stepping up my at-home fitness routine…

A few weeks ago, I wrote that I’d started the Faster Way To Fat Loss program. I decided that rather than just being swept along in the current uncertainty, I’d use this time to focus on something positive, and felt ready to start an at-home fitness routine.

I’ve been doing really well on the program, and by “really well,” I don’t mean I’ve lost weight per the scale. Maybe I have, but I haven’t stepped on the scale in three weeks. (Despite the name of the program, this isn’t a quick weight loss diet.)

I have been following the eating guidelines (which incorporate intermittent fasting and allow a lot of flexibility) and doing the daily 30-minute workouts. I’ve already increased the weights I’m using in the workouts, and have more stamina. Below, my little “family” has grown!

Hand weights, kettlebell, mats and yoga blocks for at-home fitness program. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

The workouts vary from HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to strength training to “recovery” (Pilates or yoga). It all sounds a bit intimidating, but they demonstrate each of the moves beforehand and offer a low-impact or gentle movement alternative. I’ve really come to enjoy the workouts, and love how energized I feel afterward!


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“I eat healthy and walk 10,000 steps a day and I STILL can’t get rid of this menopausal belly!” 🌸I hear this complaint from my girlfriends and peers all the time! and I get it because I WAS there. I know that frustration of STRIVING without the reward. I did all the workouts, bar classes, long walks and hikes for years! And I was ACTIVE just like you! 🌺Turns out, I was basically playing Whack-A-Mole with my own strategies for managing midlife menobelly. And that was no way to enjoy life.Striving sucks! 🌈 If you are still struggling to feel good in your skin these days, get your health under control, or just button your shorts comfortably, 🩳I am WITH YOU. This has been a tough year but it’s also an OPPORTUNITY 💪🏻. I invite you to join my upcoming six week community round of The FASTer Way to Fat Loss. We start on Monday, August 24th And THIS is how you’ll get your mojo back, sister. 🌸There’s a link in my bio to register for the six weeks new client experience. You can read more about the program through that link, or dm me to schedule a 15 minute call so I can encourage you on your journey. 🌈Registration is closing soon. I so want to support you on your midlife health journey! ❤️

A post shared by Karen Karlsen (@karenmkarlsen) on

My friend Karen has been my biggest cheerleader in getting started and sticking with the program. She’s completed the training and passed the (rigorous) exam to become a FWFL coach. And here’s your chance to have her coach you too…there’s a session starting up Monday, August 24th, and by using the link below, you’ll be enrolled in her group!

I may never be a “gym rat” but I feel like this is something I can stick with that will have long-term benefits. I love being able to workout right at home, and 30 minutes is a workable chunk of time.

My diet was pretty healthy to start, but now I feel lighter and more energetic, and am not perpetually hungry! That’s a first for me. So I’m going to stick with this, and encourage you to give it a try.

What’s your favorite at-home fitness routine?

Stay in touch.

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  1. Susan
    August 20, 2020 / 1:23 am

    When diagnosed with osteporosis (borderline) of lower spine, my physiotherapist gave me a muscle strengthening programme using rubber bands and light weights. I combine these with my walking and luckily have a pool at home, swimming. I am too lazy to be locked into a gym membership and like the flexibility of a home fitness routine. Over the past two months I have increased my walking to approx 10 to 15kms per day, combined with a strict no to low fat diet (due to functional dyspepsia), my thighs are much trimmer and Inhave dropped 3kgs. When younger, I loved aerobics and step aerobics, which I had to ditch due to neck osteoarthritis. Good luck Susan with your new home workout routine.

  2. August 20, 2020 / 4:14 am

    I wouldn’t call my routine a favourite program. I am doing it because I know my body needs it if I want be able to move as I grow older. But I still don’t like it.

  3. Suzanne Dzula Adams by
    August 20, 2020 / 4:55 am

    Through my health insurance, I joined a personal weight loss plan called Real Appeal. I lost 30 lbs last year with the plan by changing my diet–healthy choices, portion control, tracking. At the time I glossed over the fitness aspect of the plan. Recently I was diagnosed with pretty bad osteoporosis, I’m 51. So I pulled out the Real Appeal exercise DVDs and now do 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week of cardio, strength training and stretch. Like you said Susan, 30 minutes at home is doable and the overall benefits are undeniable. Good luck with your program! We are worth it!

  4. ann
    August 20, 2020 / 5:51 am

    Weight Watchers, or WW, is my program. I have been an active member 3 times over 35 years, when my weight creeps up 15 pounds and I cant control it on my own, I join up. For exercise, there are so many workouts on You Tube and Prime TV and Netflix, or I walk and do Pilates. All the weight loss programs work if you work them, but WW seems to reap the lasting benefits. I would never do a program that restricts certain foods or requires me to buy their food. It’s a struggle for so many of us, we’re smart and capable but the weight thing seems to be the thing we wrestle with. I commend anyone on any program for realizing that being overweight or under healthy can be managed!

  5. Laurie
    August 20, 2020 / 7:22 am

    Thanks for your post today. I had a dexascan earlier in the week and suspect that it will show that I have osteoporosis. I’m fairly active and walk about 40 minutes a day. I also do Classical Stretch a couple times a week. But, I am pretty sure I need to incorporate some weight training to keep my bones strong. I need to do some more research on this. For our diet, my husband and I eat the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle. We’ve been eating this way for over three years. This plan is healthy, balanced, weight-loss friendly, and most importantly sustainable. Our blood work looks great!

    • Susan
      August 20, 2020 / 7:26 am

      The weight training is designed to build muscle strength which in turn can protect the muscles. For really strong bones, you need to do hard weight bearing exercises such as running. Also, ensure you have adequate calcium intake which is needed for strong bones.

      • Susan Blakey
        August 20, 2020 / 7:32 am

        There’s an aerobic component to this program too, but unfortunately high-impact activities like running are out for me due to a hip replacement 12 years ago. And I walk daily (probably will increase now that we have an energetic dog!)

        • Laurie
          August 22, 2020 / 4:22 am

          I can’t do high impact activities either and calcium supplements really upset my stomach. Hopefully my doctor will have some good options for me. Your dog is adorable! Enjoy your walks!

  6. Marilyn
    August 20, 2020 / 7:56 am

    This year I joined the Kenzai program. I hadn’t been doing anything exercise wise for a while. It’s an online fitness program/App you can do anywhere. There are daily workouts, lessons, personalized diets, and trainers you have access to for questions. I just finished their Nutrition and Lockdown program. I feel like I’m getting back on track again.

    Last year I tried Noom but didn’t like having to call in to chat weekly. I liked the food recommendations but the lessons were sent throughout the day in the App and started to be too much reading(more of an annoyance). I’m not sure if they still run it the same way. I think it was really worthwhile to try. I may sign-up again to just use the app.

  7. Judy Bell
    August 20, 2020 / 8:01 am

    Although I haven’t yet joined the Faster Way to Weight Loss program, I started intermittent fasting early this year, on January 6th, after several fashion bloggers mentioned they were doing the program. What a life changing experience it’s been for me! I’ve lost 44 pounds and I now work out for an hour each day, AND I actually look forward to it. Gin Stephens’ book, Delay, Don’t Deny, was a great starting point for me, and I recommend reading it. I read the entire book in one sitting.

  8. Ainsivalavie
    August 20, 2020 / 10:39 am

    I also do intermittent fasting combined with a lower carb diet (not KETO because it’s too hard on the older kidneys and its just not sustainable) IF has been an eye opener. I’ve done long fasts but find my sweet spot is 18-22 hours a day. I have lost some weight but I feel better too! Ultimately it all boils down to what you can live with in the long term both for diet and exercise. I do know that you do NOT have to run to increase bone strength, lifting heavier weights (heavy, meaning one you can lift to fatigue 10-12 times) doing weight bearing exercise, walking yes/swimming no..to lose weight HIIT exercise is great. Short work outs that burn up fat, increase the metabolism and only need be done 3 times a week and make you sweat because the most important muscle of all is in your chest and it needs regular work outs to keep it healthy (of course you do need to stretch, walk..MOVE on other days!) I think women lose sight of the myriad of activities that are not ‘gym’ based. Dancing, cycling, ta chi, yoga, swimming are all great activities for the older woman and each has different benefits to offer, mix it up! My belly dancing class has a couple of rockin’ 80 yera olds! The older body needs to concentrate on balance, flexibility and strength as it ages. Look to exercise to preserve functional mobility not to slim your hips. Much better to be a strong functional, flexible senior with a generous derriere than a skinny old babe in a wheel chair!

  9. Wren M
    August 20, 2020 / 3:01 pm

    You are inspiring me on top of the fact that I’ve finally scared myself into doing more. I was a 3x/week gym devotee but since March, all I’ve done is walk almost every day and yoga several times a week. I thought I would play catch-up at the gym by doing weights and elliptical when gyms reopened, however, I don’t see that happening any time soon. I need to ramp it up on my own with a home practice, get a set of weights in various sizes and then get into a routine. It’s not going to be easy or fun but the alternative is worse.

  10. Peta Ker
    August 20, 2020 / 3:52 pm

    Hello from Sunny Sydney Australia! Love the website and the content 🙂 It’s been tough in lockdown to create a new plan when I realised most of my fitness activities relied on other people pushing / relying / cheerleading me and other external factors (ie walking to the train station, stairs at work etc.) so it’s been a real adjustment to get in my 10k steps and keep up weights and aerobic activities. What’s worked for me is planning my weekly schedule and being kind to myself. If I don’t manage to do the planned activity for that day, I review at the end of the week and see what needs to change. Then I also mix it up every four weeks and change my routines. I love a list! So ticking off my 10k and exercise every day is giving me a tiny thrill. I love getting tips from other people, so thanks everyone for your thoughts.

  11. Francesca B.
    August 20, 2020 / 4:43 pm

    Congratulations Susan I love the mindset. I do my arm weights in front of the television and yoga in the morning and then I walk for about 4 miles when I can get outside so I do something every day. Very hot here and smokey so I am keeping inside. Still finding it very hard to get rid of the middle age tummy weight and the extra pounds but I think that is due to terrible insomnia.No longer taking sleeping pills just living with it:(

  12. LeeAnn
    August 20, 2020 / 6:02 pm

    You’ve inspired me (yet again!), and today I started tracking macros, considering intermittent fasting, and I got back on the exercise wagon. It’s been quite a day–I had my color analysis appointment this afternoon, and it was a stunning revelation. For decades I thought I was a Winter, but it turns out I’m a warm Autumn. Mind blown.

    • Susan Blakey
      August 20, 2020 / 6:06 pm

      Ooh, I’ll bet that’s a gorgeous palette! Have fun trying out your new colors…

  13. Cheryl
    August 20, 2020 / 7:10 pm

    I so admire your determination.
    During the lockdown, I had access to tons of videos that my gym made available for members. Did I do any of them? Except for a few yoga and meditation ones, no.
    I’m back at my gym ( my state, Georgia, highest Covid rates in the country, has opened gyms), and thankfully, it’s huge and everyone wears masks. So, I’m cautiously going back for workouts.
    But, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t do more when I had all that time at home…
    Thank you for the continued inspiration, Susan.

  14. Karen
    August 21, 2020 / 6:22 am

    Sorry this isn’t pertinent to this particular post – you’ve posted several times about people masquerading as you online, telling your blog content. When I saw this Instagram post (directing toward a podcast) on what to do if someone copies all or part of your business, I thought you might be interested. I don’t know anything about this person, but perhaps it would be helpful??? https://www.instagram.com/p/CD_f6zNpc1m/

    • Susan Blakey
      August 21, 2020 / 6:25 am

      Thanks! I’ll check it out.

  15. Jane2
    August 21, 2020 / 7:46 am

    It’s so energizing to find something that we can stick with!

    For me, it’s live Zoom classes from a YWCA 150 miles away that specializes in fitness for people over 50, including classes for people with osteoperosis. I like the casual before and after class interaction for a few minutes – just like a real class, only I can get up from my chair and saunter over to the tv with my coffee 2 minutes before the workout begins. I keep to the routine and am stronger than I was before March.

    Sure I wish I could go to the pool and do what I want to do. But this has actually made me more disciplined and forced me to do things good for me (squats) and I stick with it.

  16. Lagatta de Montréal
    August 22, 2020 / 11:45 am

    I bet your lively new doggie will be a great exercise and energy booster!

  17. Gwynne
    August 26, 2020 / 4:16 pm

    I have been loving Pahla B’s fitness channel on YouTube all summer. So positive and manageable. Highly recommend.

    • Wren
      August 27, 2020 / 10:46 am

      Hi Gwynne, I took a look at Pahla B and I love her outlook and energy! I’m going to try some videos and with my “friend” Adriene for yoga, will have a more complete regimen along with walking.Thank you for the suggestion.

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