The Big M – Guest Post By Garagegym107

Meet Michelle Simpson of Garagegym107:  Certified Trainer, Body-for-Life Champion and all around tough chick.  I met this beautiful role model through the ever-generous blogosphere, and feel so blessed to call her my friend.

Not only does she have 12 YEARS of the clean living lifestyle under her belt, she is now 50, and one of the wisest mentors I’ve found.  She speaks from the heart and puts daily living of this life into a perspective we can all relate to.

She’s here with us today, as promised, to talk frankly about her experience with a phase of life that some of us have already lived, some are approaching and others (like me) are a tad bit terrified of.  Menopause.  And there won’t be any whining, so get ready for the tough part of this awesome chick – the attitude check – so fasten your seat belts, ’cause you’re about to get learned!


The Big M

Michelle Simpson | Garagegym107


For the men in my blogosphere this post is for the women in your life, but if you want some guidance spoken from experience read on.

The subject line has double meaning for this post.  Middle-age and menopause.  Two topics no-one seems to want to do anything but complain about. Seriously.  It’s no fun waking up in the morning every day and realizing your youth has slipped away, you’ve crossed the invisible line people refer to as middle-aged.  If you are a female you can tack the word menopause on to middle-age and create a few more reasons to complain, well that is if you are an excuse making complainer :). In most areas of my life I’ve come to the conclusion chronic complaining only makes EVERYTHING less enjoyable and I prefer to enjoy life instead.

I used to chase physical progress day in and day out.  As I creep toward my 51st year, everything has taken on new meaning. Functional fitness as I age is paramount and looking good as I age has become a by-product of that functional fitness.

Hitting middle age is no cake walk.  I used to hear the saying “getting old isn’t for sissies” and there is a lot of truth to that statement. As I have aged, the realities of the process at times can be difficult and I fully understand why people grasp on to any excuse they can to remain unhealthy. It’s hard pushing your body when old man time is coming for you.

Let me caveat this next section by saying clearly I am not a doctor, I don’t play a doctor on the internet and my comments are based on my own personal experiences only.

I’ve been doing a little reading on menopause, looking for the average age, symptoms, etc. just to see how my experiences compare.  I searched the average age of menopause. The number one factor is the age of your mother when she went through it. Well that’s all well and good, but my mom had a hysterectomy in her 40’s, no data point there. So not having that information, I am going with the average age of a Caucasian woman is 51.5 which is right in line with what’s changing for me. It differs by ethnicity so you’ll want to do some homework if your mom’s history isn’t involved. You are not considered fully in menopause until you’ve gone a full 12 months with no cycle or spotting. Over the past year, my cycle doesn’t know if it’s coming or going. That was my first big noticeable indicator as I’ve always been a 28 day cycle person.

What’s changed for me?  Here is the list in no particular order.

  • Working harder in the gym for less noticeable change
  • Disrupted and lighter sleep patterns
  • Any alcohol triggers hot flashes
  • It takes a little longer to get charged up in the sack (this doesn’t mean less interested)
  • My body is less and less carb tolerant resulting is quicker weight gain
  • Hard workouts take longer recovery time

Things that have not happened to me, but I hear menopause being used as an excuse for. I am absolutely certain I’ll get some hate mail for the following.

  • Obnoxious rudeness, be it in real life and/or in cyber space
  • Extreme bitching for no apparent reason (yes I said it)
  • Major weight gain caused by physical inactivity
  • Major weight gain caused by excessive eating and/or drinking
  • Denial that one is still in control of one’s body

I’ve made the conscious decision to avoid hormone replacement therapy and bio-identical hormones for now.  Does that mean I won’t change my mind later?  Negative.  It means I’m going to manage my symptoms as long as possible via clean unprocessed eating and by omitting alcohol and sugar the majority of the time.  As long as it’s working, I will stay the course. In the meantime, I will continue to study up on the options as a safety net.

In my humble opinion, as with most things related to being a woman, we’ve been filled to the brim with market data of what we should look like, what we should wear, what we should do to be considered successful, therefore, what we have been told what to expect as far as menopause, so we should buy into that as well.

I’ve never been a status-quo woman, I won’t start now.