17 March 2023

Building Lean Muscle Mass: How to Combat the Decline of Oestrogen during Menopause

Author: Amy Lombard, Exercise Scientist and Women's Health and Fitness Coach, Amy Elle Coaching

The Role of Oestrogen

Oestrogen is the queen of all hormones when it comes to women’s health. It plays a crucial role in regulating a number of physiological processes, including the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and menopause, as well as maintaining bone health, cardiovascular health and maintaining muscle mass.

This is why, during menopause, the risk for osteopenia increases as calcium absorption into bones decreases. Oestrogen’s role in maintaining muscle mass is also dampened as women reach menopause and this is often the cause of women noticing a decline in their overall strength.

Oestrogen also plays a role in the distribution of body fat and helps to promote the storage of fat in the hips, thighs, and buttocks – that “pear-shaped” figure. However, when the levels of oestrogen decline, such as during menopause, the body’s fat distribution may shift, leading to more fat being stored in the abdominal area – the “apple-shaped” figure. Excess fat around the midline is associated with a higher risk of health problems including metabolic disorders, diabetes and heart disease.

But it’s not all doom and gloom ladies, because here’s what you can do about it, whatever age you’re at!

Strength training will help you maintain and build muscle mass having a positive effect on your body composition and metabolism. It’ll also help prevent osteopenia and improve your bone density, mobility and strength.
Aim for:
● Strength training 2-3x per week for 30-45mins

● A weight that is challenging for 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions

● Ensure safe technique to avoid injuries

Eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can help to promote overall health and well-being during menopause.
Aim to:
● Prioritise protein in every meal to support muscle mass synthesis

● Load up on plenty of fresh veggies

● Choose whole grain or complex carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa, wholemeal pasta

Lifestyle Changes
Quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, prioritising sleep and managing stress levels will also help to alleviate menopausal symptoms and promote overall health and well being.
Aim to:
● Choose your occasions when it comes to alcohol, it should be something you do occasionally

● Not skimp out on good quality sleep! 7-8hr every night to promote recovery, hormone regulation, mental & emotional wellbeing and a whole heap of other metabolic processes!

● Prioritise self-care practices, mindfulness and self-compassion to lower stress levels AND because you deserve to feel your best.

If any of this resonates with you and you’re ready to reclaim your health and fitness so that you can feel vibrant, confident and unstoppable, I’m here to help.

You can get in touch or find out more about how I help my clients below.

Amy Lombard
Qualified Exercise Scientist & Women’s Health & Fitness Coach
0493 362 249
Instagram @amy.elle.coaching