Today’s interview is a special one for women only. In fact, the trainer I interview here specializes in helping women over the age of 40 to lose fat. Here name is Shawna Kaminski. Enjoy the interview.
Q: My guest today is Shawna Kaminski, a physical education teacher, Master Trainer, and author of the Female Fat Loss Over 40 program. Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview, Shawna. For our readers who don’t know you yet, what can you tell us about your experience in fitness and nutrition? How long have you been involved in this field and what led you to choose it as your career?
SK (stands for Shawna Kaminski): Thanks for the opportunity to share with you and your readers , Jonathan.
I’ve always been involved in fitness in some capacity. I was a competitive swimmer for 12 years, I did freestyle skiing for a couple of years and then I got into bodybuilding for several more years. I competed nationally in all three of these disciplines, so I was always very serious and competitive. I always loved the physical challenges that sport provided. It was a great character builder, and of course it was a great way to keep my body in shape.
I learned a great deal about my body and nutrition through sport.
As I aged, I could see that my body was aging better than my counterparts. They were all asking for help and I saw the need to address their issues. This and the fact that I could see the same issues coming up with my off-line boot camp clients; I saw the need to find a way to help. So, I created a program that could help those that weren’t physically training with me.
I was a PE teacher for 20 years. I have a passion for helping anyone find a healthy lifestyle. Over the years, my passion changed from helping children to helping their parents. But it’s always been a passion of mine to share how good I feel in my own skin with others so they too can enjoy health and wellness.
SK: Women in this demographic have lots in common. About 2/3’s of women will gain between 10-15 lb during menopause. However, it has to more do with lifestyle than hormone changes. In fact, those who are vigorously active have less likelihood to gain weight. Weight gain isn’t a medically documented symptom, but is rather a result of lifestyle for 10-15 years PRIOR to the start of menopause. Many BELIEVE the metabolism slows down with menopause, but this isn’t the case.
Metabolism tends to slow down, but it’s due to loss of muscle tone that leads to the slow down, not hormone changes per se. In fact, it starts earlier than menopause. In sedentary women, 1-2% of lean muscle tone is lost per decade. This means that up to 10-15 lbs of muscle is replaced by fat. Fat is dead weight, that is it isn’t metabolically active and requires few calories to maintain. Sedentary women start trading muscle for fat in their twenties and thirties, they only start to notice changes at menopause.
This weight gain tends to be centered around the abdomen and can lead to health concerns. Lower estrogen levels that occur with menopause are associated with loss of subcutaneous fat and gain of visceral fat.
Visceral fat is located around organs inside the abdomen and deeper in the body than subcutaneous fat, thus any weight gain appears to be around the waist. Women develop “insulin resistance” which means their bodies tend to store fat instead of burning calories. This is highly correlated to cardiovascular disease, like heart disease and strokes. Other factors involved in creating the middle age spread or weight gain include hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, dietary concerns and nutritional imbalances, high cortisol levels caused by stress. Women need a program that will address each of these concerns.
Here’s what’s going on with our hormones that may cause weight gain: the ovaries produce less estrogen and the body starts searching for other places to compensate or fill up for the deficit. The fat cells in our body can generate estrogen, so the body works harder to convert calories into fat to increase estrogen levels. Unlike the muscle cells in our body, the fat cells don’t burn calories, which causes the accumulation of those unwanted pounds and the body ends up storing more fat than it used to.
It can be harder to lose weight as a woman approaches menopause, but it’s always possible. It does require more commitment as we get older and more intensity with exercise and more dedication with proper diet is needed.
SK: You’ll find both. There is a list of exercises and a video library of how to do the exercises correctly, but a workout program to guide you accompanies it. You’ll also find video workouts and an audio program to use to help you with timing of certain workouts.
Q: Does the program put more emphasis to exercise than for nutrition?
SK: My program has both an exercise component and a nutrition component. One is just as important than the other.
Q: In your experience, what are some of the workout mistakes that women make and what do they need to change to burn body fat quickly?
SK: The biggest mistake I see women doing is CARDIO, long slow boring and time consuming cardio. This does little to burn fat and actually can increase stress hormones that can contribute to weight gain.
Q: On your site you say that women over the age of 40 do not have to see their metabolism slow, as many experts state. What are some of the steps women need to take in order to maintain a high metabolism as they get older?
SK: The most important thing women over 40 can do is resistance train to increase lean muscle tone. This doesn’t mean that a woman needs to join or anything. Bodyweight training and light resistance training is enough to help build and maintain some lean muscle. Muscle is metabolically active, that is, it requires calories to maintain it. This helps to keep the metabolism stoked and burning rather than tanking.
Q: In your program you have a short report on how to improve sleep. What role does adequate sleep play in a fat loss process?
SK: Sleep is paramount in helping the body repair and in minimizing those stress hormones that cause fat accumulation around the middle.
SK: My program is geared for women approaching and in their 40’s and beyond because I understand the concerns that plague them, I’m living them as well. Just knowing that others are dealing with and winning the battle is encouraging to many women. My program is different because it’s realistic. I take into account a woman’s lifestyle and schedule. I make it easy to get in short and effective workouts without a ton of expensive and specialized equipment. The nutrition plan is also realistic and ‘doable’.
Q: I’m sure many women are wondering how demanding this program is. How many times a week do you need to exercise in your program and for how long each time?
SK: My program suggests training 3-5 times per week. It’s all about intensity. To get results that a woman has never had, she needs to do things she’s never done. This is a hard workout, but the good news is that it’s short, between 15-40 min max. And intensity is a relative thing – for the unconditioned person, they’ll be able to complete the workout at their own level and pace while the conditioned person will do the same workout, but the volume or density will increase. That is, she may do more ‘reps’ in the same time frame, or she may be doing the more ‘advanced’ version of the workout.
Q: What made you decide to create this program?
SK: I created this program to help all those women that I can’t train in person. I just wanted to be able to reach a larger audience since not everyone can get to my boot camp or train with me personally.
Q: What tips can you give to women who struggle with keeping up with the exercises and not drop out?
SK: Working out is a daily decision and choice. ‘Just show up’ at your workout daily is what I always say. Before long it will become a habit. Finding something that a woman likes to do is really important and making it as convenient as possible in terms of time/travel is helpful too. Getting a training friend or accountability partner can help. In the end, it’s a matter of priorities and just putting fitness and health at the top of the list and not the bottom.
Q: Any advice to help women get started right?
SK: Obviously I should say that a woman should jump on board my program or coaching program, but I won’t. What I suggest is for women to head to my blog (www.FemaleFatLossOverForty.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this interview with Shawna Kaminski. You can check out her program here: Female Fat Loss Over 40.