Simple Strength for Women
Bodyweight Strength Training for Women after Recovering from Hypothalamic Amenorrhea
This program is meant for women who have been on a 3-12 month hiatus from working out.
If you had Hypothalamic Amenorrhea...
- You knew you needed to rest a lot to help your body heal, but you missed working out.
- You missed the positive energy you used to get from movement.
- You missed the dopamine boost exercising gives you. There's nothing quite like that!
- You may have become more sedentary and as a result, more tight.
Now that you're healthy, you can start incorporating more exercise into your life again. This is a good idea, because
- Strength training is incredibly important for the musculoskeletal system of the human body (given that we're hormonally healthy!)
- Strong bodies have strong bones (as long as you ovulate!!) and healthy metabolism
- Human beings are designed to move. In moderation, though!
But I also know that you're a little scared to start working out again, because you don't want to ruin your health again. You want to keep your period, stay away from injuries, and feel energized.
This strength training program is what you need to get back to working out safely.
I know that you don't want to lose your period again. Remember how you felt when you were still in recovery? You used to...
- Worry like crazy every day, asking yourself if you'll ever see your period and be healthy again
- Blame yourself for training so much that you lost your period
- Wonder if you're ever be able to become a mom
- Spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on doctors' visits (often only to hear that "you're absolutely okay")
- Freak out because you thought you may actually have a brain tumor
- Worry if you ate enough and the right things to recover
- Wonder if you should go on the Pill to fix this (I'm glad you didn't!)
- Try out different remedies from herbs and supplements to acupuncture, in hopes to recover faster
- Worry about your future bone health
- Feel like your body isn't yours.
Simple Strength for Women is a safe and healthy strength training program, that helps you to get back to working out AND keep your period.
Simple Strength for Women is also the perfect program if you're coming back after an injury. You don't want to get hurt again!
Simple Strength for Women allows you to find that great balance between training and proper rest and recovery. Your goal should be to do enough to get stronger, while maintaining good health.
You want to get back to training, but you have no idea how to start again?
You've come to the right place, because this is exactly what this program is about.
I know first hand how confusing restarting your workouts can be. Why? Because I messed it up too at first! Here's how:
- I started lifting too heavy weights too soon and hurt my back. I didn't realize that first, I needed to build the foundation back up again before I was ready to life heavy again.
- I started running too soon and my cycles got too long and I lost my sleep again.
- I tried some HIIT too soon, which felt horrible because I had lost a lot of conditioning. It also affected my sleep negatively.
For a while, my training was very inconsistent, because every once in a while, I would do too much and get really exhausted. Sometimes I needed couple of weeks off because I had wanted to do too much. Luckily, I listened to my body and gave myself this much needed break with no guilt (talk about mindset shift!).
It wasn't until I started training with just bodyweight, doing very similar workouts to what you can see in this program, that I was able to...
- Keep a consistent workout schedule. It became very rare that I needed to take long time off - I no longer burned myself out.
- Keep my cycle regular, with the length fluctuating only 2-3 days (which is huge for me as mine was never super regular even before HA)
- Recover well. Because I left plenty of time between my workouts, I had the time to fully recover
- Maintain my sleep. When I slowed down, stopped trying HIIT and running, focused on simple strength exercises, my sleep went back to normal
- Get really strong. I'm able to do chin ups although I'm about 20lbs heavier than I was when I still had HA!
- Treat my food as fuel. I understand that I need to eat well if I want to perform well in my workouts and recover well. My workouts are no longer about burning more and more calories
- Feel energized after my workouts. This one was totally new to me, as I had been used to being completely exhausted and drained after I was done with my workouts. Not anymore!
Simple Strength for Women is a detailed, actionable 16-week workout program that comes with a warm-up routine, specific exercises with written descriptions and video demonstrations, exact sets and reps you should aim for, and estimated time frames, so you know approximately how long each workout is going to take.
This program will provide you techniques, exercises and workouts that you need to do, to build the most foundational, functional strength and safely get back to working out after 3-12 months long break.
By following this program, you will
- Build full-body strength gradually and purposefully, by using only your bodyweight
- Have enough rest and recovery time that is as important as working out
- Stay hormonally healthy
- Stay injury-free
- Put on muscle
- Learn to work out without getting extremely exhausted but in a way that increases your energy
- Get stronger, healthier, and feel better!
After completing this program, you have built a strong foundation that allows you to move on to more intense and higher volume workouts if you wish to do so.
Your workouts should help you get healthier and leave you energized!
What This Program Is Not:
- Fat loss or weight loss program. Decrease in body fat percentage or bodyweight may happen, but they are not the focus of this program
- HIIT program. In this program, you're getting stronger without high intensity or high impact workouts
- Post-natal workout program. Most of these exercises are safe for post-natal women, but this is not a specific post-natal program. If you recently had a baby and want to use this program, please talk to your doctor before you start.
- "Quick fix" program that promises fast results, lean abs or huge weight loss!
As an extra bonus, you can also find a section about how to eat sustainably, without ever dieting again.
In this part, you'll learn
- What you should know and pay attention to, regarding your eating habits after you've overcome Hypothalamic Amenorrhea
- How to change your thinking if you're still focusing on weight loss
- "Overshoot" and what to do about it
- My 5-tip roadmap for healthy, sustainable nutrition that fuels your body and never leads to deprivation
- Mindset tips that help you find the most sustainable, healthy and loving relationship with your body!
Not sure if this program is for you?
It is, if...
1. You Had Hypothalamic Amenorrhea in the Recent Past
Did you have hypothalamic amenorrhea (loss of period due to over exercising and/or under eating), so you needed to take a break from working out to bring your hormones back to balance and restore your menstrual cycle?
If so, you're probably looking for a safe way to get back to working out and getting stronger again, while keeping your hormones healthy and your period coming back every month.
This program is exactly what you've been looking for.
It's a great foundational program that, once completed, allows you to move on to other, higher intensity and/or volume workout plans later on, if you wish to do so.
Note that you should have had at least 3 post recovery cycles before starting this program.
One of my students, a business coach Chelsea Schroder, after her workouts!
2. You Had Other Overtraining/Burnout Symptoms
You didn't lose your period, but you experienced other overtraining symptoms, like constant fatigue, difficulty recovering, sleep issues, brain fog, irritability, low libido and more?
You likely burned yourself out from too much cardio and/or HIIT training and/or too high training volume. This program is great for you because it doesn't involve HIIT or long cardio. The workouts are only 20-40 minutes long, with enough recovery breaks between the exercises.
With this program, you will maintain your strength while you're fully recovering from your symptoms.
3. You Are Recovering from an Injury
This workout plan will work great for you if you need to avoid high impact and high intensity workouts due to an injury that you just recently recovered from.
You can still strengthen your body in a healthy, functional way, as shown in this program. However, please talk to your doctor, physical therapist or a chiropractor before you start this program.
4. You Had a Long Break from Working Out for Another Reason
If you used to work out in the past but ended up taking a break for another reason that was not mentioned above, this program helps you to get back to working out safely, without overdoing it.
You will build a great foundation that will help you to move on other, higher intensity or higher volume workouts later, if you wish to do so.
"I have recommended for many years now, including in my hypothalamic amenorrhea recovery book, "No Period. Now What?" that women who restore periods wait for at least three cycles before considering making any changes to recovery eating and exercise habits. But when someone hits that three period mark, besides it being a huge reason for celebration, it leads to a lot of questions - "well, now what?"
Kersten has come up with a great answer. She has designed a program specifically for those looking to get back into strength training after hypothalamic amenorrhea. This is a great set of exercises that will help you build strength and stamina over the course of the next three months. She starts slow and easy and encourages you to keep track of your menstrual cycle and how you're feeling to help judge when it's okay to move to the next step. In my "Life After HA" FB support group, there have been a number of women who have taken this course, maintained their menstrual cycles, and posted about how valuable the guidance is.
She also includes a section on nutrition. The focus here is on taking a look at your new habits and evaluating if they are serving you and your body for the long term. It's not about weight loss or restriction, but rather about ensuring balance, sustainability, and a continued freedom around eating.
If you have recently recovered from amenorrhea, this is a fantastic and worthwhile next step, to help you move with confidence into YOUR life after recovery."
Dr Nicola Rinaldi, author of No Period, Now What
"Once again, I'm feeling awesome and energized after my workout!"
- Chelsea Schroeder, business coach, Simple Strength for Women student
"It's amazing. I go to the gym, I feel excited. When I'm done, I feel satisfied. I feel like I worked hard but I don't feel guilty for doing too much for where my body is at right now. It releases the endorphins, without the cardio!"
- Morgan Skatz, Simple Strength for Women student
"After completing the program, I felt confident to lift weights again, but in the process I learned to be patient and to take things gradually with my training".
- Vicky Agnew, Simple Strength for Women student
Have a question about the program? It may be answered below!
What do I need to do these workouts?
1) your own body :) as it's all bodyweight!
2) a box or a bench to step on
3) a bar that's about your chest or navel height. A barbell that's safely in the rack, or a Smith machine will work. If you don't have it, you can even use a desk or a table top! Check out this example.
4) access to a pull up bar. You can also get a doorway pull up bar.
How much time do these workout take?
Depending on the day, from 20 to 40 minutes. They are shorter at the beginning of the workout, and longer towards the end of the 16-week program.
How many workouts are there per week?
During the first phase that lasts 4 weeks, there are two workouts per week. Starting phase 2, there are three workouts per week.
Note that if your workout break wasn't too long and you feel really good, you may want to go right into three workouts per week. However, I recommend that you are really careful with it, and go back to two workouts per week if you find yourself too exhausted, if you start getting sleep issues, if your cycle gets longer than usual, or if you experience other signs that tell you that you might be stressing your body out too much.
What if I feel too tired to do the second or third workout of the week?
Take a day off 100% guilt free, and work out once you're rested.
What if I do lose my period while doing this program?
I don't think you will, if you do the program exactly as prescribed.
But, note that sometimes when we add physical exercise back to our routine after several months of not doing much, it may affect our cycles. Couple of days fluctuation is generally nothing to worry about, but if the fluctuation is greater than that, it's time to take a break.
Remember that one thing you can do to ensure your period keeps coming back is to eat enough. When you start working out again, you're already burning calories. Cutting back on your food would mean losing calories even further. Your body may perceive it as double stress. So please, keep eating the way you did, don't skip meals, go on diets or try to reduce your food intake in other ways.
But what about my nutrition? How should I eat?
I recommend that you don't intentionally cut your calories when doing this program. You can take more intuitive approach to eating, and you find tips for that in this program as well.
On the left, I worked out 6-7 days a week. On my vacations, I doubled this number!
On the right, I'm working out 3-4 days a week, doing bodyweight workouts. I'm stronger than I was before, I'm healthier and I get my period every month.
I trained hard for years. At the end of 2016, it all came together when I started feeling more and more burned out. I was constantly exhausted, had to quit my workouts half-way, and eventually, lost my workout motivation, which had never happened to me before.
Of course, I didn't have period... I hadn't had it since 2007, so 10 years!
I wish I had trained smarter, not harder back then, and focused on strength instead of always trying to burn more calories. I wish I had trained more like I'm training now, because I'm feeling much better, and of course, have my period.
This program is hormone-friendly and a great solution for you, because
- You don't want to lose your period again. Getting it back wasn't the most fun thing you've done in your life, right? Do you remember those feelings of hopelessness and frustration when you were wondering, will you ever get it back? You did get it back, even if you lost hope at some point, but you don't want to go through the same journey again. These workouts help you to get strong without you losing your period again.
- You may want to get pregnant. Maybe that was the main reason why you really needed your period and ovulation back! Now you need to keep them. But you also want to get physically stronger. This program helps you to get there.
- You don't want to feel exhausted all the time. Remember how tired you were when you were always working out a lot? You felt guilty if you skipped a day, even though you were tired. This program will show you that there is way more balanced approach to exercise. The workouts give you the little muscle burn you love, without leaving you depleted after you've finished. You actually feel energized when you're done, which may seem almost odd at first and make you think whether you should do some more (you don't!)
- You want your bone density back. If you didn't have a period for years, there's a good chance that your bone health has decreased. But as you recover from HA, you can reverse this. The great thing is that you don't have to avoid working out for that to happen! You can still work out, but you need to do it so that you're able to maintain a healthy cycle and keep getting your ovulation and period every month.
- You want to sleep well. Did you suffer from insomnia when you were overdoing exercise? Yes, me too! Ever since taking a much more moderate approach to working out, focusing on strength training, cutting out long cardio and reducing HIIT and proritizing rest and recovery, I am sleeping much better. You can do the same.
- You want to keep your skin and hair healthy. Many women who have recovered from HA, have seen their hair growing back and their skin getting much healthier. You want to keep it this way, right? That means, your workouts shouldn't deplete your body the way they used to. You need better workouts and enough rest. This is what this program is about.
If these things above were speaking to you, this workout program is the best fit for you.
Disclaimer: While I am NASM Certified Personal Trainer and stand behind my recommendations, I am not a physician. The information presented in Simple Strength for Women is strictly educational. It is not meant to replace the advice and expertise of a medical professional.
Kersten Kimura is a PhD and NASM Certified Personal Trainer.
Kersten recovered from years of overtraining and hypothalamic amenorrhea, a serious hormonal imbalance that caused her to lose her period for 10 years.
To recover, she had to take 6 months off from working out. After that, she had to find a safe, sustainable way of training, in order to improve her physical strength but not burning herself out again.
She is teaching women to take their fitness to the next level, by improving their strength but never taking working out to the extremes. Complete depletion and always working out more are not the way to success. Instead, smart and progressive training and proper rest and recovery are the keys to improving health, gaining strength, and making fitness sustainable.