The Top Fitness Mistakes: Part 2

Text Boost Your Metabolism written on the sticky note with pen aside.

In our last article I outlined the top three mistakes women 45 and over are making when approaching their health and fitness. Another common mistake I see among women is with their exercise program. This mistake can actually kill you faster and make the years you have more painful. Argh, right?

And sadly, I have seen women work really hard, and invest a lot of time into their health…only for all that effort to make things worse! Fortunately, it’s not too late to change your exercise program so you can kick your health, power, and confidence into overdrive.


There’s more than calorie burn, fat loss, and sweat

P.S. If you want an easy way to get started with these changes I’m going to talk about, be sure to download our free 5 Minute Flow Video here.

If you are between the ages of 45 and 65, you were likely taught that the higher the heart rate, the more you sweat, the more calories burned (and fat melted), the better. Back in the 70’s and 80’s we all fell prey – and some still do – to the belief that if we exercise harder and longer, we will burn more calories and therefore lose weight.



Plain and simple, the research is there on what an effective exercise program looks like and it isn’t as simple as just burning as many calories as possible during a session. Weight training – or what I call “fighting gravity” – builds muscles and is a superior form of training for keeping you not only fit yet also lean. Building muscle:

  • Helps to keep your hormones balanced
  • Is much more efficient at burning calories (than cardio)
  • Increases bone density
  • Increases fat loss
  • Increases grey matter in the brain (the area that includes regions responsible for controlling muscle movement, experiencing the senses, thinking and feeling, memory and speech, and much more.)

Dr. Tara Allman, one of my favorite Menopause Specialists to the NYC stars says:

“Since muscle is much more efficient at burning calories, it behooves us to maintain what we’ve got left. We finally…come to the realization we cannot fit in our favorite clothes despite eating well and continuing our usual three days of aerobics class, something’s gotta give. That something, as it turns out, is strength training.”

While the American Heart Association now recommends 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week, it is because of your precious heart. Heart disease is still the top killer.

Fitness sessions for my clients reflect the philosophy that your body was meant to move in lots of different ways – and they are not the same every day. I emphasize not only what you do know how to do, but also will challenge you to work on what you don’t, while still giving you a bunch of what you want too! Fun is always a key ingredient of our program. If it’s not fun, you won’t stick to it. In fitness parlance, this “doing different things” is called “metabolic disturbance” (hint: fat loss!). For you, this means “shaking things up.” With Alexandria Wellness, you learn to jump, crawl, skip, roll, shuffle, and bounce forward and backward!

If there is anything you take away from this article, it’s that every muscle from head to toe must work in order to challenge your body for fat loss and maintenance. It’s important to work the entire body. Why leave out muscles when they all want a little dose of love?



In traditional chronic cardio-like programs, you run, spin, row, and get your heart rate up, yet adding in resistance training and fighting gravity is key for your heart, bone, and brain health. A cardio-only program will not help you “lose that 10 pounds.” It won’t burn fat any faster than weight training and is awfully hard on your stress level when not accompanied by ample recovery, mobility, and strength.

In order to lose fat, you must build (or maintain) muscle. You also need to challenge your body in multiple ways. I know weight training can be more challenging and you may need to pay closer attention instead of “losing yourself” for a little while. Strength training can even be uncomfortable – or less comfortable that cycling, shuffling, or running in place. My clients don’t check their brain at the door and nor should you when you exercise. You need to think, focus, and live “inside your body” bringing awareness to every move, step, pull, push, etc.


What You Can Do Instead

Since we’re ditching the old model of “more is better” and understanding that to be an effective workout, we don’t have to walk out of the gym drenched in sweat, here are some important points to take away:

  • Prioritize strength training and “working against gravity” as much as possible
  • Move in different ways and get in different positions
  • Be aware of your movements – pay attention to how you’re using every muscle in your workouts and your daily life
  • Stop viewing exercise and cardio as a way to simply burn calories
  • Make sure you enjoy what you’re doing



Bottom line

The research is conclusive: we need to stress the body appropriately for growth, or it will deteriorate. This is actually a life or death situation. I have seen 45, 65, 75-year olds transform their lives and bodies by following our fun, simple process for health and vitality. If you’re reading this, you can do it too. If you want help making your exercise fun, easy, and rewarding, get started with our 5 Minute Flow Video here.

Start incorporating strength training into your exercise program. It’s never too late to start!


  • The latest from Adrien
Adrien founded Fitness on the Run in 2004 out of her home after a successful career in policy and public affairs communications. After spending 15 years developing her own personal definition of wellness and watching thousands struggle with theirs, in January 2019 Adrien founded Alexandria Wellness, the home for the Concierge Wellness Program and Corporate Wellness with Adrien Cotton. Over the course of 15 years, “FOR” was home to more than 2,000 clients, 30 instructors, and hundreds of inspirational success stories. Adrien is now, more-than-ever, passionate about helping women view their fitness as a journey, not a quick fix. Adrien’s recipe for success herself has evolved from a rigid training plan of sweaty and heart pumping workouts to some days getting in her 10,000 steps, consciously breathing, her 7.5 hours of sleep, and her beloved 5-Minute Flow. Adrien believes the most important ingredient is making small changes for big results, even if it’s one new habit formed each month. Still passionate about fitness, Adrien’s clients appreciate her ability to make sessions seriously challenging without a “beat down,” a healthy mix of strength and metabolic (cardio) work and ultimately helping her clients gain real strength in mind and body. She believes we all benefit from being curious about our bodies and that change, or improvement, is within reach despite what your “inner voice” or others may tell you. Adrien is bubbling with excitement to help women learn the importance of a comprehensive approach to wellness, weight loss, and contentedness with yourself, and that every person has the right to feel good about themselves. Most days, you can find her helping clients with their wellness, listening to success stories, and bragging about her twin 13-year-old children and “fittest man in Alexandria” Bill Cotton. Adrien prides herself on her practice of mindfulness, meditation, and putting it all into perspective.

Alexandria Wellness offers achievable answers for anyone who is tired of chasing fitness and health without a clear plan, someone who has struggled and is not satisfied with their fitness and wellness or someone who is open to maximized healthful longevity and fitness along with healthful weight loss. Adrien and her team offer help with food guidance, body acceptance, sleep and stress issues, and insist you have fun along the way.

Schedule your free 30 minute consult here!

Alexandria Wellness
215 North Payne Street
Alexandria, VA 22314



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