Lindsey talked about her time as a fitness competitor in the bodybuilding world and that transition away from that world in episode number 22. And the reason I brought Lindsey back on is that here we are over two years later. And I think it's really important to do an update on where she's at and what's happened over those last two years. And Lindsey is able to look back and share a lot of what she learned and share her experience. And I think there's a lot of really valuable things that you're going to get out of this episode. 

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  • Reverse Dieting (2:40, 21:49, 24:43)
  • Facts you need to know about cortisol (14:46, 29:04)
  • Things that can impact one’s cortisol (29:23)
  • Maintenance (21:49)
  • There is more to you than your body (32:06, 34:19, 35:22)
  • Work on your performance goals (42:13, 42:39)
  • Difference between attainable weight and a maintainable weight (49:43)


I hope that you enjoyed that episode with Lindsey. It's always so fun for me to get on and chat with her. She just has a wealth of knowledge. Right? Let's call her an expert. I'm all for women owning their expertise. And I'm so grateful for her to come on and share her story, share her expertise, share her understanding and really highlighting this something that's not talked about a lot in the fitness space, gaining weight, feeling uncomfortable, being an influencer in the spotlight, while this is all going on gut health hormones, right? A lot of the things that we talked about maintenance, struggling with figuring out what your purpose is, when you're at maintenance. These things that we talked about with Lindsay are so applicable to so many of you who are listening so I hope that you had a takeaway from that episode.

Social Media handle: @trainerlindsey 

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Simply Macros Cookbook

Lindsey's coaching and programs


You're listening to Biceps after Babies radio episode number 134

Hello and welcome to Biceps after Babies radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PRs. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife, and mom of four.  Each week, my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise mindset, personal development, and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel, and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you, my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in, now let’s jump into today’s episode.


Amber B  0:50  

Hey, hey, hey,  welcome back to another episode of biceps after babies radio, I'm your host Amber Brueseke. And today I am bringing an interviewee – a guest on the podcast back for the second time. I have not done this very much where I've brought someone on a couple of times. But Lindsey was one that I really wanted to bring on because back when she first came on the podcast, it was over two years ago, it was February of 2019. She came on on episode number 22. So if you want to go back in the archives and listen to episode number 22, that was the first time I had Lindsey on the podcast. And she talked about her time as a fitness competitor in the bodybuilding world and that transition away from that world. And a lot of the things that came with it, including a lot of weight gain, and hormone issues, post-competition, and she shares very vulnerably on that podcast about what that felt like to have been so lean and getting all these accolades for her body on stage. And then seeing this like huge weight gain, which we talk about more in this episode, she ended up gaining over 50 pounds, or 50 pounds. And you don't have a lot of experience trying to heal her hormones to be able to, you know, get those things figured out. So that was where we left off on the podcast and episode number 22. 


Amber B  2:14  

And the reason I brought Lindsey back on is that here we are over two years later. And I think it's really important to do an update on where she's at and what's happened over those last two years because that was kind of in the middle of the experience and here we are on the other side. And Lindsey is able to look back and share a lot of what she learned and share her experience. And I think there's a lot of really valuable things that you're going to get out of this episode. 


Amber B  2:40

Now one of the things that we kind of talked about in the episode is a little bit about reverse dieting. And if that is a new concept to you, if you've never heard that concept before, we don't really dive into what reverse dieting is. We kind of assume that you already know that listening to this episode. And if that's not you, and you're like I don't, I don't even know what that concept is, I really highly recommend you go listen to episodes number 9, 42, and 114. And we'll link those all up in the show notes. So that you can go and listen to those. But those are episodes where I explain what reverse dieting is, how it works, why it works, who it's for, and how you do that process. So I did want to make that mention because we do kind of dive into reverse it and without giving a whole lot of context. And I know that that's not a familiar concept to a lot of people. So go and check out those episodes 9, 42, and 114. And that's going to give you a lot more context. 


Amber B  3:34

All right, I'm so excited for you to hear one more thing I did want to mention, for those of you who are in a maintenance period or going into a maintenance period and are struggling with figuring out how you make your maintenance period exciting, motivating. We talk about this idea at the end towards the end of the podcast episode. So if that's you and you want to hear me kind of coach, it kind of turned into a little bit of a coaching session, not too much. But a little bit of me coaching Lindsey through the kind of figuring out that maintenance period and finding what lights her fire definitely makes sure you stay to the end of the episode because we have a little bit of a good coaching interaction of her trying to figure out what that looks like for her. And I think that's going to provide a lot of value for those of you who may be going into that phase of your journey or in that phase or have struggled with that phase in the past. So without further ado, let's hop into the episode with my friend Lindsey Matthews. 


Amber B  4:34

I am so excited to welcome back to the podcast for the second time Lindsey Matthews. Hey Lindsey, how are you doing? 


Lindsey  4:41  

Great. How are you, Amber? 


Amber B  4:43  

I'm so good and excited to have this conversation with you today. 


Lindsey  4:46  

Me too. 


Amber B  4:46  

We had Lindsey on the podcast all the way back on episode number 22. So it was like two years ago.


Lindsey  4:53  



Amber B  4:56  

And it's such a good episode to listen to. We'll link it up in the show notes of course, but in that conversation, we talked about the truth about competing. And Lindsey probably will share a little bit about her history. But Lindsey has had a lot of experience in the competing, in the bodybuilding world, and then kind of left that world and shared a little bit about her transition out of that, a period of weight gain that we're gonna dive into. And now here we are two years later and the reason I wanted to bring Lindsey back was to be able to kind of give a perspective after the fact. Right, the last time I talked to Lindsey, she was kind of like in the middle of it. And now she's on the other side and able to give some perspective for any of you guys who are going through weight gain or hormone fluctuations are struggling with not knowing why your body is doing the things that it's doing. So that's why Lindsey's here, that's we're going to talk about. Sounds good?


Lindsey  5:47  

Yeah, that's great.


Amber B  5:48  

Cool. Awesome. Okay, so let's just start with an update. Okay, based on where you were in February of 2019, was when we were last recording, the podcast kind of gave us like, just a brief synopsis of where you were at that point. And then what happened since then. 


Lindsey  6:01  

Yeah, for sure. So it feels like an eternity ago. I feel like so many things have happened since then. And I'd love to kind of give you an overview of all the things that I did and tried. But in case people haven't listened to that episode, which definitely goes listen to it, because it was probably one of the most vulnerable interviews I did because it was like you said right in the thick of it. So basically, I competed in bodybuilding competitions, both in the bikini and the figure division for about, like eight years for about eight years is what it was. And it was great. I loved it, there were lots of things I loved about it. In 2018, I competed for way too long, I stayed stage lean for way too long. I'm 5'6.5″ and I was about 120-125 pounds for like six months, which for me, is my kind of body setpoint is about 140 to 145 pounds or so it's kind of where I always was after every baby I had after I lost the weight after every competition, my body kind of went back to that. But in 2018, I stayed too lean for too long. And I just my body just started gaining and gaining. And it started in, let's see, it was at the end of August or early September 2018 was my last competition. And I kind of got back to my like setpoint by 140 or so by October, November. And I thought that's where I would stay. That's kind of what's always happened before. And I stayed there for like three weeks. But then I just started gaining again. 


Lindsey  7:34  

And when I talked to you in February, gosh, I think that I don't remember what I was up to. I had to have been in my 150s by that point. Now when I say these numbers, I'm just trying to give people a perspective. I'm not saying that 150-160 is overweight. I'm not saying it's you know, there's anything wrong with that at all. I'm just trying to give people a perspective of where it was compared to what I was used to is all I'm trying to say. And so I was gaining probably about a pound or so every week. And I was just confused at what was happening in my body. I had no idea. I am an educated fitness trainer. Some people might say fitness experts, I hate referring to myself like that. Just feel so weird, you know, but that's what some people say about like, you know, trainers in the industry on it. 


Lindsey  8:24  

Okay, so let's see, back then. I was gaining pounds, inches every single week. So kind of what ended up happening. I was, you know, having a really hard time feeling like I didn't know what was going on with my body. And I didn't know when the weight gain would stop, which is what I was terrified about at the time. I remember feeling this is like the worst and the scariest thing that had ever happened to me, which I know might sound dramatic to people. But it's hard like being kind on social media every single day and gaining weight when my job is, you know, helping people look and feel their best. And I couldn't do that for myself. 


Lindsey  9:03 

So what ended up happening was, I ended up gaining about 50 pounds over the course of that year. So granted that was 50 pounds from like my leanest stage weight. But I got up to about 164 and I hit that in like July, I think July. It was funny because we went on Amber. You know what this is, but we went on treck. So for people who don't know what that is, it's kind of like a long week long, like hiking. And so I remember I came back from that and not just put my body under so much stress. I had gained like five pounds, which is odd because we hiked like 20-25 miles or like something like really long over the course of three days. And so that it made me hit my highest weight. And my body was just like trash after that. And so yeah, I gained about 50 pounds over the course of that year. And the strangest thing that happened was I guess that summer I remember just being in tears like not wanting to get out of bed in the morning just going to the gym and feeling like I couldn't do anything. I wasn't as strong as I used to be. I didn't fit into my clothes like I used to. I felt embarrassed for sure. For you know what people thought of me, you know, I was just not very long ago, I was this super fit, super lean fitness competitor. And I was you know, we're afraid that people were thinking, Oh, she let herself go when in reality, I'm being 100% honest. I used to have issues with bingeing like, probably 10 years ago, I was not bingeing, I was not skipping workouts, I was tracking my macros, I was doing all the things. And I was still gaining. So it was definitely an internal issue. And a lot of just built-up stress. And I'll go into that in a minute. 


Lindsey  10:56 

But I really think the biggest thing my body needed was time. And throughout that summer, I talked to quite a few competitors, who the same thing had happened to, you know, I know their names aren't coming to me at the top of my head, but a lot of them told me actually, like, you know, after about a year, it just started coming off. And that is exactly what happened, like to the week, one year from my last show, it was like Labor Day weekend, I think it was what it was, I stepped on the scale. And I was like, Huh, it's down a pound. That's kind of strange. I haven't seen that for a long time, you know, not even like downward fluctuations. Every fluctuation was up over that previous year, I took some measurements, and I was like, that's weird, like my waist is down a half an inch, okay, like, and of course, just being a little bit down about everything. I was like, well, it's probably a fluke, it's gonna go back up, that's just my life now, you know, kind of thing. And the next week, it was down again. And I was like, that's really weird. Okay, and I just started kind of dropping it. And I'll go into this the I did do lots of things over this time, which I'll kind of go into in a minute, I'm just kind of giving you the overview. I ended up losing about 10 of the pounds I gained through that fall. So this was 2019 through that fall, and up until Christmas or so. 


Lindsey  12:19

So let me come talk about that summer a little bit. Um, I ended up I was really diving into hormones and what was going on, and I did work with my doctor really closely. And my thyroid was low and cortisol was high. And I was estrogen dominant is kind of what was going on inside me. And so I actually worked with a keto coach and she was amazing. And she's a big believer in that, you know, you do keto for a short amount of time, it can help. You know, it can help things with your gut, it can help things with you know, their thyroid, it's kind of some people will say it can help thyroid issues. Some people will say it will hurt them, but I was like I'm gonna give it a try. And so we did keto for a while. Did it help me lose weight? No, I continued to gain weight while we were doing keto, while I was working with a coach, while I was tracking macros, but for the first time ever, I was not feeling gassy. I was not feeling bloated, I was not feeling I was not constipated, all these things that we're doing for my gut. But they were really beneficial. And I kind of liked it. To be honest, I was able to be totally consistent. You know, I liked the food and everything. So I did that for about six months through the summer. And I never had any intention of doing it forever by any means. 


Lindsey  13:43

Oh, the other thing was my blood sugar was crazy high, my blood sugar not even having carbs. While I was doing keto it was over 110 in the morning. So really, really high. Ideally, you want it like 80 to 90 or something fast in the morning. And so I even noticed while I was doing keto, if I would have more vegetables at night, my blood sugar would spike and like we're like this is not a good thing. And so throughout that, I was able to bring my blood sugar down to the low 80s which was great. So lots of good health benefits. One thing I did start noticing though, towards the end was I was doing cortisol tests like saliva cortisol tests, and my cortisol was rising. Were like that's, you know, that's what I was really focusing on. De stressing, I had cut out all HIIT training, I had cut what I was doing, you know, just a couple lifting workouts a week and lots of walking, trying to focus on sleep and my cortisol was going up. 


Amber B  14:40  

Okay, so for anybody who doesn't know what cortisol is, can you explain what cortisol is and what it does for your body? 


Lindsey  14:46  

Yes, yes. So cortisol, some people will make it out to be like a bad thing. But cortisol is not a bad thing. Our bodies actually need cortisol. It's just when we have it. So of course, our stress hormone when our bodies are under stress, produces cortisol. So our cortisol levels should be highest in the morning. Gets us out of bed, gives us that energy to start the day, and then slowly throughout the day, it should be dropping. So mine was it did have that normal curve. So was spiking in the morning and dropping throughout the day, it was just really high. I can't remember off the top of my head, I feel like it was like the mid to high 20s in the morning. And at night when it's supposed to be like zero to one, it was like 10. And so of course I wasn't sleeping, I was just feeling wired all the time, my heart was kind of racy. Because the other thing this is kind of interesting is that while I was doing keto, my free t three, which is I don't know this might go this might be getting a little too deep. But our free T3 is our body's active thyroid hormone. And it's a big driver in our metabolism. And my free T3 you cut, you want it usually between three and four. But it had spiked up to an eight, which is crazy because you think that would make me start losing weight. But it didn't, I was still gaining. So when your thyroid hormones are too high, it can actually be a stress on the body. So all of this was kind of related. And this is the reason all these things are the reason why I stopped doing keto, because carbs are actually really, really beneficial in lowering cortisol. So we started adding in more carbs, my cortisol came down. And that's when I started losing the weight right there, which is interesting. People think keto weight loss. That was not the case. For me, I did it for health reasons for my gut, for my blood sugar and weight loss was not a side effect of it for me personally. 


Lindsey  16:35 

Okay, let's see. So that brings us to that fall. So I started losing the weight, adding in carbs, I was not tracking macros. I was not, I mean, I almost said I was not counting calories, but let's be honest, I mean, my brain kind of works in calories. So I mean, I was kind of like, okay, that's 350 calories that you know, but very, very lifestyle, loosely counting that kind of thing. Lost about 10 pounds throughout that fall, I kind of hit a plateau going into that January because keep in mind, I wasn't really trying to lose the weight here. So really, up until this point, it was all about de-stressing, you know, fixing some gut issues, fixing some blood sugar issues. I wasn't really dieting quite yet, right? 


Lindsey  17:20 

So January came, and then I was kind of like, Okay, my weight loss has stopped. I'm still sitting about 15 pounds above where, where my body's kind of always been, I want to keep going. And so I started cutting calories. Nothing happened, and I started cutting calories. Nothing happened. Then that brings us to march of 2020. We all know what would happen then. Yes. And I remember it was March 13. I remember it. It's the day of hearing in Utah. The governor was like, you remember it too? 


Amber B  17:55  

Well. It's my birthday. 


Lindsey  17:56  

Oh, it's your birthday. 


Amber B  17:57  

And I was actually in Utah on my birthday with my family. So yeah, I was worried I wasn't gonna be able to get back to California. We, it was like people were like shutting down. It was like yes, mayhem. And yeah, that was my first. 


Lindsey  18:09  

So that's a very memorable birthday for you? 


Amber B  18:12  



Lindsey  18:12  

So as March 13 I remember it's when they said I remember exactly where I was, it will go down in history in my mind as when the governor was like, your kids are staying home from school. And I was like, Oh, no. And guess what happened? I started gaining weight again, on like, 1500 calories. And I was like, This is not normal. This is not happening again. And I started kind of freaking out. Mainly, I kind of feel like I have a little bit of PTSD, right? Like, oh my gosh, this is happening again, what's going on? And so at that point, I was like, kid, I can't I gotta hire someone, again, someone that knows exactly how to help me. I'm a big believer in inside note and coaching. I know you are Amber. But if there is someone out there that knows that can help me with what I'm trying to learn in the moment. I'm going to hire them like I almost always have a coach helping me with just whatever I'm focused on at that time. Right? And so there was a coach that I've been listening to on a podcast. His name's Jason Theobald. And he's very, very well versed in, you know, internal hormones for women, fat loss, helping people kind of balance their hormones through lifestyle. So yes, I was working with my doctor on medication and that kind of stuff. Actually, at this point, I had gone off my thyroid medication, I was just on a little bit of progesterone to help with my estrogen dominance. So it wasn't even there. But um, so he helped me with supplements. I mean, just basic, like you know, your ashwagandha just kind of de-stressing kind of things. Nothing really not like fish oil for inflammation, just very basic stuff. But it was really just a lot of my highlights. Okay, sorry, let me rewind. 


Lindsey  19:10 

So I hired him kind of in a desperate place and I knew that his first step with people in this kind of situation was always reverse dieting. And I knew I needed it because I was like 1500 calories cannot be my maintenance, let alone Let me be gaining weight at 1500 calories. I can't do that, you know? No, that's not right. And so I was terrified, I was like start increasing calories. I don't want to gain weight. Even though in my head I was like that can happen sometimes with reverse dieting, especially if my metabolism is kind of funny, my cortisol is so high. But I did it, I knew I needed to kind of really get down to the root problems here. And so I hired him, we did start reverse dieting, but at the same time as that, we just really focused on gut health. I cut out everything artificial processed. I did like a dedicated gut phase, which, I mean, some of this stuff sounds hokey, but it works for me. And it's worked for a lot of clients that we work with, I'm not saying it'll work for everybody. But I did a low fodmap eating phase of about eight weeks. And that really helps our gut and our endocrine systems are so interrelated, that if our guts are not working properly, our hormones are not going to be working optimally either. And so I had kind of fallen back into that. And, again, our digestive systems are so linked to our stress as well. So when my stress goes up, I notice I get gassy, bloated, constipated. That's kind of my body's where it goes, you know, and that was happening again. So I did an eight-week dedicated gut phase where it was mainly just nothing processed, nothing artificial. You know, it was just a lot of potatoes, rice, meat, eggs, just very whole food-based, as we reversed diet, and it was that combo of the two, that actually I actually lost a little bit of weight. 


Lindsey  21:49 

As I was reversing it, it was probably just some inflammations and water weight, my body just kind of like, Okay, this feels better for a minute, you know, at the same time, again, cut out all HIIT training, all I was doing was lifting three days a week and walking a lot doing restorative yoga. So just kind of de-stressing, and my body loved it like it lost weight through that reverse. I did that for about, six months or so. And I mean, it's funny because I talk to people now they're like, but I rode a bike and I mountain bike, and I go to the spin class, I guess those are all biking things. I was trying to give a variety, like I could run around all day, like, how did you stop that? And I'm like, you just do like you can't, you're, if your body's having stress hormone issues, and you keep just pounding it, it's not going to recover, you know. And so yeah, through that we reversed dieted, I held myself to maintenance for a while we got up to about 2200 calories, I was starting to slowly gain again, I think, for me, that's a little bit above maintenance, a little bit of a surplus. And then we did my first diet phase, since all of this and it works. It got me back down to like, I didn't think anything would work, you know, I was kind of conditioned myself to think my body can't lose weight anymore. And I got down to about 141. And I've reversed it back up to maintenance now and I'm like 143-144. And I can finally say that I feel like, knock on wood, that whole phase might be behind me. So that was kind of the long answer to your question.


Amber B  23:25  

Yes, good. And I'm gonna ask you some follow-up questions. Yeah, I think there's some. First of all, I think, you know, you kind of talked about this, like, this can be a very common thing for a competitor to go through. Yeah. And that makes sense. Because you're dieting down really lean, you're staying really lean, like you're dieting down a lot of times on lower calories, right. Like, there's a lot of stress that goes into that experience. Many of the women who listen to this podcast aren't competitors. And yet, there are people who had that experience who aren't competitors. This is like only something that happens with competitors. I see this a lot with just lifestyle clients as well. And the things that I would love for you to speak to because I'm sure you see this as well as like that fear around reverse dieting. And, and you had it right, you're like, I'm already gaining. Why would I go? Why would I increase my calories? Like, it's just going to, it's just gonna keep the game like, it's not going to actually work. But you did it anyway. It's how you were able to have that fear because it's a very common, very logical fear. And still do it like know that you need to do it and still get yourself to do it and get on the other side of that because I think there's people who are listening who know that they need to reverse and yet haven't done it yet. And I would love for them some words of wisdom. 


Lindsey  24:43  

Yeah, absolutely. So first of all, I have reversed before and so I shouldn't have been afraid like I've reversed many times before, and I still was afraid so I totally get that fear, especially coming from somebody who has never done it before. But the thing that I really had to and it took me a while to think through this before I hired that coach. And I highly recommend having a coach or some sort of a support system through especially your first reverse because it can be so scary. And the last thing that your body your mind wants to do is add food. If you have someone who's unbiased, who has, you know, your best intentions at heart, and they're telling you, it's just so much easier to do it when someone else is telling you what to do even as a coach myself. 


Lindsey  25:27

And so, I really had to step back and think logically, okay, my heart did not want to, like I wasn't really hungry like physiologically, I felt fine. But I had to really think, do I want to live my life at 1500 calories? What does that mean? That means when I go on vacation, I'm more likely to gain weight because my body's used to 1500 calories. And of course, you don't do that on vacation. Right? That also means that if I ever want to lose weight again, in the future, 1500 calories is my starting point. That's not a good thing, either. You know, and so, so many women out there, and for me, it was 1500. For someone else, it could definitely be 1200 or 1300, you know? Yeah. And like, you just have to really think what is best long term, like, that's not what you want your maintenance to be. And a lot of I've been talking to a lot of even newer coaches lately, who are unfamiliar with reverse dieting, and they're like, I always just thought you diet down, and that's where you live. And I'm like, and so many people think that way. Yeah. And I'm like, No, no, no, that's not just setting yourself up for like regaining the weight if you think that's what you have to do, because you can't, you're not gonna be able to maintain those calories. And so when your body's used to that, and you eat over that, which you will, your body's just gonna hang on to it. And so it was really thinking, trying to think logically with my brain and thinking I have to do this not so much. I want to do this. I just knew I had to sell. 


Amber B  26:59  

So, good. And I, you know, to anybody who's listening, who is in that space, where you kind of know that you need to reverse it, and you don't want to and it's scary, and you haven't done it. You know, what I would offer is like, is it scarier to go through a reverse? Or is it scarier to sit at 1500 calories for the rest of your life? Or 1200 calories? And when you weigh those, it's like, Okay, well, this is scary, but you know, eating 1200 calories for the rest of my life is a lot worse. No. Yeah. And I mean, you know, it's great to hear stories of things like what Lindsey experienced were like, yeah, you think, Oh, I'm gaining on 1500. If I add calories, I'm gonna keep gaining, but that's not what you saw. Right? You know, opposite. And the reason is, is because it starts to like, balance those hormones, and it starts to our body in a much better place metabolically, your body adapts to it. 


Lindsey  27:51  

Yeah. And so one thing that, you know, when cortisol is high, being in a deficit just makes it worse, I like to think of, you know,  our, the stress bucket analogy, we have this bucket of stress, you know, and there's good stress and there's bad stress. Well, I mean, I don't know if I want to make good, it's good and bad. But there's, you know, things like that can be exciting, like you got a promotion at work, that's an exciting thing. But it's still stressed, right? Or workouts or stress, a calorie deficit is stress, there are all these things, no matter what the stress is, if it starts overflowing our bucket, our bodies are going to have some negative effects of that. And so whatever stress you can remove, yes, you might not be able to remove the stress of your work or the stress of teenagers or babies or whatever it is. But if we can remove that calorie deficit, if we can remove some of that HIIT training, our bodies will lose some inflammation, our bodies will start functioning better, our metabolism will work better, all these things that kind of counteract the idea of what doesn't really make sense, how would eating more calories, you know, if you're thinking only in terms of calories in versus calories out, like there's so much more to that because doing things for your body, like reducing Stress can actually help your metabolism, you know.


Amber B  29:04  

Right, yeah, so and I think that's so important. Calories in versus calories out as a scientific principle. It's the law of thermodynamics, right? What you said is so important is that things like cortisol impact your calories out. So you could be burning fewer calories because of that high cortisol


Lindsey  29:22  

No matter what your watch says, 


Amber B  29:23  

No matter what your Apple watch says, Put your watch away right. And so you know, I want to just list these things for people listening because I think you kind of listed a bunch of things that can impact your cortisol and I want to like that for people listening: a caloric deficit. Like HIIT is stressful on the body. Look at lifestyle stress, like at work, kids. Do whatever job you know, relationships. Sleep you mentioned sleep Yes. Like lack of sleep can stress your body more. Are there other things that we should be listening to? 


Lindsey  30:02  

Um, let's see. I mean, I'm sure there are those that are just one that's coming to mind right now. But I mean, even just Oh, I know of another one. If you are the kind of person who's constantly fidgety constantly, like, do you know and sometimes we can't control that, but it is a little bit of higher stress, like more of an anxious lifestyle versus someone who is more relaxed and chill,


Amber B  30:25  

more Zen. 


Lindsey  30:25  

Yes, exactly. 


Amber B  30:28  

It's not who I am. But I'm working on that. I'm working on the Zen. And then other things that you talked about that we can do. Because recognizing, okay, if I choose to go into a deficit, that is a stress on my body. So where can I counteract that stress and others? Can I get more sleep? Can I reduce the HIT? Can I do more walking? Can I meditate? Can I reduce stress in other areas of my life so we can recognize our buckets? We don't want our buckets to be overflowing. 


Lindsey  30:52  

Exactly. Yes. I love that. And so when you're consciously adding stress, yes, I like thinking what you can take out or what you can add in to kind of put yourself back in more of that parasympathetic nervous system more digest and rest kind of life. Yeah. 


Amber B  31:08  

Yeah. So good. Okay I'm curious because you've had the experience on lots of different spectrums in terms of weight, right? You've been ultra-lean like that you get up on the stage and you win competitions, right? And then all the way to the other side where you gained 50 pounds. Not to say that, like, I, I don't want to say, Oh, my gosh, you were so overweight and like, body because a lot of women would still say, you know, hey, 160-170 is not a very large body, right? That's still not like, you could say, 


Lindsey  31:42  

all relative to just what I was used to, 


Amber B  31:44  

right, but you experienced a 50-pound weight gain. And now we've kind of settled somewhere down, you know, in the 140s, where you're feeling more normal. Having experienced that, like a range of body size, what are some of the things that you have learned about yourself and your body? And do you ever miss the like, 125 Lindsey?


Lindsey  32:06  

Okay, good question. So I have learned, Gosh, that's a great question. One thing that I was going through when I was in that was 160s, where I was still, you know, on social media, as a fitness trainer, trying to help people position myself as someone who knows what they're talking about, right? I really had to question, what am I putting out there? What, you know, I don't have the ABS or the delts, or anything to motivate people anymore. So what am I offering? And so I really learned and this sounds so stupid, and I don't think I even really thought this before, but I learned that there is more to me than my body. And like I said, I don't think I really ever thought that my body was the only thing I had. I don't, I'm not saying that necessarily. But I learned that. I mean, my business took off that year, I really, you know, I was still able to produce content, I was still able to put good things out into the world. And I realized that there was just more than just people being motivated by my videos or my pictures, you know. And so that was probably a major, like, life-changing lesson, you know.


Lindsey  33:18 

I also was able to really relate. I mean, I felt like I could relate to people who were losing weight before. For sure. I mean, I lost weight before. I mean, I had babies I lost. I mean, losing baby weight is not easy. You know, just I mean, even though people might think it's a little easier than normal. For me, it was always really tough. I didn't really lose weight while nursing. And it was like, I had it all to lose afterward. And it was not easy. But I really got a feeling of what it feels like to you know, sit down on the floor with your kids and your jeans are digging into your stomach and you just feel so deeply uncomfortable all the time. Like I remember going into Hawaii in I think it was spring break of 2019. And my thighs were just like rubbing so bad. We go on hikes in shorts and walk around in swimsuits all the time. And I had never really experienced that level of chafing. And it was like it was just so depressing. And it made me so sad. 


Lindsey  34:19 

And so I found that for me, like I did a lot of soul searching when I was gaining weight. I was trying to figure out like, what if I stay, what if I don't lose the weight ever? What if this is the new me? How can I be okay with that? And so, I really was trying to, you know, figure out what I had to offer the world, and I was okay with it. I didn't mean I did hold there for a few months, you know, but I really realized that I wanted to lose the weight I part of it was like I want to lose this weight because I'm on social media and I'm worried that people think of me but I really got down to like no, I don't feel comfortable in my body. I want to be able to move, I want to be able to have energy, I want to be able to run, I want to be strong. I want to show up in a body that I can be active and hike and not feel uncomfortable. And so the reason for weight loss really shifted for me. And I feel like I can understand people better if that makes sense. So it's kind of a long, roundabout way of saying, I feel like I can relate to people who just want to lose weight because they want to experience life differently. Does that make sense? 


Amber B  35:32  

Absolutely. Yeah. And I really want to reiterate what you said at the beginning where you said you kind of and for anybody who's not a “fitness influencer” or expert on Instagram, it can be hard because a lot of people judge you by what you look like. And I think what's so awesome about what you said is, is you started to realize that like, you were still you even in a bigger body, like yeah, you're still the same person. You're still the same knowledge. You're still the same coach as you are still you. But it can be hard because a lot of people do make judgments about you, your programs based on your body. But you aren't your body, right? 


Lindsey  36:13  



Amber B  36:14  

We are in our bodies. We are, you're Lindsey and I love that you were able to experience that and learn that. So do you miss the body size? 


Lindsey  36:22  

Yeah, okay, I actually do not miss the body size. But there are things about that time I do miss. So what the reasons why I don't miss being super lean like that is because it is not fun. It is that you're starving all the time, you were always so hungry. I remember times, you know, my kids were making s'mores in the backyard. And when I was competing, and I was just I would just like lay there and sit there and not say anything, because I didn't have the energy to really show up and interact. And I remember times like just wanting to go to bed. Because I was so hungry. I wanted to wake up and eat breakfast in the morning. Like I just didn't even know I was just lay on the couch. Just ready for the day to be done. Because I didn't have any more food. And I was hungry and I was just wanting to go to bed, you know. So I don't miss those physiological effects of being so lean. 


Lindsey  36:29 

But there is something I do kind of miss about that competing lifestyle that I'm struggling with. And maybe you can have some tips for me on this Amber. And I feel like you're good at this. So I'm sleeping more, which is a great thing. Not a bad thing. But I kind of miss the hustle of that lifestyle. I miss getting up early, I miss my routine, I miss. So I mean, I'm kind of in this battle right now. Like, oh gosh, do I keep sleeping until 6:30? Getting my puppy up going to the gym at 7:30? Or do I go back to like, the 5:36 am workouts because I have more time in my day I have more time to, you know, devote to my business and like kind of like the hustle and grind of, you know, my meals are prepped, I'm grabbing my like, I live way more loose and intuitively and just go with the flow now and I kind of missed that hustle, if that makes sense? I don't know. So I've been trying to find ways to incorporate that into this life. I don't know if that's kind of kind of..


Amber B  38:17  

What would happen if you did start your day at like, 5:36 am?


Lindsey  38:21  

Yeah, so that's kind of what I'm trying to talk through in my head. So I think about the other thing, I think I would get less sleep, which made me Okay, cuz I'm getting seven and a half, eight hours. Like, would it be that awful to get seven, seven, and a half? At 6:45 some nights, you know, I could go to bed a little earlier. But the one thing I like about what I'm doing now, is I'm not stressed about getting to bed. When I was getting up earlier. It was like, okay, it's 9:30 Okay, kids go to bed. Come on, you guys. Come on, I have to be in bed. And it was kind of an anxious stress thing to make sure I was in bed by like 10. So that I could read for 15 or 20 minutes, fall asleep. And it's kind of nice now it feels more natural to me, like in my family. You know, for me, it's like getting into bed around 10 or 10:15 minutes reading until like 10:45 falling asleep by like 11, and sleeping until 6:30. Do you know what I mean? 


Amber B  39:18  

Yeah. Is there a way to make it? I think what you're desiring is like, almost like the regiment, right? So like expect the ability of like, this is how the day runs. This is like, yep, everything's already planned and prepped ahead of time. And you're just like, through your day. So yeah, there are ways to do that without having to get up early or change that part of your day. 


Lindsey  39:41  

Yeah, that there probably is. I need to brainstorm about that. And maybe it's even like, I haven't meal prepped in forever.  I'm just at home all the time. And I can just go make my food. 


Amber B  39:52  

What's your current goal? 


Lindsey  39:54  

Well, that's a great question. So okay, if I'm being totally honest, I wouldn't mind being a little leaner? You know, I do feel like I lost some muscle over this whole experience, which is very normal when cortisol is high. And this is a normal and normal thing that can happen. But the current goal right now, I just finished a reverse after that diet phase. And I want to hold here for a while, so right so that it isn't I'm also in a tricky position where I don't really have a pressing fitness goal. 


Amber B  40:25  

Well, I think and I think that's the issue more than like getting up early, more than the hustle more than that is like you don't have a goal that you're working on. Progress, as I identify with so much like, I'm the same way like I need a goal to like being driving me like that excites me and motivates me. It's like, I want to do it. So you mentioned wanting to get a little leaner and having lost some muscle. Have you considered that there's two ways to like “get leaner”, you can like lose fat or you can gain muscle? So have you considered using this time to have a focus on regaining that muscle that you lost with? For anybody listening, regaining muscle that you have lost is always easier and faster, and gaining it the first time the first time, you could probably see a whole lot of success pretty quickly, in a short period of time, especially at a maintenance level. And focusing on that. 


Lindsey  41:15  

Yeah, that's exactly actually I should have said that when you ask me about my goal. But that is my goal right now. It just doesn't feel it feels more normal to me. And it doesn't feel like a push or a stretch. But I do have business goals and stuff like that. It's just like, I'm already lifting every day. But you know, and I already like the intensity in the gym. So it's not like much of a change to me, but maybe I didn't have to just switch it in my head to like


Amber B  41:41  

Do you have any? So one of the things that I coach a lot of clients through, especially when they're at maintenance because this is where you know, this would be a coaching session. A thing that comes up. This is very common during maintenance. So it's really great for people to be hearing this because for somebody who's been very regimented, who's been very like in the hustle and like, there is an instant satisfaction that comes from dieting because the results are like I can see it on the scale, I can see that the measurements are really great. Like it's very rewarding in that way and a lot. 


Lindsey  42:11  

like a constant endorphin rush. 


Amber B  42:13  

Yeah, right. Like that feedback like that positive reinforcement, positive feedback. And when women get into a maintenance phase that goes away, right, it can be hard to see that you're making progress. Or it can be hard to like, say, why am I doing this? Why am I keeping going? And we know why. But still, yeah, lose that positive reinforcement?  So it's so important to re-evaluate and make sure that you're creating some other goal that allows you to have that positive reinforcement. 


Amber B  42:39 

And what I like to have a lot of clients do is this is where I start talking about performance goals. Like, yes, you have aesthetic goals, and you can be working on those, but you're not gonna see, you're not gonna get that positive reinforcement that you want right now. But when we start working on performance goals, right, I want to deadlift two times my body weight, I want to crank out 15 pull-ups, like whatever it is,  that gives your training, more meaning and purpose, right, it becomes true rather than working out, right. And we get that feedback because it's like, yeah, endorphin rush when you like now put, you know, 200 pounds on the deadlift and then 215 and then you… For me, that's where like, the rush is like, Yes, I like cranked out. You know, I did muscle-up right now. I'm handstand push-ups. I freakin can't do a handstand push up.


Lindsey  43:29  

Saw your video. I love your video. That was so funny.


Amber B  43:32  

Let me tell you. So my husband just started CrossFit. Like two months ago. Okay. Two and a half months ago. Yeah, at the same place. You know, right. It's a place I go. I've been there for two and a half years. I hate him. He got his first handstand just recently, like hands down, hold up on the wall. And I'm like, you freaking freaking are gonna get a handstand pushup before me. I know it because you're a guy and you can. 


Lindsey  43:59  

That's how it always works. 


Amber B  44:01  

But I'd like you. I've been working on handstand push-ups for two years. And you are going to push it before me and I don't like you. Right. Anyway, so that's my goal. What could your goal be? 


Lindsey  44:13  

Okay, so exciting. This is good. So I used to be like the pull-up queen. 


Amber B  44:19  

Like, oh, that's Yeah, pull-ups. And I said 15 because I'm like, pretty sure you can do over 10.


Lindsey  44:25  

You know, yeah, well, I think right now my max is eight but I used to be able to do 15 without even knowing… Oh, that's what I was gonna say. Like, I used to post videos like at Disneyland with a backpack on like weighted pull-ups, all the things. And last year, I set a goal to get back to 15 pull-ups did not happen, did not happen at all. And I think what I was doing 15 pull-ups was a little bit lighter than I am now. But still, so that would be a really good goal. That's a good one. Okay, for some reason pull-ups really excited me way more than squats and deadlifts. Yeah, I don't know why they just do. 


Amber B  45:09  

So you guys heard it here? Yeah, I'm gonna get 15 pull-ups. Okay, and she's gonna tag okay. It was when she… It's funny because I do remember you posting all those like pull-up videos, which is. 


Lindsey  45:23  

So one thing. So last year, when we were on that track hiking expedition thing I was talking about, we were in a river, like in a river kind of playing and I reached up and grabbed this like bridge thing. Yeah. And I was like, Hey, babe, let's do pull-ups right here. And I tried, I couldn't pull myself up. And I was like, I forgot. I forgot. I can't do pull-ups anymore. I was in a whole like, wet outfit, but  like, 


Amber B  45:48  

probably hanging by your fingertips 


Lindsey  45:50  

hanging by fingertips for sure. But I used to be able to do that. And so that was kind of like, Oh, whoops. Yeah, I forgot I'm not fit anymore.  I'm motivated again. Like, we just need goals. I don't know. 


Amber B  46:07  

Do you know your enneagram? 


Lindsey  46:09  

No, what are those again? 


Amber B  46:14  

I think I'm a three which is…


Lindsey  46:16  

Oh, those.  I'm a three. 


Amber B  46:17  

Yeah, that's what I was gonna guess. 


Lindsey  46:19  

And I don't remember if it was the numbers, or there's another one I've been looking at lately that has like names. But yeah, I'm a three. Yeah. 


Amber B  42:13   46:25  

Yeah. I feel like you're a lot like me. Yeah. And the achiever needs a goal. like yeah, it's like the motivation. 


Lindsey  46:32  

And so yeah, and so I dove into this when I was when my hormones were kind of messed up. And a three also kind of naturally leads to a higher cortisol lifestyle. So Oh, yeah.  


Amber B  46:45  

We like that, like feedback. And that like, right, reinforcement, like, success and like, yeah, 


Lindsey  46:51  

so another little tip for listeners. So if you are that kind of a lifestyle, carbs are even more important. Because if we have a tendency to have higher cortisol, carbs can actually help balance that a little bit. So I'm seeing this. Yeah, that's something I kind of learned when I was doing all that. 


Amber B  47:07  

That's awesome. Yeah, good. Okay, this has been so fun. 


Lindsey  47:11  

I know, I love talking to you. 


Amber B  47:14  

Last thoughts like, yeah, this whole experience, right? We're on the”other side”, who knows what's gonna happen in the future? But like, you know, you're at a point where you can kind of do some reflecting and some looking back. Yeah, you've shared that story. What is something that you're hoping women who listened to this episode walk away with? 


Lindsey  47:34  

Yeah, good question. So I would hope that they would understand that, and this is something that both of us talk about all the time. Most of our lives should not be lived in this calorie deficit, constant HIIT training, lifting six days a week, running, spin class, f 45, orange theory, like, that's not the lifestyle we should have most of the time, you know, and yes, or if you choose to work out that way because you love it, you need to eat to fuel that, you know, 


Amber B  48:06  

and sleep to fuel that and manage stress and other areas of your life to be able to feel that, right. 


Lindsey  48:12  

If you have a time where you're focusing hardcore on fat loss, you are doing more, eating less, that should be a short period of time. And that should be controlled. And that should be premeditated. Meaning like I'm going to do this for 8 to 12 weeks, not like this is how I live. I don't know when it's ever going to stop. Yes, you know, and that it's okay to eat more. And if you are reverse dieting, and you gain a couple of pounds, isn't that worth it? Like I'm up probably six or 700 calories from the end of my last diet phase. And I've gained two and a half pounds. Yeah, like, granted, I and some, some people might say, I mean, I lost 10. And I'm up, probably three. And so that I mean, it's not like I lost 80. And I'm up for like, it's I kind of put back on a third of what I lost, but it's so worth it like so worth it to be eating so much more food, and your fixation on food goes away. You don't feel I don't feel near as food-obsessed. I don't even think I really like free meals anymore. Because I just eat what I want whenever I want it. And so yeah, I go out to eat sometimes, and I don't track the calories. There's I guess you'd call that a free meal. But I don't have that same fixation on it that I used to, you know what I mean? So there are so many positive things that come from eating more, sleeping more, resting more, that the times when we push, push, push should be short and controlled and planned, not normal life. 


Amber B  49:43  

Yeah, there's a difference between an attainable weight and a maintainable weight. Yes, absolutely. is maintainable it's easily maintainable and it's not maybe your lowest, right. Yeah, got down to like 141  and you can attain that but yeah, like this. is easy. And yeah, I think finding that place for everybody, whether that's 141 171 to live and like, whatever it is, but like that place where you can easily maintain and enjoy your life is such a valuable place to focus, and not just fighting for, like, what's the lowest weight that I can see?


Lindsey  50:18  

When I have a client who decides to stop losing weight and kind of gives up that goal of the last five pounds, like I'm thrilled for them, like surreal, like, that's the most empowering thing to think. I don't have to keep doing this. I mean, if they want you, by all means, go for it. I'm not saying they shouldn't. But when someone decides it's not worth it, here's what it would take for me to get here. And I'm deciding it's not worth it like that. There's nothing more empowering than that. 


Amber B  50:42  

Yeah. It's like making a choice of what it's worth to you rather than just like being a victim of like, oh, I'm never gonna get there. It's like, No, no, I know what it's gonna take to get to that place. And I'm not willing to give that so I'm gonna make a choice to like, not sacrifice that. I think that's wrong. 


Lindsey  50:59  

I'm brave. Yeah, for sure. 


Amber B  51:00  

Yeah. So awesome. Okay, well, this has been so fun, fun to like, update people after your experience. I'm so grateful for you coming on the podcast. Can you let everybody know where they can find you? What kind of things can you offer? 


Lindsey  51:13  

And yeah, so I am just trainer Lindsey on all platforms, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, all the things. And yeah, I have, you know, I've got a cookbook, actually that I just launched yesterday, we actually launched our first edition. It's called simply macros, super easy, delicious, yummy recipes, full-color photos. Amazing. We launched the first one, probably a year and a half ago. And we just launched a second edition yesterday. So if you head to my Instagram bio, all the links for all that there and yeah, we just do coaching boot camps, all sorts of stuff.. And yeah, so I just joined yet, I totally forgot. I just joined forces with Chris and Heidi Powell and transformed supplements, I actually have my own supplement line, and we're kind of merging the two. So we're in the process of merging my own supplements onto the transformed line. And so it's gonna be amazing.


Amber B  52:02  

So awesome. Thank you so much for coming on Lindsay so much. 


Lindsey  52:06  

Thank you. 


Amber B  52:08  

I hope that you enjoyed that episode with Lindsey. It's always so fun for me to get on and chat with her. She just has a wealth of knowledge. Right? Let's call her an expert. I'm all for women owning their expertise. And I'm so grateful for her to come on and share her story, share her expertise, share her understanding, and really highlighting this something that's not talked about a lot in the fitness space, gaining weight, feeling uncomfortable, being an influencer in the spotlight, while this is all going on gut health hormones, right? A lot of the things that we talked about maintenance, struggling with figuring out what your purpose is when you're at maintenance. These things that we talked about with Lindsay are so applicable to so many of you who are listening so I hope that you had a takeaway from that episode. And if you did, will you please share it to your Instagram or your Facebook and then tag me and Lindsey and let us know what your aha was for the episode? What did you learn? What are you taking away and applying to your journey? Because that's really where the magic is. We can sit here and we can listen to somebody else and we can nod our head or we can say Yes, that sounds great. But it isn't until we actually take that that it makes that application piece like taking what you're learning and applying it to your journey when everything then changes. Thank you for being here. I'm Amber, now go out to be strong because remember my friend you can do anything.



Hold up, sister friend. Do you love Biceps after Babies radio? If so, the best way to say thank you is to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review on iTunes. I know, every podcaster wants you to leave a review, but it's because those reviews help the podcast to reach more people. And I do truly want to know what you think. If this particular episode resonated with you, will you also please share it? Either send the link to someone who would find it valuable or take a screenshot and post it to your social media and tell your friends and family why they should listen. Make sure you tag me @biceps.after.babies so I can hear your feedback and give you a little love. And you know, if you aren't already following me on Instagram or Facebook, that's the perfect time to hit that follow button. Thank you for being here and listening to Biceps after Babies radio.




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One thought on “134: Maintainable Vs Attainable Weight with Lindsey Mathews

  • Gretchen O'NeillMay 10, 2021 at 2:28 PM

    This was probably the most interesting, most inspiring podcast I’ve ever listened to! I have followed Trainer Lindsay as long as I have been following Biceps After Babies, and have LOVED this podcast! Hormones are another key element to my physical health and sometimes I can overlook that. Connected so well with Trainer Lindsay! What a great podcast!


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