I have an awesome guest in the podcast today, who's older than 40. At her age, Mary Ann says that she's never looked better and that everything changed when she found macro counting in her late 40s. I can't wait for you to take a listen to the podcast as she shares her story, perspective, and experiences as she's gone through the aging process.
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You're listening to Biceps after Babies radio episode number 112.
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 0:49
Hey, hey, hey, welcome back to another episode of biceps after babies radio, I'm your host, Amber Brueseke. And I have an awesome guest for you today, who is older than 40. I had somebody in my biceps after babies lady group, which if you aren't in that group, that's a free Facebook group, by the way, biceps after babies ladies, you can just search for it on Facebook. But that's our free community for anybody who is just wanting to have a community of women who are also reaching for goals just like you. A place to ask questions, a place to share ideas and recipes and things that you're doing that are working on your fitness journey. So if you're not on the biceps after babies ladies page, you should head over and request access to join in there.
Amber B 1:32
But somebody posted on the biceps after babies ladies page, that she was wondering if macro counting would work for her because, in her words, she wasn't 30 or 40. And she said a lot of the people that I bring on to the podcast are in that age bracket, which kind of makes sense because that's kind of the age bracket that I'm in, and often that you attract people who are similar to you. But that got me thinking of Yes, like of course, macro counting can work for you if you're over the age of 30 and 40. But how important is it to showcase it working in somebody? And obviously, I'm not in my 50s. I'm not in my 60s and so how important it is for me to bring women who are in that age demographic to be able to show you what is possible, to be able to show you what is out there for you.
Amber B 2:21
Because it's the truth is if you're in your 50s, or your 60s or 70s, I think the old, I've never worked with anybody in their 80s I don't think but I've definitely worked with women in their 70s. So if you're in that age bracket, it's really easy to start to believe what has been told to you growing up. And what has been told to most of us growing up is that as you age, you gain weight. As you age, it gets harder to lose fat. As you go through menopause, like you're just like, your body is going to change if you're never going to get your body back. That's what I've been told most of my life. And maybe that's what you've been told as well. And so we go into the aging process, we go into menopause, looking at it like it's a death sentence like, my body's never going to look the same. It's going to make weight loss so hard, like, you know, I'm going to blow up like a balloon, I'm going to gain all this weight, and I'm never going to be able to lose it. And that's kind of a depressing thought. And the truth is, that doesn't have to happen. Okay? The truth is, is that menopause doesn't have to be the worst thing that ever happened to your body. And that is one of the reasons why I wanted to bring Mary Ann onto the podcast. Mary Ann is 55 years old, and you'll hear her in the podcast, she says that she's never looked better. And when she found macro counting, everything changed her and she didn't find macro counting until age 45. So she found it in her late 40s. And at the age of 55 now says she's never looked better. And I bring Mary Ann onto the podcast to share with you somebody who has done it. So if you're listening and you are aging, hello, all of us are aging. And you're maybe dreading aging because you have all this idea of what it's going to bring into your journey. I want you to sit back and listen to Mary Ann and her story and her perspective. And what she's experienced as she's gone through the aging process and how macros have been able to work with her just as well at age 40 and age 50 and will work just as well for her at age 60 as it does for somebody in their 20s or 30s or 40s. And so without further ado, let's roll the interview with Mary Ann Bronson.
Amber B 4:39
I am so excited to welcome Mary Ann Bronson to the podcast. Mary Ann, how the heck are you doing?
Mary Ann 4:46
I am great. Amber, how are you?
Amber B 4:48
I'm doing excellent. And I'm really excited about this episode. Before I hit record, we were kind of talking about what our goals were for this episode. And when I asked Mary Ann what her goal was and she told me it very much aligned with what I'm hoping this episode becomes and what you get out of this episode. So I want to dive right into it because we have some good stuff to share and your story is so amazing. So I want you to be able to share that with the listener. So can we start out there? Can we start out with maybe just a brief recap of a little bit about you and a little bit about your story? And what brought you to this point today?
Mary Ann 5:23
Okay, yeah, sure. So I'm 55. I have four grown children, all married, and 14 grandchildren. I work full time, I have a very demanding high paced job that keeps me really busy. As a young child growing up similar to what your mom grew up with Amber, the whole health and fitness industry, and the knowledge about macros and balancing, none of that was out there. And so I grew up in a home where we try to eat healthily, but probably not. And I didn't understand anything about health and nutrition until after I was a grown adult.
Mary Ann 6:13
And so my younger years were loaded full of the yo-yo diet, starving, losing weight, working out really hard to get to your goal. And then once you hit the goal, you eat again, and you gain more weight. And so I had a lot of years of that yo-yo dieting, I learned early that I enjoyed going to the gym three, four times a week and doing fitness classes. And in my late 20s, I decided if I was going to go to the gym and hang out doing fitness classes three times a week, I'd really like to be paid to do that. So I became a certified fitness instructor. And I ate what I thought was healthy. I'm still having no understanding of macronutrients.
Mary Ann 6:13
About 12 years ago, I moved from doing gym activities to outside activities where I started to do a little bit of running and biking and learned that I really, really liked that. And I have actually lost a little bit of weight. And I was super happy with that. I wasn't super happy, and I didn't have a very good self-image up until that time and I tell people often that my life started in my 40s, my happiness started in 40s. I found myself in my 40s. I am still not having a lot of knowledge about macros or nutrition. I started placing, I started doing fitness events where I did triathlons and running endurance events, and even did century bike rides, and started placing and there was after the first couple of years I just really enjoyed the activity. But then I got really good. And I started placing in everything that I did. And not like the Boston Marathon where I was like the first woman of course not. But in my age group, I started placing in my age group. And that really, really motivated me, I was very motivated by the competition.
Mary Ann 8:30
And I still felt like there was something missing in my life as far as the health and nutrition part goes. And so about 2017 or 18, I started following you. And I hired a fitness endurance trainer to help me understand recovery and the endurance aspect of nutrition, which is a little bit different than regular everyday nutrition. I was training two to three hours a day, and I needed to understand that nutrition. And so through that coaching, which included macros, I was able to dial that in and I lost 20 pounds. And I've been able to maintain that for over five years, and I am not yo-yo dieting. I am currently not racing because everything's canceled. And I've gone through menopause during all of this. So, um, that's kind of my journey.
Amber B 9:39
Yeah, that's amazing. And I love that you share your story. And I think it's such an important story to share because there's a lot of things to unpack in this that I want to dive a little bit deeper into because there are women out there who have parts of your story in their story, right? There are women out there who are in their 50s and they're wondering if this is kind of just what they have to accept, there weren't women out there who are either going through menopause or postmenopausal. And, you know, it's new. And they're wondering if this is like the body that they just have to accept now. There are women out there who train for triathlons or endurance training and wonder how they're able to balance those like aesthetic goals and the training and performance goals that they have. And so I think there's a lot of things here to unpack and I love that you're sharing this because we can help so many women who are going through some of the same things.
Amber B 10:29
So the first thing that I want to address is menopause. Because I know that this is something that, I mean, first of all, every woman goes through eventually. And there's a lot of misconceptions about menopause, and especially about menopause, and what it does to your metabolism and what it does to your body. And a lot of us have grown up with moms or grandmas who have shown us and given us a reason to believe maybe that after menopause, it's all downhill from there. And that your best body was behind you, your best life was behind you. And so I want to, I'm curious if you'll talk a little bit more about that experience for you. And what going through menopause was like and how it impacted your fitness journey.
Mary Ann 11:10
Yeah, absolutely. I feel like I am living my best life. And I have felt that I'm living my best life for several years now. And when I first started through menopause, I wasn't exactly sure what was going on, and why I was having hot flashes. And it wasn't like I, all of a sudden, one day, the stove turned on and I had hot flashes, they came on gradually, and they left gradually. So I found that the cleaner I ate, and through and by working out that I was able to keep it all in check in balance. I had a really good conversation with a friend one day, we were discussing menopause. And so I don’t want to have anybody leave this podcast with a misunderstanding or misinterpretation that I am like a workout fanatic because people who work out on a normal level can keep menopause under control by walking, drinking lots of water. You know, if you don't like running, don't run, if you don't like to cycle, don't cycle. Find what you like to do and do it.
Amber B 12:26
But you found what you like, that doesn't mean it's what everybody else is gonna like. They need to find what they like, but you found what you like and what is enjoyable to you.
Mary Ann 12:33
Right. So what I'm saying is that through some form of activity, daily activity and eating healthy, I was able to manage my menopause. And I didn't even need to go on any hormones. For the longest time. I have recently gone on hormones for the last three months. But for years, I was fine by just managing it with health and fitness.
Amber B 12:56
That's awesome. Yeah. And I want to clear up this misconception. So what age would you say? I mean, it's a range. Right? So what age range did you go through menopause?
Mary Ann 13:08
So I'm 55 now, I would say I started about 50.
Amber B 13:12
Okay, and during that time, did you start to notice changes in your body, like just mentioned the hot flashes? Were there other changes that you started to notice in your body?
Mary Ann 13:22
I didn't have weight gain, I didn't have ugly mood swings.
Amber B 13:26
Okay, awesome. And during that time, you were able to still maintain your performance, you're still able to maintain your aesthetic, you were still able to like work hard, and you're still able to have the same body that you had postmenopausal that you had pre-menopausal, which is evidence that it's possible, right? It's evidence that it can be done.
Mary Ann 13:47
I actually feel like I look better now than I've ever looked before.
Amber B 13:51
Well, Hot diggity. Did you hear that? And I think the more that we can share these examples because I love that Mary Ann shared the story. But you're not the only one like this menopause does not have to mean the death of any fitness goals that you have set. And you can live your best life as Mary Ann was talking about and have your best body at age 55. And how amazing is that? That is a possibility and the hope that you're giving the women that are listening to this story. So I'm curious, you talked a little bit about kind of how you were introduced to macro counting. What was the difference that you saw before you understood macros and before you understood fueling your body in that way? And then what was that shift like as you started learning about, hey, I need X, Y, and Z macros in order to perform my best in order to hit my goals? What was that shift like for you?
Mary Ann 14:44
So like I said, I was eating healthy or so I thought I was eating healthy, not a lot of processed foods, not a lot of love eating out and I counted calories. I was a calorie counter for years when I was introduced to macros, and I did an analysis of what I ate, I found out that I ate very little protein and very little fat. And all of my calories, even though they were kind of low, or consumed with carbs. And so the mindset of spreading your macros throughout your meals, and incorporating fats and protein was very new to me, and I really welcome the protein add, but I struggled with adding fat. And I kind of had to adapt the philosophy of you know, what have you got to lose? You're not happy with the way you look now. So are you going to continue down this road of not being happy? Are you going to give this a try? So I decided to give it an honest try. And Holy cow, I felt so much better. My body started to lean up, I had more energy, and I was sold.
Amber B 16:04
That's awesome. So you mentioned protein, and that's a very common thing that I hear is, the first thing that can be challenging or can be shocking is trying to get that much protein into your diet. But the effects and you know, what happens when you take that time and put that energy into it, the effects and the payoff of it are so amazing. And that's kind of what you experience. And that's, especially with someone who has performance goals, having that protein is a game-changer for your body. So if someone's listening, and they're struggling to hit their protein, or that they're finding that's a hard thing, what are some of the things, what are some of your go-to’s, what are some of your ways that you make sure that you get enough protein in?
Mary Ann 16:43
So like I said, I spread my macros throughout my day, and I eat six meals, my alarm goes off at four o'clock, and I usually don't crawl in bed until 10 or 10:30. So I have a very full day and so I need to eat six times, which is different from other people, I think maybe. And so I use protein powder. But I try to keep that to no more than two scoops of powder in a day just because that's the way my body reacts best. I like egg whites. I like turkey burgers. I love chicken and fish, yogurt, cottage cheese. Those were my protein go-to’s.
Amber B 17:23
Those your go-to’s. Awesome. Hopefully, that helps someone who's listening. So as you are going through this transformation, you talked about losing 20 pounds and really kind of shifting how you understood fueling your body, What were some of the beliefs that may be cropped up that during that time that you had to shift in order to see success, we all know that sometimes we can be our own worst enemies and it isn't until we shift the way that we're thinking about the process that it causes that shift to happen in our life. And so I'm curious if you noticed or identified anything that you had previously believed that was holding you back from the results that you wanted?
Mary Ann 18:01
Yes. So my biggest shift was it is okay to eat, it's okay to eat more than twice a day, it is okay to have a sweet treat. It is okay to eat a pizza or a hamburger as long as you just incorporate it and that's something that you, Amber, have taught the people, your followers. Another thing that I haven't mentioned yet was that I did start incorporating some strength training and before all of this, I thought I was lifting but I wasn't lifting heavy enough. And so to get the lean muscle mass that I have now I do and have been lifting as well. And that was a mindset change because I did not want to be in the part of the gym, where the muscle men work. But I am there now.
Amber B 18:59
I love that, I love it. Yeah, those are some really good things. And I think a lot of women can relate to like that permission to eat and that permission to enjoy your food and that permission to not have to say, you know, I can't eat that and that restriction mentality and the freedom that brings when you can break away from that restriction mentality and recognize that it doesn't, we don't have to label it good or bad. We can just label it as food and understand that your body in order to facilitate the things that you require and to feel it, it needs a certain amount of each of the macronutrients and we can be selective and choose and pick the foods that fit those numbers.
Amber B 19:39
Awesome. So, what would you say is that we kind of talked about some of the mind shift set mindset shifts? What would you say is the biggest lesson that you've learned over the last five years? I always say that you know, life gives you either result or it gives you lessons. And so I'm curious I'm sure you've learned lessons. So what would you say are maybe a couple of your top lessons that you've learned?
Mary Ann 20:04
I would have to say my number one top lesson is to be true to yourself, no matter what. And that's, that's drawing off of experiences that I've had in the community of athletes, Be true to yourself no matter what.
Amber B 20:20
And what does that look like for you,
Mary Ann 20:22
Doing your best every single day, running your best race, being the best you you can be, don't fall into the cliques that sometimes form in groups. Anytime you have a group. I want to cheer other people on and encourage successes and not drag people down. Because you because they're faster or stronger and look better or have something different. There's always going to be somebody out there that's better, faster, stronger, prettier. And for me, that's awesome. I'm really happy for people and their successes. I don't like getting caught up in any type of backstabbing, or negativity. And so my biggest lesson is to be true to yourself.
Amber B 21:21
That's awesome. And that's something that I think I have really started to learn. And I really encourage a lot of my clients, you talk specifically about seeing other people's successes. And I think the common thing for a lot of women to do is to see another woman or somebody else succeed and to immediately go into this comparison game of like, where she is versus where I am, right. And if you're not as far along, or you don't have as much progress, or you don't look as good or whatever, then we start to feel this insecurity, and you know, maybe lack of worthiness because that she's better than us, or she's done more than us, or she's progressed faster than us or whatever. And what I offer all the time to my clients and what I want to offer to anybody listening to the podcast, is that when we can start to see other successes, rather as something that we have to compare ourselves against, and rather see it as what is possible for us. Right?
Amber B 22:18
When I see another person succeed in an area, what that shows me is that it's possible for me, and how much more amazing is it to view the world in light of seeing what's possible through other people, rather than having other people's success have to mean something about me or about, you know, me not being good enough. And I think just that shift can cause such a monumental change in your world because we stopped the comparison game, we stopped the saying, you know, I have to compare myself to everybody else. And instead, we start celebrating other people, because Hot diggity, if I said I had to give you twice today if they can do it, now I can do it too. And this is why I bring women on like Mary Ann because I want you to have as many possibilities. And as many women that you see killing it and rocking it and reaching the goals that they've set for themselves, and that maybe you've set for yourself so that you have an opportunity to see what's possible. And I love that you shared that lesson because I think it's something that when you make that shift in your head, it changes your fitness journey. It changes everything about how you see the world. Awesome.
Amber B 23:31
So if there's going to be some women in their 40s, and their 50s and their 60s, listening to this podcast episode. So if you had to sit down with one of them and just kind of share some advice or have a heart to heart with them, what would you want to make sure that you told that woman?
Mary Ann 23:52
The number one thing that I would want them to come away from our conversation would be that it is never too late to take control of your health and fitness. It is not too late, anybody and everybody can do it and, and should take control of their health and fitness.
Amber B 24:11
Yeah, it's possible. It's possible for you. That's awesome. So I'm curious, what are some of your current health and fitness goals? You said you're like in the prime of your life. So what are you working on right now?
Mary Ann 24:23
It's been interesting. So teleworking from home for six months day in and day out, trying to stay motivated and everything that I love and have enjoyed has been canceled. So right now I just, honestly, I'm just relaxing and enjoying my life. But I still am motivated and I still work out every day. I lift three, four times a week and I have a good hour of cardio six times a week and I'm just enjoying the steady-state endurance of my fitness.
Amber B 25:00
That's awesome. Yeah. And it's okay to hang out there, we don't always have to be like Jason the next triathlon, I'm sure you'll be excited when things open back up, and you can actually go out and do your races again. But in the meantime, it's okay to be just kind of, like, Hey, I'm just enjoying life and just hold in where I'm at. That's awesome. What would someone maybe be surprised to learn about you?
Mary Ann 25:22
That as a child, I was obese and a lot of people as an adult to see me as an adult would never ever believe that, that I was a really big kid and I had those struggles. And so as an adult, I've had to figure life out or I was going to be a big adult too. But I figured it out. Another thing that some people may be surprised about is that I really do like sugar, I like chocolate and cookies, and ice cream and cake. And I eat it. And some people may not believe that, but I do.
Amber B 26:00
And she enjoys every bit of it, every bit of that. Also, if we're looking back, and you know, when I went from my 20s to my 30s, I felt like life was different. And I gained a lot of wisdom. And I was at a different place in my life. And I can imagine as I go to my 30s, to my 40s, it'll be the same thing. And you kind of alluded to that earlier that you know, as you age, you felt like you had learned more things, and you had more wisdom, and you kind of understand the world a little bit more. So I'm curious if you could go back to you 10 years ago, and give yourself a message you know, so 45-year-old you, what would you tell yourself at that point?
Mary Ann 26:40
Relax and enjoy life, look around, smell the roses. Don't be so caught up in the day to day tasks and getting through the things that absolutely have to be done. But to relax and enjoy the people that are around you and enjoy the company.
Amber B 26:57
That's amazing. That's so awesome. Awesome. Well Mary Ann, if someone wants to connect with you, how can they do that?
Mary Ann 27:03
So I have an Instagram account, and they can find me under Mary Ann Bronson. I would love to hear from anybody.
Amber B 27:10
Yeah. So if you're listening to this episode, and you can relate to Mary Ann, and you appreciated her story, I really invite you to reach out. And just to let her know that she's like, she's donating their time, she's coming and spending her time to be able to help teach and inspire you. And if this touched you in some way, and I made a difference, go ahead and reach out to her and let her know. There's nothing like hearing that your words have made a difference. So I'm so grateful that you're willing to come on the podcast, Mary Ann, and if we have one last thing that you want to leave with anybody listening? Whether it's something you want to reiterate that you said earlier if it's a new thing, is there anything you'd like to leave anyone listening?
Mary Ann 27:49
So, one other quick thing is to make a plan, have a plan. On Sundays, I sit down and kind of try to plan out my week. I see what meetings I have and what nights I'm going to be having grandkids. And so I plan out meals, I plan out workouts. I plan out activities, and by having a plan that has helped my success. So write it down, write down the goals, write down your week, have a plan,
Amber B 28:19
Make it happen. That's so awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast, Mary Ann.
Mary Ann 28:24
Thank you, Amber, what an honor, I really appreciate you having me on.
Amber B 28:28
I hope that you enjoyed the interview with Mary Ann and that you're feeling a little bit motivated, and maybe some of those fears about aging and about, you know, the best years being behind, you have sort of been squelched a little bit, and you have a little bit brighter vision of what the future can hold. Because my friend aging does not have to mean that everything goes downhill. And macro counting works just as well for somebody in their 70s as it does for someone in their 20s. And the reason it works is that macro counting is a tool that allows you to customize things to you, to your body, to your lifestyle, to your goals. And that means that it is able to be customized to you if you're 70 and it's able to be customized to you if you're 23. And that's the beauty of macro counting is that it is customized to you. So wherever you're at in your journey, whatever your body's doing, whatever age you're at, you're able to figure out what is going to work for you at that time in your life.
Amber B 29:29
So I'm so grateful that Mary Ann came on the podcast and shared her story. And I want you to go out and find more women who have been successful. If you're feeling like hey, I'm too old, hey, you know, I follow these young chicks on Instagram and I don't have anybody who's my age go find them because they're out there. They are out there. And the more that you fill your feed with women who are doing the things that you want to do who are normalizing success, the more success that you're going to have. That wraps up this episode of biceps after babies radio. I'm Amber now go out and be strong because remember my friend, you can do anything.
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