Building strong bones for life

Jul 25, 2014

The point has been proven again and again by numerous studies. For middle-aged and post-menopausal women, the best defense against osteoporosis and the risk of bone fractures as they age is to keep their bones strong through weight training.

But Colette Bellemare, co-founder of the Farm Boy grocery chain, knows weight training is seldom a priority, even among women who do take care of their health.

“As women get closer to 50, we focus on our size, and on cardio and keeping calories in check, but a lot of us don’t consider that maintaining a healthy muscle ratio is huge to keeping up your structure,” she said.

It’s no secret that building and maintaining lean muscle mass is the key to keeping off unwanted pounds. Working your muscles consumes calories and burns fat, whereas dieting alone strips the body of vital lean muscle mass as well as fat.

The landmark Bone Estrogen Strength Training (BEST) study conducted over two decades by the University of Arizona, found that weight training also serves to increase bone density, when coupled with consuming adequate amounts of calcium and iron.

Increasing bone density can be of particular benefit for women at risk of osteoporosis, to delay the onset, and reduce the severity, of the condition.

Colette’s family history puts the 51-year-old at risk for developing osteoporosis. The wake up call came earlier this year, when she and her husband underwent medical testing to qualify for an insurance policy.

Rather than a routine medical exam, they visited a private executive health centre for a more extensive battery of tests. Doctors there raised a red flag about Colette’s bone density.

She was advised to start weight training, and a neighbour’s referral led her to FFF.

In a few short months, Colette has already seen improvements in her muscle tone and strength. Her results have piqued the interest of her husband, Jean-Louis. He already runs everyday so that he can keep up with the demands of managing Farm Boy’s growing operations.

“What I like about FFF is that here I have two different trainers who train me completely differently,” Colette said.

She has never struggled with her weight and has lived a reasonably healthy and active lifestyle. Cross-training has always been her favourite form of fitness, with cardio-focused activities such as running, cycling and the elliptical. Weights were something she would try from time to time, but she never had the motivation to stick with it.

Having the personal support and coaching of a personal trainer has made all the difference.

Colette has been surprised by how quickly she’s seen results, thanks to the technical expertise of the FFF team to tailor a safe, individualized workout that will have the greatest impact and make the most efficient use of time.

“I’ve noticed big changes just from coming in twice a week for half an hour,” Colette said. “You don’t always have to pound yourself to see good results.”

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