For nearly 30 years, many New Zealanders have had the privilege of being trained by Internationally acclaimed, award-winning Personal Trainer, business owner and busy ‘mum’, Mish McCormack. For decades she has worked tirelessly to improve the lifestyles of as many New Zealanders as she can.
Mish goes where the people are: to the gym, residential communities, and workplaces in all the major New Zealand cities. She has done this for years, using her knowledge and amazing personality to inspire and motivate people to exercise more and eat better. Yes, she even appears on my member coaching course in my Workplace Wellness section for women on the MyMT™ programmes.
Her inspirational success story began during her teenage years when she competed in gymnastics at a national level. Her enthusiasm, drive and commitment catapulted her to international success where she shared the stage with fitness heroes including Arnold Schwarzenegger. A past stunt-double on Xena Warrior Princess and international fitness and figure competitor, Mish has been on the go for decades.
So, what happens when the energy you’ve been putting out for decades, suddenly depletes as you arrive in peri-menopause?
That’s when Mish came into the MyMT™ Circuit Breaker programme. Mish is a great friend of mine from 25 years ago and has enjoyed un-paralled success in the fitness industry for close to thirty years . she now co-owns three gyms, soon to be four. Like many of you, she is a busy lady.
And that’s why peri-menopause, was her ‘perfect storm’ moment. Mish injured herself back in November 2021 and has had to step back from her work as she recovers from a femur femoral neck stress fracture in her left hip. Ouch!
When she contacted me, I told her that whilst her hormones were changing as well as her muscles, she had to slow down a bit.
“Slowing down. What’s that?” laughed Mish.
That’s why I love her story and asked her to kindly share it with you. Because this is what happens to so many of us.
As Mish did, we fight the diagnosis, thinking ‘how on earth do I have time for this?‘. But like most injuries, there is no choice. We have to stop and rest. That’s when Mish took time out and did the MyMT™ programme. Not only did her body need to rest and repair, but she needed the knowledge about peri-menoapuse and menopause to help her understand why her muscles, joints and energy levels were changing with age. She also needed to slow down to restore her energy levels so that she could move successfully through into her 50s being able to ‘keep going!’.
In a fabulous phone catch up last week she was telling me how much better she feels with her peri-menopause symptoms now that she has had to slow down. Most of her symptoms have disappeared, if not gone. I love that she is now better equiped to manage the inflammation and stress that have been her constant companion for years.
As I explained to her, you are forgetting that your heart is a muscle too and it is ageing. During our peri-menopause transition the cardiovascular system undergoes changes in the heart itself and the arteries that circulate blood throughout the body. Mish has relied on this high-functioning system for years. But the part of the heart that has the most relevance to ageing, is the left ventricle, which loses some muscle size and strength and increases in fat and connective tissue.
Hence, as our oestrogen levels decline, the left ventricle wall becomes thicker and less compliant during each contraction. For women with very high exercise levels or for those working in physically demanding jobs, the heart pump loses some of its effectiveness. It’s why women wonder why their exercise recovery is a lot slower, as Mish did too after teaching classes such as her cycle class.
But perhaps the most important thing that Mish learnt, as many of us who have worked in the fitness industry for years have also learnt, is that how we look after ourselves in menopause differs from musch of the emphasis on typical protein and fat-rich diets that permeate the fitness industry.
As I said to Mish, “with your energy levels crashing, and your continual output of energy, then your adrenals are working for you all day long. This tires you out, so you may not be eating enough of the right type of carbohydrates that help your heart and muscles to recover.” I’m pleased she listened!
“How amazing is it that it takes something like an injury that doesn’t heal, to realise how much stress we are normally under” mentioned Mish. “I see so many women like this and they are just keeping going until their body gives up on them or their menopause symptoms become worse – and I was the same.”
After 30 years of early morning 05.30am starts, one of the most important changes Mish has made to her health, is to change her morning routine. She recognised this as something that she had to do as she moved into mid-life.
“I’m loving the extra time to prep food and make delicious meals from your Circuit Breaker Food Guide, that the entire family is enjoying. I’m also getting back into some very small amounts of training, working around my injury with the support of my physio.”
“You know what Wendy, with what I’ve learnt, my message to all of the ladies who are in your community, is to really nurture your well being as we age. We all have to listen to our body, becuase what I learnt from you is that menopause hormonal changes affect the entire body. So, if you have niggles or an injury get them checked immediately and take some time for self care every day even if it’s just for 5 mins.
Women have been working hard for years but I can’t thank you enough for helping me understand that, if we’ve been active and busy for decades as I have, then we have to SLOW down. Because if you don’t, you never know what’s around the corner! I love the quote that you have in the programme, that we shouldn’t focus on the past, but on the future – as you always say, don’t look back, you’re not going that way now.
Much love to all the ladies who are going through menopause!”
Mish McCormack, Lover of life!