I get a lot of questions from readers about what I do for fitness and how I maintain my weight. Honestly, I’ve not maintained it so well in the recent months, but that’s on me. And I am totally back on track for the new year. I have a May 15th wedding to motivate me! And so I thought I’d share a little about the FASTer Way to Fat Loss® program that set the trajectory for my fitness and nutrition lifestyle. I also receive questions about how appropriate the FASTer Way program is for the over 50 woman…such as myself. So I’ll offer my thoughts on that.
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What is the FASTer Way to Fat Loss®?
The FASTer Way to Fat Loss® program combines scientifically proven nutrition management with optimal exercise formats to help you to train your body to burn fat at a faster rate. That’s it in a nutshell.
There are no pills, diet foods or medical procedures involved. It’s purely you changing how and what you eat along with exercising in a way that builds more lean muscle mass so that your body can do what it’s supposed to do. I love the simplicity of the program because it makes it easier to develop a new, healthier lifestyle rather than just implementing a temporary fix.
Bottom line, the FASTer Way to Fat Loss® consists of:
- Intermittent fasting. Essentially, participants eat for only an 8 hour window. For me, that means I don’t begin to eat each day until somewhere between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and then I stop eating by 7 or 8 p.m. This component seems to give some people pause, but there is quantitative science behind this approach. I’m a lifelong breakfast eater, but the shortened eating window has not been difficult for me. And you could even shift your feeding window in the other direction, breaking your fast at, say, 8 a.m. and finishing by 4 p.m.
- Macro management. You learn to chart your macro-nutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrates) daily so that you eat a well balanced diet. While on the program you learn to manipulate your macros on certain days for optimal fat burn, but the program is built around the idea that on normal days you need to consume a diet of 20% protein, 30% fat and 50% carbohydrates. That’s a perfectly healthy diet, but unfortunately most of us do not eat that way unless we’re more intentional about it.
- Carb cycling. This is not a “low carb” or keto (ketogenic) diet. And I’m glad. But on the FASTer Way you do learn to limit your carbs strategically so that your body learns to burn fat more effectively. Most days you eat plenty of good carbs, more than I can usually fit in. And, by the way, on this plan I get to consume in excess of 1,400 calories most days. Only on Mondays and Tuesday (our cardio workout days) do I limit my net carbohydrate intake (carbs – fiber consumed = net carbs) to around 50 grams.
- Strategic cardio workouts. Research indicates that most women are doing too much cardio. And I believe it. I was either walking about 5 miles or running 3 most every day of the week and gaining weight instead of losing it. The FASTer Way allows you to do less cardio, but do it smarter. Their in-app workouts are smart, effective and time-saving. Each workout lasts about 35 minutes from warm-up to cool-down. And even the cardio workouts include some weight lifting to optimize muscle building, something women over 50 generally lack in.
- Full body weight training. The FASTer Way to Fat Loss app provides a variety of highly effective weight training exercises that work muscles you’ve probably been neglecting. At least, I had. I’ve been lifting weights several times a week for probably 30 years, but I hadn’t been working my body the way I do on the FASTer Way. The program encourages three weight training days per week. Participants are able to choose daily from gym, home or low impact workout options. All three are effective.
Here’s what I like about the FASTer Way to Fat Loss®
Mainly I appreciate that the FASTer Way to Fat Loss® is not so much a program that you do as it is a lifestyle that you learn and live. I’ve learned to eat healthier and it has become my new normal. I’ve also learned a smarter, more effective way to exercise my body that doesn’t exhaust me but instead gives me energy, so it’s practical and feasible…and fun!
I also like that…
- you are held accountable in a friendly, positive environment. You can join a private Facebook group with about other women and a certified trainer or you can be a part of a smaller, more intimate accountability group. I’m in a small 5-woman accountability group that communicates through occasional texts. Others communicate through emails or the WhatsApp. The group is your accountability platform. Everyone is so supportive and real.
- Amanda Tress, the CEO and founder, is personally involved and accessible, responding to your Facebook posts and posting daily encouragements. She and the other coaches also hosts live video conferences for participants in which she answers questions and provides educational information and reinforcement.
- the program is advertised as 6 weeks, but actually includes a prep week that helps you adjust to the system, so you get 7 weeks of interaction, workouts and accountability.
- you get to eat real food all the time, and it works well with your family meal planning, too.
- you get to have a no-holds-barred treat day on Saturday when you do your leg workout. It’s not a full cheat day, but a treat day. You still stay within your calorie allotment and macros, but you can have something fattening and yummy. Amanda has donuts. When I first began the program (and lost over 20 pounds in 10 weeks) I had a McDonald’s Bacon Egg ‘n Cheese Biscuit…every…single…Saturday. Because that’s what I wanted! Now I tend to change my treat up a bit each Saturday.
- it’s all on an app! Everything you need to work the program effectively is on a handy and easy-to-navigate app. On that one app you can now access your daily workouts, log your food intake, log your water intake, access meal plans and recipes, time your intermittent fasting and even purchase equipment or supplements you may need or want.
But can an older woman really do this?
Yes. The coaches are very forthright about participants having the ability to make adaptations to the exercises. They provide low-impact and joint-friendly adaptations with every exercise they demonstrate.
I don’t have any real disabilities, but I do get some aches and pains in my joints if I don’t take care of them. So I don’t do anything where you have to throw yourself to the ground. Know what I mean? No burpees for this gal. Yes, I did them for a while, and I tried the modifications. But when I realized it just wasn’t working for me and that I was getting frustrated, I stopped. That is, I didn’t quit the program; I just no longer do that particular exercise.
When I can’t do a certain exercise, I just substitute in something I can do. Easy-peasy. You don’t have to ask for permission; you just make an executive decision about your own health and well-being, and you move on.
As far as the eating plan, you get to eat more calories than you’re probably used to. And that’s the ticket. Some women participating in the program don’t eat enough and then they don’t lose weight or inches. The coaches stay on you throughout the program to get your calories and your macros in each day. It may feel counter-intuitive, but you have to eat your food to burn it.
What if you have to take medication in the morning that requires food? I suggest you talk to your doctor or pharmacist and make sure you have the facts straight first. And if indeed you do have to take the medication in the morning and it requires food, then by all means do so. But the program can still work for you. Just move your 8-hour feeding window to earlier in the day. (By the way, you may find that after successfully changing your body through the FASTer Way to Fat Loss® you are able to go off some medications, with your doctor’s approval of course. I had my doctor re-assess my need for some of my blood pressure medicine and I was able to go off of one of the prescriptions.)
Isn’t this program mostly for younger women? No. I was amazed and pleased to find that many of the women in my initial Facebook community group were around my age or older. And now I’m in a small accountability group of 5 women, all of whom are over 55. I actually met some beautiful, gracious and smart women around my age who have become Facebook friends now. With adaptations as needed, this program is beautifully suited for women in their 50s-70s for sure. And my mom, who is in her 80s and has not participated in the FASTer Way to Fat Loss®, actually already does many of the weight training exercises suggested in the program.
Do I have to lift a lot of weight? Or run really fast? No. You lift what you can. You run or walk as fast as you can. Definitely push yourself a little, but know your realistic limits and observe them. Actually, the program never once specifies how much weight you should lift for any exercise or how fast you should run for any workout. So that’s really up to your judgment and ability. And no one in my initial Facebook feed ever posted how much they were lifting, so there’s no shaming involved.
Do I have to be on Facebook? No. FASTer Way offers accountability options on Facebook, texting, email and WhatsApp. And you can be in either a large coaching group or a small accountability group.
Any more suggestions for how I can protect my older body? Yes. While the coaches do encourage you to stretch after your exercise sessions, they doesn’t supply specific stretches each day. So I suggest you do take the time to stretch your warmed up muscles long and for a count of at least 16 seconds each. These are static stretches and it’s important that you do them before your muscles have cooled down. As we age, it is even more important that we stretch in order to maintain flexibility and balance. Before the exercise sessions, the coaches you do warm-up exercises. This is basically dynamic stretching. But if you feel you need more, do more. Do not do static stretches before working out.
One more tip for the older woman. Part of the cardio workouts is sprinting. It’s actually my favorite workout. But I do recommend that if you do the sprints outside (like I do) that you find a good level surface with as few rocks or other surface issues as possible. I run on a quiet stretch of road in my neighborhood. But you could also run on a running path, an athletic field, a gym floor or a track. They recommend you do not do the sprints on a treadmill. That just isn’t safe. But you can do them on other safer equipment.
If you have questions or concerns…
Look, I’m not a doctor or even a certified trainer. My advice here isn’t based on those credentials. But as someone who has been living the FASTer Way for almost four years, I highly recommend this program…even to women who are 50 and above.
If you have questions or would simply like to know more of the science behind the program, visit the FASTer Way to Fat Loss® website. You can also contact their staff on the website and ask any questions you have. But I’d also be glad to respond to your comments or questions that I’m qualified to answer.
One more thing. If you click on the links to the FASTer Way to Fat Loss® in this post and then register for the program or purchase any of its cookbooks, I do receive a commission. It doesn’t affect the price you pay, but I do benefit from telling you about my experience with the program. That’s just another wonderful thing about the FASTer Way!
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Blessed for My Day
Staying fit really boils down to self-control, doesn’t it? And it’s hard to exercise that, too! Ha! But I’ve learned that if I am struggling to control my eating habits or exercise consistently it helps to pray about my lack of self-discipline. The Lord desires to help me live a self-controlled life. In fact, the Holy Spirit can produce self-control in me, if I cooperate and yield to Him. So if you’re struggling with self-control why not talk to God about it?
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.