March 9, 2023

Supercharge Your Midlife Fitness and Metabolism with Cam Oyler

Do you need a midlife movement and metabolism boost? This episode is packed with great tips to work with your body and not against it as you make your way through your midlife years. Tune in as special guest, Cam Oyler, shares how you can enhance your midlife experience through regulating hormones, movement, strength-training, proper sleep and nutrition so all the stronger parts of yourself can emerge.

Cam Oyler, a former CrossFit athlete and coach, is an Integrated Nutrition Health and Fitness Coach specializing in midlife fitness and metabolism. She teaches women how to revamp their fitness routine to include strength training and make simple lifestyle changes that will improve their overall health and energy throughout midlife.

• [5:18] Cam shares that getting into fitness allowed her to elevate her mood and outlook on life.
• [9:48] “When you take the stress away from your body, your body responds better in midlife…”
• [13:35] Cam discusses: “So many times in midlife, we're running on stress, we're caught between empty nest and caring for older parents... and trying to exercise the way we did when we were 20 and 30.” 
• [17:53] Dr. Li and Cam talk about the importance of sleep, the importance of mindful eating, mindful movement and mindful recovery.

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Dr. Christine Li -

Cam Oyler -


Christine Li  0:01  
Welcome back to the Make Time for Success podcast. This is episode number 117. 

After recording episode number 115, with Amy Lang and now this one with special guest, Cam Oyler, I started to feel that podcasting has been the biggest gift to me, because I get this really high end of personal development and wellness coaching. Courtesy of my wonderful guests. I hope you feel the same way. Cam Oyler is an integrated nutrition health and fitness coach who specializes in midlife fitness and metabolism. She teaches women how to revamp their fitness routine to include strength training, and she helps women make simple lifestyle changes that will improve their overall health and energy throughout the midlife years. This episode is so packed with great tips about working with your body and not against it as you go through the all important midlife years. Let's go listen to this episode together now.

Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li, and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they can begin working to their potential. In this podcast, you're going to learn a powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together so that you can focus on what's really important and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. Welcome to the Make Time for Success podcast. 

Hi, my dear friends. It's Christine. And today I'm already very excited because I've been getting to meet Cam Oyler, also known as Cam Allen, on the screen here and she has kindly offered to come on to today's episode to talk with us about a lot of things including the experience of women in midlife fitness, strength training, nutrition, and her own story. Thank you so much, Ken for being here.

Cam Oyler  2:23  
It's an honor to be here. I love helping midlife women, I think this is a great way to do that.

Christine Li  2:28  
Wonderful. So Kim, can you start us off with just telling us a little bit about your backstory, and the kinds of experiences you've gone through that brought you here?

Cam Oyler  2:39  
Yeah, so I graduated from college, and I was a classroom teacher for 18 years, mostly fifth grade. And in 2009, I would say my marriage was crumbling. And I decided to leave the classroom to really focus on like my life, my home life. And in the meantime, I discovered fitness. And so in 2010, I became a CrossFit athlete and a coach. And that's what started I changed from the classroom to the gym classroom. And I moved on to there. And in the process of that throughout my 40s I was CrossFitting. I loved it the community that was the first time I lifted weights, I felt really empowered. When it was a really low time in my life, like what's going on in my personal life, I felt empowered by lifting weights. And so that led to where I am today. And so at the end of my 40s I ended up having a complete hysterectomy, which meant they removed my ovaries and my uterus and my hormones were turned off. And so when I went to try to go back to the gym, I caught my Go button, MY GO button was broken. And I was like what happened here? So in the process of that I went back to school, and now I help women online with their fitness and their nutrition, learning about midlife because honestly, I didn't know a thing about it. I thought I was exercising and I thought it was healthy, and too much is not good.

Christine Li  4:00  
Okay, great. Thank you for sharing that whole story. As I find with most of my guests, I have so many different questions just on the backstory. Let's see when you went from classroom teaching to gym teaching, what kind of emotional process did you have to go through to make that decision? I'm just curious about that. Well, it

Cam Oyler  4:20  
was it was it kind of fell into my lap, the gym owner was a firefighter. And so every third day he was on he was working 24 hours and I had this availability and this desire and I've always been a teacher. And so I it started that way it was very organic. And then I just really felt empowered. And again, it was a low time in my life and I I just really loved the way I felt confidence and my body was changing and it just did all the little things that I needed at that time of

Christine Li  4:48  
life. Okay, this makes me wonder did you have body issues or a complicated relationship with weight and shape before finding the fitness

Cam Oyler  5:00  
I would say I was just hunched over, like, the weight of the world was weighing down and my, my posture has improved since I started strength training, but really, you know, I had shoulder issues forever. And it was just kind of like the weight of the world just pushing down on me. So I would say no.

Christine Li  5:18  
Okay, but I guess you're indicating that getting into fitness allowed you to elevate your mood and outlook on life.

Cam Oyler  5:27  
Absolutely. Absolutely. The confidence is what I needed. When I felt beat down and I left the classroom after 18 years and my first marriage was crumbling. It was what I needed to fill that gap. Okay,

Christine Li  5:39  
wonderful. Now, towards the end of your story, you may be indicated that what you were doing, was maybe overdoing it.

Cam Oyler  5:50  
Exactly. That's exactly what happened. My perimenopause experience. I know I had one hot flash, I remember it was in the kitchen, my daughter was there. And I was like, What just happened that somebody turned on the furnace. So my experience through perimenopause, which could last for 10 to 15 years for most women starts around 35. And I think 51 is the average age for menopause. And so my experience was I had all these hormones, I had one hot flash, I was ready to go, and then off. And part of it was due to over exercising, which I had no idea I was doing that.

Christine Li  6:24  
So the over exercising, I'm a little confused. The over exercising caused some hormonal issues. The hormonal

Cam Oyler  6:33  
issues probably were there from the beginning. I feel like in our society, they're like, you're just take this pill. It's, you know, from birth control pills to having an ablation because of heavy bleeding. Like it was probably already there. However, over exercising throughout my 40s extra stress from life going through a separation and divorce, it was just way too much burden on my body.

Christine Li  6:56  
I understand I understand now. Okay, so then you went back to school? I did. I'm assuming you learn nutrition?

Cam Oyler  7:05  
Absolutely. I'm an Integrative Nutrition coach, a health coach. And so I'm like the bridge the gap between life and your doctor. Yes.

Christine Li  7:16  
Okay, gotcha. And now, let's move on to what the transformation for you has been. So you went back to school, you got the right information, you were focusing on trying to unravel what was happening with your body, and why your training routine wasn't giving you the benefits that it had been giving you?

Cam Oyler  7:43  
Absolutely. And so that's exactly it. Like I went back to school to solve my own problems. Like why if I exercise throughout my 40s, and I was eating relatively healthy, like how in the world did this happen to me, and I go backwards, like 2018 was the year that everything unraveled. And what I know now is our body can handle so much stress, and then it's it starts screaming at you, and that that's what happened to me in 2018. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. So my thyroid was under active, if you will, strange injuries, days to recover, dry skin, hair loss, weight, gain all the things even though I was more active than ever, and that's when I was like, What's going on here? And then ultimately, it was the hysterectomy, due to fibroids, and so it was just like 2018 was a crazy year.

Christine Li  8:33  
Gotcha. All right, then, when did the improvements start to happen and what enabled the improvements?

Cam Oyler  8:41  
Yeah, so after, after the hysterectomy, I like I said, I returned trying to return to the gym and MY GO button was broken. And I was like, What is going on here? And I was already in school. And so our sex hormones made by our adrenal glands and our ovaries really matter. And in midlife, we have this like a limit of stress. And if we go too far, it backfires. When we're in midlife, the two hormones that we can control are I like to say insulin, which is our food and how we react to food and cortisol. And in general, I feel like I'm an energy manager. When it comes to midlife women. Where's the stress on your body? How can we take that burden away from your body and watch it respond? And so when I tried to go back to the gym, it did not work. I was exhausted many days if I did a workout that I used to do in my 40s, and there was one particular workout called Nancy, it involved running and overhead squats. And that particular day, it was a warm December day, we ran outside and I killed it. I was like so proud of myself, but then I was on the couch for about three days afterwards. And I was like it's happening here. So when you take the stress away from your body, your body responds better in midlife and that's really what it is.

Christine Li  9:54  
Okay, so there's life management, as well, which is the tough thing. Right? The coaching gave a lot I, I can sympathize. So what are your strategies for helping women to say this really involves a total life transformation? It's not just how you're eating and how you act at the gym. What, what is? How do you get people to agree with that? How do you get people to understand what you're giving?

Cam Oyler  10:24  
Well, I think part of it is education, because I did not know. So like, this is what's happening to your body and a lot of its mindset, which I know you love. It's like rethinking about your body. It's very frustrating when you're losing weight, or when you're gaining weight, or your body is changing, and you're like, what is wrong, and you go back to your old strategies from your 20s and 30s. And that tends to backfire. And actually, maybe you gain more weight, maybe you notice more injuries, maybe you notice more recovery. And it doesn't make sense. And also as a child of the 90s. Like, when my kids were born, it was fat, free everything. And so they were taking the fat out of products, and they were adding sugar and other things to it. And it's just really frustrating because I think we grew up in like diet, culture, and diet culture does not serve us in midlife, so we have to relearn some stuff. And if I can get women to try, you know, strength training, twice a week, a dash of cardio, a ton of walking and movement, their body responds in a positive way. So part of it is just like reframing how you think about your body.

Christine Li  11:27  
Okay, I think my brain just went to the COVID period. And I just read a at least the headline that said, the COVID era really caused people to have a different relationship with sleep, where the bedtime just became like an invisible concept, right? Like not a stable thing. And I really resonated with that personally, and also just from what I've seen, talking with friends and other people, and perhaps the same with with eating and being sedentary as well, that the COVID years really didn't serve us women in midlife.

Cam Oyler  12:03  
Absolutely. And then you throw in a dumbbell shortage so you couldn't order dumbbells, and your gyms were closed. And we have this beautiful opportunity when we transition from perimenopause and menopause to post menopause. Like strength training is super important. Muscle is like our longevity organ, we need muscle on our body. And yeah, all of those things. It was like the great storm.

Christine Li  12:26  
Okay, so then, what is the way to, to so it sounds like one of your techniques is like this consistent movement plus strength training?

Cam Oyler  12:35  
Absolutely. So if we think about our metabolism, about 15 to 20% of our metabolism is based on movement. And that's amazing because in midlife again, cortisol and insulin are the two hormones that we can control. We can't control the progesterone and the estrogen changing. So movement is amazing because it keeps your stress and your hunger low. And you're moving, you're moving, you're standing, you're walking. It's anything that's not exercise, it's actually called non exercise activity, such as moving.

Christine Li  13:05  
Okay, wonderful. Could you explain just quickly insulin and cortisol? In case people don't know the difference? Absolutely.

Cam Oyler  13:11  
Yeah. Okay, so when your ovaries shut down, your adrenals take over your sex hormones and your adrenals are located in your back. So many times people have backaches, it's really your adrenals saying, Hey, lady, you're stressed out. Anyway. So our adrenals have a choice, are they going to make sex hormones, which will be less than our ovaries can make? Or is it going to make cortisol and adrenaline, our stress hormones. And so many times in midlife, we're running on stress, we're caught between emptiness and caring for older parents. And we're trying to exercise the way we did when we were 20 and 30. And that just way too much burden on our body. So our body chooses to make the stress hormones versus the sex hormones. So that's a problem right there. That's why cortisol also does not allow you to build muscle, it actually encourages muscle to break down and also it adds to the belly fat, which we do not want that either. Insulin is how your body responds to sugar. So insulin is a hormone that's released from your pancreas. And what happens is when you eat food, it turns into energy, aka sugar. Some foods turn into sugar faster than others. And insulins job is to take the sugar from your blood and shuttle it into your cells. Now, here's where strength training comes in. The more muscle you have, the more suitcases you have to store the blood sugar. So I like to think of it that way. The more muscle the more ability you have to clear your blood sugar, which I would say having too much blood sugars, like rusting from the inside out. Let's just keep it really simple. You don't want that.

Christine Li  14:43  
Okay. Okay, thank you for I'm glad I asked because that really helps to reinforce the importance of doing the strength training.

Cam Oyler  14:50  
Absolutely. Yes.

Christine Li  14:52  
And what about just the plain avoidance of strength training? What do you do when when people are just like you know, I've had a lifelong of lifelong career of doing aerobics. Other types of exercise, but I never go to the weights. What do you tell someone whose backs like that?

Cam Oyler  15:09  
Yeah, so it's amazing because beginners have the most gains. So I would encourage them to strength train, the way I strength train. Now, it's not CrossFit, it is not orange theory, it's not anything intense like that it's very mind, mind body base. So it's slow, continuous movement, we're lifting anywhere from eight to 12 reps. And the last few reps should be challenging at each at the end of each set. The goal is to stress our muscles enough. So during our recovery time, they will build and grow stronger. It's really hard to build muscle, especially in midlife. We have, you know, muscle loss begins around 30 and accelerates at 60. So what we're doing between 30 and 60 is super important as far as like longevity goes blood sugar, bone strength, all the things.

Christine Li  15:58  
Okay, so this is your call to action. Ladies and any gentlemen who are here, please send this message to the loved women in your life, that we do have all this opportunity, no matter what stage of life we're in to look at our bodies as as being these incredible machines that need different things from us on different days and in different periods of our life.

Cam Oyler  16:24  
Absolutely. The other thing that's shocking that was shocking to me about midlife exercise is we need more recovery. So like if you're a Monday, Wednesday, Friday person or a Tuesday, Thursday person in the gym, that may actually be causing more problem. Maybe it needs to be like a Monday, Thursday, maybe you need two days rest in there. So minimum is 48 hours, but we're not minimum, we want to be optimal. And so usually 72 hours is better for midlife women, that's something new, I would say,

Christine Li  16:53  
Okay, what about the topic of fatigue.

Cam Oyler  16:57  
So fatigue is interesting, because you don't want to just be on the couch forever. And so sometimes getting up and taking a walk might be the solution. I'll use myself as an example. Last night, we were out at a football game, and I got home really late and crawled into bed in the wee hours of the morning. So today is not a good day, for any kind of exercise like that, it would be a great day to take a walk. Also, when you're not sleeping. I know you mentioned sleeping earlier, the next day, you're more insulin resistant, which is not a good thing. And you tend to crave like carby carbs, I call that like cheap and easy energy because your body's like I'm tired, and I need something. So my old self on a day like this would have pushed through and would have done a crazy workout. And then my body handled it through my 40s. But now it would be like nope, sorry, you can't do that my Go button is literally broken. And that has to do with your hormones.

Christine Li  17:53  
Okay, so the importance of sleep, the importance of mindful eating, mindful movement and mindful recovery. I think it's just it's time for us to do that. And I think when we're younger, we have the freedom to not have to do that. But we do want this excellent body performance and mind performance. As we mature. Let's see what have you found in terms of your clients, ideas about aging that you've had to work with as well, in terms of, well, I'm just going to be weak. This is just the body I've been given things like that.

Cam Oyler  18:35  
I feel like a lot of my clients are coming either they're beginners, and they've never strength train before and they see these amazing gains, and they have more energy, and they're sleeping better and all the things so that's amazing. And then the other group is coming from like marathon training Ironman CrossFit. So the extreme, so it's kind of like meeting in the middle. So if you're coming from an extreme exercise background, and you're like this isn't working anymore, we need to dial it back. And then the other group just needs to move it up. So it's kind of finding that middle ground, if you will.

Christine Li  19:07  
Yes, yes. Okay. Now, you have four key elements to fitness after 45. Could you tell us about those because I'd be very curious. And it sounds like they will all lead into greater energy for when

Cam Oyler  19:27  
absolutely yeah, so the first one would be strength training and strength training is super important for your bones and for your blood sugar and all the things plus the confidence which I mentioned earlier, better posture, all the things so the more muscle you have, the better off you're going to your aging process will be for sure. And I really believe muscle is a longevity. There's a doctor I heard on a podcast and I can't remember her name. And she was saying in America we have not an over fat problem. We have an under muscle problem and I thought oh that is amazing. I love how she reframe that. So muscle is Very important. So that's key element number one. key element number two is rest. And I already mentioned this, adding more rest days between your strength training days. So if you are in menopause post menopause strength training, just twice a week is usually like the perfect spot with a full two days rest in between. So like me personally, I typically strength train on a Monday and a Thursday, that's typically. So that's the second key element more rest. But that does not mean just hang out on the couch. So the third key element is movement. And so again, as I mentioned, movement accounts for 15 ish percent of your metabolism, which is a huge changeable part. So if you're into tracking steps, do that if if numbers make you crazy, then don't do that. Because we want to be positive about how we feel about our body. But standing at your desk, you know, walking your dogs, anything that's not exercise, but you're moving is great. The fourth key element is the right amount of cardio. So as you mentioned earlier, it's very normal for women to go back to what they used to do. And a lot of women believe that cardio is the only way to maintain their physical body. And And again, in the life when we have too much cardio, the stress level is the burden is too high. And we actually lose muscle and we gain belly fat and that is not what we want to do. So the right amount of cardio, so I would say 45 minutes a week, not a day. Many classes are an hour long and so yeah, cardio.

Christine Li  21:27  
Interesting. Interesting. All right. So the message I'm getting is that there are lots of options for women in midlife, perimenopausal women, menopausal women and beyond to make significant improvements in their strategy for how they use their energy, how they care for themselves, and how they act at the gym. And at the kitchen table. So this is all really wonderful. It's really positive. And what have been the benefits for you in your own life? What have you seen happen for yourself, you have this wonderful new business and wonderful clients to serve? What has it done for you personally,

Cam Oyler  22:11  
personally, it's, I want midlife women to know that they're not alone, I felt very alone, when I was going through my journey. I didn't know what to do or who to turn to. And if I went to the doctor, they just wanted to give you a pill. And that's not the solution, either. It was it was just like, I want to help women understand that they're not alone, I want them to understand how their body is changing, and how they think about their body. If you understand what's happening, you have more grace towards yourself. And it just makes it easier to care for yourself in a new different way. You have better energy, better sleep, better confidence, all the things

Christine Li  22:47  
I love it and Cam is you can tell from hearing but I can tell from seeing her also just a smile throughout everything that she's talking about. The ups and the downs really that there's there's something that you can do. We have a lot of power as women and I know that from interviewing other women about the menopausal era that this is an era where we can actually emerge into stronger parts of ourselves.

Cam Oyler  23:12  
Oh, absolutely. This is a rebirth is definitely a rebirth. Absolutely. And I want to say that sometimes you're gonna overdo it, and you may end up on the couch or you may be you know, more tired than normal. And that's just a chance I teach biofeedback to my clients as well. Learning to slow down enough to like listen to what how your body is responding to food to exercise to people. I call it the awesome awful test and your body will give you the information if you slow down enough and say, Oh, I feel awesome after talking to that person, or I feel awesome after eating that particular breakfast. Or I feel awful, and I want to go to sleep and I'm tired and that's probably a blood sugar spike and crash. That's usually what it is. So it's just kind of like your guide your guide.

Christine Li  24:01  
I love this. I love this so much. Thank you so much for coming on the show, bringing your energy coming on even though you had a very exciting night last night at the football game. Can you share with us how our listeners can follow you? I am sure many of them will. And many will want to continue to learn from you. Can you explain your programs and how people can stay in touch with you?

Unknown Speaker  24:23  
Absolutely. So I'm the co host of the midlife mamas podcast and we have a new episode every Wednesday so where you can find us on any podcast platform. So that's the midlife mamas also you can find me on Instagram or Tik Tok my handle is Hey Momma, MOMMA _cam I don't know why. A mama cam that's my name on Instagram and Tiktok and then finally my website so that's And you can find all kinds of free workouts and other information and how to reach out if you would like to connect.

Christine Li  24:58  
I love it cam is so talented. Please follow her please send her a DM on Instagram, telling her how much you enjoyed this episode and what you got out of her many, many tips which one was your favorite? I would love for you to connect with Kim. Kim, thank you again.

Cam Oyler  25:13  
It was a joy. Thank you so much.

Christine Li  25:15  
All right, everyone, we are done for today. Thank you for listening. Hope you got so much from this episode as I did. I will see you next Thursday when the next episode drops by. 

Thank you for listening to this episode of the Make Time for Success podcast. If you enjoyed what you've heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach. Send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. We'll talk to you soon!

Transcribed by

Cam OylerProfile Photo

Cam Oyler

Cam Oyler, a former CrossFit athlete and coach, is an Integrated Nutrition Health & Fitness Coach specializing in midlife fitness and metabolism. She teaches women how to revamp their fitness routine to include strength training and make simple lifestyle changes that will improve their overall health and energy throughout midlife.