Meet Amanda Thebe, best-selling author, fitness and health expert, and an inspiration for thriving women over 40 | Read our interview and find out more about the Women’s Best ambassador!
Name: Amanda Thebe
Location: Toronto, Canada
Height: 165 cm
Birthday: 28th October 1970
Can you share more about yourself and what you are doing?
Hi, I’m Amanda Thebe, I am a British-born Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach – I’ve been in the industry for 30 years! I am also the best-selling author of Menopocalypse: How I Learned To Thrive During Menopause and How You Can Too!
When did your journey start? Was there a certain event or situation after which you found your passion and decided to follow the path you’re currently on?
I was that really annoying kid that had too much energy, so I have always taken part in sports. I practiced Karate as a youngster, then as an adult became an aerobics teacher, spin instructor, strength coach and personal trainer – you name it, I’ve done it! I never really did this as a career until my 40’s, it was more of a passion project, but I realised as I got older there needed to be more representation in the fitness world for midlife women and older.
Can you share more about your area of expertise and the central focus around your work?
I am a huge proponent of strength training, and this becomes very important as we age. Unless we try to build and maintain lean muscle mass, we risk losing it which leads to lots of health complications including sarcopenia and osteoporosis. The hormone changes of menopause also impact this, so I try to encourage women to proactively start lifting as soon they can to start building resiliency.
You’re a best-selling author of, Menopocalypse, a book on all things menopause related. Can you tell us what publishing this book means to you and what the number one takeaway you want women to have from reading it?
I always wanted to write a book, but never expected to write a book about Menopause! But after struggling through perimenopause with symptoms that no medical team could explain to me for years, I was determined to learn more about this phase of a woman’s life and then share that with other women. I wanted to write a book that your best friend would give you, written in “real speak” so that the information was easily absorbed and it would then allow women to advocate for themselves through menopause.
Was there ever a time during your own journey and experience that you felt like you had no compass, no support?
When I was 42 I started to experience symptoms that were life changing for me. They ranged from vertigo, migraines, chronic fatigue to debilitating depression. I was a fitness coach showing people how to be the fitness and healthiest they can be, but literally feeling like I was failing at life. I have never felt so isolated and alone. One of the main reasons was that nobody was talking about menopause, my doctor who was supportive of me, never once considered that my symptoms were from a natural life change that was happening. So many women feel the same way as I did, and I am determined to help them through this.
Tell us more about the women in your community, and how the different stages of womanhood can unite us in unique ways?
I definitely feel in the fitness world middle-aged women are underrepresented. I want to see more women of all shapes and beauty, being showcased as we age. There is a propensity in the media to view ageing as a negative, fragile thing to happen, whereas I want women in my community to know they can age with resilience and strength.
What is your training and fitness philosophy for midlife and older women? Why is it important to incorporate some sort of routine into your life or lead an active lifestyle?
One of the simplest and most effective things you can do to promote health and longevity as you age is movement, especially in conjunction with other lifestyle factors like nourishing the body, stress management and sleep quality. When it comes to exercise, I want all women to know that age and ability level are not a barrier to starting. Strength training is a great example. I have trained women in their 60’s, 70’s and 80’s who start small and build momentum, and then reap the rewards later.
Also, your own training, what does this consist of and what do you recommend to women who are entering perimenopause or are Menopausal?
I personally like to keep things interesting with lots of activities. It is really important to do things that make you feel good and bring you some joy. I prioritise strength training, because especially in menopause our body needs to build and maintain lean muscle, which starts to degrade as we age. It is also an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to osteoporosis which affects 1 in 2 women postmenopause. In addition to 3-4 strength workouts each week, I like to supplement with lots of walking which I try to do every day. Then fun stuff like swimming, running, hiking and team sports – without any real agenda.
What is your inspiration and what are your future goals looking like?
I am constantly inspired by other “real” women in my community. I don’t care what they look like or how fit they are, I get inspired by their sheer doggedness and determination. Our attitude as we age is so important.
Tell us more about your philosophy on food and nutrition, do you follow a specific diet? How does one’s relationship to food change as she/they become/s older?
Most women reading this now in menopause, grew up in the 90’s with trashy magazines selling us fad diets to lose weight quickly, and it has left a slew of disordered eating in its wake. Menopausal women are statistically likely to put on weight, and many default back to the restrictive eating patterns fed to us in our 20’s. We also know that eating disorders are linked to times of hormonal change, and we see the rates increase in menopause. It’s really important that women are taught to respect and nourish their body. I spend time in my book speaking about how important our relationship with food is in addition to what we eat.
Is there a message you have for your younger girls and women, now that you’ve gone through a few stages of womanhood yourself? Do you have a message for your younger self?
As women we are educated on puberty and pregnancy, but not menopause. There is a massive gap in our knowledge base, it’s essentially why I wrote my book. Education is a powerful tool that we need to harness, because going into perimenopause with information can literally change a woman’s experience and ability to advocate for herself. I would also encourage women not to be afraid of this life change, it’s an empowering experience that leaves you feeling fully capable of taking on anything as we age.
Fun question: You’ve got an incredibly funny yet frank sense of humor, so, your hashtags on Instagram…How did you come up with these?
I hate pseudoscience and fake messages, celebrities who hide behind filters and don’t represent what real women look like. A woman once marketed glitter for your vagina which was potentially dangerous, so one of my hashtags is #glitteryourtitties just as a dig at people like her who don’t know what they’re talking about. #aginghoweverthefuckyourwant is so important, nobody but you should make up the rules and finally #antibullshit speaks for itself. There is so much nonsense on social media it puts my head in a spin.
What supplements do you use? When and why?
I typically don’t use many supplements, but know as we age there are gaps that sometimes need to be filled. I take a daily Multivitamin, Omega 3, Magnesium and Melatonin. For food supplements, I generally take protein every day because I struggle to get that from my food. I usually opt for unflavoured Women’s Best Protein Powder which I add to my yoghurt, smoothie or oatmeal. Or I add in a WB Smart Bar because the Hazelnut Nougat is stupid delicious. Lastly, I add in Women’s Best Creatine Powder, as I do a lot of strength training, for most women who hit the weights, this is a great addition.
And, what is your favorite Women’s Best sportswear collection and why?
Lastly, you decided to collab with Women’s Best. Why did you choose to be part of the community?
I have been in this industry for 3 decades and have basically never seen another company represent women as they age. I remember coming across Train Like Joan and seeing her wearing Women’s Best and thinking, these are my people!! I love their approach to diversity and inclusivity and am proud to be part of their team!