Q and A with Shawna

female fat loss over 40Dear Shawna

Should I work out if I’m not well? I hate to miss my workouts, but I wonder if a workout is healthy when I’m not…please advise,



Dear Sara,

The answer is really ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.

This is my rule of thumb: If your symptoms appear above the neck (sneezing, sore throat, etc.), it’s recommended that if you want to exercise that you do a low intensity workout.   I suggest you go about 60-70% of your usual effort. Generally you can tolerate strength training more than intervals or HIIT, especially if respiratory issues are what ail you.
Also, cut back on volume by shortening your workout. Pay close attention to your energy levels. Sometimes going too hard will put you over the top and in bed. It’s not always how you’re feeling during your workout, it’s how you recover later in the day. Sometimes you just don’t, so go easy and see.

For me, when I’m not 100% and symptoms are above the neck, I may do a workout just to keep my sanity (training is like breathing and I’m totally off if I don’t train). So on a day like this, I may do something completely different at low intensity and be done with it.

If your symptoms are below the neck (chronic coughing, , body aches, nausea, etc.) this is a sign that your body needs to rest. Grab a good book and don’t feel guilty about sitting still.

Hope you get well!




May I ask your advice? I’ve retired from the military (army) a few years ago after serving for 28 years. Nuff said concerning how much physical activity I got there on a daily basis. I’ve been receiving your emails and tips daily but I’m having a hard time getting back to a daily routine. Being a single parent, I am doing a tremendous amount of work around the house, yard, remodeling, and going to school, so I am super busy, but struggling to find time to work out. Any advise?

“We Stand Tallest, When We Stoop To Help Others”

    ~ Patricia ~

Sorry for the delay.

This is a common issue. Mom’s wear many hats. Myself included.

You can get an effective workout done in 20 min. It’s not the DURATION of the workout, it’s the INTENSITY and CONSISTENCY.

If you consistently give yourself 20-30 min every day you’ll notice fitness and fat loss progress.

In fact, I”m moving my fitness boot camps to shorter more intense sessions (30 min and 40 min) because studies show that short intense workouts are more effective.

The key is to mix strength training and HIIT. There are a ton of things you can do with body weight and a minimal amount of equipment.

Keep your health and fitness at the top of your list and then make 20 min a day for YOU. You’ll find a ton of workouts on my blog if you search ‘workouts’

You’ll find some quick and effective workouts here, here, here and here.

Hope that helps,

Hi Shawna,
I quit smoking about 15 months ago; I also turned 40 yrs. old just before quitting.  I have never been overweight, I have stayed the same size for years. Then after turning 40 and quitting smoking I gained about 15 lbs. Which doesn’t sound like a lot, but when your only 5 ft.1, and used to being thin, it is a lot. The majority of my weight is in my stomach area (muffin top). I am so frustrated. I also have type 1 diabetes, and I am on an insulin pump. I really don’t even know where to start. Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank You,

I can sense your frustration. First of all, do you live in NW Calgary? If so, I think you’d find a ton of support in my boot camp. Let me know where you’re located and I suggest that as your first option.

If that’s not a possibility, then we need to look at other options.

The best thing is you’ve found me and you sound like you’re ready to do something for yourself. I can help you.

Stay close to my blog for a ton of information: www.femalefatlossoverforty.com/blog

Do more than read it. Take action.

I suggest you not only look at the current blog post that goes up, but go back in time and read some related to nutrition/lifestyle/exercise.

You can start to train at home with a minimal amount of equipment, you can start to modify your diet and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your body will respond, even at 40.

The MOST important thing is to NOT lose hope. Stephanie I can help you if you take baby steps from where you’re at. Don’t look at the whole staircase, just take the first step: make one change a week. The change can be as simple as drinking more water, adding a daily walk, eating more veggies, cutting out white carbs. You probably know your worst habits. Start to whittle away at them, but don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make SMALL liveable changes and they will last.

I’m going to make a blog post about your question and my answer. Stay tuned for it. I won’t reveal your name and I’ll change some details. You’d be surprised at how many women feel just like you. We can support each other thru the blog and my facebook fan page here: https://www.facebook.com/FemaleFatLossOver40  Make sure to friend me on facebook too: https://www.facebook.com/shawna.kaminski

I hope that’s a start. I totally understand how 15 lbs can be totally devastating for you. Let’s make some changes now before it becomes 20 lbs, deal?



What is/are burpess? And, didn’t I read something from you about how too lose weight by NOT going to the gym? Maybe I read that somewhere else…


A burpee looks like this:

Regular Burpee from Shawna Kaminski on Vimeo.

Modified Burpees from Shawna Kaminski on Vimeo.

I’ve added a jumping jack in the third video, as you can see, you can do a ton to intensify or modify a burpee.

Yes, I told you to work out less to lose weight, but that’s not the whole story.  The point is, make sure that what ever time you devote to training is well spent, not just wandering around the gym. you can read more here

Let me know how I can help you more, I appreciate your email,


I’m more than happy to answer your fitness questions. Just ask on the blog, or fire them off to me at Shawna.kaminski@gmail.com

As well, if you want a lot more questions answered and a ‘done for you’ plan, you can’t go wrong with my program that you can do at home or on the go.