Hi, I'm Dr. Bianca!


I’m a menopausal woman. I write about what it's like to get through the hormonal transition we’ve come to know as menopause. My intent is to help us all age together in the best and healthiest way possible. Let’s not suffer in silence. Let’s normalize the conversation. 


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“My bloat is gone!”

“I’m sleeping so much better!”

“My pants are looser!”

“This program is life-changing!”

“My coat is easier to zip!”

“I lost 12 pounds!”

“I love what this program is doing for me!”

Getting rid of menopause belly, aka "menopot," "muffin top," or "belly pouch" is a mystery for most women. 

The battle of the bulge is not just for postmenopausal women. Menopause belly fat can begin getting stored way before a woman's 50th birthday!

When stress levels increase, and hormonal changes begin, visceral fat (deep abdominal fat) can become prominent.

There is some GOOD NEWS, though!!

Heavy weight training and high-intensity cardiovascular exercise can increase lean muscle mass and reduce belly fat. Rotational movements, bounding activities and balance exercises like those found in martial arts are also critical as we age to improve coordination and core stability.  

If you find getting rid of your menopause belly hard, read on! 


This post is all about getting rid of the menopause belly. I'm a menopausal woman and former TaeKwonDo black belt. I'm here to share my martial arts exercise secrets with you. So, grab your black, brown, pink, or whatever colored belt inspires you...

...its time to change up your routine and get martial artsy with me! 

The Role Of Insulin

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas to help regulate the amount of sugar in the blood.

Not as widely known, it also does have some effects on how we metabolize fats and proteins.

When we eat a meal heavy on carbs, the blood sugar increases.

Insulin gets released into the blood and instructs our cells to pick up the sugar. When there is a surplus of sugar, the cells use what they need for fuel and then store the rest.

This leads to midsection weight gain, increased stomach fat, and a greater risk of diabetes making it very hard to get rid of menopause belly.

Over time, our cells can become resistant to insulin, leading to a rise in blood sugar and insulin.

What Causes Menopause Belly

Insulin Resistance

In a recent medical journal published in 2021, researchers biopsied fat tissue taken from under the skin (subcutaneous fat) and deep within the abdominal region of women between the ages of 45-60.

It was found that menopause was associated with changes in how fat tissue behaved in older women.

The biopsies showed a connection to:

  • dysfunction to how fat cells tolerated stress (stress leads to high cortisol levels)
  • difficulty in how the cell metabolizes fats/carbohydrates (metabolic syndrome)
  • an increase in inflammation (more significant risk of overall body pain)
  • poor oxygen going to the cells (cells need to "breathe" too)
  • hardened fat cells (those unsightly lumps and bumps)
  • low insulin sensitivity aka insulin resistance (think of this as a pre-diabetic state) 

Metabolic Dysfunction

The body needs food! It turns food into energy which then fuels the body. When there is a disruption in this process, health problems occur. 

Metabolic rate is typically measured in calories. However, it can also be measured by how much oxygen is consumed or carbon dioxide is produced over time. 

Everybody needs a minimum amount of calories (energy) to do the most basic functions. No, these calories do not contribute to menopause belly!

This is known as basal metabolic rate.

Your BMR is responsible for:

  • Supplying the energy to digest your food (YES, YOU BURN CALORIES WHILE EATING!!!!)
  • breathing (and even more for deep breathing)
  • giving you the energy to get out of bed and move

Metabolic energy requirement varies from person to person; therefore, fewer calories for one is not always the best way for another to lose weight.

Blood Sugar and Menopause

"Blood sugar" refers to glucose. The primary source of sugar that's found in the blood. It comes directly from the foods that you eat.
Excess glucose in your blood isn't good and can lead to diabetes. But, on the contrary, having too little sugar in your blood isn't good either and can lead to hypoglycemia...this is precisely where feeling HANGRY comes from!
Keeping your blood sugar levels in check and not swinging wildly requires the following:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Stay clear of junk food.
  • Making lifestyle changes that lean toward eating healthy, unprocessed foods
  • Daily physical activity
  • Shedding any excess weight

Learn how to make this electrolyte rehydration drink! It will quench your thirst, add nutrients to your body and is low on the glycemic index.

How Can I Reduce My Menopause Belly?

Resistance Training 

Not every woman can take hormone replacement therapy

Menopausal symptoms such as night sweats, hot flashes, and decreased muscle tone can be lessened by strength training, as per a scientific study in 2021

The results of this study revealed that after 3 x per week for 15 weeks of regular exercise, the average woman showed a significant reduction in stress, sleep, and quality of life.

Aerobic Exercise 

For all the cardio lovers out there, this one is for you!

Aerobic conditioning is a cardiovascular exercise focused on continuously moving muscle groups which raise the heart rate high yet not too high.

As per the American Heart Association, lack of physical activity and poor lifestyle factors cause 30% of heart disease

In addition, cardiovascular disease is one of the leading results of estrogen decline in women, like us, transitioning through menopause. Therefore, aerobic conditioning is one of the best types of exercise to combat heart health risks.

Examples of aerobic exercise include:

  • cycling
  • dancing
  • hiking
  • jogging/long-distance running
  • swimming 
  • power walking
  • martial arts

High Intensity Interval Training 

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an exercise that alternates bursts of high-intensity movements with short rest periods of activities. HIIT workouts challenge the heart to high exertion rates (80% of maximum heart rate). 

Data was examined from independent medical studies on the effects of high-intensity interval training on pre and post-menopausal women in 2020. 

The research showed that cycling HIIT workouts are more effective for reducing body fat in post menopausal women versus running high-intensity activities. In addition, a decrease in total body weight is higher in pre-menopausal women doing a HIIT exercise routine than in women past menopause.

This shows that HIIT workouts are great for pre-menopausal women who need to "lose those stubborn last 10 pounds" or those that haven't "lost that baby weight"! 

The comprehensive study revealed that HIIT types of exercises resulted in the following for both pre and post-menopausal women:

  • reduction in weight
  • decrease in total fat mass
  • less deep abdominal fat (less belly fat)

Benefits of Martial Arts for Women

Historically, martial arts was used as a warfare or combat skill.

Its background spans Asia to Europe and can date back to BC.

Martial arts combine movements that enhance agility, speed, and explosive power and can not only be used for physical fighting. But, in menopause, women can use similar exercises to improve:

  • overall energy levels
  • bone mass
  • brain fog 

Getting rid of menopause belly fat can be reduced through martial arts techniques as they all include some combination of abdominal exercises, core stability control and high intensity bursts.

Also, stringing together new movement patterns is an effective way to challenge the brain to make new neural connections (called brain plasticity). 

7 Martial Art Inspired Exercises


A Japanese unarmed combat sport that uses the hands and feet to deliver and block blows.
Karate means "empty hand" and uses the concept of power for every impact.
Sparring requires that each movement is finished within an inch or less of the opponent or object, making this a great exercise in learning how to control muscle action.

  • Menopause Note: Learning to control muscle movements through space and precision increases joints' stability and improves core strength and abdominal muscle stability.


A Japanese unarmed martial art form of combat meaning "the gentle way."

Its principles are maximal efficiency yet minimal effort, and softness controls hardness.

This means that resisting a force can cause a loss of balance and ultimately defeat.

  • Menopause note: Learning to move and control the body with forces instead of fighting against them will improve the strength of tendons and bones. These movements are a great way to reduce the loss of muscle mass.


This martial art is considered a gentler exercise that works on repetitions of patterns of movements.
Moving the body through positions repeatedly:

  • improves fluid flow
  • encourages lymph drainage
  • strengthens muscle memory

Exercising through opposing forces brings health to the tissue and the joints.
Balance exercises improve the awareness of how the body moves through space, known as proprioception

  • Menopause note: Brain fog, coordination, and balance issues can become problematic for women as they lose estrogen. When a woman practices movements that challenge proprioception, she can speed up how her muscles and brain wire together. 

Jiu Jitsu

This martial art was founded in Brazil but comes from a Japanese lineage.

The object of Brazilian jiu-jitsu is to use leverage and weight distribution techniques when grappling (fighting) or in self-defense situations.

This is designed to help smaller and weaker people find ways to change the power dynamics when being manipulated by greater forces.

  • Menopause note: Learning to distribute weight while moving on the ground is primal. Crawling, balancing on all 4's, or planking positions on elbows or knees becomes more challenging as we age. However, they are the precursors to movements such as rolling in bed, pushing up from a chair, or carrying a suitcase. As we age, these activities of daily living get harder. Nevertheless, practicing these movements will help you age gracefully.

Tae Kwon Do

This is a Korean form of martial art. It means "the art or the way of kicking and punching."

Attacking and defending comes from the use of swift kicks and punches.

Fighting techniques use quick kicks and punches to areas of the body that are "allowed," mainly the chest and head, where padding is worn.

The menopause transition can make women less coordinated, slower, and poorly-focused, due to the decline of estrogen. Therefore, this art's speed, agility, and precision make for an excellent training program for women as they age.

  • Menopause note: Learning to control slow and fast movements requires a flexible, stable body. Agility decreases as we age due to soft tissue and joint tightness. The precision of movement also becomes challenging due to reduced balance. Learning how to kick and punch a target will give the brain more motor signals leading to improved strength and coordination.

Kung Fu

A Chinese martial art derived from the art of cultivating discipline. 

Skills are achieved through hard work, patience, and time commitment. There are many forms of Kung Fu. In fact, breakdancing from the Boogey down streets of the Bronx, stems from this martial art style.

Stamina, flexibility, and balance are the key triad to these movements as found in "childhood skills." Unfortunately, these are also the skills that get lost as we age.

Our endurance decreases, our tissues, and joints get tighter, and our coordination and single limb balance get harder to control due to hormonal fluctuations and sedentary lifestyles.

  • Menopause note: Re-learning how to move like a child can slow the body's aging process. Adding balance drills, coordination challenges, and ground skills during menopause can slow the muscle loss process and improve this stage of life.


The most lively of the martial arts, this one hails from Brazil and combines music with dance and acrobatics. Its history goes back to the African slaves of Brazil and is known as the "dance of war." It is known for its hands on the ground, inverted kicks, and flowing movements that appear dance-like.

  • Menopause note:  Pairing movement to music requires complex brain connections. Women in menopause often complain of coordination challenges. Clumsiness and tripping are all signs of aging dyspraxia, a developmental coordination disorder. This type of martial art can benefit women with balance issues.

Putting It All Together

Get rid of menopause belly in 21 minutes by combining 7 martial arts forms in a HIIT style workout. For increased resistance you can use a resistance band

The key to this HIIT program is to go hard for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds for a 3 minute series. 

  • Even jumping rope for 30 seconds on / 10 seconds rest for 3 - 5 minutes daily can be a great addition to your HIIT program! 

7 Exercises to Get Rid of Menopause Belly

A 21 minute workout

Exercise Plan for menopause belly

QiGong Warm Up

Warm up: (3 min)

  • Start with legs apart in a horse riding stance
  • Bring your arms around the front of your body and rotate your trunk 
  • Act as if you are pulling back a bow 
  • Slow and controlled, let the arrow fly
  • Rotate to the opposite side and repeat
  • Repeat this sequence for 3 full minutes 

Karate Inspired HIIT 

High Intensity  / HIIT: Repeat these 20 sec on / 10 sec off for 3 minutes

  • Start with legs apart and squat into a horse riding stance 
  • Bring your hands into a fist
  • Repeatedly punch forward with control for 20 seconds
  • Stand up and take a 10 second break 
  • Lower back into horse riding stance and repeat the next 20 second punch combination
  • Repeat the sequence for 3 full minutes

TaeKwonDo Inspired HIIT

High Intensity  / HIIT: Repeat these 20 sec on / 10 sec off for 3 minutes

  • Standing upright, jump in place with one foot back in a fighting stance
  • Keep hands up in fists covering the front of your face 
  • Part A: Shift your body weight to your front leg and swing your back leg with your knee bent outward / inward then inward / outward 
  • Repeat this with both sides for 20 seconds
  • Stand up and take a 10 second break 
  • Part B: Shift your body weight to your front leg and swing your back leg with your knee straight outward / inward then inward / outward 
  • Repeat the sequence for 3 full minutes

Judo Inspired HIIT

High Intensity  / HIIT: Repeat these 20 sec on / 10 sec off for 3 minutes

  • Hold the theraband in your hands and pull apart until you feel resistance
  • Stepping backwards with one leg, rotate your trunk and punch with the back of the wrist of the same side you rotated to
  • Repeat to the other side
  • Keep alternating for 20 seconds
  • Take a 10 second break  
  • Repeat the sequence for 3 full minutes

Capoeira Inspired HIIT

High Intensity  / HIIT: Repeat these 10 sec on / 10 sec off for 3 minutes

  • Stand in a horse riding stance 
  • Rotate your body and look down to the floor 
  • Place hands onto the floor and attempt to shift your weight over your hands for a mini cartwheel 
  • Return to the horse riding stance and repeat to the other side 
  • Alternate left to right for 10 seconds 
  • Stand up and take a 10 second rest 
  • Repeat the sequence for 3 full minutes 

JiuJitsu Inspired HIIT

High Intensity  / HIIT: Repeat these 10 sec on / 10 sec off for 3 minutes

  • Sit on the floor or mat with one leg bent in front and the other behind
  • Thread one hand underneath the other and roll onto your back 
  • With legs up, use your abdominals to brace your trunk and roll to all fours 
  • Repeat to the other side 
  • Repeat side to side for 10 seconds 
  • Stay on all 4s for a 10 second break 
  • Repeat the sequence for 3 full minutes 

Kung Fu Inspired Cool Down 

Warm up: (3 min)

  • Start in standing mountain pose 
  • Bring your arms out to the side while shifting your body weight to one leg
  • Standing on one leg with knee slightly bent, bring the other knee up and balance
  • Swing your arms up and over and step out to the side 
  • Repeat on the other leg 
  • Repeat the sequence for 3 full minutes 


To sum it all up, getting rid of menopause belly fat isn't an easy task. However, it should be addressed way before menopause when it often feels too late.

I made it my mission at 43 to launch a massive preemptive campaign through diet and exercise. First, I became accountable for the food I put into my mouth.

Then, I chose activities that support weight loss and muscle building.

Here I am at 50 and never felt or looked better.
Set yourself up for success by planning it out.
Get kickin', get punchin' and get ready to burn up that bulge!



Products I Use

Multi Strength Resistance Bands

Resistance Bands

Weighted Cordless Jump Rope for Getting Rid of Menopause Belly Fat

Cordless Jumprope

XL Exercise Mat

XL Exercise Mat

7 Exercises to Get Rid of Menopause Belly (Martial Arts Inspired)

Exercises to Get Rid of Menopause Belly


August 10, 2022


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Dr. Bianca Beldini

I’m your Doctor of Physical Therapy, Acupuncturist, Master Dry Needler, and Triathlon and Running Coach. I’ve been in the health, wellness and fitness industry for over 25 years, and I’m here to help you reach your optimal health.