Put Down Your Menopausal Baggage and Lift Heavy Sh*t with Sam Monpetit-Huynh

Long-time certified personal trainer Sam Montpetit-Huynh wants you to shed your menopausal baggage…and lift heavy shit. After experiencing the immediate and profound impact of a hysterectomy in her early 40s, she knows first-hand about the often-overlooked struggles of menopause.

Now 53, Sam continues to adapt to her changing body. After building a more than 20-year career in the fitness industry, her relationship with her body and her goals and priorities for health and wellness have evolved.

Through her menopause coaching work, she educates and empowers others by candidly sharing her challenges with menopause transition, leveraging her professional insights and expertise.

Shift your mindset, change the paradigm

In a society that often stigmatizes menopause, Sam’s candor is unfiltered and refreshing.

“I’ve always been kind of the person to start having these conversations a little bit ahead of other people…I don’t mind shaking up the status quo,” she admits.

“I talk about everything. I’m not for everybody, but that’s okay.”

She openly discusses struggling with her weight changes and the pressures of working in the fitness industry. Ultimately, Sam has had to shift her long-established mindset and disassociate her weight from being healthy and fit.

“In recent years, I’ve noticed my weight has increased significantly—I’ve gained about 20 pounds. I haven’t used a scale since my daughters were born because I don’t believe in measuring my worth by weight.”

Instead, she focuses on maintaining healthy habits like eating well, getting enough sleep, and staying active.

She acknowledges that it hasn’t been easy but believes that openly discussing her challenges has unexpectedly supported others facing similar struggles.

“Interestingly, many of my clients are fitness professionals who resonate with my experiences,” says Sam. “The fitness industry can be incredibly toxic, filled with images of women flaunting perfect abs and promoting unsustainable lifestyles.

This creates a facade of control over one’s body, which, when lost, often leaves individuals feeling like failures.

It’s crucial to shift the conversation and highlight the importance of health over appearance to support a more realistic and compassionate approach to fitness and well-being.”

Lose the meno baggage and lift heavy shit

At this stage in her career, Sam says that her work with clients is about more than just fitness; it’s about empowering women to handle their bodies with care and knowledge.

Like a lot of Gen-X women, Sam’s career has evolved in step with her life experiences. Initially focusing on prenatal fitness early in her career, she now specializes in menopause education, advocating for strength training and healthy living as essential tools for managing menopause symptoms.

“In your 30s, you lose muscle at a rate of about 3 to 5% per decade, she explains. “The closer you get to menopause, the rate you lose muscle increases. And once you hit menopause, it’s a 3 to 5% yearly loss.”

While that may not sound like a lot, the year-over-year loss of muscle mass can be devastating for women aging into midlife and beyond.

Research shows that maintaining muscle mass throughout menopause transition and into post-menopause is essential for several reasons:


“Muscle is the organ of youth,” says Sam. We need it to fucking move. We need it for our posture. We need it to breathe, right?”

She continues, “But we also need it to regulate our blood sugar. We need it for metabolism. We need it to protect our bones. We need it to avoid injury. When you’re losing muscle, you’re literally putting your life at risk.

So, I say to women, if there’s only one thing you can take on at a time, make sure you lift heavy shit.”

Focus on the big picture – not the puzzle pieces

Based in Toronto, ON, Sam’s virtual-based menopause program extends beyond physical and strength training. She integrates discussions about hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and natural supplements, providing a holistic support system for her clients.

Operating under the social media handle @samcoretrainer, Sam offers a unique 12-week program that holistically addresses fitness and health, focusing on more than just exercise and nutrition.

“The core of my program is mindset and lifestyle coaching,” Sam explains. “Most participants initially join hoping to lose weight, a desire I completely understand. However, during our sessions, we delve deeper into the reasons behind this desire—lack of confidence, body dissatisfaction, reduced libido, and other personal challenges.”

By shifting focus from weight loss to overall well-being, Sam observes that weight loss often occurs naturally as a secondary benefit.

“It’s not just about shedding pounds,” she says. “It’s about feeling stronger, becoming more independent, sleeping better, and enjoying a healthier sex life. These improvements are what really transform lives.”

Sam likens her coaching approach to troubleshooting the back end of a website, addressing the root causes behind health and fitness issues.

“I steer clear of diet culture tactics like obsessive macro counting. I’m more interested in sustainable, health-focused changes that enhance overall well-being,” she adds.

She also encourages her clients to build a team of health and wellness professionals and has referred them to pelvic floor physiotherapists and naturopaths when needed.

While she empowers her clients with the knowledge and resources they need to have informed conversations with their doctors, she recognizes that many medical professionals don’t have the necessary training to treat their patients effectively.

“Unfortunately, most doctors often don’t know what to do with the information patients are sharing with them because they’re not educated in menopause,” she comments.  


The Importance of Community and Support

Through her reproductive health journey, Sam knows how important it is to highlight the need for better training and patient advocacy in the medical community.

“Having gone through these experiences myself, I understand the value of informed care and support,” says Sam.

Over a decade ago, Sam underwent a hysterectomy due to severe fibroids, a situation that began unfolding in her mid-twenties. She recalls the emotional turmoil when first faced with the possibility of a hysterectomy at such a young age.

“I was devastated,” Sam shares. “I had just started dating my now-husband, and suddenly this huge decision loomed over us.”

Despite the initial fear and confusion, her partner supported her, even suggesting they could start a family early to circumvent potential complications.

“Imagine that! Three months into dating, and we were discussing having a baby because of my health.”

Determined to explore all options, Sam sought a second opinion.

“This new gynecologist was a game-changer. She prescribed birth control pills to manage my symptoms, allowing me to have two children eventually,” she explains.

However, managing her condition wasn’t straightforward.

“The fibroids grew significantly during both pregnancies, which was incredibly challenging.”

The situation reached a critical point several years after her last pregnancy (her children are now 19 and 22) when Sam experienced extreme hemorrhaging.

“It was terrifying. I used the heaviest possible tampon and pad, and yet, I bled through them just walking from the bathroom to my bedroom,” she describes.

Not long after visiting the emergency room for a severe hemorrhaging event, Sam decided to have the hysterectomy. Reflecting on the experience, she’s open about the realities of her condition, hoping to support others facing similar challenges.

“Discussing these intimate details isn’t easy, but if my story can help someone else, it’s worth sharing.”

Follow a uterine hysterectomy (she retained both of her ovaries), Sam faced the new challenge of being immediately thrown into perimenopause without any awareness of what she was experiencing and little to no guidance.

“There was no conversation about menopause. None. Zilch.”

Because of this experience, her programs are designed to focus not just on physical health but also on building a community where women can find support and understanding. This community aspect is vital, allowing women to share experiences and solutions in a supportive environment.


Sam is candid about her motivations, though she chuckles at how earnest it might sound.


“It might seem a bit geeky, but my goal is genuinely to help change women’s lives for the better. I want them to feel empowered and valued—not worthless,” she asserts passionately.


Alongside her dedication to individual wellness, Sam is also deeply concerned with broader societal issues.


“With the ongoing crisis in Palestine, for instance, I’m reminded of the urgent need to dismantle oppressive systems everywhere. That includes the shame around women’s reproductive health and the toxic diet culture that pervades our society. I’m committed to challenging and changing these harmful norms.”


The future of strength training is female

Looking ahead, Sam is passionate about continuing her advocacy and education efforts, particularly focusing on the power of fitness to manage menopause symptoms.

“I want to keep pushing for better awareness and break down the barriers women face in accessing information and support,” she asserts.


When asked what she envisions for the future of menopause, she’s pretty quick to answer.


“So, here’s my visual…” she quips. “I want the menopausal women – all strong as fuck — best bench pressing the men in the gym. Now, that would be something.”


To work with Sam or learn more about her, visit www.samcoretrainer.com. You can join the waitlist for the fall cohort of her SBSC Group Accelerator Coaching Program for perimenopausal women  here.


Flip Flops & Hot Flashes – her first ever 5 start luxury retreat for menopausal women – will be in Nosara, Costa Rica in March 2025. Reserve your spot today!

Follow Sam on IG, FB and TikTok @samcoretrainer.com. She recently launched a new podcast, Menopause, Melanin and Aging Like a Queen” which focuses on “real talk about all things menopause.” Tune in on whatever platform you listen to your podcasts.


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