Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

Judy Torel: Exercise Smart, Eat Right and Feel Great!

By  0 Comments

The new year is an ideal time to take stock of what you can change in your life and what you cannot. Any small step toward improvement can make a difference, and Judy Torel, of Judy Torel’s Coaching and Training Studio, has helped so many women realize their full potential when it comes to health and wellness. She understands that January is a time when we regroup and change the trajectory we have been on from the past year and the added indulgences over the holidays. 

With over 30 years of experience, Judy endeavors to tailor nutrition and exercise plans for all her clients, especially women 40 years or older. As women age and go through perimenopause and menopause, they have different things happening to their bodies. She delves into the makeup of a woman’s body and ways to ensure her clients are following the best exercise and nutrition regimen. All work together. Her master’s degree in counseling psychology from the State University of New York at Albany, with emphasis on addictions, has been essential to help her clients undo the all-too-common struggle with food as a compulsion and addiction. 

It’s Not Just Advice
Judy, 56, personally works on being an inspiration to her clients. She has completed eight Ironman competitions, numerous running events, from 5Ks to 25+ marathons and ten Ultra marathons, specifically 24- and 48-hour races, placing in the top three females in three of her races. “It is very important that I continue to be an inspiration to my clients and that’s why I do the ultra runs I’m doing right now. Other professionals in my field are not doing them. It can stand out as inspiring. I hope people think, ‘Wow, she just ran 116 miles, I want to work with her!’ My current goal is to complete a 150-mile race.” 

Can you tell this woman is passionate about what she does? It is empowering, and she knows how to help others reach their goals from the inside out. “Women have a hormonal cycle throughout their life span. Women who are perimenopausal have a lot of shift in their hormones, specifically the sex hormone, as well as thyroid and digestive hormones,” she noted. “I tell my women clients that all the hormones are like a basketball team! When estrogen and progesterone leave the team and get lower, the rest of the hormones try to manage without these two players. I like to use that metaphor to get the concept across to people without having them read science novels.”

As hormones change in our 40s, she believes we also become extra-sensitive to the ravages of insulin. Specific behavior makes us sensitive to processed refined carbohydrates. Judy cautions against the low-carb regimen of in-vogue diets, noting, “We still need the good ones. In our 50s, starting a low carb regimen is not a good idea. This is misunderstood. We still need healthy food carbs, not the refined ones. Either eating a diet too low or too high in carbs can make a woman unbalanced, which leads to overeating and pretty much turns us into a hot mess!” 

It’s a Nutrition Decision
She states we women are all marinating in cortisol, a stress hormone. Estrogen used to buffer that, and that is why, when we are desperate to lose weight, we do intense workouts without enough recovery time, and we end up adding insult to injury. The body actually starts to hoard body fat. It’s good to intermittently do episodic exercise, which is like running from a wild animal. Our bodies are designed to do that. 

“Women of all ages need leucine, one of the amino acids in protein, which helps create neurohormones in our brain like serotonin and dopamine for mood management,” Judy explained. “If you are also deficient in protein, in women specifically, this will affect your mood and your brain. These neurohormones are actually in anti-depressants.”

When it comes to exercise, she points out the three primary focuses at any stage of life: mobility/flexibility, cardio and strength. “As human beings, not just women, we want to live into our 80s and 90s and feel good. When we are younger, the emphasis was on these three concepts. They are still important at any stage of life, just at different levels,” she continued. “The first thing women need to do as they age is ensure they have the mobility in their tissue and muscle and flexibility in joints to prevent injury. Even yoga and Pilates can be too advanced. Even if you don’t work out with me, I can help you establish a regular routine at home. Women can become more sedentary because they may have exercised in the past, then had children. Now those kids are in college and they want to get back to where they were!”

As a health coach and Yoga Alliance-certified 200-hour yoga instructor, she believes the physical and psychological benefits of yoga are the perfect adjunct to all healthy lifestyles. She can give you ways to warm up and cool down even on your Peloton at home. This is her goal. She can work with clients remotely or in her studio. She can do a hands-on evaluation with her metabolic and body analysis machines to measure metabolism, muscle fat, body mass, inflammation and excessive water inside or outside the cells. She can also work online through her website and conduct a remote session. Then she has clients do their own measurements. It works both ways. “It is so motivating to see women’s inflammation go down and be able to help them find a long-term stable and healthy plan. If you want to learn how to maintain weight and enjoy what you’re eating by integrating food into your life as opposed to not eating what you like, I’m your girl!” she smiled.

And a New Year!
This month, she is launching two new programs and starting up her favorite Menopause for Women program, which she has offered in January for the past four years. This program has been highly successful; this will be her 34th session. She has seen women come in and hate their bodies, then leave with a new lease on life.

The first new program is Exercise over 50 for men and women. “I am super excited about this one! I designed this because I couldn’t stand people coming in and saying they blew their meniscus out, or pulled their back or some other injury because they were going to one of those boutique-style exercise classes at 5:30 in the morning when they are not even limber,” she continued. “I will educate participants as to what amount of strength, cardio and flexibility they need so they can exercise intelligently anywhere. And you should never just do XYZ seven days a week.”

She is also starting an online hour-long webinar program that people can tap into from anywhere in the world; its focus is mental weight loss to help people understand what is going on in their subconscious. “I want people to understand the mindset of it all. For example, you say to yourself, ‘I had a cookie so I may as well finish the whole sleeve and have a margarita with it.’ What I will talk about in this interactive workshop are the top ten sabotaging thoughts you may have.”

This mental reprogramming arises from her degree in the psychology of addictions. She wants people to know that processed foods with lots of sugar, salt and fat trigger your brain the same way alcohol triggers an alcoholic. This program will help participants recognize how their old ways of thinking are stopping you from moving forward.

And a Big Life!
Judy met her boyfriend, Stanley, on nine years ago. He works for New York State on IT hardware and has three grown children. Judy has none, having decided early on that she did not have the desire to follow the traditional family route. “We met in our 40s, and he is definitely a grounding force for me in my sports participation and the stuff I do personally,” she smiled. “He is patient, supportive and celebrates me. He goes to my events and is my personal Sherpa.”

What inspires her? She has always been attracted to people in high school and college who move big energy, particularly Dame Mary Douglas, a British anthropologist who died in 2007, noting, “She really got out of the box and studied indigenous cultures in developing nations people didn’t know about. Madonna is also inspiring, even though I don’t agree with some of her thoughts, she is iconic and moved big energy. David Goggins is another inspiring person who moves big energy. He is a retired Navy SEAL who watched his platoon he loved and cared about die; now he’s an amazing ultra-athlete breaking records. He inspires me to live big and move energy in a big way!”

What’s her advice to women who have big dreams? “Think REALLY big; show up and work, day in and day out. We somehow miss the boring day-in day-out vigilance of having to walk that path. You need to put in the daily work and dream big at the same time. That makes things happen!”

To learn more about this Precision Nutrition Certified Nutrition Counselor and USAT Certified triathlon coach, visit for program schedules or call 518-0469-0815.