Stress? Is if holding you back?

Is stress holding you back from your goals?
Has fat loss stopped?
Do you always feel rundown?
Are your workouts suffering?
Do you have trouble sleeping?

Having trained many different types of people in and around south London and at different times over the years I’ve suffered big time from stress. I know what a problem stress can be if it goes unchecked. Most people have busy jobs, busy home lives and family, chuck in an active social scene, a bit of alcohol, caffeine and too much training and you could be one stressed out monkey. So have you asked yourself recently, Stress, is it holding you back?

So let’s delve into this, when we get stressed we release something called Cortisol.

Cortisol is a hormone that Is released from the Adrenal glands (along with adrenaline). Although Cortisol gets a bad rap, it’s actually very necessary for us to have cortisol: just not chronically elevated levels or unhealthy cortisol rhythms.

It’s usually described as a stress hormone because we release cortisol (and adrenaline) in stressful situations. If we didn’t release cortisol in the morning, then we would struggle to wake up.

Cortisol levels should rise in the mornings so that we feel energetic in the daytime and our cortisol levels should gradually lower throughout the day, enabling us to feel relaxed and naturally tired in the evenings.

Modern life can be stressful and if, for example, we are stressing out over a work situation at night, then our cortisol levels can become elevated at a time when they should be low.

Overtraining can also cause our cortisol levels to become chronically elevated so it’s important that our training programs are assessed regularly.

Some of the reasons our cortisol levels become imbalanced:

• Poor sleeping habits
• Inability to handle or mange stress
• Overconsumption of stimulants: Caffeine for example
• Overtraining: training too long? Frequently at high intensity

When cortisol gets out of control we can experience suppressed immune system function, elevated blood sugars, faster ageing, poor insulin sensitivity, lower sex drive and an increase in abdominal fat storage. This is the perfect recipe for getting sick, fat and wrinkly. As if that’s not bad enough, chronically elevated cortisol often leads to cravings for high calorie, sugary foods.

Things that can help restore healthy cortisol levels:

• Getting to bed before 10:30pm every night
• Learning a cognitive strategy such as CBT to learn how to cope better with stress
• Taking time to meditate/relax/chill out more often
• Reducing caffeine intake, especially in the afternoons
• Ensuring your training regime is assessed regularly

So after reading this are you suffering from stress?

Well then, give yourself a break and change that thing that is making things difficult for you. Take time to meditate, be sensible with your exercise, (you don’t need to do 4 HIIT classes a week.) switch off your phone at 9am and get to bed by 10. Only drink your coffee in the morning.

At AGF we look into all aspects of people’s health and Fitness, it’s important to see the whole picture. If you would like some help or just some advice contact us for a chat by clicking here to fill out our contact form.

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