So we all experience stress. Whether it’s a work deadline, too many obligations, your kids going crazy or financial pressures, we accept stress as a normal part of our lives. We also can make excuses and perceive stress as ‘normal’ and believe it makes us more productive. However stress can ruin your workouts and impact your results in the gym.
So if you are wondering, ‘Is this me? Am I more stressed than other people?’ The first sign of somebody who has too much stress is constant complaining they are no time and too much to do. They perceive that they have too little time in one day and the workload starts to effect their well-being. This can lead to poor sleep habits (hard to stay asleep, or go to sleep) inconsistent energy levels and eating habits and an all or nothing attitude in regards to training (a high intensity workout or nothing at all).
So how can we reduce this?
Everyone deals with different situations in their own way, some people can cope with a lot more or less than others. Stress is just an emotion you can change your response to. You often hear of people who go through a life crisis, such as a health crisis or a loved one passes away, that suddenly all the things that seemed important the past no longer are. Get back to basics and get clear on what is truly important to you, what are your core values and assess whether what is stressing you out is actually important or not.
How stress effects our workout.
Stress can affect exercise performance in terms of motivation and power output if energy, mood and general health are down. However, even if you’re highly stressed but still make sure to fit in a regular, intense workout, your body might not be too happy about this either. Exercise is indeed a stress on the body, when carried out correctly it doesn’t need to be a harmful stress, but if your body is already encountering many of the responses mentioned earlier then by consistently working out at a high intensity you’re simply adding fuel to the fire and physically stressing your body out.
If you are someone who feels like no matter what you do you still don’t get the results you want then you could be inhibiting your fat loss because you already have an oversupply of adrenaline and cortisol. It’s important to tune in to your body, which is where yoga and pilates are incredibly powerful tools as well as strength training and cardio. However it’s always a good idea to consult a Personal Trainer or Exercise Physiologist first, as you may need to simply change your work out, or your eating before you start cutting down on exercise altogether.
The key to reducing stress (I believe) is to work out what is the most important parts of your life, what are important enough to worry about. What is your goal? Is your to-do list in line with this? It’s easy to lose sight of whats important and just let the external pressures influence your thoughts and behaviours.
Here are six ways to instantly reduce stress:
- Think of 3 things you’re grateful for and a time that you were truly happy – to lift your mood.
- Take 10 deep slow belly breaths
- Look at your values and goals – to remember what’s important to you.
- Move – to energise yourself.
- Try some yoga or meditation
- Spend time with those you love