I’ve been working out regularly and eating right for months, why aren’t I seeing results?
“I’m so mentally drained, there’s no way I can focus during my workout”?
“Why does my body feel so heavy when I exercise?
If you’ve ever had one of these thoughts cross through your mind but don’t know why, the answer is likely very simple……
You might be STRESSED….
it’s affecting how your body responds to exercise.
High levels of stress negatively affect parts of the brain that are primarily associated with human cognition and motor control. When the process of thought, perception and evaluation is impaired, then the speed at which you process tasks is slowed down. All of this affects the mind’s ability to concentrate and focus.
Mental fatigue is directly correlated with physical fatigue which means your brain is signaling to the body that it’s DRAINED BEFORE you even SET FOOT in the gym.
Exercise itself is a form of stress or tension on the body.
During exercise, muscle fibers are broken down to allow for muscle growth, which is perfectly normal and healthy!
BUT…. Imagine adding something that could double or even triple the amount of tension and breakage on your body.
This is exactly what happens when CHRONIC STRESS enters the body…
Your system will break down even more so which can lead to unhealthy habits such as; disruptive sleep, eating poorly and neglecting self-care. ADDITIONALY, the lack of adequate rest or nutrition can cause the body to reverse the anabolic process and put it into a destructive state, impeding exercise performance, increasing risk for injury and even slowing down your recovery process.
Now you might be telling yourself, there’s no way I can exercise, sleep, and manage my chronic stress all at once BUT the good news is that there ARE solutions.
You CAN manage your stress better by implementing a few new ideas and habits into your life:
#1 Maintain a Healthy Social Support Network.
POSITIVITY. Surround yourself with people that cheer for your existence. The ones that make it a better place because they’re in it. People that genuinely care about your growth towards becoming a better version of yourself. Include them in your journey of managing your stress better and living a healthier lifestyle.
- Evaluate your family, friends, & co-workers and categorize them: toxic or healthy
- Have hard, honest conversations with all of them
- Set expectations
- Cut toxic people out, and surround yourself with the healthy ones
#2 Get Adequate Amount of Sleep Every Night.
CREATE A SLEEP PLAN, AND STICK TO IT! Make a bedtime routine that is best for you and abide by it every night. You must get a solid 8 hours of deep sleep a night when you are attempting to recover from anything that causes stress. Invest in a smartwatch that monitors your sleep cycle as a frame of reference to track your progress. Team up with your spouse and hold each other accountable.
- Set your bedtime.
- No phones in bed
- Make the room as dark as possible.
- Turn down A/C, make it cold!
- Play sound of ocean waves or an oscillating fan
#3 Engage in Regular Creative Artistic Activities.
BRING OUT YOUR INNER CHILD – IMAGINATION. Fire up your creative processes and express yourself artistically. Discover a passion for something outside the box, build a car out of Legos, take pictures of ants in different states, record your voice to an animated film, paint animal faces on your kids… Ultimately whatever is going to bring the joy and wonder back into your life!
- Find your imagination, curiosity and wonder that you had when you were a kid.
- Create, build, and play.
- Embark on an adventure.
Now you have 3 major ways improve your exercise, manage your stress, increase exercise performance and improve the overall quality of your life. Let’s get started today!
Committed to your health, strength, and recovery,
Janelle Diaz, CPT, PES, FNS
P.S. If you have any questions or would like more information on improving yourself through exercise and stress relief then feel free to reach out to us at any time, we are here to help!