While not all stress will negatively impact your workout game, too much stress has the capacity to wind it down and grind it to a halt! On a regular day you may have challenges at work, or meetings that run too long, or maybe someone ate your lunch… whatever it may be, and getting to the gym and sweating it out is almost euphoric. But when stress becomes chronic and you’re constantly worrying and unable to relax it’s going to throw you off.
How Stress Affects Your Body:
● Causes Fatigue - Stress affects your brain, rendering your ability to focus and motivate yourself extremely difficult. When you’re distracted by stressors and issues going on outside of your control, it can turn even the tiniest task into a monster. This wears you down quickly and makes it very hard to do a full workout, or any exercise at all.
● Hinders Your Recovery - Experiencing soreness after a workout is normal, if not absolutely expected. Sometimes it happens in the immediate aftermath and sometimes it lingers into the next day. But when your stress levels are through the roof, it not only affects your mental state, but it puts strain on your muscles too. Stress drains your body of some of its essential resources, causing it to run out of gas quick, and heightening the chances of injury - the last thing anyone with a workout routine needs, and the last thing anyone with stress needs!
● Affects Cortisol Levels - Too much stress disrupts your body’s ability to balance cortisol levels in your system. Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone and when it’s too high it causes insulin production which can make you crave sugar and slow your body’s ability to shed fat. This also interferes with your sleep cycles, metabolism, and alertness.
Combatting the Effects of Stress
● Meditation is known to counter the effects of stress on your body significantly. When people hear the word mediation, they almost always conjure images of someone sitting cross-legged on a pillow with their eyes closed, chanting some type of mantra - which is fine if this is something that works for you. But the main focus is to pay close attention to your breathing and do it deeply (breathing correctly is also the cornerstone of a successful workout). You can do this while jogging, while sprinting, white stretching, or while sitting in place - whatever works best for you.
● Rest and recovery are also important in sticking to your routine and avoiding injury (let’s face it, if you incur an injury it will only lead to more stress). Skip your next workout if you’re feeling too sore or if your stress is overwhelming - it’s best to use coping techniques to eliminate some of that tension first, and it’s best to let your body recover before putting it through any strenuous exercise that might further hurt you.
● Focusing on a sleep schedule can also help reduce stress levels and fight off some of the negative aspects of tension and anxiety. It may be hard at first but try some form of meditation, turn off all screens at least 90 minutes before going to bed, and sip on a cup of relaxing (non-caffeinated) tea while reading a paperback. And if you’re someone who has trouble falling asleep, consider trying JBN’s Dream Support. It’s an all-natural supplement that elevates melatonin production and utilizes several herbs and botanicals that induce relaxation. Again, Dream Support is all natural, and is not habit-forming and does not slow your metabolism.
We hope these coping techniques help you with your training routine. If you are experiencing overwhelming stress for an extended period of time, and cannot seem to shake it off, it’s best to seek help from a medical professional.