Stress Relief and Exercise
One of the most common problems many of my clients face is that they get stuck in a rut and can’t seem to get the results that they believe they should be getting. This article is aimed at all of you and will hopefully give you insight into one of the biggest reasons why you can’t seem to get that flat tummy you’ve always wanted.
Say hello to stress! We all have it, it’s what makes us human but the interesting thing is that some of us have incredible coping mechanisms which allow us to put the thing causing the stress out of mind and move forward with our days. But what about the rest of us?
Well this is where the hormone cortisol enters this discussion. Secreted by our adrenal glands cortisol is elevated when our levels of stress are high and/or we do not get enough sleep. In other words, it is called the stress hormone!
Here is the kicker…when our cortisol levels are high our appetite and cravings also increase. That’s right, when we’re stressed we also have a physiological response which makes us want to eat more. What’s worse is that an excess of cortisol secretion has also been linked with excess storage of fat. An unfortunate double whammer which I think you’ll agree really sucks! But don’t get stressed out over it right?!
Ways to Combat High Cortisol Levels
First and most important…take a breather! Become consciously aware of your stress levels. You know your body better than anyone else, and if you want to take care of yourself and be at your best then you also should be extra aware of the sources that give you the stress.
Now find one thing which can help you deal with the stress. You might find any of these ideas as great solutions: meditation, yoga, moderate aerobic exercise, kickboxing, swimming, walking, reading, massage therapy, or even sex! Pick a few that give you most satisfaction and have them in your back pocket so next time you get stressed out you can immediately turn to the most convenient solution (I bet sex will be one for many of you!).
Sounds pretty simple right? Well when you’re stressed out you’ll actually find that you feel flustered and can’t think straight. So it’s important to have this plan in place to save yourself an incredible amount of grief and not only improve your own health but also spin you off in a positive direction with everyone you interact with.
Supplements to Reduce Harmful Effects of Stress
There is a lot of controversy over supplements (mostly herbal) which have claims to reduce your cortisol levels. It’s important to note though that Cortisol is not an entirely evil hormone, it’s important for our body to have this reactive mechanism in place (stemming from our survival behaviour).
With that said it’s important to make sure you are eating a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables which are high in antioxidants and reduce cellular damage caused by stress. High quality protein in the form of lean meats, dairy products, beans and lentils are also important in providing you body with amino acids to help with the recovery of your muscles after exercise.
Some supplements which have been scientifically proven to be particularly helpful with reducing the damages caused by stress include:
High Quality Whey Protein with no artificial additives: Optimum 100% Natural Whey
Vitamin C with Bioflavenoids: NOW C-1000
Green Tea Extract: NOW Green Tea Extract
Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids: AllMax Nutrition Omega 3
Amino Acid Glutamine: Scivation Xtend
You may want to consider these as part of supplementing your healthy diet which consists of the most natural and raw foods you can get your hands on.
Remember to have your stress-relief plan in place, no better time than now to create it. Furthermore, eat healthy and do your best to get adequate sleep every night so you can guarantee less stress & lower cortisol levels. The benefits will be totally worth it when you see your abs showing through!
Do you have any other suggestions on ways to reduce stress? Please leave a comment below…