Ahhhh, Christmas stresses!!

Personal Space Bristol Personal Training Studio

We are actually in December today! The festive period is just a bit more official!

Many people actually find Christmas a stressful period, for many differing reasons. As we know from my previous posts, stress can have a very damaging effect, on not only your overall health, but your quest for the body to relinquish body fat.

Stress on the body can come in many forms, not just in the traditional sense of feeling under pressure & mentally drained.
Even if you think you are not in that category, your body might be stressed in other ways.

Consider your external, environmental stress, in terms of your surroundings and also including others around you.
What you are eating can create internal stressors, including things like, chemicals & artificial stimulants, prescribed drugs, & alcohol. Even too much physical exertion/exercise can be another stressor on your overall body system.

From my experience, clients I have trained, that have had the most difficulty in changing body composition, are those whose goals have similar traits that can limit their success;

1. They are a predominantly a ‘stressy’ person.
2. They have difficulty relaxing & switching off so their mind is always ‘away’ and busy.
3. They have very busy lifestyles & are generally juggling many balls at once.
4. They have trouble getting optimal sleep.
5. They use a reward system, generally food, when things are bad (or good).
6. Don’t allow enough downtime in their lifestyle.
7. Feel out of control with their personal goals whilst being in control of their work life.
8. Can be unhappy with themselves.

This is not a definitive list and obviously there are variables, but it can indicate why hormonal balance can be difficult, and why fat loss can be almost impossible for these people.

There are many interrelating hormonal factors but a key one is the steroid cortisol. Continued stress encourages more cortisol to be released.

Once continual high levels of Cortisol are being released, it can have disastrous effects on body compositional change and it’s why stress needs to be controlled. Here’s just some of the main effects;

– Signals to the body to store more bodyfat
– Catabolizes muscle
– Increases hunger & cravings
– Increased blood glucose levels therefore used in preference to fat.
– Insulin increases which whilst keeping blood sugars within a tight range, can also block fat being used for fuel.

This is just one factor that can severely limit change. So you could work your butt off and be strict with food, but it might still not budge due to your hormonal status.

We each have different ways of relieving stress and ultimately you have to find what works for you but some ways in which my clients do are;

– actively taking planned time out
– Reading
– Walking
– Being mindful where possible
– Relaxing in a quiet space
– Earlier to bed
– Using progressive muscle relaxation
– Stretching
– Gentle exercise
– Limiting stimulants
– Bath with essential oils
– Massage
– Change of routine

I hope this blog encourages you to think of your own position & you find your own ways to keep stress levels to a minimum. Whilst I actually find it quite difficult to put myself first, ive realised its imperative for my own wellness.

Best wishes
Stuart

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