Stress takes no prisoners — this insidious health concern impacts just about every facet of us, including our fitness.
Our stress response is present because our body is striving to find balance at every moment, and our bodies are thrown off balance by a stressor which can come from our environment, an external event, or a biological entity that causes stress.
A stressor can take on practically any form — shapeshift from a physical threat to illness or infection, right down to a heavy emotion. The point of this being we only have one stress response and our body can’t discern the difference between being chased by a mountain lion or being overwhelmed by the emails that keep stacking up.
Stress makes us sick, and ultimately can gravely impact our training.
Proven4 is a sports supplement company that wants to see your fitness bloom! Not only do we have pre and post workout drinks to fuel your fitness, but we’re also here as a resource. Learn more about how stress may be holding your fitness hostage in today’s post!
A quick word on the evolution of stress…
We mentioned above that our bodies only have one stress response and that it cannot tell the difference between stressors. It’s also important to expand on the evolution of stress. Early we had acute, stimulus-heavy stress — we were quite literally fighting for our lives. In today’s climate, most everyone’s basic needs are met, yet our stress is chronic and at an all-time high.
We’re working long hours and sitting a majority of our days, and we not only feel pressure from work, but in our personal lives as well.
And how does this stress manifest?
It impacts us both physically and emotionally, and it may even be keeping you from reaching new levels of fitness — your stress may be holding you back!
How Stress Affects Your Fitness
We all have “off” training days — the days your legs feel like lead or when to do that extra set of squats just isn’t going to happen.
Sometimes a workout is exactly what we need to better quell the stress, and sometimes it just exacerbates its effects. Research has since found that mental fatigue and physical exhaustion are bffs! And, they even affect the same region of the brain, the anterior cingulate cortex.
When your brain is fried, there is a good chance your body is as well.
What’s worse is, the more a person is chronically stressed, the more it will alter your physical performance. So, how is stress holding your fitness hostage? Find out below!
Your working memory is changed.
Your working memory is essentially how you make decisions — it’s the part that has to consider various pieces of information. The more time your brain is subject to managing stress, the less time it has to perceive and evaluate other information — this means everything! When your brain is off doing stress-related work and repair, basic tasks, including physical activity become muddled.
You may notice yourself fatiguing more rapidly, or having issues processing simple, incoming information.
If you’ve ever had the chance to watch or speak to endurance athletes such as ultramarathoners, even 45 miles into their one hundred mile race and their lights are out, no one is home! Blank stares and grunts of “food” are all you will get.
Their bodies are so stressed their working memory has jumped ship for the time being!
Stress impairs your concentration.
Chronic stress greatly sabotages your concentration and mental focus by processing the stressor internally, which leaves little room for any external processing, i.e, the task at hand.
Take cycling for example. Say you’re in the Tour De France and news breaks that your partner is cheating on you. The stress of this event and trying to process it internally it taking from the actual stage of the race, and you end up behind the peloton not gaining the points you had hoped.
Our stress has evolved from acute situations where it was actually a very poignant thing, to manifesting into a chronic health issue that impacts our health, and fitness, in a myriad of ways.
There is more to cover on ways in which stress takes our fitness hostage, so stay tuned for part two!
Feel great about your workout when you choose pre and post workout drinks that maximize your fitness! Find your P4 product today!