Not seeing results in your workouts? Perhaps it’s related to stress!
Training hard and working out has as much of an aesthetic appeal as a mental and emotional one — people want to look good, while benefiting their mental health. And while exercising is just one avenue to combat stress, it’s vital to reduce stress in your everyday life.
Where chronic stress is, oftentimes illness and disease follow. Stress, as it turns out, will also affect your gains, so if you’re not seeing results in the gym, this may be a culprit of unregulated stress levels.
Proven4 understands how it can be the little things that impact training the most, and fueling your body with the right things is just one component. Explore the benefits of stress management and how they may pay off in your training in today’s post.
What Stress Has To Do With It
Stress is a natural response, that when used right, is advantageous to us — it’s the acute fight or flight response we want when we’re in danger, but when it’s chronic and our stress stems from the anxiety of unchecked emails and a social media overload, this is when it becomes problematic and impacts our physical and emotional states.
When stress is managed effectively, sleep improves, our immune health is robust, and the microbiome can flourish.
At the end of the day, what science has been saying and what you likely already know, supporting healthy stress levels is a crucial part of your health and wellness.
Stress And The Gym
Training and exercising in and of itself are stressors, but if done in a healthy way, the benefits outweigh the costs. It’s when you walk the line of overtraining when stress can become an issue to your physical and emotional health.
What does overtraining look like? Chronic signs of unusual and prolonged muscle soreness, fatigue, delayed recovery, irritability, sleep issues, and lethargy in your everyday life, all signal that you may be doing too much.
Alternatively, your emotional state and high stress levels from work, relationships, finances, and so many other factors, may also hinder your time in the gym. Your motivation may be low, you may experience bouts of depression, or what was once an easy weight to lift, may feel impossible to move.
A decline in exercise intensity, training plateau, and even muscle loss or fat gain can result from chronic and high stress levels from life events.
Stress Management Techniques
If you think your stress levels are impacting your training, they’re also likely influencing other parts of your body internally including your digestion — it’s harder to absorb nutrients in a heightened parasympathetic state — and chronic stress has also been shown to be a contributing factor in illnesses such as heart disease and cancer.
There are a variety of stress management techniques out there to help remedy chronic stress, and there’s a good chance too, that you have heard them all. So instead of recalling all the tips you’ve already heard, let’s focus on some more gym- and training-specific stress management techniques.
Listen To Your Body
In the training realm, the grind and the hustle are holy and ingrained into the culture, and while there is a place for this, it’s also vital to listen to your body.
If you’re chronically stressed, the last thing you want to do is push your body beyond its limits. Know that it’s okay that when you’re struggling, you can scale things back.
Walking on the treadmill and doing a light dumbbell circuit supports your body just as much as a HIIT workout or long 15-mile run.
If you’re feeling fatigued and can’t find your usual motivation, do what you can and listen to your body.
Scale Your Workouts
This was mentioned above, but it’s extremely important to reiterate. When we push our bodies in a chronically stressed state, not only is the immune system more compromised, but you’re also more vulnerable to injury.
Just like life, there are seasons to training, and when you’re more stressed than usual, this may be a signal to transition your training at this time. Do more gentle movements and exercise such as yoga, more walking and hiking, and slow down your weight lifting (use lighter weight as well).
Focus On Nutrition
It’s easy to reach for foods that provide a dopamine — and blood sugar — spike, but with a little planning and prepping, eat more supportive foods. Getting enough veggies and fruit and eating protein, healthy fats, and whole foods is a great place to start — staying hydrated is also very important!
Just as it’s important to scale your workouts, slowing down is hugely impactful in combating chronic stress. This can be as simple as turning off electronics an hour before bed or reading more books in the evening to avoid the social media binge.
Even listening to more positive podcasts and TV shows can help your mental and emotional state — so if you’re a true crime fan, maybe see what happens if you give it rest for a week or two!
Working Through Your Stress
Have you ever noticed that you hit bigger PRs or lose weight when you’re on vacation despite straying from your usual diet? It’s often because you’re less stressed and much more calm and relaxed.
Get your stress levels in check, and your fitness will often improve!
The great thing about Proven4 is that our sports workout products are amazing even when you’re scaling workouts and slowing down to support healthy stress levels. Abundant in amino acids and electrolytes, they fuel your fitness in whatever training season you’re in!
Find your favorite Proven4 product today!