Take your Health and Fitness to the next level
‘Why stress is sabotaging your health and fitness goals’
Face it… you are a machine! No… I’m serious. You are… And a pretty spectacular one at that. When it comes to both physical and mental output, nothing on planet earth even comes close to you! But, before you take a bow, here’s the deal. Just like any machine, your output, or your performance and resilience, depends on:
1. What you put into the tank
2. How efficiently your system operates.
There have been countless articles written on the importance of good nutrition to optimising health and fitness… and it can’t be overstated… but, today, I’d like to bring your attention to the modern world’s greatest threat to the efficiency with which every system in your body operates.
You guessed it…. STRESS!
From the way you digest and absorb the food you eat, your energy levels, and your ability to stick to your goals, to the way you build bone and muscle… and sleep and recover, persistent stress robs you of the ability to perform to your potential. And here are just some of the reasons why:
Eating the right nutrients is essential – effectively absorbing them is just as important!
There are few systems in the body that are more affected by persistent stress than your digestive system. It diverts blood from your digestive tract, inhibits the absorption of liquids and nutrients by up to 50% (ever wondered why you have loose bowl movements when anxious?) and disturbs the flow of food through the gut (that’s that ‘nervous’ growling stomach!).
All the good intentions in the world to eat well don’t mean much if those nutrients are not making it efficiently into your system!
A swinging appetite is the enemy of effective weight management.
When you are stressed, whether you are running from a sabre toothed tiger or sitting dead still at your desk, your body gets the message to produce sugars for immediate energy. When the stress peak ends and the ‘energy’ message subsides the ‘refuel me’ message kicks in. Yep, those are the cravings for high-energy food we get when we are under the pump. This message kicks in whether we have burned a lot of energy or not. Craving comfort foods after sitting on our backsides all day is hardly a recipe for effective weight management. Not to mention the fact that unused sugars are often stored as problem fat around the belly.
Low energy and poor discipline will not support your health and wellbeing goals.
Think of stress as your body’s alarm system, and what good is an alarm system that lets you sleep through it right? Persistent stress affects your ability to sleep, rest and recover draining your system of energy and affecting the way you recover from exercise… as well as pretty much every piece of ‘housekeeping ‘ your body engages in to keep your highly evolved machine humming along the way it was designed to.
And discipline? Well, that’s another story… the more stressed our minds are the less likely we are to make logical disciplined decisions and the more likely we are to just say ‘stuff it’… I’m skipping the gym and grabbing a glass of wine and donut!
OK, by now, you probably are starting to get the picture. The stress response is incredibly powerful and has the ability to affect almost every system and process in the human body. So why do so few of us prioritise minimising the time we spend under its influence?
We all lead busy lives, but the science and research is clear.
If you fail to manage your stress you are far more likely to fail at your health and fitness goals… it’s as simple as that.
The good news is this. There are simple, scientific and effective ways of flicking the switch in your nervous system from stressed to calm, and your system as a whole from ‘disturbed’ to ‘efficient’… just the way it was intended to run. Taking the time to learn a few simple skills and strategies to add a little extra calm, and balance to your daily routine will reward you in ways you may not even dare imagine.
The ‘power of calm’ is the power to respond in a clear and efficient way to daily challenges
To take control and move forward with clarity and purpose
And to live life with a degree of balance that supports your health, wellbeing and performance.