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stressed

Why Stress Is Preventing You From Getting the Fitness Results You Want

Why Stress Is Preventing You From Getting the Fitness Results You Want

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When you think of a good fitness routine, what comes to mind? It’s likely that your list would include regular exercise, eating healthy food, and maybe getting good sleep each night. Here’s another item to add: Making time to de-stress.

Almost everyone faces a little stress from time to time, but when that stress builds up or becomes chronic, it can be powerful enough to prevent fitness gains from happening altogether.

Here are 3 reasons why stress is preventing you from getting the fitness results you want, and then some practical techniques for de-stressing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7rNwPkJ2q4

1. Stress Increases Food Cravings

Stress increases food cravings gif // The PumpUp Blog

Oftentimes people struggle to lose weight and are perplexed as to why. They are doing everything “right” but still aren’t getting the results they want. Stress might be the culprit.

Have you heard of the “fight or flight” response? This is a survival mechanism that causes the body to produce adrenaline when faced with stress. Historically it was helpful when the stress was physical danger (like being attacked by a bear!), but today the response is triggered by much less-dangerous stress.

Stress from your job, school, or relationships can trigger adrenaline production. This is problematic because adrenaline is accompanied by cortisol, a hormone that causes hunger.

When stressed, your body will crave food even though the stressful event likely didn’t require much energy to deal with - You don’t burn calories stressing over a deadline at work like you would running away from an angry bear!

2. Stress Decreases Motivation

Stress decreases motivation // Sherlock gif - The PumpUp Blog

Think back to a time when you were really stressed out. Did you feel motivated to exercise? Were you compelled to cook a healthy meal for yourself?

Stressful situations often lead to feelings of being overwhelmed. Things in life seem too much to handle and it’s difficult to even consider doing something as simple as going for a quick jog.

This is one reason why exercise and healthy eating fall off track during stressful times. Your mind (and body) is focused on getting through that stress – Making healthy lifestyle choices gets put on the backburner.

3. Stress Reduces the Effectiveness of Your Workouts

Stress reduces the effectiveness of your workout // The PumpUp Blog

Some people see exercise as a way to deal with stress. Yes, it can be a good way to take your mind off other things happening in life, but exercise is actually just another form of stress. It’s a physical stress on your body.

That sounds like a bad thing, but it’s really not. Physically stressing your body is what allows you to make progress – You push a little further and get better as a result.

Unfortunately, when you are already dealing with other stressors in life, whether they are physical, emotional, or relational, your body has less capacity to deal with the stress of a workout.

Not only does your chance of injury increase during stressful times, but recovery from your workouts is also inhibiting due to less quality sleep. This means that you won’t get the same results from exercise that you would during less stressful times in life.

How to Fix Your Stress: Some Helpful Resources

It’s pretty clear that stress can have a huge impact on your ability to get and stay fit. What can you do about it?

One of the most important de-stressing techniques is simply taking a few minutes each day to relax. This will look different for different people, but it can include any activity that allows rest for your mind and body.

There are some really helpful online tools that can be used to practice stress-reducing relaxation. One is Calm, a quick meditation that you can do on your computer or phone. You choose the length and the style of relaxation and Calm does the rest.

Another great tool is called Do Nothing For 2 Minutes. This simple website “forces” you to stop working. How you spend that 2 minutes is up to you, but the idea is to take time to just relax, perhaps practice some deep breathing, and allow your stress to dissipate.

One other great resource is the 42 Ways to Live Stress-Free guide. This is a compilation of the best techniques and resources that you can use to beat the stress that creeps into various parts of your day.

From waking up in the morning to dealing with stressful relationships, this guide has something for every type of stress you may be dealing with.

Stress is going to happen – It’s part of life. But learning a few techniques to prevent that stress from becoming a chronic problem is key for your mental health and your body’s ability to make the fitness improvements you’re looking for.

About the Author

Dave Smith has been a professional fitness and weight-loss coach since 2001 and was chosen as “Canada’s Top Fitness Professional” in 2013.

He specializes in holistic weight-loss rooted in clean eating, daily movement, group accountability and on-going peer support. His motto is “Strive for progress, not perfection” and his goal is long-term change, not quick fixes.

You can learn more about his healthy living and weight-loss programs at makeyourbodywork.com.

Images (1), (2), and (3) via giphy. Cover photo via Etsy.

5 ways to stay sane during hectic situations

5 ways to stay sane during hectic situations

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Between work and school and family, right now, I’m drowning. I have so much to do in the next month in order to prepare for post-university life. Yet, I keep pushing my work to the side to play on my phone or watch TV or to do anything imaginable that isn’t work. It’s been so bad that last week, my heart was racing for about 5 days due to anxiety and stress. How am I supposed to cope with all that’s going on? In my head, it seems easy to just buckle down, get the work done, and then relax. But in application, it takes a lot more energy. So I’m going to do something a little different for this post. This week I’m going to list my top 5 ways to stay sane in hectic situations.

Plan your work and work your plan

Make a plan and stick to it

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual person. It helps me get things done if I write things out in the form of calendars, to do lists, and even step-by-step tasks. It may seem like extra work but by writing things down, I’m seeing just how much needs to get done and how it needs to get done.

Take a deep breath

Breathe

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During those times when my heart races with stress, I like to take some really deep breaths and clear my mind. If possible, I also try to listen to some nature sounds like the forest or, my favorite, ocean waves on Spotify or YouTube. By focusing my mind on breathing and the nature sounds, I’m able to clear my head for a second and create a blank slate to do more work.

Imagine the satisfaction

Do a happy dance. You deserve it

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Visualize how great you'll feel once your work is complete. One thing that also helps me is envisioning myself completing the tasks at hand. Seeing the pure joy on my stress-free face makes me want to work towards that even more.

Ask for help

Don't be afraid to reach out for help

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Nothing in this world is accomplished alone and we are not super humans. Ask for help if you are unable to complete a task. It may be hard to let someone down or place a burden on another but, chances are, that person is agreeing to help you because they care about you very much.

Take time to make yourself happy

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I cannot stress this last point enough. No matter what you do in hectic times, it’s important to remember your own happiness. Carve out some times for breaks in which you do something you love to do like baking, watching TV or, in my case, singing your heart out to your favorite songs.

I hope you can use some of these tips in your own life to stay sane in the busier times in of your life.

This is a post by PumpUp member @ohmyitschels. Check out Chelsie’s YouTube page here

4 ways to stay on track when you're stressed out to the max

4 ways to stay on track when you're stressed out to the max

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As the end of the school year rolls around, I know we all can’t help thinking about the quickly approaching summer months. I know how easy it is to start slacking off and getting distracted by the thoughts of relaxation and warm sunshine. We are in the final stretch!! Time to find some motivation in all aspects of life and stay on track to finish the year out successfully! Here are my top tips for staying on top of your health and school work!…

1. Plan AHEAD!

My favorite way to stay organized is to write everything down. Making a list and crossing things off can be extremely effective in not only staying on top of your work, but also finding a personal sense of accomplishment when you complete things. Also, if you know you are going to be studying at the library all day–bring snacks! Eating “brain food” like fruits and veggies is the perfect way to stay energized during long hours of studying.

Plan ahead by writing everything down - 4 tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out from the PumpUp Blog

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2. Give yourself a BREAK!

Make time for YOU on a daily basis. Whether you take 30 minutes to exercise, watch a TV show, or take a nap, breaks are necessary for your brain, your body, and your sanity! Never feel guilty for taking time for yourself. :)

Give yourself a break - 4 ways to stay on track even when you're stressed out

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3. Surround yourself with MOTIVATION!

Studying in a an environment with little distraction will help keep you focused. If you like studying in a group, find other students who like to do it too! Find what works for you and what inspires you and you will absolutely be on the road to success!

Surround yourself with motivation - 4 tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out | PumpUp Blog

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4. Stay POSITIVE!

One of the best pieces of advice my parents ever gave me is “You don’t have to be the best, you just have to do your best.” It is so important to remember this in all aspects of life– don’t compare yourself to others. You are your own biggest competitor! Challenge yourself to be a better version of YOU every single day. That’s all you can ask of yourself!

Remember that there is LIGHT at the end of the tunnel! Summer is right around the corner! Working hard until then will make your time off even more enjoyable, I promise.

Stay positive - 4 tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out | PumpUp Blog

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These tips to stay on track, even when you're stressed out were written by Ashley Hampton (PumpUp:@rawincollege), a college student looking to spread the power of the raw vegan lifestyle through her positive posts and vibrant photos. Check out her blog.

4 tips to stay on track and be healthy, even when you're stressed out. Plan ahead, take breaks, immerse yourself in a motivating environment, and stay positive. Learn more from the PumpUp Blog at blog.pumpup.com