1. What is stress?
The best description of stress is the body’s mental and physical response to real-life or perceived ‘change’ or ‘threat’ in your life.
2. Not everyone has the same ‘perception of stress’.
Example; fighting scares the living hell out of you, But UFC Champion Jon Jones loves to fight.
3. Types of stress:
Stress comes from internal and external sources.
- Internal Stress: Lack of sleep, poor nutrition
- External Stress: Relationships, work stress.
What happens when we are stressed?
Firstly we need to look at the nervous system. Specifically the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system (PNS, SNF)
- Parasympathetic - Restores the body to resting condition, often called the ‘rest and digest’ system.
- Sympathetic - Prepares our body to face stressors / challenges. Often referred to as ‘Fight or Flight
Have you noticed that when you’re stressed;
- Do you start to sweat?
- Does your heart start to beat fast?
- you get jittery and anxious/scared?
- You may lose your appetite or have trouble getting food in?
This is caused by your sympathetic nervous system. Essentially your body is releasing stress hormones and going through almost instant changes.
This is that “Fight or Flight response” I was talking about, your body thinks it’s in danger.
“Okay whatever Adrian, tell me how stress affects my gains!?”
I’ll keep this part short and sweet, stress isn’t always bad! It’s when we are exposed to high levels of stress for a prolonged period, that it’ll become an issue to your health and well being.
Cortisol is a hormone that is secreted when we are under stress, it’s created by the adrenal cortex (outer part of your adrenal glands), and it’ll spike/increase when you are in a stressed state or situation.
Cortisol helps with;
- Cardiovascular function
- Carbohydrate metabolic rate
Yes that sounds good but; being in a high-stress state for too long is going to affect things like,
Sleep, Gut health and Digestion, which are also big foundations to repair and recovery!
PS. It’s a catabolic hormone! Meaning
Your body may/will even use muscle tissue proteins and convert them into glucose for energy. The Cortisol hormone also prevents hypertrophy, since it interferes in protein synthesis.
In conclusion, work on reducing your levels of stress and be rewarded with positive changes physically and mentally
Hope you’ve gained something from this post!
If you’re looking to take charge of your training and creating a positive relationship with your nutrition, comment I'M IN’ in the comment section.