I’ve been speaking with a few people lately about stress, and how it can affect your body, so this is the reasoning for my blog as I know I have a lot of competitors following me, and many people who are in the middle of their health and fitness journey. So I hope this in some way can help you with your prep, are add some much needed benefit to your current lifestyle.
Given that it is the early stages of Season A of the comp season, I’m starting to see a lot of competitors freaking out because they are s worked up about not being ready to get on stage!
I’ve been through it too – I had a high pressure job, studying, moving house and prepping for my second international Pro Show and ohhh boy was that difficult. But what got me through was my passion for the sport and the amazing support I had from the people about me. But that didn’t help my overall health, and secondly my physique.
After a recent conversation with a good friend of mine (who is also a competitor) it got me thinking… if my cortisol levels (stress hormone) were much lower during the last 6-8 weeks of me prep; what would my overall physique really look like? I remember having days when I “should have felt leaner” but I was bloated and watery.. that’s because I had worked a 10hour day under immense pressure, and I remember missing a meal and having a migraine by the time I got home! Put two and two together – its not rocket science!
Here is a break down of what I am getting at here:
What Is Cortisol?
Cortisol is what we refer to as the “stress hormone.” When this is released in the body, you often bloat, water retention is high, and your mood and energy levels are down. Thus, as a further result, makes us feel uncomfortable and down about ourselves as we are emotional heightened and it makes it harder for us to deal with high pressure situations.
What does it do?
Cortisol can affect many functions of the body such as your metabolism, our cognitive function (memory and ability to focus) and inflammation in our body.
In women especially, cortisol assists with development of the foetus when falling pregnant, hence why we should be protecting our cortisol levels to support our overall well-being.
Why High Cortisol Levels are bad!
Anything essentially that’s going to put your body into an unnecessary stressful state will in turn hinder thins such as fat loss, our moods, increased depression and anxiety, women’s libido will be low and menstrual cycles can be irregular.
Competitors: what do you think will happen in the weeks leading up to your show if your cortisol levels are heightened?
- You will be moody
- Your hormones can be out of balance
- Some may hold water in their body
- You will feel fatigued – making it harder to train
- Your body fat percentage will be hard to shift
- You will become run down
- If you are in a caloric deficit your immune system will struggle
SLOW DOWN! Take some time to relax and reassess what is going on! Take that 10-15 minutes before you go to bed and meditate, reflect on your day and pick out 10 positives and write them down.
Go and get a 25minute massage, and release the tension in your body (and guess what, no one can bother you in this time to yourself!) or take a long hot bath and listen to some good music.
Take up yoga or pilates - stretching your body and meditating is so fulfilling, I tell all of my stage coaching clients to do it!
Make sure you eating nourishing foods that are rich in micronutrients, as well as your macronutrients! Food is the fuel source for our energy levels and by consuming processed, sugary - high fat foods, we will feel terrible, tired and sluggish.
Meditation - I strongly suggest you check out this amazing influencer, Rochelle Fox and her company Mindspo!
Make sure you are sleeping well enough to wind down at night. I know that my brain works 100 miles per hour, and I do also find it hard to switch off. I have been using ATP Science Cort RX lately and I find this helps really go into a nice deep sleep, and its easier for me to get out of bed!
Everyone handles stress differently, but we all need to learn how to manage these situations to benefit us, not make out lives worse!
After all, we only live once! So why not look after what it most important, YOU!