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By Austin Perry

Do you often find yourself lacking the motivation to even go to the gym? How about noticing your body composition starting to “soften up”? Odds are, you’re probably way too stressed out if these are relatable issues with you. Stress is inevitable. From everyday obstacles at the workplace to frustration in the household, this is a key factor as to why you might not be making the progress you want in the gym.

There are many common side effects of stress in your daily life such as fatigue, change in sex drive, decreased productivity or even muscle tension and pain. If you’re someone that values the gym and your health, it can be very frustrating to see progression being hindered and constantly wondering what may be going wrong.

So, how can someone help combat stress issues to keep their fitness progression and goals on the right path? Let’s take a look at a few ways on how you can manage this issue.

Cortisol Regulation

Your adrenal glands produce the stress hormone, cortisol [1]. Reducing cortisol levels is vital into restoring your body to a healthy state both physically and mentally. When cortisol levels become too high for a long period of time, your body begins to react in a negative way which includes; softened body composition, weight gain, disrupted sleep patterns, impact of mood sensitivity and much more. Naturally lowering cortisol levels can be achieved through many different routes and methods on your own.

One of these methods is the introduction of the adaptogen, Ashwagandha. [2] This specific adaptogen has gained plenty of positive notoriety throughout the past few years by its benefits of reducing stress, improving anxiety and assisting with mood elevation. Nutrex Research Vitadapt contains the scientific compound KSM-66® Ashwagandha at the clinical dose to help add in stress relief to its already solid multivitamin formula for everyday use.

By adding an adaptogen such as Ashwagandha at a proper dosage, you can expect to see a reduction in overall stress and anxiety levels in both adults and children [3]. Lipo-6 Dynamix is another great option if you’re also feeling deprived on sleep as it contains both an energy/nootropic blend to help boost your overall energy levels, increase mental focus and enhance improvements to your mood.

Stress Management

Try simple steps to combat stress levels throughout the day by managing your activity appropriately. If you go to the gym by yourself, try asking a friend to go with you to help keep you motivated during your workout and continuously push you to max effort. There’s nothing worse than getting to the gym and feeling fatigued, un-focused and just overall not mentally wanting to be there. By having a gym partner, you can alleviate some of the stress and stay motivated whenever you’re feeling down.

As hard as it may be, try forcing yourself to go to the gym even on your worst days. The decrease in exercise activity can negatively impact your body and mentality so by forcing yourself to go workout, you’re helping manage the effects. Working out can also reduce stress because your body produces endorphins during physical activity which in turn act as a sense of relief.

Proper Sleep Schedule

Healthy sleep patterns are the most beneficial towards reducing cortisol levels as your body heavily relies on a proper amount of sleep in order to function at the highest level of productivity. When cortisol levels are higher, you have an increased risk of running into issues of insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns. By lowering your cortisol levels with stress management and the introduction of adaptogens, you can begin to notice normal sleep patterns re-appearing. Sleep is critical for muscle recovery and growth by enhancing protein synthesis.

Try avoiding stimulant-based pre-workouts if you decide to go to the gym at night and replace it with a stim-free option such as Outlift Stim-Free. By removing stimulants, you’re reducing the risk of your sleep being interrupted or delayed by the effects of caffeine, etc. If you still need the extra pep in your step before you hit a night workout, try going with half a serving so that you’re not overdoing it with stimulants before bed.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

A consistent diet is a major factor when reducing and stabilizing cortisol levels. If you’re already meal prepping for the week, make sure to be on top of this with no slip-ups. A balanced diet is a great way of keeping control and managing stress to help improve your progression in the gym. Healthy dieting avoids the vicious cycle of depression-based binge eating and helps keep your body at a top physical state.

Avoid your “comfort foods” at all costs and fight back with nutritionally balanced foods instead because your body is at a need for a more healthy and dense diet when under an immense amount of stress [4]. Complex carbs such as; rice, starchy vegetables and yams can also be added into your daily meals to help boost serotonin levels and create steady flows.

Overall Synopsis

Stress is normal, there’s no fighting that. However, high stress levels for a longer period of time can negatively hinder your body’s progression both physically and mentally. By implementing stress management and adding in adaptogens to your supplement intake, you can help reduce the negative impacts of high cortisol levels and get back to a normal regime. If you’re still not experiencing any improvements to your health, you should consult your physician as this may be an underlying issue.

References:

References
1. “Adrenal Glands”. An education resource from the Society for Endocrinology. Last reviewed on January (2018)
2. “Research on KSM-66 Ashwagandha” KSM-66 Ashwagandha for stress and anxiety Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255.
3. “Research on KSM-66 Ashwagandha” KSM-66 Ashwagandha for stress and anxiety Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255.
4. “Review Article Open Access Nutrient and Stress Management” Amity Institute of Food Technology, Amity University, Noida Sector-25, India Karuna Singh

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