STRESS. We’ve all had it. You may have heard that cortisol, the stress hormone, can effect your fitness goals. It can hinder them if your stress is too high for too long, and it can also help you improve and adapt physically. But how? I’m here to explain it to you my sweet, stressed lil pumpkins. I will use the 🙎🏻♀️ emoji to bullet my points bc homegirl looks stressed.
🙎🏻♀️Many don’t know that cortisol is actually a GOOD hormone. It wakes you up in the morning. Gets your ready to start your day. So cortisol isn’t inherently bad.
🙎🏻♀️Cortisol also helps the body make change. When you put yourself through a difficult workout, or push yourself to achieve a certain amount of reps at a new weight, it causes stress in your body. This is good and will result in you making strength gains, muscle gains, fat loss, or whatever your goal is.
🙎🏻♀️Here’s the catch-there’s only a certain amount of cortisol to go around. Think of cortisol this way: we have a certain amount of cortisol that our body can effectively use. Like a cortisol bank. So let’s say school or work is crazy right now. You’re constantly studying and not getting enough sleep. Or you’re going through a breakup. Your body will have high cortisol levels to help you remedy the situation causing you stress. Cortisol will even cause the body to stop unnecessary functions to direct all energies toward the stress at hand. (Which is why some people will lose hair, etc. when really stressed) Bodies are cool like that. They look out for us.
🙎🏻♀️So if you’re dealing with something stressful like finals or a breakup, THEN you try to switch up your training or make big changes in your body, chances are that your body will not respond as effectively as you want it to. Because it’s not using the cortisol to become stronger and adapt to the harder training. It’s using cortisol to deal with the stress in your life.
🙎🏻♀️THIS is why it’s better to choose a low stress time in your life to change up your routine or try to make drastic changes in your body. If you do it during a low stress time, most of your body’s cortisol will go towards changing your body to becoming better and stronger.
🙎🏻♀️You can also becoming cortisol resistant if you have an extremely high level of stress every single day. Cortisol also inhibits the uptake of amino acids into the muscle cells, making it near impossible to fuel muscle cells if cortisol is too high for too long. This will make it difficult to achieve any fitness goals in an optimal amount of time. This is why stress management is key to a successful fitness regimen.
🙎🏻♀️This is the science. Anecdotally speaking, I found that once I learned coping strategies to deal with stress and eliminated a large contributor to my stress, I saw big changes in my body quickly. I was able to cut fat much quicker, and I was able to gain strength much quicker. That’s why I chose this time to change up my routine, try CrossFit, etc. Because these training sessions will be the biggest part of stress for my body right now. So change is inevitable 🤗
🙎🏻♀️I know stress is unavoidable for many people. Parents, those dealing with chronic illness, those dealing with mental health issues (me), etc. I can follow up with stress management techniques if you guys enjoy this post. If you do, please let me know!
I’ve been loving doing research during my free time to learn more about the human body and intricacies of fitness success. It’s been helping me and my clients so much, and I hope to do the same for more people!
Alexis Guidry (@alexisclairefit), ACE CPT