One of the most common comments I get from my personal training clients as I direct them to a mat is some version of “This is perfect, I could just lie here for ever”
Sadly, they’ve generally got a brief few moments of comfortable chillaxing on the mat before it’s time to prone hold or swiss ball curl or side plank oblique crunch with hip dip and toe tap if they’re especially lucky!
In all seriousness though Relaxation seems to be a dying art.
It’s something I could get better at too.
In todays show I’m weighing-in on one of the very compelling reasons to get good at relaxation. Todays let’s chat: Stress Levels and Stomach Fat.
If you view ‘burning the candle’ as a badge of honour – and I know a lot of us do – then you can also expect to be awarded a stubborn little (or large) layer of fat around your belly.
Let’s dispense with the stress-related-stomach-fat-FACTS first and then we can power on with the mindset to cultivate and actions to implement…
Nick-named the ‘stress-hormone’ excessive cortisol levels can occur when your mind is out of balance as a result of mental, physical and emotional stress. Perhaps you’re not getting enough sleep, burning the candle at both ends with work and play or stressing about life in general.
Even if you’re over-training.
Cortisol is a fat storing hormone, and it’s favourite place to direct that fat is straight to your belly. Like every hormone, cortisol has a role to play – it’s a survival mechanism developed to ready the body for a fight or flight response in times of danger and we need it – however we don’t need it to be constantly present in response to constant stress… or put technically, outta whack. 🙂
Since stress is an inescapable component of life, the key is to actively plan and choose your positive stress eroding strategies and to employ these tactics at the first hint of stress showing up.
Of course easier said than done. However awareness is the first step.
Because I love to make each show actionable let’s look at: 3 Steps To Manage Stress Levels and Stomach Fat.
Step One: as I mentioned is AWARENESS, however you may already have a vague-not-acted-on-consistently-awareness… and that is not enough.
Your hormones are simply not something that can be bullied, starved or exhausted into submission.
So by awareness, I don’t mean “I know this isn’t ideal however I’ll sleep when I’m dead” I mean understanding that long term outta whack cortisol levels will not only lead to annoying excess stomach fat it can actually disrupt almost all of your body’s processes. So as well as weight gain you’re also risking problems such as: Anxiety, Depression, Digestive problems, Heart disease, Sleep problems, Impaired Memory and Concentration.
So with awareness the mindset to cultivate: is to prioritise proactive stress countering measures and also to plan reactive stress eroding measures. To believe such measures are vital and a non-negotiable part of your routine.
For example: Try meditation. Or schedule time for regular walks in the great out doors. Even making the time each week to catch up with a close friend who makes you laugh (!) or soak in a bath.
Step Two: is to ACKNOWLEDGE there is zero value stressing about things beyond your control.
How much time and energy do you spend on things that are not within your control?
- The weather.
- The financial climate.
- How other people respond to you.
- Your genetics.
It’s an absolute waste. It’ll only make you feel overwhelmed, ineffective and STRESSED!
Step Three: is to FOCUS only on what is within your control.
This is where to spend your time and energy, you will only see results for the things you can change. For example:
- What time you go to bed.
- What time you get up.
- How you fuel your body.
- How you move your body.
- Who you choose to spend time with.
- How you choose to spend your time.
So here’s part B, of step three: focus on making the best choices so far as what is within your control!
Feeling stressed out that you have to much to do in your day, when last night you stayed up late doing a low value activity and as a result didn’t manage to get up an hour early as planned this morning IS within your control to prevent.
Constantly worrying about your weight while choosing not to plan your meals and not to make your scheduled exercise sessions happen IS within your control to prevent.
Harsh but true right? I absolutely do it too… the number of times I’ll waste time, energy and STRESS over some task I need to follow up – rather than just biting the bullet and doing it – and every single time, it’s not as bad as I made it out to be once I just focus and take action.
Talking of action, let’s get actionable (!) starting back at step one where we discussed bothproactive stress countering measures and also reactive stress eroding measures.
Todays action is to make 2-3 such measures a vital and a non-negotiable part of your routine.
Whatever you decide has to resonate with YOU for it to be effective.
However here are a couple of mine:
Proactively I always make time to train weights 5 days a week. Again this is calming for me – it may be UNfun for you. I had to get a little more specific with this though a while ago when I started rushing my work-outs and getting stressed that I was always rushing! Now I’ve given my self permission – moreso made it non-negotiable – that I get for an hour to train 2/5 of those days. Not that it needs to be an hour – just that I need to feel like I’m not rushing!
Reactively when I’m feeling stress building, when I’m getting moody and irrational and just pretty UNfun to be around or to be (!) I ditch whatever self-imposed-deadline I’m working on and go for a long walk along the beaches listening to an audio or music that I love.
Over to you, what are your stress managing measures?
That’s it for today… in tomorrows Thursday Training show I’m sharing my ‘Fav Work-out This Week’ #4.
If you’re yet to share the Healthification love – just click here to zip over to iTunes and leave an honest rating and review. It’d help me out big time. With gratitude, Kate.