Most physical fitness enthusiasts understand the need for exercise and nutrition, but almost everybody overlooks stress! Constant stress is not only mentally fatiguing, it robs you of the fat loss, muscle gain, and energy you work so hard for. There’s a saying that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, but it works both ways. If you really want to achieve your fitness goals, follow these tips for minimizing stress.
Even if you’re dieting hard to lose those last few stubborn pounds, under-eating for weeks on end will cause your stress levels to skyrocket. Eating fewer calories than you consume causes your body to slow down, both physically AND mentally – your brain requires a lot of calories, too!
So, what’s to do if you still want to lose fat? If you’ve already been dieting for a while, a good strategy is to increase your food intake to a “maintenance” level or even allow yourself to gain a pound or two back. Do this for a couple of week, and your metabolism will be revving at full speed once again.
Get Lots of Sleep
Sleep is probably the most overlooked aspect of physical fitness. It’s somewhat appreciated among people who want to gain muscle, but those trying to get lean often ignore how important it is. After all, you burn more calories staying awake, right? Even if that is right, it doesn’t matter.
Failure to get enough sleep will raise your cortisol throughout the day. Cortisol is a stress hormone which not only makes you feel agitated – it tells your body to hold on tight to its fat stores. Even if you’re eating few enough calories to lose weight, high cortisol will prevent you from actually losing body fat. You may actually lose muscle instead!
Remove Negative People
This may seem like a more drastic step, but physical fitness is a lifestyle, after all. If there are people in your life who provide you with nothing but stress, get rid of them! Of course this isn’t possible with business associates or family members, but quit hanging out with those fake friends who do nothing but complain and bring you down.
Manage Your Time
Feeling overwhelmed is a big source of stress for many people. If you’re juggling work, family life, AND your fitness routine, you can’t afford to waste time throughout your day. It might take discipline to avoid distractions like web surfing and television, but you’ll feel a greater sense of well-being and calm if you do.
You probably already know that eating fat doesn’t necessarily make you fat. However, going too low with the fats in your diet can actually make you depressed! This is especially common with the ultra-low-fat diets of the 1980s, which had people eating as low as ten percent of their daily calories from fats. Plus, many of the vitamins your brain needs are only digestible with fat. If you’ve been feeling down while dieting, try adding some beef, nuts, salmon, or extra olive oil to your physical fitness plan. Your mood, energy levels, and physique will thank you.