Have you ever had that friend that even when they diet and exercised like crazy they still seemed stuck in a plateau that they could not get out of? I think we can all think of somebody that has done this before, but usually not all for the same reasons. One reason may be the closet eater, who hides the fact that they are gorging on bad food choices behind closed doors. Or the excessive drinker, that says they only drink a few beers once a week, and it’s more like 10 beers at 2-3 times a week. The above two examples are not who we are talking about today. We are talking about the guy or girl that is actually putting in all the hard work but just can’t seem to get past that hump. Why is that? Well, the answer could be as simple as your hormones are not in an optimal state for fat loss….Here may be why.
We have all heard that stress kills right? Well, not only does it kill you, it also kills any fat loss or muscle gain progress as well. Studies have actually shown that when you are in a stressful state for consistent periods of time you can eat the perfect diet for your goals and still not lose body fat. In fact you will either stay the same, or you may even gain weight! So why does this happen? What is triggered in us that is causing this stress?
Cortisol is the stress hormone, responsible for that fight or flight response in the body that gets released when we are perceived to be under stressful situations. When cortisol stays up it is actually benefiting fat gain, and preventing muscle gain simultaneously. Now lets go back to the question of what is causing this in us? What is causing cortisol to stay elevated? Well, there are a number of things that could be plaguing our day. Here is just a small list…
Job or work environment, family life, Time Management, money management, over training at the gym, excess alcohol consumption, and consistent bad sleep.
This list probably covers the top stressors the average person has in there life. I would say out of all of the issues listed above, the number one issue leading to elevated cortisol is consistent bad sleep. You should always try to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night. Now, I know they say 8 hours is considered best, but I am trying to be as realistic as possible. Quite a lot of us are busy people these days. For example, lately I am in bed around 10 to 10:30pm, and will be up at 4:30am ready to go. Whatever your time window is, please remember to not completely neglect your sleep. Try to make 6 hours be your minimum. Also, remember to keep the “blue lights” off when you go to bed at night. Blue light is the light emitted by television screens and phones, and can interrupt healthy sleeping patterns.
In regards to some of the other stressors listed above I highly doubt anyone is suffering from over training, since it is very difficult for the average person to even over train in the first place. But, as far as the rest of the list goes if you want to make a conscious effort to reduce stress try yoga or even meditation. Look for something you can do to unwind and calm the body. Maybe even massage therapy would be a great idea as well. Just keep in mind if you are at a sticking point in your fat loss results and you know in yourself you are doing all the right things then you may want to consider taking a look at your normal routine and figuring out what changes you need to make to get yourself moving in the right direction. Always remember we are here to help so if you need any assistance in figuring out what to do please feel free to contact me at our email address and we will get it figured out.