The short answer
Yes. But we are afraid that’s only the short answer. There are plenty of factors that can change this answer altogether. Needless to say, you will have to stick with us till the end to find out more about these factors. Stress is one of those factors in a gym routine that doesn’t get talked about often. Gym geeks and fitness freaks are very concerned about the type of diet they consume, the number of calories they burn, the optimal fat percentage in the body, and tons of other factors. But one factor which they tend to ignore altogether is how stress can practically kill any progress they might have made. It just doesn’t occur to most of us that stress, an abstract factor, can impede our physical progress! In this discussion, we attempt to highlight this gain slayer’s aforementioned role and share ways in which stress can be countered.
Defining stress in this context!
Because stress is a word with many meanings and interpretations, we felt the need to define it in the current context. Any challenging situation which can make our body release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline for preparing it mentally and physically to cope with that situation can be defined as stress. Hold onto your horses, that’s only one side of the stress conundrum! Another way stress can be defined is the work pressure that we have to deal with daily. The aforementioned examples can be classified under the category of acute stress. On the other hand, chronic stress can also impact our gym gains. Yes, the woes of a terrible relationship or financial pressures can impact your fitness too!
A bit about the element of predictability
We have defined the word stress (while keeping things as relevant as possible) in the previous section. In this section of the discussion, we are going to link those equations to your gym routine and make you see why stress must be taken as a serious threat to your gym gains. Folks, tell us something. How many of you feel that you are living your lives in a closed-loop? A life that is determined by the predictable variables like input & output only? Well, if you are someone who hits the gym with these feelings dominating your thoughts, then we are afraid to report that as your body adapts to stress, it practically kills any gains that you might think you have made. The reason for this pessimistic approach will be elucidated in a minute in this discussion, but for now, you must focus on eliminating stressors from your life.
How anxiety affects your workout?
We are good with words, but we know that you need a little bit more than words to believe what we have just told you. How stress kills your gains? Well, without going deep into the endocrinology of this whole affair, stress affects your body’s metabolic rate. It leads to a situation where your body is storing more fat than needed, thereby wrecking your waistline development. What is more, stress can demotivate a gym geek so much that he or she starts hating the gym completely. And when things get a little rusty, they are destined to be broken! We have already mentioned that too much stress can release hormones like cortisol. This is significant because this hormone has been shown to have an association with slowing down the recovery post-workout. When your body doesn’t have enough time to recover, it loses its ability to repair and build tissues. This establishes stress’s diminishing role on any gains that you might have made during your hours-long workout sessions.
You are not a machine!
What we have just described is mostly related to physical stress and less to acute stress. But you should know that stress in any form is not good for your body. Even if the stress you are feeling is mostly work-related, or anxiety that has nothing to do with your gym routine, you should not take stress causally. Here, the logic is that it can make you lose your focus and concentration in the gym, which will lead to futile workouts with no gains made whatsoever. So, taking appropriate breaks after hours of work is not a crime, you can relax a bit. The takeaway from this section would be that whenever you enter the gym, please enter with a relaxed, and stress devoid state of mind. Recall that we are organic beings, not machines made of iron and steel. It is only human if our performance is being affected by anxiety!
How to stop stress from killing your gains?
If you are someone who knows all about this story of stress already, we guess you are bursting with curiosity to know if there is a way in which the situation can be countered. We are happy to report that yes, you can effectively counter stress, one that promises you won’t lose your gym gains at all. To make things more comprehensible, we are going to mention these golden rules of fighting the stress one by one in the following lines:
1- If you are struggling with insomnia, consult a sleep clinic. Otherwise, make sure that you are sleeping on time and for enough time!
2- Countering predictability is important. And to be honest, it is quite simple as well. All that you have to do is switch things. How about changing the work routine altogether?
3- Predictability in the gym routine is also a terrible phenomenon. Make sure that you are fighting it and fighting it well by adding more and more variation to your gym routine.
4- Also, if you are eating the same stuff on daily basis, again and again, you are just inviting predictability to be your guest. We cannot fathom why people keep eating the same gym diet for years when clearly, the variety out there in the market is simply amazing!
5- Apart from paying attention to acute stress, do take some time to figure out a way in which you can manage your chronic stress.