1. The amount of physiological load (or stress) your body is under daily has a profound effect on your levels of health and fitness. Every form of stress, whether it be physical, mental-emotional or spiritual all adds up and if your body deems the total load as being excessive your body will trigger its ‘stress response’ and go into survival mode (activating the Sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system – fight or flight).

  2. When stress levels get too high, the body’s ‘survival mode’ will cause you to stop burning fat and essentially leads to what is called a catabolic state – this is where your body starts to search within itself for the vital nutrients and raw materials required to rebuild, fix and regenerate itself, especially if your diet isn’t providing the essential nutrients needed for robust health and optimal function. Having said that, even if your diet is jam packed full of organic whole food goodness, you’ll have a hard time absorbing the important nutrients from your meals if you’re under a lot of stress/load. Basically, this means stress actually causes the body to break itself down and thus costs nutrients.

  3. Consider the powerful affect that excessive stress has upon your body. It can disrupt the function of every cell and can negatively effect your metabolism and thus your ability to burn fat, your nervous system and thus your hormonal levels, your immune system and thus your ability to recover and regenerate, your digestive system and thus your ability to absorb nutrients, your musculoskeltal system and thus your ability to heal quickly, recover and build lean muscle, and it even affects your brain function. Remember that at a cellular level, excessive stress is excessive stress, it’s irrelevant what caused that stress or where it came from.

  4. Be aware of excessive physical stress (eg, overtraining, injury, back or joint pain, tight muscles, poor posture, muscle imbalance) and excessive mental stress (eg, anxiety, work, relationships, negativity, depression, stinking thinking)

  5. Never undervalue positivity and laughter ! Equally so, don’t underestimate the power of true rest and relaxation. Listen to your body and slow down every now and again. Book a holiday, take time out. Do some yoga, even try meditating ? Get good sleep, eat a nutritious diet and drink lots of mineral water.

  6. Try not to worry - be happy. Have a dream - Establish what makes you happy and do it as much as you can. Balance your work life and career with the things you’ve worked to be able to afford to do. If you have a big enough dream you don’t need a crisis ! By this we mean if your ‘dream’ is a strong enough motivator then when the going gets tough and life gets on top of you, your dream serves as a reminder of why you’re trying to be healthy and should serve as a source of inspiration to get you back on right path.

  7. Also be aware of other types of stresses – chemical(medication/drugs/processed food, preservatives, sweeteners, flavouring and colouring etc), electromagnetic(radiation/wi-fi/TV/computers/mobile phones, too much or too little sun), nutritional(poor dietry intake, too much or too little food), thermal(too hot/cold)

  8. A little bit of stress is actually good for you. In the right amount it facilitates achievement. Stress is necessary to evolution and adaptation and without the stress that nature and our survival has created we wouldn’t be at the top of the food chain today. However, be careful not to catch ‘achiever fever’ and the compulsion to create stress. Balancing your overall stress levels is important because excessive stress triggers the sympathetic branch of our autonomic nervous system and causes the adrenal glands to overwork until they eventually become exhausted. Once exhausted, the thyroid begins to slow down in a last ditch attempt to save the adrenals, thus causing your metabolism to slow and inevitably causing you to store fat and actually breakdown muscle (the opposite of what most of us want to achieve !)

  9. Find Balance in your lifestyle, your diet and your exercise programme. This will help to balance your autonomic nervous system and evenly activate each branch (sympathetic – your fight or flight ‘stress and breakdown’ response and parasympathetic – your rest and digest ‘repair and rebuild’ response) and prevent the tiny adrenal glands from overworking and creating a catabolic state.

  10. Excess stress = stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system (Fight or Flight) = release of catabolic hormones like Cortisol being released by the adrenal glands = breakdown of muscles and bone to free vital nutrients needed to fix and repair = decreased growth and repair, increased fat storage and decreased protein synthesis = Lack of results in the gym, inevitable illness and an unhappy body-mind.
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