Adequate nutrition Regular physical activity (exercise) should lead you to achieve your goals, whether your primary goal is to increase muscle mass (bodybuilding) or to strive for weight loss. loss of fat. However, what if you still do not achieve significant results or the results are completely missing? The culprit for this could be longer-term and / or greater exposure to stressful situations in daily life. The extent to which exposure to stress will diminish your progress is a very individual matter, because not all people respond equally to stressful situations, but in any case, exposure to stress has a very negative effect on your results that would not be absent or would be far better if you were not exposed to this almost inevitable occurrence.
Stress is a normal part of daily life and as much as we try, we cannot avoid it. What you would have to control is the amount and type of stress and how a particular person tolerates the stress. In other words, if it is impossible for you to avoid stress, then it must master the way you react to it. you must learn to deal with it. A particular problem is prolonged repetitive stress, which inevitably leads to poor fitness results.
Stress recovery should be the first step in the process of weight loss or in the process of increasing muscle mass (muscle hypertrophy).
Recent research has confirmed that stress and obesity go hand in hand, and the mechanism behind it is known. Clearly, hormones are always behind everything. Chronic stress causes hormone imbalances and slows down metabolism. Stress provokes the secretion of the hormone cortisol, which in turn stimulates the endocrine system so that there is discomfort in the stomach, which can be somewhat improved if food is consumed constantly. Such a “better feeling” in the stomach has a high cost in the form of fat buildup. In conclusion, stress causes a “false” sense of hunger. And not only do you eat more often, but you also eat far more than is enough to become full. Hormones are also responsible for hunger signals. Ghrelin is the hormone responsible for feeling hungry, and the leptin hormone responsible for feeling full. When stressed, the body lowers leptin levels and increases ghrelin levels. It makes you eat more and not feel full. The result is that you are consuming a lot more calories than needed, which is why you are growing. Chronic stress not only makes you feel hungry, but also causes cravings for foods that are high in fat and sugar. Stress causes intense cravings, which is why many then eat more unhealthy foods that they grow. The high levels of cortisol secreted by the body when stressed can have a number of harmful side effects. One of them is the storage of fat in the abdomen. If you are in a state of stress for an extended period of time, it can change your blood sugar – which can cause mood swings, fatigue and other ailments such as diabetes and heart disease. When stressed we tend to store more fat, ie. high levels of stress may be associated with higher levels of abdominal fat – which can be associated with e.g. heart disease.
The vicious cycle can be broken by avoiding stress, changing lifestyles, choosing the right foods, training, etc.
How stress affects the ability to increase muscle mass?
Very negative! Stress hormone ie. cortisol is released by the adrenal glands under the influence of mental and physical stress and high fever. Unfortunately, this hormone destroys muscle tissue and has quite the opposite effect from testosterone, growth hormone and insulin. Potentially, one of the biggest factors that can influence the release of cortisol in the body is stress exposure. When you are under a lot of stress, whether it is caused by problems at work, relationship problems, or financial issues, etc., and even when that stress reaches a very high level, the body will start releasing significantly more cortisol. Therefore, the release of this hormone must be controlled if we are to build muscle mass – cortisol is not a problem in itself for bodybuilders, the problem is its increased secretion. The greatest dangers to the body of increased secretion of cortisol hormones (stress hormones) are: reduced effect of testosterone and growth hormone, osteoporosis, decrease in muscle mass and increase of fat deposits in the abdomen, impaired memory and learning ability, impaired immune system, etc. The task of cortisol is to conserve glycogen in the muscle – carbohydrate energy sources. Cortisol, in an effort to conserve residual glycogen, converts muscle into carbohydrates for energy, thus breaking down muscle tissue and acting catabolic.
Let’s explain this hormone a little more in an illustrative example. Cortisol is a hormone created by the adrenal glands to help the body cope with stress. Namely, any stress, whether physical, emotional or mental, requires the organism to adapt, which is precisely the action of the hormone cortisol. As long as stress lasts, this hormone is secreted. Imagine being in the woods and suddenly seeing a big bear. This is undoubtedly a stressful situation and cortisol is released almost instantly to prepare you for the fight against stress. in this example, escape from stress ie. bears. This requires quick thinking, quick reaction and really fast feet. Cortisol leads to the release of glucose into the bloodstream and an increase in blood pressure to produce better muscle blood flow. It also stimulates the nervous system for better thinking and faster response, and the immune system, on the other hand, is temporarily shut down to save energy for other important activities in order to adapt to stress, ie. Run away from the bear. Since energy is needed very quickly in this situation, cortisol empties the nearest energy sources – glycogen from muscle and triglycerides from adipose tissue. Cortisol, in an effort to conserve residual glycogen, converts muscle into carbohydrates for energy, thus breaking down muscle tissue and acting catabolic. The effects of cortisol, although perfectly necessary in meeting a bear, are perfectly unnecessary and harmful in meeting the sources of stress from daily life (problems at work, financial problems, etc.). Today’s sources of stress do not require too much physical fitness for us, and again, events in the body are the same as if we were planning to save our own lives from a death situation.