The Mechanism Of Stress And It’s Affects On Fat Loss
Every single person in the Western World is in a state of elevated stress.
Whether you think it or not, you are, as society has evolved, human physiology hasn’t been able to keep up.
If you look back to when the first communications were made, humans have been on the earth for about 7- 9,000 years, in that time, we don’t look too dissimilar, when you look at us from a physical stand point, eyes, ears. Mouth, hair, arms, legs, we stand up etc etc, now compare that to how society has evolved for the same time period, there’s a serious progression there, caves compared to skyscrapers, bare foot walking compared to autopilot fighter jets, gourmet 5* restaurants compared to raw animals and berries.
The difference in the two’s evolution takes an affect on our overall health.
The human stress reflex mechanism was designed to keep us alive in times of danger.
When a life threatening situation presented itself, the stress reflex mechanism would trigger, adrenalin got pumped around the body, blood got pushed to the limbs, pupils dilated and we could respond, react and hopefully avoid the threat.
The humans that didn’t have this mechanism were just left out to dry.
Think, two humans walk out in front of a rolling boulder, one reacts quickly and jumps back out of the way, the other doesn’t react quick enough and is still trying to figure out if this situation is a problem or not.
The stress reflex mechanism is designed on a primitive level to keep us alive.
And it’s only designed to be triggered once or twice per week.
As a species we’re programmed for survival so instinctively we avoid life threatening situations.
Now fast forward to modern times……
Oh s**t I’m late for work, the lights are red, the kids are in the back screaming, I have that gas bill to pay, I forgot to lock the front door…….. Oh god, you’ve just triggered that stress reflex mechanism 10 times in 30 seconds
The subconscious mind can’t differentiate between actual life threatening situations and just stressful situations so those stress pathways are getting hit left, right and sideways to the extent where it has a detrimental effect on our overall health and wellbeing.
Add to that the downregulation of our food quality, environment, impaired sleep and our ever pressing quest for a matching physique to the Instagram models we tend to idolise, we’re now adding physical stress to the equation as well.
Now unless you want to move to Tibet and become a Monk we can’t avoid stress, it’s a part of being successful and a part of modern day society but the key is how well you can manage that stress.
When we face a perceived life threatening situation (on a primitive level, the subconscious mind can’t tell the difference between what’s life threatening and what’s just a moderate stress so the same reaction occurs) the stress reflex mechanics activates and starts a set of reactions within our body, these chemical reactions are controlled by what we call The Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS).
You may have heard the term, ‘Flight or Fight Response, it’s pretty much the same thing.
Pupils dilate, digestion hinders, blood pressure rises, heart rate increases, noradrenaline and adrenaline release into the body, you start to sweat.
When the SNS is activated you’re able to respond, react and stay alive but these chemical pathways work antagonist to the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS).
You’ve probably heard the term ‘Rest and Digest’
This is where a different set of reactions occur within the body and we are able to digest food, be sexually aroused, achieve adequate sleep, repair, metabolise fat, build muscle, go to the toilet and all the good stuff we want to be able to do.
As well as having detrimental effects on our overall health, we can see that spending prolonged periods in our SNS it’s going to be hard to achieve decent body composition goals as well.
So the key is to manage our stress and find pockets of time where we actively switch over to our PNS and give ourselves the best chance of adapting to the training stimulus that we create and to work towards the highest standard of health that we can.
Some of the best ‘BodyProof approved’ techniques for managing stress:
-Walks by the ocean or in nature
-Deep breathing activities
-Learning to be present
-Doing something you love (reading, writing etc)
-Spending time with loved ones
-Taking a holiday
-Switching your phone off at the weekend
Even to the point where taking a walk at lunch and doing a few deep breaths can go a long way.
Program some of these activities into your day, week and make an active point to relax and stimulate your PNS for faster fat loss, quicker muscle growth and better overall health and well being.
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