Are you putting in maximum effort at the gym but feeling like you’re hitting a wall with your results? It’s time to shift perspective.
Did you know that your stress levels could be affecting the results that you’re getting from your workout?
In this episode Ted is going to explain a scientific study about the profound impact mental stress has on our body’s response to exercise. For high-achievers and professionals, this could be the key to unlocking your full potential.
You wll learn about the intricate connection between stress and physical fitness, including how stress affects our body’s recovery post-exercise. Ted highlights the importance of holistic fitness planning, urging listeners to honestly assess their stress levels when designing their fitness routines.
He also shares valuable stress-reduction techniques, emphasizing the need to prioritize stress management alongside exercise and underlines the interplay between stress and sleep, offering quick tips to improve sleep quality and consequently reduce stress levels. Listen now!
- The intricate connection between stress and physical fitness
- Scientific study explained: “Self-rated mental stress and exercise training response in healthy subjects”
- Interpreting the study: A call for holistic health practices
- The importance of stress management in optimizing workout gains
- Valuable stress-reduction strategies
- Actionable steps to mitigate stress and enhance workout effectiveness
- And much more…
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Podcast Transcription: How Your Stress Is Sabotaging Muscle Building And Your Weight Loss Goals (And What To Do About It)
Ted Ryce: Did you know that your stress levels could be affecting the results that you're getting from your workout? That's what we're going to dive into in today's episode. We're going to dive into a study that looked at the connection between stress levels and the results from two weeks of exercise.
So, what is up, my friend, and welcome to the Legendary Life podcast. I'm your host, Ted Ryce, health expert and coach to executives, entrepreneurs, and other high-achieving professionals. And we produce this show for two reasons. Number one, I've been in this business for 24 years, and I want to save you from the mistakes that I made and the trial and error and the dead-end roads that I followed. I want you to get better results from the information that you consume online.
And the second reason is if you are an executive entrepreneur, a high achiever, and you want to lessen the effort, you want to lessen the time and fast-track your results with your health to have as much success with your body and long-term health optimization as you do with your family and your career, you'll know who to hire. So, let's dive into it. And I want to tell you this.
When I first got certified as a health coach, when I was 22 years old, it was either 22 or 23. It's been a while.
There was an entire section on stress, and I thought it was fascinating, but I'll be honest. I didn't really care. I thought, you know what, just tell me about what I should do for exercise. Tell me about what I should eat, especially about what I should eat, and especially about any supplements I should be taking. Fast forward to now. Stress is one of the things that I care the most about.
I track my markers of stress with my Oura ring. Again, no financial affiliation with Oura, just a fan of the product. With some minor issues too, by the way.
And it's one of the things that I ask my coaching clients; I always want to know what's their rated stress. What is their stress on a scale one to 10? I think this is so important because if I see high-stress levels, I know that there's a problem. If it's just for a week, Hey, that's life. But if it's consistently high, that's a red flag for me with a client. I need to ask them, hey, what's going on?
And when we're talking about stress, I feel like, especially with Americans, and especially with the health and fitness industry in the United States, we talk about stress management, but we don't really practice what we preach. And a lot of the stress management information, it's not that great.
I want to, one of my big missions, by the way, is to help people understand stress better because I believe the appropriate management of stress is the key to cognitive performance, by the way, that's not just my belief. There's plenty of data showing that as well. Not enough stress, your mind turns to mush.
Think of people who retire and all they do is watch reruns of the Golden Girls or Matlock and play some card game versus people who continue to learn, continue to challenge themselves, learn new languages, travel the world, those types of people experience different, let's say, rates of cognitive decline.
But learning a musical instrument, learning a language, it can be stressful. Same thing with exercise. Exercise has stressed your body too not enough of it and you start to lose fitness over time. Too much of it starts to break you down.
And besides that, the stress from the outside world, from your relationships, from work, from spending too much time on social media, that can affect you too. In fact, there's a lot of studies on this, but the one that I want to talk about today, it's named "Self-rated mental stress and exercise training response in healthy subjects."
So, these names of these studies, no wonder why nobody reads them. They're kind of boring. But what I'm here to do is to help you understand the science and to hopefully make it more fun, or at least more interesting.
And so, what I want to tell you is that stress is the key to unlocking your full potential and not just in the ways that I talked about before but in getting results from your workout.
So consider this scenario Imagine two different people. Let's say they're twins They're eating the same things. They both let's say have the same workout They're not drinking or doing drugs. They're both sleeping the same.
Surprisingly, the results are drastically different from the workout. In other words, one person, one of the twins gets in really good shape. The other, it's not as good. And so, this is what the study aimed to understand. And what they did was they got a group of people together.
And these were healthy people, by the way, it's important. Sometimes people are unhealthy. In other words, they have heart disease, diabetes, etc. But these were healthy, sedentary females and males.
And what they did was they meticulously tracked and analyzed their physical responses to training. So, they started out by rating, okay, what is your stress level doing some testing with their fitness. And then they embarked on a workout program for two weeks.
And then they again rated their maximal power output and also their VO2 max. And what they found was interesting. They found that the individuals with higher stress levels showed less improvement in power and VO2 max.
So, their bodies were less responsive to the physical demands of exercise. And how did they rate the stress? They just asked people, hey, how stressed are you? And they didn't ask, it was kind of interesting. They asked not just how much stress they were under, but if they had the resources to handle the stress and those who said they had low resources to handle the stress and high stress levels, they got worse results from exercise.
They also found that the recovery period post-exercise was longer for those with higher stress. So, it takes people longer. It takes stressed people longer to recover from their workouts.
And not only that, there were noticeable differences in heart rate, blood pressure, and even cortisol levels during and after workouts in the high-stress individuals. So, I think this is important for a few reasons. Because one of the things that happens to people is that a lot of people start exercising or going on a weight loss program because they're stressed.
They're stressed because they're tired, they're angry, they're tired of being tired. They look in the mirror, they're not happy with what they see. By the way, that's a form of stress. They feel guilty about not being able to have the energy to play with their kids or to achieve their goals. And so, they dive into an exercise program or maybe an exercise and diet program.
And then it becomes hard to keep up. So, think about this. Some people say, "Oh, I hate exercise. It hurts so much, or I don't feel good after it." And we can see people who are highly stressed, they have higher stress hormone levels during and after workouts. That sucks.
And so, what are we to do with this information? Well, when designing your fitness plan, this is number one, holistic fitness planning, right? When you're thinking about what you're going to do, ask yourself, how stressed am I on a scale one to 10 and think about that answer and answer honestly.
And when you're designing your fitness plan, consider the factors beyond the physical. Maybe the key is not to crush yourself with exercise. Maybe it's to go book a massage and then go hit a workout the next day. Or do your workout and then reward yourself with a massage for working out, that's a great reward.
So, consider like, what can you do to reward yourself in terms of stress reduction? And this is so interesting because one of the things that I coach clients on, it's like, what are you doing to manage your stress? Because Americans don't typically, you know what Americans typically do? Watch TV and eat. Oh, and don't forget drink alcohol. Look, there's nothing wrong with food. I love eating food.
I had waffles, just one waffle actually, bacon, caramelized onions, sliced avocado, and two cappuccinos for breakfast today. I love food too. However, rewarding yourself with food all the time can lead to stress, especially if it's leading to an increase in your waistline and increase in visceral fat.
So, think about how are you going to incorporate stress management techniques? And again, one of the things that I love to do, I challenge my clients, you don't like massages, I had a client who is ticklish, okay, go do a float tank. Don't like that. Okay, go sit in a salt room, go do a sauna, go jump and do a cold plunge if you're into that. But what are you going to do to improve your stress?
Go take a walk out in nature. I=Incorporate stress management, especially if you're rating yourself high in stress. And maybe even starting with that first to lower stress levels, then getting into your workout, or like I said, rewarding yourself after a workout with some type of stress reduction. I got a 90-minute massage yesterday. It was delicious.
The second tip that I have, it's a little bit tricky. I meditate almost every day by the way. I meditated today. I meditated yesterday. I don't talk about it a lot though. And the reason is and maybe I should talk about it more.
And the reason that I don't is because people when I've tried to get people into meditation in the past, the type of people that I work with, it just it's a lot of work. And here's what I mean. I'll give someone a meditation to do they do it. They're like, "Oh, I did it wrong. So, I stopped doing it because I wasn't meditating. I kept thinking of things coming up. So, meditation, I don't think it's for me.”
It's like wrong, you are exactly the person who needs meditation. The thing is you need to be coached to doing it. And it's just tough for me to coach people with meditation, along with the exercise and everything else. But I, if you can download Headspace or Insight Timer, or, uh, one of the other apps, 10% happier, waking up with Sam Harris, whatever you're into, I, I do something different than that, but I think those are great places to start.
And one of the things that you can do again, is make a regular practice out of either deep breathing. You don't even have to do meditation. You can start with deep breathing, but if you can download one of those apps, I think it's more powerful because one of the things that comes along with meditation is some coaching.
I remember doing the Headspace meditation back in 2016. I meditated for a bunch of hours on Headspace. It's what got me started. And I, I remember the, the teachings and it was super helpful because again, people think they're doing meditation wrong. It's like, no, you need to push through that. Cause people think, "ah, I'm Zen. People who are Zen meditating, I should be Zen when I meditate”.
No, meditation is hard. It takes work. I've done meditation retreats. Just in overnight meditation retreat and the monk was asked> Hey this feels like a lot of work. He's like, "yeah, it is a lot of work not easy. You got to sit there and push yourself through the discomfort.
You got to try not to try anyway, if you can download one of the apps and start diving into meditation, it can be extremely powerful. One of the worst failures of teaching life skills in the United States is like teaching some form of deep breathing or meditation.
Another thing that can help with stress levels is prioritizing sleep. We know that if you're not getting enough sleep or if you get disrupted sleep, it's going to raise your stress hormones, which is going to translate into you feeling a little more irritable.
And there's this two-way street with stress and sleep. If you sleep poorly one night, let's say every life is good, but you have a few drinks and it totally destroys your sleep. You're going to feel stressed the next day. And if you're stressed, and let's say you're not drinking at all, it can mess up your sleep.
So, know that it's a two-way street, but try to optimize your sleep. And what do you do? Make sure your bedroom is cold, dark and quiet, reduce exposure to bright lights at night and have a couple of chamomile tea and throw in three to five grams of L glycine. There's some fast tips there.
So those would be the three things that I recommend if you're feeling stress. And if you're one of those people who's like, you know, I really resonate with that. I go and I try to exercise and I feel like exercise just hurts, it's too stressful. It just feels like too much for me. Again, maybe exercise.... Two things: One, you got to work on lowering your stress levels first.
And two, you got to be easier. So maybe going for a walk for 30 minutes at a slow pace, especially outside, that's a bonus for lowering stress and improving mental health. Provided it's not frozen over, I know it's winter right now.
But doing something like that is how to start, instead of crushing yourself with running hard on the treadmill or doing a lot in the gym, lifting weights and being sore for three days.
Ease yourself into exercise and make sure you're, you know, taking care of your stress.
So that's how I got to say about this. Just to recap what we talked about, though, there's a big connection here between mental stress and physical fitness. There's a big connection between mental stress and so many other factors. But if you're finding that getting in shape is harder, then you're going to have to approach it differently.
And this is just one study, one study of many looking into this connection. So, as you strive for fat loss or long-term optimal health or performance, remember that reducing mental stress is as important as the physical training that you do. So, stay mindful, stay healthy.
And remember health isn't just six-pack abs, bench-pressing two times your body weight, and running a sub-seven-minute mile. Your mental health is important, your mental fitness you could say. And your social fitness, your social health is important as well.
So, keep all those in mind. And then of course, what can you take away from this episode today and apply it into your life?
That's the question that I want to leave you with because information is not power, it is applied information is what has the power to change your life.
So that is it for me. I hope you enjoyed this. Have an amazing week and I'll speak to you soon.
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