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One of the best parts of being in the fitness industry is that I’m blessed to meet people from all walks of life.  Whether they are young twenty-something’s or married mothers of three, I often see the same common factor that prohibits them from building essential lean muscle: stress.  Not only is stress terrible for your mental health, it’s a huge deterrent for your physical health as well.  This is because every time stress takes over, your body overproduces cortisol.  Cortisol (a steroid hormone) is produced by your adrenal glands and released when you are exercising and helps your body build lean muscle mass.  It also plays its part in helping your immune system fight off infections and helps regulate your blood pressure and blood sugar.  But when your body is overstressed cortisol keeps burning, and in doing so can cause the hormone to have a negative effect on your body.  High levels of cortisol can cause weight gain, a depressed immune system and loss of bone density.  Essentially it dismisses all the hard work you are putting into your workouts!  Since the common factor here is stress, let’s look at some ways we can break the cycle.

Get A Good Night Sleep

Most experts recommend getting 8 hours of sleep a night.  A good night sleep helps you recover from the days stress and tackle the day ahead with a good mindset and renewed energy.

Change Your Diet

We all know that it’s just as import to feed your body with exercise as it is feed your body with good nutrition. Look at what you are eating and ask yourself if it’s healthy.  If not, you need to focus on more healthy fruits, vegetables, proteins, fiber, and nuts.  Cut out the complex carbohydrates and sugars that your body has a hard time breaking down and cut down on your alcohol and caffeine consumption.  By doing so, your energy levels increase and your workouts help you maximize your strength/conditioning and promote healthy weight loss.

Try A Relaxation Method

Whether it be a massage, a form of mediation or yoga, acupuncture or even just listening to music, try something that will help you relax.  As your body relaxes cortisol levels decrease to a healthy level and your body becomes calm.

Laughter Really Is The Best Medicine

Surround yourself with people that have a positive impact on your life and make you happy.  Toxic people often place stress on your life.  By laughing and enjoying your spare time with people that you enjoy, your stress and cortisol levels decrease.  You’ll find that the less drama and chaos in your life, the better.

Try to find what stress reliever works best with you, so that you are able to tackle everyday with a clear mind and healthy outlook on life.  Decreasing the amount of stress in your life makes for a healthier mental and physical mindset.  By doing so, you can tackle your workouts with renewed energy and a healthier increase of muscle mass for the warrior within you.