By: Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
One of my clients does.
And it is killing him.
At the very least, it is contributing to depression, frustration, and inflammation - hitting him both physically and mentally.
So not only does this stress beat him up at work, but in the gym too.
Work stress prevents him from losing fat, and contributes to the pain in his knees and back.
The worse his days at work are, the tighter his muscles and the more inflammation in his knees. Work also contributes to poor eating choices, because he just works so darn much. And that makes the inflammation even worse. It's a vicious cycle. Inflammation is associated with many diseases, including arthritis and an increased risk of heart attacks.
So he needs to get out of this situation, ASAP. But easier said than done, right?And ladies, don't think this doesn't apply to you...as quoted on Men's Health.com the other day, "In a recent study at Yale, women who were most susceptible to stress had both higher levels of cortisol and greater abdominal fat than nonstressed women. And the ladies under stress stored fat primarily in one place: their bellies."
You must exercise to control your stress hormones. My client always feels better after the workout. Yes it takes time, and that can add to your stress, but if you do your workout first thing in the morning, you are set. There's no doubt that early morning workouts is the #1 workout time for busy people.
What type of workout is best? First of all, just start with anything you can stick to. That's the best advice for you or anyone you know that "hates exercise" but needs to do it. Simply find something you like and do a little bit of it this week. Next week, you can do a little more. And so on.
That's a good start, but a structured exercise program will give the greatest health improvements.
For structured workouts, the best, most efficient exercise approach would include strength training, interval cardio, and some meditation time. You can get all 3 components in Turbulence Training, if you make sure to include meditative static stretching at the end of your session.
One other benefit of the morning workout - It allows you to start the day with a sense of accomplishment.
So keep the TV off at night and get to bed early. Then get up early and get your workout done. Your exercise is one of many ways you can lower stress and the stress hormone cortisol.
Lowering cortisol should help to control food cravings over the course of the day, and following Dr. Mohr's nutrition guidelines will also help you stay on track. Eating the right fats, as outlined by Dr. Mohr, will also help you optimize your hormone levels to fight fat and stress.
High-fat, high-carb meals increase inflammation...adding to the physical stress on your body. Avoid processed foods and fast foods at all costs...and just eat whole, natural foods.
Good nutrition is that simple.
So spend some time on the weekend preparing your food plan for the week, so that you don't have to make any rush decisions for fast food meals or snacks.
Don't eat anything with trans fats, don't eat any processed carbs, and don't drink any soda. And stay the heck away from fast food.
So nutritionally, there is a lot you can do to make your day go better. Same with exercise, be consistent and it will help reduce your stress and improve your health.
As for your job, if it is something you want to change, then you need to talk to the right person. You might need to find a career coach. If any readers want to pass along some career help, please let me know and I'll share in future articles.
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Author, Turbulence Training
P.S. Is a lack of time stressing you out?
"No time to exercise" is the #1 reason most people don't exercise consistently. In fact, a lack of time stresses most people out for many reasons - whether it's a lack of time to prepare good food, exercise, or be with your family.
That's why I created Turbulence Training to be the most efficient and effective fat loss program out there.
The warm-up is applicable to your workout, not some 5-minute waste of time on the treadmill.
The strength training supersets shave minutes off your wait time. And the intervals cut your cardio in half, or more.
About the Author
Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Maximum Fitness, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and Oxygen magazines. His trademarked Turbulence Training fat loss workouts have been featured multiple times in Men’s Fitness and Maximum Fitness magazines, and have helped thousands of men and women around the world lose fat, gain muscle, and get lean in less than 45 minutes three times per week. For more information on the Turbulence Training workouts that will help you burn fat without long, slow cardio sessions or fancy equipment, visit www.TurbulenceTraining.com