Ever wondered why you’re not seeing the physique changes you’re hoping for despite putting in hours of high-intensity workouts each week?
It could be because you’re overloading your body with stress – both in and out of the gym.
Our bodies are smart, adaptive machines, and maintaining a balance is key to them functioning optimally.
This includes balancing:
Exercise and Rest, Types of Exercise, Nutrition, & Mental Health
In essence, a balanced approach to health and fitness considers all aspects of wellbeing and avoids extremes in any one area.
When we constantly stress our bodies with excessive high-intensity training, we push them into a state of chronic stress. This results in the release of the hormone cortisol, often referred to as the ‘stress hormone’.
Why should you care about cortisol?
When your cortisol levels are too high it can lead to a laundry list of problems:
😴 Disrupt Sleep
🧠 Affect Mood and Cognitive Function
🤒 Impact Immune Your System
💪🏼Hinder Muscle Recovery and Growth & Increase Body Fat
🦴Negatively Affect Bone Health
Now, the trouble with all this is that high-intensity training can actually help REDUCE mental stress in the short-term.
When you workout, your brain produces endorphins, the body’s “feel-good” hormones.
This can create a sense of relief and happiness, often referred to as a “runner’s high” but can apply to pretty much any form of exercise.
High-intensity training can also provide a distraction, allowing you to momentarily forget about your stresses outside the gym by focusing on the task at hand.
So how do we balance all this?
Honestly, the answer is going to be different for everyone.
If you have minimal stress outside of the gym, sleep 7-9 hours a night, and eat well you can train at a high intensity more often.
If you’re someone who has a lot of stress outside the gym from your job and personal life, you tend to not sleep great, and your diet isn’t where it should be, you’re going to need to limit your training intensity each week.