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Does stress have an effect on muscle building/fat loss?

Updated: Sep 13, 2020


First and foremost 100% it does.

I believe stress is a silent killer in todays society, leading to many other health issues.

So in regards to building muscle or losing unwanted fat, controlling your stress levels will go a huge way toward achieving those goals.

Every day we are exposed to external stressors, work, relationships, food intolerances, caffeine..the list goes on, heck your alarm going off in the morning to wake you up is a stressor, meaning from the moment we wake up our cortisol (stress hormone) is already elevated.

When we are stressed it means our sympathetic nervous system is in overdrive, raising our cortisol putting us in fight or flight mode. Think of the analogy, say a cheetah was chasing you, your adrenalin raises, you do what you can to get away from it.

For a lot of people they are living in this sympathetic state on a day to day basis without realising it, but it is a domino effect each day which is very detrimental to their health and any body composition goals they may have.

I know first hand as have been there and still think I slightly am in that state some days, but I am taking measures to fix this.

So how do we fix this you ask?

Well I will list some tips below, but we want to focus on tapping into our para-sympathetic nervous system, a relaxed state to help balance out our stress levels.

Should we still train then?

For some people who are in a severe state of stress, I would recommend not to for a certain period while they focus on other things to fix their body.

But in saying that for a lot of people training is a stress outlet and in all honesty most people are only training say 6-7 hrs a week max, leaving 150hrs + a week in which they are exposing themselves to other external stressors. So rather than looking at the training being an issue, start to focus on your day to day life and how you can improve that aspect to reduce your stress.

Some tips to help would be:

Changing your alarm every week or so

Get a food intolerance test done

Meditation / Deep breathing

More sleep

Reduce caffeine intake if drinking alot

Focus on nutrient dense nutrition

Have a high protein breakfast


Time out to yourself

Laugh each day

Get some sun every day via a walk etc

Surround yourself with people who bring you up and want to see you grow as a person , not bring you down and are negative

Reduce your stress and the results in the gym will speak for themselves!!

Coach Luke


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