Strength training has been shown to increase production of endorphins, or feel-good hormones. That’s why your mood is elevated following a workout. Despite this happiness-high that weight lifting bestows, it is not enough to keep you feeling awesome if stress is a constant in your life.
Stress, as research has demonstrated, leads to a systemic upset that drastically affects your capacity to do anything. For the bodybuilder, stress takes away the will to work out and the stamina to sustain a workout. If you can somehow overcome these, stress will delay your recovery, and slow down your growth. It all has to do with the hormone cortisol, whose production is increased during stress. It suppresses most bodily processes, including energy production, appetite, and muscular recovery.
Bodybuilders, like everyone else need to find ways of reducing stress to maximize their gains. Working out, is a means to this end, but on its own, might not endow you with the capacity to fight off the stress completely. You will also need to:
Recognize Your Stressors
The first step is identifying what brings you stress in the first place. Break-down your day or week and isolate any spells where the stress mostly compounds. This will help you acknowledge where your efforts need to be channeled to the most.
Meditation is akin to a spiritual experience. By taking away visual and audio stimuli, you get a moment to look inward and free your mind. Your energies are refocused and all the negativity is pushed away. Meditation is an art that precedes bodybuilding, and its importance is not eclipsed by it. Daily meditation is encouraged, even if it is for 15 minutes. Meditation tips and techniques abound online if you are not sure of how to start.
Cardio, especially low intensity cardio, is great in fighting stress. It might not align with your fitness goals, but its ability to reduce stress is indisputable. Whenever possible, do your cardio outdoors. Raising your heart rate and sustaining it at that level has a therapeutic effect, and results in an even greater release of endorphins.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting your nightly 8 hours is critical not only for recovery, but also reducing stress. It is especially so for bodybuilders who need to rest both their bodies and minds. Without enough shut-eye, your recovery will be delayed, and this can impede on your future workouts, leading to stress. Regardless of your schedule or routine, insist on getting your daily eight.
Stay true to your workout and diet to avoid bodybuilder remorse which can also be stressful.
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