Yesterday was a groundbreaking moment for me.
Fancy new exercise discovery? No.
New supplement to melt fat in 4 minutes? No.
Asked on a date? No.
My assistant Lucy said to me “You never get stressed – how do you do it?!”
Anyone who has known me for more than 6 months will know that this is telling a skunk he doesn’t stink.
Since school, through uni, into my job and certainly since starting my first business 6 years ago, I have been more wired than a suicide bomber.
In fact that way I was going I pretty much WAS a suicide bomb waiting to go off.
I was angry with everyone and anything, I thought the world was against me, I made irrational decisions based on money and impressing people and importantly for this post, I could never put on muscle no matter how hard I trained or how much I ate.
It’s been a long but enlightening journey of self-discovery and having the audacity to believe that actually I am going to achieve everything I want to achieve.
I’ve finally taken a step on to a path that makes sense, which brings the right people TO ME and just seems to flow.
I am keeping notches on my bed post right now.
Each one is another one on the tally of days that I have beaten my alarm clock in waking up. We’re at 11 so far.
So what has this got to do with you and your desperate attempts to have a body you’re happy with?
Well having tried to find the perfect exercise program, then the perfect nutrition plan, I have come to the realisation that all of that means jack sh*t if your hormones are in a whirlwind due to your stress levels.
Importantly, some hard exercise can actually make you fatter – I’ll tell you why in a minute.
The important message is that you must manage yourself day-to-day and I have found some simple ways to do this.
I too have no interest in hugging trees or doing 2 hours of yoga each night in order to ‘find my inner plant’.
However, it is true that you and I are both simply one big ball of cells and energy and the daily abuse we subject ourselves to in the form of crap food, mental stress, resentment, anger, arguments, spending time with the wrong people and indeed the wrong type of exercise, plays havoc with the function of the cells and the flow of the energy.
Given that your cells are what determine energy use and output it should be pretty obvious that if you mess with them too much, at the simplest level, you will not burn calories, build muscle or have more energy to do the stuff you want.
Here’s 10 reasons why stress is making you sick, tired and fat and of course, why exercise can make you fat.
There’s a boat load of science behind this so I’m going to give you the nuts and bolts!
High Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is a stress hormone released as an important part of the fight-or-flight reaction.
It stimulates gluconeogenesis, which is where glucose is produced from amino acids in the liver.
The problem is when stress is psychological and on-going not the one-off stressed of chasing after food or running away from something trying to eat you!
Now we have added sugars floating around the body which aren’t getting used as no physical activity is involved and, like any excess sugar, it gets converted to body fat and stored.
Cortisol can also result in formation of bad eicosanoids which are molecules giving rise to cell inflammation, restriction of blood vessels and a depressed immune system.
So no you’re storing body fat, your cells are inflamed therefore not working properly reducing your metabolic rate, your cardiovascular system isn’t working properly and your immune system is screwed leading to lots of little infections and illnesses.
Not a good recipe for a great body is it?
But there’s more….
If you want to pack on muscle, you’re up sh*t creek without a paddle if you’re swimming in cortisol because it impedes the entry of amino acids (the building blocks of protein).
Again this is to make more available for energy conversion (remember what happens in the liver?)
More amino acids being used for energy = less available for muscle building.
BUT THERE’S MORE!
Ever heard of bitch tits / man boobs / moobs whatever you want to call them?
When cortisol levels are too high, it increases a hormone called aromatase which is known to convert testosterone into estrogen.
Not only is this possibly the single worst thing that can ever happen to a man, it also causes issues for ladies.
Both genders, including the fairer sex, need levels of testosterone and high levels of oestrogen lead to fat gain and muscle loss and in ladies, a higher risk of breast cancer.
So more cortisol, more fat, less muscle.
ACTION: Reduce all types of stress!
Stop punishing your body in the gym because it doesn’t look how you want it to look. Punish your body when it is already highly stressed, and guess what happens.
You with me yet?
The wrong type of exercise when you’re stressed can actually lead to weight GAIN.
So tell your military style, ‘I’m hardcore’ trainer to stick his ‘besting’ where the sun doesn’t shine. There is a time and a place for ‘pushing hard’ but you MUST learn to manage your underlying stress levels first before piling more on.
This debunks the common idea that if we just eat fewer calories and do more exercise we’ll get fit and healthy.
If you launch into a ‘killer program’ you may well have just signed your death warrant or at least asked for a further hormonal cascade leading to fat gain, misery and feelings of ‘Why me?’
You’re An Adrenaline Junkie
Another part of the fight-or-flight response.
We all know what a shot of adrenaline feels like.
Again, it’s essential to reacting to stresses in the interests of survival, winning fights/races/sports matches and getting up for training sessions.
However, as it too mobilises energy for use, if the stresses not associated with physical activity, this energy needs to be stored somewhere.
The follow on to this is when you are under chronic stress and the adrenals are constantly pumping adrenaline until they give in and you suffer adrenal fatigue. Then you really are in trouble and it can be a long walk back to freedom.
Stress results in a reduction in DHEA which is a pre-cursor to steroid hormone production. However, it also reduces adrenal gland recuperation. This is what starts the lonely, painful walk to adrenal fatigue and beyond.
ACTION: Control your reactions to those moments when you want to launch physically or verbally at someone. Take a breath. The sun will still come up tomorrow. Smile.
You’re SOOOOO not cAMP
cAMP is basically to hormones what Robin is to Batman.
Hormones are known as the body’s messenger, sending signals from glands to other parts of the body to take certain actions.
cAMP is the ‘second messenger’ so without it functioning properly, the messages from the hormones don’t get delivered to the cells.
Think of your hormones as the car and cAMP as the green traffic light. If the light isn’t green, the message isn’t getting in!
When you’re stressed you tend to what sugary foods and delve into the bad fats found in comfort foods.
Both elevated insulin (from high sugar intake) and bad fats dampen the cAMP signals, meaning that you won’t be producing steroid hormones essential for muscular growth and regeneration, nor will the cells be functioning at full blast, meaning your metabolic rate drops.
ACTION: De-stress, eat less sugar and eat less bad fats (processed and trans fats)
You’ve Got More Metal In You Than Robocop
We could be here all day discussing the immense danger that metal fillings present to your health.
Here’s the down and dirty, straight to the point info.
Mercury is highly toxic and constantly leaks off fillings.
The authorities won’t allow it in school thermometers now in case one breaks and a kid touches it, but apparently it’s okay to put it in your mouth.
Not only does a high level of toxins give your liver more work to do (see below) but your body knows that it cannot allow this metal to circulate around your body because it has the power to literally kill off your heart and brain.
So it does the smart thing and creates somewhere to store it out the way.
ACTION: Get mercury out of your face.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT do this all at once without a strong detox plan in place for 6 weeks before. I highly recommend a totally clean nutrition plan and the Heavy Metal Chelator from Phil Richards Performance which helps draw heavy metals together for removal from the body.
More mercury will be released as the filling is removed so it’s important not to do more than say one a month. Seek medical advice on this.
CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW THEN SEARCH HEAVY METAL CHELATOR
You’re Battering Your Liver Into Submission
Your liver does a lot of things.
It’s heavily involved in energy conversion and production.
It burns fat for use as energy.
It rids the body of toxins.
Did you know that 60% of the conversion of the thyroid hormone T3 to T4 occurs in the liver?
That’s on a good day.
Unfortunately because of things like mercury, environmental pollution, water pollution, toxins in food from pesticides and herbicides and numerous other ways we find to poison our bodies, most livers are now in a permanent state of desperate detoxification.
When you pile toxins in from crap food and all the above elements, you’re saying to your liver, “You have a choice. Either burn some body fat for me because I’m fed up of looking flabby or get these toxins out before I poison my heart and brain.”
The truth is you won’t die from being a couple of pounds heavier but you WILL die from excess toxins.
So by stressing your liver with toxins, you’re putting the brakes on fat loss.
No fat burning will occur, you’ll have low energy, you won’t build muscle and a congested liver also reduces blood flow via the hepatic vein by up to 70%.
Again these are all things which lead to a tired, flabby body.
And when toxins really build up, you can expect some cellulite as well.
ACTION: Stop killing your liver and focus on detoxification as the way forward for fat loss. You will see much faster and longer, lasting results.
The stress of dieting can totally inhibit any fat loss results.
Sounds counterintuitive but it’s true for all the reasons above.
Going on a crash diet based on calorie restriction as oppose to detoxification and clean eating generally involves very low or no carbs.
Not only does this make life miserable, increasing stress levels, but permanently low carb diets lead to reduced thyroid function, the thyroid effectively being the metabolic thermostat in your body increasing fat burn gin when it’s working properly.
It also leads to an increase in cortisol release which you know now leads to muscle breakdown and fat loss when produced chronically.
ACTION: Use a plan that focusses on health and detoxification as a way to getting fast and lasting fat loss
You Think It’s Cool To Be Busy and Never Sleeping
When you reach that deep sleep in the darkest depths of night time, you release growth hormone.
Not only is GH important for regeneration of lean body tissue but there’s another issue if you’re not getting any!
Reduced growth hormone leads to an increase in the enzyme HSD. This enzyme when elevated too high releases more active cortisol into the body which as we know is the fat storage signal to every cell in the body.
ACTION 1: Get to bed by 2230 at least 5 times per week. Remove all wifi and electromagnetic fields from your bedroom.
ACTION 2: Don’t eat a high carb meal before bed. This reduces GH production whilst asleep.
ACTION 3: Get the Sleep Easy Package we created with Phil Richards Performance supplements. The combination of amino acids and magnesium helps increase serotonin getting you into a deeper sleep, increases your sense of wellbeing, increases insulin sensitivity and relaxes the heart and skeletal muscles.
You’re a Walking Tub of Estrogen
Excess estrogen from things like contraceptive pill remnants in tap water, pesticides, herbicides, hormones in non-organic meat, plastics, shampoos, deodorants, make up, taking the pill and going on HRT leads to excess estrogen.
This can lead to an increase in thyroid-binding-globulin. In other words, less thyroid hormones are available for what they are meant to do – fire up your metabolic rate.
Low metabolism, low energy and increased fat gain.
ACTION: Drink multi-filtered water, eat organic food as much as possible particularly meat and get organic cosmetics. Think carefully about your choice of contraception.
You Don’t Want To Exercise
When your stressed, you get tired for all the reasons above and doing a decent workout is highly unlikely as you just want to curl up with some chocolate.
You may also decide that you’ll take the lazy way out and stand on a power plate or put on a vibrating ab belt or similar bullsh*t.
The problem is that if you are not performing exercise that either moves your body through time and space or moves a weight through time and space, you are not producing growth hormone which we know to be essential for physical development and regeneration.
We need to frighten the body and put it under stress during exercise IF you are able to cope with it.
ACTION: Get stress under control then embark on an exercise plan that involves moving your body and weighted objects in a variety of directions. Let go of your attachment to quick fix fitness products that don’t involve some hard work using the human body as it is supposed to work!
You Drink Coffee
Caffeine is a stimulant.
As such we know that it invokes some degree of the fight-or-flight response.
You now know this leads to increased cortisol and if you don’t understand the dangers of chronic cortisol elevation, start again from the top of this article!
Increased estrogen, fat gain, muscle breakdown.
Not only that, but tea and coffee are known to be THE two most sprayed crops on the planet.
So if the coffee isn’t organic, you’re swallowing a lot of pesticides which will only add to your toxin and oestrogen levels.
Stress increases acidity in your body which increases the cravings for coffee as well as the misguided belief that coffee gives you energy.
It has been found that after 2-3 months your body becomes immune to the caffeine hit anyway so it’s all psychosomatic anyway.
ACTION: Ditch the coffee. Get high on living life by sleeping and chasing things that matter in life instead of money.
You Stress And Eat Too Many or Too Few Carbs
Too many carbs lead to increased fat storage as the unused energy has to be stored.
Too few carbs lead to perception of stress by the body, resulting in increased cortisol and lowered testosterone.
You know what this means.
The key to carbohydrate intake is timing.
ACTION: A little fruit in the morning and some sugars after training is the way to get carbs in without storing them.
Both of these times are times of elevated insulin sensitivity during which sugars will be absorbed by your cells for use as energy and refuelling rather than begin stored as body fat.
Take Home Message
The clear, smack you in the face message today is that if you want a great body or even just want to shed the extra pounds, you CANNOT do it when stress is raging through your body.
You need to get cortisol under control, get more and better sleep, and know how to manage what exercise you are doing according to stress levels.
Losing fat without detoxification is actually dangerous and the results will be short lived.
Taking a phosphotidylserine supplement helps suppress cortisol.
When I’m under a lot of mental stress, I’ll sometimes use Brain Talk from our friends at Phil Richards Performance simply because it’s very difficult to get PS in your diet these days.
After a few days, you can expect clearer thinking and reduced mental stress levels as your brain is able to work on a higher level from where it is now!
The supplements mentioned are VERY effective and we trust the suppliers whole-heartedly.
However, you should always get your basic nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress levels under control as a priority and allow the supplements to do their job much better.