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Stress- the #1 cause of weight gain. Who would have thought?


Stress….it is the great influence that shapes all of our lives. We all have it, and we all deal with it on a day to day basis. A little stress is actually good for you (it has been shown to boost brain power and help with pressure situations). However, too much stress can prove catastrophic for your health and fitness goals.

Stress can impact your health in a variety of ways. It has the capability to disrupt nearly every system in the human body. It can shut down and weaken the immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, raise blood pressure, increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, speed up the ageing process and can lead to a plethora of mental and physical problems.

When it comes to your health and body shape, stress plays a key role in many people gaining weight.

Stress helps to sabotage your results in the following ways….


It helps destroy muscle – When we are stressed, the body releases a compound known as cortisol. When we are stressed, cortisol kicks in to help the body cope by shutting down unnecessary functions such as the reproductive and immune systems. It also aids in wasting muscle, by inhibiting the uptake of amino acids into the muscle cells, ultimately leading to muscles shrinking. When our muscles shrink and our immune system turns off, there is only one result; weight gain.

Solution – Know the signs. If you are stressed, take a day off from the gym and rest. Let your body distress and then train when your strength is up. This will mean you can train with more power and get the most out of your training.

It can affect our sleep – Let’s face it, when we are stressed, sleep is hard to do. On the surface we brush it off, have some extra coffee and push on with our lives. This all sounds great in theory, but when we delve deeper, stress and a lack of sleep can equate to a cocktail of disaster for your waistline. When we don’t get sufficient sleep it affects our performance. How can we train harder when we are tired all the time? How can we overload our bodies and force the muscle to grow? Also, a lack of sleep causes many to start eating “energy food”; empty calories and energy drinks that get converted to insulin and then turned directly into fat. Sleep is more important that you think, and if you think a few cans of V and a sandwich or two during the day will fix it, you are sorely mistaken. A lack of sleep is far more detrimental to your health than you think.

Solution – Put your phone away an hour before bed. The blue light will only stimulate your brain more. Turn the lights off and take a few deep breaths. You may not sleep to begin with, but eventually this will give you more rest.

Stress eating, or the dreaded EMOTIONAL EATING – When people stress they generally tend to reach for what many call ‘comfort food’. This is eaten to give the stressed person a sense of wellbeing and a hit of dopamine (the pleasure centre in the brain) that will make everything alright. Unfortunately, eating while under stress is one of the worst things you can do to your body. Making that decision to eat that whole block of chocolate will result only in two outcomes; MORE STRESS and weight gain. The weight gain will invariably cause more heartache and will be the catalyst for more stress eating.

Solution – Think before you eat. Before you put the chocolate in your mouth, ask yourself “How will I feel five minutes after eating this?” It has worked for many of our clients, and it can for you also.


So there you have it guys. Stress less and implement the above to help save that waistline from expanding.


Have a happy, healthy day.