Is STRESS Causing Your Plateau?

From the Desk of Dr. Len

Is STRESS Causing Your Plateau?

Dr. Len Lopez – Friday, August 01, 2014

If you’ve hit a plateau or sticking point, the obvious thing to look at is your diet and workout routine.  However, the not so usual suspect is STRESS.  The reason this is important and the possible missing piece of the puzzle, is that a great diet and workout routine can be over-shadowed because all the stress in your life.

Remember, exercise is a type of stress.  When you workout, especially a good hard intense workout, you trigger an increase in your stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline.  These hormones are considered ‘catabolic’ hormones in that they help breakdown carbohydrates and proteins (lean muscle) in order to produce energy.

These are your fight or flight hormones and you need them to prepare your body to either run or fight.  One of the things it does is triggers your heart to beat faster so it can pump more blood to your muscles so you can run or flee. 

FYI…it also signals your digestive system to slow down, because it is more important to fight or flee (survive) than it is to digest a meal. 

Whether there is real danger or not, exercise stimulates that same response.  Your body needs energy fast and it does so by first breaking down carbohydrates.  When all the available carbs (glucose) in your body are used up, it will than go to the next quickest source, which is protein.  Yes, I’m talking about lean muscle, and why cellulite is such a problem for a lot of women who diet and exercise and still can’t figure out why they still have cellulite.

The point is that stress – whether physical or emotional will constantly have you producing more cortisol and adrenaline than you should be.  This constant flow of your stress hormones is signaling your metabolism that you are in the fight or flight mode and these hormones will continue to do what they are programmed to do, which is breakdown carbs and proteins.

So even if you are following the Right Diet and Proper Workout – all the stress hormones you have racing through your body are shifting your metabolism and signaling it to burn carbohydrates and lean muscle, instead of stored body fat. 

Diet and Exercise are ONLY two pieces of the puzzle.  With today’s fast paced, hurry up society – it’s possible that Stress is another piece of the puzzle that needs to be addressed.

Lastly, if you are constantly in the ‘catabolic’ breakdown phase because of all the stress in your life – how do you expect to activate your ‘anabolic’ re-build phase?  You can’t do them at the same time.  This is why Rest and Recovery are so important.

This is why I recommend to patients and clients who exercise to support their body with a good adrenal support formula.  I prefer the herbal tinctures, because I can easily use them before and after a workout.  Remember, exercise is a form of physical stress that depletes your body, and if you’re adding more stress into your daily activity you need to be nourishing and replenishing your body with nutrients that will support those over-worked adrenal glands.

So if you think stress could be that missing piece of the puzzle or that your metabolism has shifted, I suggest you use my online health quizzes to gain some additional insight.  You might even consider having your adrenals and cortisol levels checked if you think stress is part of the problem.  Also, a lot of the information above is from “To Burn or Not to Burn – Fat is the Question” and “The STRESS Connection.” 

Till next time!

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