How to Workout to Decrease Stress
The luxury of being a woman. No seriously, it is! We just have to realize it.
Not sure about you but right now the world is crazy, we have been in a worldwide pandemic, the world has all but shut down, we have been stuck in our homes for days, wearing masks when in public, become the cleanest people ever, and the government is basically paying us to stay home.
Have you been stressed at all lately as a result?? I would be pressed to say yes more than likely…
You see, the effects of stress are major. From increased health risks, to weight gain, to hormonal imbalances, relationship problems, work problems, mental health…. The list can go on.
Are you at all aware that working out can actually help reduce those effects?
Well it can, when done correctly. In our society today though we have to approach working out a little differently, especially us ladies of child bearing age (basically anyone who has gotten a period to when we reach menopause). This is because during that time our bodies are functioning off a 28ish day cycle. NOT a 24 hour one like society wants us to be functioning on. If you need a little refresher check out this post for more on that – 28 days vs 24 hours. For now I am just focusing on women and how to workout to combat stress, OH and lose weight.
Heres the deal –
If you have read anything on our cycle and health you would find out it is broken into four phases. Each one essentially has a different focus and deals with different hormone levels rising and falling. The hormones we want to think about are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
When they are balanced (meaning going up and down at the right times and the right amounts among the 28 days) we can workout to really support them and our metabolism to get more bang for your buck if you will. We can burn fat better, sleep better, and keep stress lower.
If those hormones are imbalanced we need to workout to support them, or we will just wreck more havoc on our metabolism and health overall.
For the First half of your cycle: (Follicular and Ovulatory)
Hormones are on the rise. You tend to have more energy and in turn actually favors fat loss. Your metabolism is slower and blood sugar should lean more towards the stable side. This means you can do harder stuff. You can focus on more intense strength training, and cardio. Even if you are imbalanced it is ok to do these things – just listen to your body. If it is telling you to stop do it – dont keep pushing.
A general rule of thumb is to just stick to 30 minute intense workouts. Your body tends to burn through the first round of glucose in your blood for energy in about that time.
When we do what we are supposed to do, our body will recover and thrive off of it. When it is happy that means less internal stress.
In the Second half of your cycle: (Luteal and Menstrual)
Your hormones will start to decrease if you do not conceive. This means you want to really start slowing it down before you hit your period. Your metabolism is up so you can consume more dense foods for energy and nutrients, but as your metabolism increases and hormone levels fall so does the stress on your body internally. Cortisol tends to rise during your luteal phase. More stress from extreme workouts can push you into an imbalance.
This is why you should really prioritize rest during your period and right before it. This does not mean you cannot workout or do anything, just skip the intense sessions and definitely follow the 30 minute rule. Imbalance means stress internally – internal stress means more issues with metabolism over time, which mean less weight and fat loss.
Why no intensity all the time??
When you keep pushing you are getting into a more stressed state physically, when this happens you stimulate the release of cortisol which can potentially harm you if your body is already chronically stressed or have an imbalance. The cortisol is released to help you convert fat into energy after you burn through carbs. When this happens if you are in an imbalanced or chronically stressed state you can end up storing fat as your body thinks it needs to for later or start taxing out your adrenals. Both lead to problems down the road.
A great way to start figuring out when to do what is by figuring out where you are in your cycle. If you are unsure then start with the moon phases, wonky I know but it holds true and is how I had to start after coming off birth control.
Listen to your body, rest when you need to rest. And workout hard when you feel like you can.
There are great ways to learn how to do this. A great place to start is with my cycle syncing workout phase guide. You can download it below.
If you are looking to really get started with correcting your flow if you will and want a more personalized approach lets set up a time to chat! Inquire below.