Take a chill pill: How stress is slowing you down

June 13, 2022

Take a chill pill: How stress is slowing you down

People all across the world are working hard by getting to the gym, hiring personal trainers and eating better food options. While these are great ways to lose weight, get fit and create a better life there is much more to the picture. For many, stress is killing a lot of their chances at lasting change and seeing the result they are working so hard for.  

We have seen this time and time again even within our own community here at Motivate. In fact, when we first meet with clients we have learned that there is always more to the story than just losing weight, getting stronger, faster and developing a healthier lifestyle. We have learned that there is more than the perfect workout, meal plan and accountability that we coaches can provide. At Motivate, our coaches want to learn more about our clients current lifestyle, external limiting factors and specifically what life stressors are present because it gives us a better understanding of how to help. 

We know that for many of us we do not need to be convinced that getting fit, eating better, developing better food and sleep habits are important. Over the years we have had many clients who have come to the gym 5x a week, followed their meal plans and even participated in our community events. Yet, over time they stagnate and they do not realize that the effects of stress and that stress can actually mimic many of the effects of unhealthy behaviors such as tobacco use, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating. 

Many of these clients come back with frustration and ask questions like: Should I do more cardio in the evening? Should I fast? Should I cut out carbs? Our typical response is finding the right questions that can paint a picture. How is your sleep? How is work? How is the family? What sort of things do you like to do to unwind? 

The reality is that life is full of demands and pursuing a healthy lifestyle will in itself cause some stress from exercise and for some ensuring food is prepared. Bad stress can impact everything you are trying to work for both physically and emotionally. 


Our bodies respond to bad stress with:

  • Heavier breathing
  • An increased heart rate
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Increased perception of pain
  • A weakened immune system

So there you have it.

Even if you are working out hard, eating good food and perhaps you are still not seeing results. Instead of doing more you might want to take a look at how your little heart is doing. Are you stressed out about everything? Are you a control freak? Are you taking time to unwind? Are you in a bad job? Does your relationship need work?

Here are  8 ways you can take control over your stress

  1. Exercise: Train 5x per week but set realistic goals and try to keep exercise a special time just for you.
  2. Stressed at work? Take a mental break: Get up and walk around. 
  3. Set boundaries: Both with yourself and known negative patterns and others: Do more of the things that make you happy and stay away from the things that trigger shame, guilt or people who bring these feelings up. 
  4. Stretch it out: Take time outside of the gym either first thing in the morning or right before bedtime. 
  5. Laugh, smile and keep it light hearted. Find a friend and get a good laugh.
  6. Listen to some soothing music
  7. Get outside and see the sights: If you can’t make it flip through some fun memories you had or places you have visited or want to visit.
  8. Chew up stress. Start munching on something healthy. Treat yourself to a bite of dark chocolate or chew some sugar-free gum