Fitness stress is the #1 enemy in your quest to build muscle, burn fat and improve performance. It erodes emotional motivation while beating up your body. Almost every challenge you face in fitness is due to stressful diet and exercise habits.
Wait, isn’t some fitness stress necessary for progress?
Yes, some types of fitness stress are important. You won’t grow your muscles by sitting on a couch all day. You also won’t grow as an individual without venturing outside of your comfort zone.
What I’m referring to is chronic fitness stress. It’s the kind of pressure your mind and body continually experience that eventually builds up and causes problems. It results in hunger, cravings, loss of motivation, anxiety and physical injury.
In contrast, acute fitness stress builds you up rather than breaks you down. It’s a short-term period of stress that stimulates growth and progress when you recover.
Unfortunately, many dogmatic approaches to fitness create far too much chronic stress on your mind, body, and lifestyle. This stress comes from imposing rules upon your diet and exercise routine that may not be a good fit for you.
Adopting a restrictive dogmatic approach about how you’re “supposed” to eat or train is sort of like wearing a random pair of shoes someone else believes is best for you. Even though science and research may suggest a size 9 tennis shoe is the best for most people, forcing yourself to wear them may not be what’s best for you. You could be hiking a mountain and require a size 11 hiking boot, so those tennis shoes would be a poor choice.
Obviously, you should make a choice based on what’s best for you, but dogmatic methods can discourage this in several ways. One of the most prominent ways is through fear mongering that portray going against the dogma in a very negative way. If you don’t follow the rules then you’re sure to suffer so you better do what the experts say is best. So you force yourself into those tennis shoes and do your best to hike up the mountain.All the while you experience blisters, sore feet and struggle to find traction up the trail.
Sooner or later the stress becomes too great and you’re forced to quit. I guess hiking just isn’t your thing, best try something else.
The worst part is our fitness culture is filled with messages telling you that stress is to be embraced in the name of fitness. The more you suffer the more you’ll succeed. The only problem is you have a finite capacity for handling any kind of stress which handicaps your results.
The ultimate solution to break free of the need for chronic fitness stress. While you do need some acute bouts of stress, reducing the unnecessary chronic stress is the best way to achieve far greater results with much less effort.
Check out this week’s podcast as I talk about the 8 worst causes of chronic fitness stress and how to reduce each one.