Two years ago, I was coaching a lovely client of mine.
She was after what most women want - a nice flat stomach. She was suffering with her confidence because she mentioned that ALL of her friends were fairly slim, so she was very self-conscious about how her clothes fit. She dreaded going out with them because she just felt horrible.
Maybe you can relate to her.
Now She and I were training three-four times a week at a good intensity and she was watching very closely what she was eating. She participated in weight watchers in conjunction with her exercise routines with me. She was dedicated and doing FANTASTIC and had made all the right changes. She was an IDEAL client to work with.
Her results did not reflect the amount of effort she was putting in. Don't get me wrong - we saw some initial changes and started to see a small decrease in body fat, but we both felt she should've been gaining results a lot faster.
It got me thinking, was I doing something wrong?! Was she not being completely honest with me about her nutrition?
Then it clicked...
See Sarah was ALWAYS rushing around at 100mph. She was always on the go. She had a demanding job running a day care, kids with a busy household, and found it hard to get some order in her life.
She was STRESSED OUT to the ABSOLUTE MAX!
See stress is a nightmare when trying to get a flat stomach.
Because when we are stressed out, our bodies release two main hormones called cortisol and adrenaline, and if our bodies are constantly bombarded with these two, it heightens our blood sugar levels.
And can you guess what that leads to?
Not only that, but our tummy has 4 times the amount of cortisol receptors than anywhere else in your body, so our middle section is 4 times as sensitive to gaining and retaining extra fat when we are stressed.
So, She and I sat down and came up with a few ways to combat her stress levels, changed up the training routine a bit, and added an additional day of steady state cardio for her to perform on her own and sure enough, after we did that, all the inches she was worried about losing fell away.
Nicole and I have been working together for over a year now and she has lost over 100 lbs!
So here are my top 5 tips to combating stress...
1) Your attitude makes a huge difference in how you handle your day. You and ONLY YOU can choose how to think and feel in any circumstance, event, or relationship in your life.
2) Release feelings of hostility, hatred, jealousy, anger and aggression. These things all send your cortisol levels through the roof!
3) Focus on what you can control by creating daily, accomplishable goals for yourself. Check each one off as you complete them and celebrate what you achieve.
On the flip side, be kind to yourself by allowing the chance that you might need to reschedule something for another day if something unexpected comes up.
4) Make time in your day to refill your energy, whatever that looks like to you. Do things like yoga, meditation, reading or listening to some peaceful music to help you relax and balance your hormones.
5) Spend time doing something creative like artwork, music, gardening, or another passion in your life to activate your right brain and re-center yourself.
I hope that gets you to start thinking about how stress might be affecting your own success in reaching your fitness goals. It might even help you get that flat tummy, if that's what you're looking for.