Stress is a very real problem in today’s society - and it’s often held at chronically high levels. Whether it’s due to rising bills, work stresses, family arguments, the news, social media, or other matters, we all feel stressed sometimes. But did you know that stress isn’t just bad for your mental health, but that it can also be detrimental for your physical health?
If you’re training for a competition or working towards new goals in the gym, stress could seriously hamper your progress, so it’s important to try to manage your stress levels as much as possible, and you may want to explore stress relief supplements too. Before we go into these, let’s take a look at what happens to the body when it’s under stress.
What Happens To The Body During Stress?
Stress is a normal evolutionary physiological response in the body to danger. Although it’s crucial for our survival, when stress stays elevated for a long time, it can have a host of negative consequences on the body. If you’ve ever felt your heartbeat increase, breathing quicken, and you’ve felt ready to run, attack, or freeze, this is what’s known as ‘fight or flight’ - it’s an innate response that helped human beings survive thousands of years ago.
The physiological changes that happen during an acute stress response are there to help you stay alive, but if you’re sitting at a desk, your body certainly doesn’t need those changes when there’s no danger around. Cortisol is the main stress hormone released by our bodies - although we need it for survival, when it stays elevated, it can cause a few problems, including:
- Increased levels of cortisol
- Increased adrenaline
- Higher blood glucose levels, leaving them elevated throughout the day, and causing glucose to be shuttled into fat stores rather than muscle tissue
- Increase muscle breakdown, hindering your muscle building efforts
- Faster heart rate
- Increased breathing rate
- Triggers cravings - cortisol can play havoc with your appetite stimulating pathway, leaving you with cravings, potentially leading to overeatingWith all of this in mind, it’s therefore crucial to try out stress management to not just benefit your mental health, but also your physical health, so you’re in a better place to stay on track towards your goals.
Ways To Manage Stress On Your Training Journey
When you’re training for a competition or working towards a new personal best while juggling other priorities, you may find yourself feeling stressed. Exercise is often recommended as an antidote to stress, but here are some ways to manage stress when your exercise regime is part of the cause:
- Create a schedule - if you’re juggling lots of different priorities, you don’t want to be stressing about when to fit training sessions in or exercising late at night, sacrificing your sleep. Devise a clear schedule and stick to it
- Do some exercise just for fun occasionally to take time out from your training schedule. Exercise can help to decrease stress levels, so try to forget about your goals for an hour or two and take a dance class, go for a swim, do a yoga session, or go for a long bike ride outdoors. Getting out into nature away from the gym for some fresh air could also be beneficial for your mental health
- Try not to compare yourself to others; you should be striving to beat your own personal bests, not other people’s. Remember that everyone’s body and personal journey is unique
- Focus on your breathing while you exercise. If you start a workout feeling stress and are holding your breath and tensing up while you lift, you could be putting yourself at more risk from injury
- Make sure you’re getting enough sleep to benefit your mental health and to give your body the time it needs to rest and recover. If you struggle with getting to sleep, try our Complete Strength Sleep Aid formula, which contains all-natural ingredients to encourage your natural sleep pathways to improve
- Set expectations in the run-up to a competition. Try to prioritise your workload and any social engagements ahead of the big day so you’ve got as much time to focus on your training as possible. Don’t isolate yourself completely, but try to avoid too much stress at work, and avoid social occasions where you may be tempted to over-indulge
- Take some time out from training - this becomes all the more important as your competition date draws closer. Spend time with loved ones, go for a gentle walk, play video games, read - anything that gives both your mind and your body a break
Complete Strength CALM Capsules
There are lots of supplements for stress out there, but if you’re looking for a formula that’s specially designed to support you on your training journey, check out CALM by Complete Strength. These capsules are effective at fighting stress and its effects on the body, thanks to a combination of key ingredients. These include:
1. Ashwagandha KSM-66
Ashwagandha KSM-66 has been shown to treat adrenal fatigue (where cortisol is released from), reduce anxiety, and support your thyroid function, which can begin to slow as you diet down.
2. Rhodiola Rosea Powder
Rhodiola Rosea Powder has been shown to significantly improve symptoms of work-related stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion, and anxiety, in a matter of days.
3. Lemon Balm Extract
Lemon Balm extract has been added to our CALM Capsules, as it’s known to help improve mood, as well as cognitive function.
Bacopa is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect cells against harmful chemicals. It has also been shown to play a role in improving cognitive function, lowering blood pressure, and reducing anxiety.
L-Thenainie can help to ease anxiety and stress, reduce the risk of insomnia, and lower blood pressure. An increase in blood pressure is often caused by adrenaline during a stress response too, so this ingredient plays a key role in our CALM formula.
Curcumin is a strong antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. However, it doesn’t absorb easily into the bloodstream. With this in mind, we’ve also added black pepper to our CALM Capsules, as it contains piperine, which is a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%.
AstraGin can have a profound effect on your body’s ability to absorb beneficial amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins, and phytonutrients.
Studies into AstraGin have shown that it can significantly increase the absorption of the branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) leucine, which is one of the most important nutrients in muscle protein synthesis (muscle building). AstraGin can also help with the absorption of tryptophan, an amino acid that acts as a precursor to 5-HTP, which is important for regulating sleep.
Why Complete Strength?
Complete Strength CALM Capsules contain specially chosen ingredients to help alleviate stress, reduce inflammation, improve cognitive function, reduce depression, and more, so you can support both your mind and your body throughout your training journey.
At Complete Strength, all of our supplements are designed by athletes, for athletes, and we pride ourselves on innovation to bring you the very best products to support you as you work towards your goals.
Whether you’re looking to bulk up, help your body recover after a workout, or manage stress outside of the gym, there’s a supplement for you at Complete Strength - shop our full collection here.
If you have any questions about any of our fitness supplements, please contact us here.