“The body keeps score, and it always wins!” (Dr Brene Brown)
Let Cortisol be your friend..
Cortisol is an important stress hormone that is secreted by the adrenal glands – If your cortisol is balanced, you will be able to perform extremely well, and stay in good (healthy) shape…
(Simply put) Balanced cortisol = Strength, good endurance, recover fast, good overall health.
But if your cortisol levels are chronically elevated, your body will do the exact opposite:
- Your body will start to store more fat (especially around your mid-section) as elevated cortisol disrupts your body’s ability to use glucose for energy. (You will also have sugar cravings and elevated blood sugar).
- If you’re training hard, you will lose muscle = lose strength and endurance
- Your inflammation will be higher = It’ll take longer to recover.
- Your immune system will struggle – You’ll be more susceptible to colds, flu and allergies.
So what are the lifestyle choices that we are (unconsciously) making to elevate our cortisol?
- Nutritional deficiencies: You all know that I am a huge fan of green smoothies, which contain more green leaves than fruit. This is mostly because you can pack in so much nutrition (especially folate) into one meal. In addition, make sure that you’re feeding your body a balance of macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein).
- Exercising too much – Get yourself a coach! Most folk are more than disciplined to do the training. A coach is there to do thinking for you, to hold you back, to get you to rest, to recover, so that you can perform. Trust the process.
- Lifestyle stress – Overwork, anxiety, prolonged pressure. Pencil into your diary, a time daily to pray, to step out of the mayhem.
- Not getting enough sleep. This is a biggie… Getting less than 6 hours is not heroic, it is quietly compromising your long-term health. Aim for 8 hours, particularly if you’re training for an event.
- Click here to read more on how to lower inflammation in your body.