Lose the Stress and Lose the Fat

By: David Osgathorp

It may sound ridiculous but your exercise routine may be causing you to store fat rather than lose fat. Next time you visit the gym take a look at the guy that's always on the same cross trainer for what seems like hours at a time and yet he never seems to change his body shape.

Why is that? It is most probably due to the amount of stress that person is under and the excessive amounts of cortisol within their body. Your body produces cortisol in response to stress, physical, mental or emotional. This can include extremely low calorie diets, intense training, high volume training, lack of quality sleep as well as common daily stresses such as job pressures, or being caught in a traffic jam.

What does cortisol do? Cortisol is part of the fight or flight response. Faced with a "life or death" situation, cortisol increases the flow of glucose (as well as protein and fat) out of your tissues and into the bloodstream in order to increase energy and physical readiness to handle the stressful situation or threat.

Therefore, the body is forced to breakdown muscle and fat to be converted to sugar. This may sound good ' breaking down fat. However, unlike our ancestors who used all that newly converted blood sugar hunting for food or running from a bear, we stay sitting at our desks, in our cars or on the couch.

All of this inactivity means our bodies have no need for the sugar in the blood. As a result, much of it is converted back to triglycerides to be stored as body fat. So, although stress does cause the breakdown of fat, it produces even more in the end ' leaving most people with more fat and less muscle.

In an attempt to lose body fat, some people perform aerobic exercises (like running, biking, swimming, etc.) For many, this type of exercise won't decrease body fat, especially if the diet remains unchanged. Exercise is a form of stress. And, as with all other types of stress, cortisol levels are increased.

The problem is that the blood already has high quantities of cortisol and sugar. Exercising aerobically only further increases the amount of cortisol and sugar in the blood without creating enough demand by the muscles for the circulating blood sugar. So, again, that excess sugar is converted into fat!

Resistance training and some forms of yoga are two activities that lower cortisol and raise the demand by the muscles for sugar. The end result is less fat storage and more muscle production. The ultimate goal, however, is relaxation. Relaxation substantially reduces cortisol levels and that alone can have a profound effect on weight loss.

The two factors that cause fat storage are stress and the break down of muscle tissue.

Stress does not make you fat. Stress may lead to increased appetite& increased appetite may lead to eating too much& Eating too much makes you gain fat. Make sense?

Reducing the amount of lean muscle tissue your body has will in turn reduce your metabolism and your body's ability to burn body fat. Simply put more lean muscle tissue = faster metabolism, faster metabolism = less body fat.

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