The secret killer of physique development, and it’s not at all what you might think…
The energy in, vs. energy out, or in other words (the CICO model), calories in vs. calories out is not to be debated.
We must be in a caloric deficit for weight loss to occur, and on the other side, we must be in a caloric surplus for weight gain to occur.
Ok, great, but what happens when we’re moving more, eating less, even calculating our caloric and macronutrient intake, yet we’re still having issues losing body fat?
Let’s look at one big driver which is often overlooked.
A lot of of us are stuck in a fight or flight state, otherwise known as sympathetic drive far too often.
Being in fight or flight mode is excellent in some circumstances, such as when we’re training, or if we’re about to be eaten by a bear.
It’s at this time that our instinctive limbic system kicks in, which acts on evolutionary programming centered around survival.
So when the body thinks it’s in danger, non-essential processes come to a screeching halt.
What happens when we become sympathetic dominant?
We see processes such as a heightened immune response responsible for repair which results in this process of increased inflammation (remember, inflammation signals repair so thats what the body thinks it needs).
Along with that, we see rapid fluctuations in hormones responsible for hunger.
This leads us back to decreased chances of remaining adherent to the caloric deficit, which is oh so damn important.
When we’re stressed, the body also releases cortisol, which is inherent for survival.
Increases in cortisol turn on essential functions for survival, such as raised blood pressure, and decision-making ability.
However, they inhibit functions such as muscle protein synthesis, digestion and nutrient assimilation, and immune function.
This is why chronic stress can really impact our ability to oxidize body fat.
Cortisol can suppress insulin secretion leading to a reduction of glucose into our muscle cells, and disrupt insulin signaling to our muscle tissue.
Therefore we’re directly impacting insulin sensitivity leading to disruption in our bodies fat oxidation process.
“But I’m not stressed” is a typical response here I see from clients.
Stress does not only manifest in anxiety, or issues such as your boss being a dick, traffic, or other “western culture problems”…
But also may include;
Excess exercise (especially cardio)
Unresolved emotions such as boredom and lonesome
Excessive stimulant use
and the list goes on and on…
“Well then Jordan, what’s the solution to reducing stress?”
AWARENESS and the ability to PRACTICE being more mindful. Although there are certain supplements which can help, this might make up a 5% difference just as it usually does, and the BIG determinants are much more intrinsic.
We should be aware of all of these variables and do our best to control what we can control.
I’ll give an example;
I always tell clients that we need to be the type of athlete that if we’re on a plane, and we find out that we’re delayed for 3 hours on the tarmac due to mechanical issues, there are two options we have.
- Freak out like everyone else. Complain, allow ourselves to become hyper-stressed, and bitch at the flight attendant (because she should know how to fix an airplane right?).
2. We realize that the circumstances are outside of our control. Therefore we sit back, turn on Netflix on our iPhones, and chill the fuck out because there isn’t a damn thing we can do to change the situation.
Stop stressing, not only will your physique thank you, but your girlfriend will too!