Dimyas Perdue, Team Body By O Men's Physique Competitor, Shares His Secret to "No More Stress"
Dimyas Perdue, Team Body By O Men's Physique Competitor, Shares His Secret to "No More Stress!"
As fitness athletes we all share a common bond with one another in our love for competition. Whether your fascination is to be the most shredded person alive or to be able to present a symmetrically balanced package on stage, there’s something that links us all together.
One of those things is the drive to compete and to become a better person than you were the day before. That other thing we share shows up when it comes down to those 12-16 weeks of prep. What is that thing? Stress!!
Stress is something that we as competitors can never avoid because it is a natural human response. So if it’s natural for the average Joe to feel pressure it would be insane to think that being on stage and allowing yourself to be critiqued by the masses wouldn’t be a little stressful as well. Stress in itself isn’t a bad thing. Stress is a natural human function that triggers our fight or flight response. You have both good stressors and bad stressors. Those good stressors could be a promotion on the job or the anticipation of a child. Bad stressors are those situations where uncertainty kick in and it becomes mentally taxing. So what’s the problem with a little stress? Well it’s this little thing called cortisol.
When a person is stressed, the natural human response is for the body to produce the stress hormone cortisol. When cortisol is released it increases the flow of glucose, fat and proteins out of tissue and into your blood so that the body has the resources to be able to confront the situation with added energy. This is the body’s natural response whether it’s physical, mental or emotional. When you are under stress, the balance of hormones in your body can change, leading to cravings, increased appetite or even a lack of appetite.
So to simplify all of that, this is what happens. The human body reacts to stress in the exact same way every time. When the body encounters stress, signals are passed through your brain that tells your cells to release potent hormones. These hormones give you a burst of adrenaline, which taps stored energy so you can respond to whatever the stress is. At the same time, there will be a rise in your cortisol levels which tells your body to replenish that energy even though you haven't used very many calories. This reaction happening in the body in most cases makes us all hungry. The bad part about this is that the body will continue to produce the cortisol as long as you are experiencing stress.
Now you may be thinking I don’t have much stress in my life so I should be good. Right? Wrong! You nutrition alone can be something that sets your hormones all off. Are your carbs too low? Are you missing meals? You can also experience this if your training is too intense and you haven’t afforded your body a chance to recuperate. Stress can over stimulate the thyroid gland and speed up the metabolism and burn off much needed calories for that hard gainer. Thus causing an unwanted weight drop.
So for a few final notes. Stress doesn’t make you fat it’s what you allow once those responses are triggered. If you find yourself desiring sweets, salts and foods with a higher fat content as you get closer to that show date this could be a sign of that stress taking over. Or you could just be hungry lol. Caving into these cravings you won’t see an initial jiggle for lack of better words because it’s visceral fat (intramuscular) that comes from the cortisol. That’s the dangerous part. The goal is to recognize the issue with cravings and counter them with some type of alternative action. Be careful during those moments of weakness. Having that small bite could trigger something in you that you wouldn’t expect. In the same way some drugs are gateways for others, sometimes that “health” bar during prep could be the thing that leads you down the road to eating those things you know you shouldn’t have. Until next time, stay smart.
Stay strong. Stay fit!