Stress and exercise-orientated for office workers

By Ulli Ackermann

It has become quite a common habit for a lot of people in stressful jobs and after a stressful day, to compensate by going to the pub for a beer or two or to indulge in comfort eating. And while this may give short term relief by stimulation of the parasympathetic part of the nervous system which is responsible for slowing down and calming the body, it doesn’t target long term stress effects concerning excess adrenaline and cortisol.

Those two hormones, being also called “stress-hormones” are responsible for regulating blood flow, digestion, heart rate and more.

If they are in imbalance, serious health issues may occur sooner or later, be it cognitive symptoms like memory loss, poor judgement or anxiety, emotional symptoms like moodiness, a short temper or even depression as well as physical symptoms like unexplainable aches and pains, frequent colds or even loss of libido.

While research has found connections between stress and lower risks of terminal illness, be it cancer, heart disease or even dementia, studies have also shown that the released endorphins (the “happy-hormones”) help in reducing stress, managing sleep problems and that a strengthened body withstands the daily workload in a much more efficient way.

According to researchers at the Yale Stress Centre, physical activity can actually reverse damage caused by a stressful lifestyle. Stress atrophies the brain; it affects the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory storage. And while certain types of exercise emulate small dosages of stress to the human organism, the bodies physiological systems that are involved in a stress response have to communicate much closer than usual, all of which may be the real benefit of training regarding stress relief.

So, in a nutshell, if you are stressed, you should exercise, because:

  • It pumps up your endorphins.  Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Although it is often referred to as a runner’s high, a set of sprints or a heavy weights session can contribute to this same feeling.
  • It’s meditation in motion.  After an hour in the studio, some fast paced circuits or an effective interval session, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything else you do.
  • It improves your mood.  Regular exercise may yield benefits in increased self-confidence and higher energy levels. It also lowers the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. It improves your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress or worsened by existing conditions. All this can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life that puts you back on track and improves life quality to new heights!

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.morefit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ulli-Ackerman-MoreFit-Personal-Trainer.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Ulli is a Personal Trainer at MoreFit Finsbury Park and has a diverse sports background ranging from weightlifting to Martial Arts, downhill mountain biking to even semi-professional dancing. His fitness approach is based on a MSc in Sports Science with emphasis on Motion and Performance. This enables him to tailor custom programs for clients of all backgrounds with an assorted range of goals. His main focus lies on body re-composition, body sculpturing and weight loss including a variety of exercise methods to achieve best results. “As a Trainer, I pour my passion and energy into our session to make you work at 100%. Nothing gives better results and leaves you buzzing after as much. I will guide you on the path to a better you and it will leave you healthier, stronger and more energetic!”[/author_info] [/author]

Training for Fat Loss

By Ulli Ackermann

One of the first questions I ask, when signing up a client for their journey to a better version of themselves is usually: “What do you want to achieve?” And while the answers are as diverse as the people training with us, the most common one is fat-loss.

There are countless myths, half-truths and “bro-science” aka invalidated gym-talk out in the fitness world and combined with a new fad diet and ultra-fat burning routine that is being promoted in magazines every week, one can only wonder, what really does work. The answer is more complex and needs more space than a short article can provide but here are a few bullet points to consider:

– There is no spot reduction One of the greatest and most common misconceptions of them all. You want to lose the fat around your mid-section and believe that doing 100 crunches every day is going to get rid of it, since you are working that area. Unfortunately, it is not that easy. While you are working the local muscle tissue underneath the fat tissue, your body would never use just that fat tissue as fuel. Because that’s what fat is. Excessive fuel that has been stored because you didn’t need it at the time. And the human body is a biological organism designed to always stay in balance. So while you will be burning calories off of your fat depots, it will come off on the whole of your body, not just on your belly. Which brings us to the second point.

– Whole body exercising is more effective.  The only way to consistently lose body fat is by creating a calorie deficit. That means that, if you eat 2000kcal a day, you need to be burning more than that, lets say 2200 or more. If you do 100 crunches a day, you may be burning an excessive 50 calories. Arg, that’s not even one chocolate bar. If instead, you incorporate big compound moves, deadlifts, squats, push and pull movements for your upper body, you may very well get up to 2500 kcal expenditure during that day. And depending on repetition ranges used, you add muscle mass as well, therefore increasing your basic metabolic rate, which in turn may burn another 100 or 200kcal a day.

– Consistency and patience is key.  One kilogram of body fat stores roughly 7000 kcal. The average adult expends around 2000kcal in a 24 hour window. So even if you wouldn’t eat or drink anything at all, it would take you more than three days to get rid of 1kg of body fat. The scale may say more than that, but that is cell fluids, in particular, water being lost in the process. And even if I would advise for such drastic measures to start off a fat loss journey in some rare cases, the tool of a full fast is not effective in terms of long term weight loss. The main reason for this is that the body doesn’t just lose fat if you don’t eat. It takes a little from everything you have, breaking down precious muscle tissue, important nutrients and muscle glycogen in the process. If that wasn’t enough red flags already, the metabolism slows down, burning less calories in the process, which is suboptimal to say the least.

If we take the above example of a 300 – 500 kcal deficit during one day, which is realistic and healthy with appropriate exercise, you end up burning an excessive 10000 – 15000kcal a month, which equals up to 2kg of body fat. That is, if you don’t fall off the wagon and indulge in naughty foods or drink in that month. So if somebody comes to me and says, they want to lose a stone, I will say, be prepared for 3 months of hard work every week!

It takes time to lose weight and it’s certainly not as easy as piling it on. But the moments when you look into the mirror or at a picture before and after are going to be the most rewarding and accomplished feeling ever.

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.morefit.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Ulli-Ackerman-MoreFit-Personal-Trainer.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Ulli is a Personal Trainer at MoreFit Finsbury Park and has a diverse sports background ranging from weightlifting to Martial Arts, downhill mountain biking to even semi-professional dancing. His fitness approach is based on a MSc in Sports Science with emphasis on Motion and Performance. This enables him to tailor custom programs for clients of all backgrounds with an assorted range of goals. His main focus lies on body re-composition, body sculpturing and weight loss including a variety of exercise methods to achieve best results. “As a Trainer, I pour my passion and energy into our session to make you work at 100%. Nothing gives better results and leaves you buzzing after as much. I will guide you on the path to a better you and it will leave you healthier, stronger and more energetic!”[/author_info] [/author]