As a Guelph personal trainer that cares about his clients, I talk a lot about weight loss, being active, eating whole foods, and resting.  I hope by now you’ve started to catch on to some of my basic philosophies when it comes to these points.

But there is something else that is just as important, if not more important, that I rarely talk about.

Mental health.

I don’t mean like deep therapy work… or the kind that requires any sort of medication.  That is certainly outside the scope of my expertise.

By mental health, I mean de-stressing.

It’s no secret that most of us are stressed.

We stress about money, our career, our kids, our spouse, our “to do” list, the cleanliness of our house, and yes… our physical appearance. We go to bed stressing about life and we wake up stressing about life.

It’s our favorite pastime – even if we don’t know it.

This is the point in most articles where a bunch of studies gets cited.  The author tries to diligently prove the connection between stress and added cortisol, added weight, and well… added stress.

It’s like a hamster wheel. The more stress you have, the more stress gets produced.

I don’t want to cite the studies that I had to learn about while becoming a Guelph personal trainer.

You know they’re out there.  You’ve read them or you’ve heard about them on the nightly news.Your doctor has told you to relax more – enjoy life more. The last thing you want (or need) is someone telling you about how bad stress is.

Here’s the interesting thing – the latest research about stress shows that it doesn’t actually matter how much stress you have.

What matters is how you handle your stress.

Yes, if you have high stress, but manage it well, you are typically doing well. And if you have low stress and manage it well, you are also doing well.

But if you have high stress, but struggle to manage it, you’re in trouble, and you want to do two things: First, you want to decrease your stress. Second, you want to work on your stress management.

Guess what the top 2 things are to decrease stress?

Yup, you guessed it! Being active and eating well…

When it comes to managing stress better, that’s a more complex topic that unfortunately is outside of our scope, but things like morning routines, systems to manage work, good calendars, and even sitting down to talk with a spouse, significant other, or therapist can make a bit impact.

In terms of reducing stress, the movement has a way of casting off extra stress.

You’ve probably heard that exercise makes you happier – this is one reason why.  Even though exercise, technically, IS a stressor to the body, overall, exercise lowers stress.

The catch is if you are already super stressed AND exercising multiple times a week, sometimes the right choice is to back off (but that’s a topic for another time).

For most of us, adding in a few days a week of moderate exercise makes a big, big difference in a positive way. And eating well is all about feeling less bloated and more energized.

But here’s the thing… if thinking about exercise and eating well stresses you out, well then, we’re back in the hamster wheel again.

And that is what happens to most of us. We want to start taking care of ourselves (to lose weight, to feel better, to lower stress) but the actual thought of it seems to stop us in our tracks.

After all, what workout should you do?

Should you eat that “healthy” granola bar or not?

Here’s one way to take the stress out of taking care of yourself — Get help.

The trend in fitness, and I learned this a couple of years ago from John Berardi, the owner of Precision Nutrition, is moving away from just exercising hard all the time and towards lifestyle management.

Exercise is important, but how is nutrition? How is stress? How is sleep? How are energy levels? Does this plan fit with your life right now?

As a popular Guelph personal trainer company, we work with clients all day long on these topics at LSFW.

I know it can be scary to start something new.

I know it’s hard to find the start of the tangled mess of “being healthy”.

That’s why I’m here.

It’s literally my job to help you get off the hamster wheel and start moving towards your goals so that you can lower the mental stress of day-to-day life.

If you have a question about our Guelph personal trainer programs, don’t hesitate to get in touch, and in the meantime focus on you – exercise, eat as well as you can, and don’t stress about perfection!

Read more articles written by our Guelph personal training staff.

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