Stress can be very uncomfortable for many reasons. It makes it more difficult to cope with your daily responsibilities, for sure – but there are other, biological aspects of stress. One of these aspects is the way that stress affects muscle growth.
Stress causes the body to produce cortisol, also known as the ‘stress hormone.’ Cortisol is sometimes considered to be the anti-testosterone – many of its effects counteract the more desirable effects of testosterone.
This means that elevated levels of cortisol make it more difficult for you to gain and maintain muscle mass. Fortunately, there are some simple lifestyle changes that you can make that will help you improve your muscle tone, even if you live a high stress life.
A lot of these simple changes include taking supplements and vitamins that are also very beneficial for your sexual health, so if you have issues there, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone.
Drink Green Tea
You’ve probably heard the age-old message that green tea is different than coffee and other types of tea, despite being caffeinated. What is it about green tea that makes it special?
Well, aside from the fantastic antioxidant capacity of the drink, it also features a unique player: L-theanine.
L-theanine is an amino acid that’s reputed for its ability to lower stress levels and reduce anxiety. This is particularly important in caffeinated beverages, which many bodybuilders and athletes use to energize themselves.
L-theanine, being an amino acid, is also eventually going to be used by your body to synthesize protein and increase muscle production.
Get a Good Sleep
Sleep is essential, not just for stress reduction, but for a healthy body to build new muscles. If you don’t’ get enough sleep, your body won’t have the necessary energy that’s required for you to give it your all at the gym.
Studies have also consistently shown that sleep deprivation leads to higher levels of stress. The less you sleep, the less able you are to cope with anxiety as it arises in your day.
As sleep deprivation compiles, you’ll also begin developing delusions and irritability – none of which are going to help you develop the tone that you want in your body.
You’ve probably already heard about creatine even if you’re not already taking it. If you are, then you’re doing one of the best things that you could possibly do to help ensure a good, stress-free muscle building protocol.
Creatine is well-known for its ability to provide long-lasting energy, as well as providing the building blocks for healthy muscle growth, without causing anxiety or over-excitation.
To get the best out of your creatine, you need to supplement it – the creatine present in foods like beef is usually broken down when cooking.
Keep Your Magnesium Levels Checked
Magnesium is one of the most important nutrients for the human body in general, and it’s of importance for people who are worried about their stress levels affecting their physique.
Magnesium helps to keep blood pressure regulated, which allows your body to more effectively carry oxygen and nutrients to your muscles and organs. This provides you with the energy needed to complete effective workouts.
Magnesium is also sometimes used as an acute treatment for anxiety and panic. Even if you don’t suffer from anxiety attacks, magnesium is known to help people get a solid night’s sleep – something important for anyone wanting to avoid stress.
Use Kava Kava
Kava kava is a Hawaiian root that’s used by natives of the region for many reasons. Among its most common uses are the reduction of stress and the promotion of good sleep.
Since kava works as a sedative, one might not think that it’s great for athletes. However, some people find that kava has a bit of an analgesic effect – if they’re able to push through the relaxation, which most can do easily, they’re able to push themselves harder without experiencing the discomfort of a hard workout.
Kava can also help you get to sleep even after the most stressful days. If you’re lying awake at night, waiting for the residual stimulation of your afternoon coffee to wear off, some kava can help send you right to sleep.