How Training Will Impact Your Stress Levels

I received an text over the weekend from a StudioForty6 client who is going through a tough time. The message was simple yet so powerful and gave me goose bumps. It simply stated “that they didn’t realise how much they depend on their sessions for their ‘“well-being”’ if that is the right word during a difficult time. Feeling out or sorts then magically after my session……so much better!”

This got me thinking about what it is we do as personal trainers, why we do it and the importance of training during stressful times.

It is interesting listening to people’s reaction when they discover that my career is in fitness. People who don’t train with a personal trainer really don’t’ understand what the true benefits actually are. When someone tells me that they have a trainer I spontaneously think ‘they are on it, they get it’. Training is not just about appearance in fact it is so much more than that. Appearance is just a by-product of making healthy lifestyle choices. Training will start a chemical reaction in the body that will create a positive emotional response.

I often think about what possessed me to leave the security of a steady income, holiday and sick pay and head to the city to chase my passion for health and fitness. Drawing inspiration from seeing my 20 month old son sound asleep, it was!

What do I mean by life?

My enthusiasm for fitness has always been there with very athletic parents but it wasn’t until I lost my mum 23 years ago to the "c" word that really made me understand that I had a job to do and it was more than just a physical journey. I had a burning desire to help people and it was during this time that I decided that if I could help only one person change the choices they make with their health then I had done my job. Working for a corporate company pumping out profit figures was not rewarding and certainly was the complete opposite to what I was trying to achieve with my own choices.

The SMS that I received Friday night was yet again proof that our role as Personal Trainers is bigger than just training someone. I can’t speak for all the trainers out there but what I can say is that our trainers at Studio46 have a role and that is to help clients initiate change. I guess you can say it is our a ‘job description’. A great personal trainer will support someone through change. Yes they are masters of exercise technique which is crucial and that should be a given in a studio like ours, but at the end of the day our quality of life comes down to how a person manages the stress they are under.

We live in a world that requires so much more of our time. We are contactable 24/7. Mobile phones, emails and social media everything is in your face and if you don’t join in then you risk being left behind. There are stressors out there now more than ever before with chemical, electromagnetic combined with what are at times poor nutritional choices because we don’t have time to prepare! In saying that, the one thing that hasn’t changed is our ability to MOVE.

Moving in times of stress, as long as it is at an intensity that will not create further stress on the body, is the one thing that we are still in control of. Stress can add fat to our belly, cause unexplained aches and pains and just make us feel miserable. We can’t necessarily change the stress but we can change how we react to it…

Here a few little things that may help you;

1. Write it down – unspoken thoughts can manifest into something bigger than what it really is. If you don’t have anyone to talk to then writing it down is the next best thing. Keeping a journal can really help.

2. Exercise – our bodies are designed to move. We are hunters and gatherers and our body is a moving machine. In a perfect world we sleep for 8 hours, move for 8 hours and play for 8 hours……imagine!!

3. Listen to music – chose your favourite artist or if you can, listen to ocean or forest sounds...personally I go for favourite artist!

4. Yoga – on a regular basis has many different benefits than other forms of exercise. Stretching will help relax the muscles that tense during times of stress.

5. Breathe – our breath nourishes our body. Without it we would not survive. Taking the time each night prior to bed to take some deep diaphragmatic breathes helps relax, nourish and empty your mind and hopefully with aid you with getting to sleep.

So, next time you are going through stressful times just remember these tips and most importantly the feeling you get when you finish your workout. Give back to yourself and give your mind the opportunity to receive the endorphins it needs to get through yet another day.

Written by Kirsty Robbie - Founder of StudioForty6 and CHEK exercise coach.

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