Paola Langella is a Pilates instructor based in London. She shares her tips on managing stress:
“We put so much stress on ourselves to succeed at everything we rarely stop to think about where we started and how far we have come. Each day, at work, or in our relationships, we often think that there is something that needs to be fixed or improved. We pass this same judgment over our bodies when we train or when we decide it is time for a change in terms of weight, toning, fitness or getting into that bikini.
Stress is not good! Stress is not our trigger to achieve our results. Motivation, passion, discipline, control, and calmness are. Each day we should have a good dose of positive adrenaline just to feel grateful, happy and excited; but the stress of rushing from the gym to the office to home is negative and depleting.
Quality over quantity guys! When you go to a great restaurant and you order a nice fresh grilled fish with some sides, dressed with simple ingredients, you shouldn’t feel hungry afterward, right? Because you feel satisfied and at peace.
Think the same for your workout. You should choose the right ingredients for your mind and for your body. You need to choose something you enjoy and that makes you feel good: your body will listen to you and will give you the results you need.
When we are stressed, the cortisol (the primary stress hormone), increases sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream; this leads to the alteration of our immune systems and suppresses our digestive systems. Also, it affects regions of our brain that controls mood, motivation, and fear. The culmination is numerous interconnected problems: lack of sleep, weight gain, digestive problems, lack of concentration, depression…
So, when we put our body under fatigue and stress every day with crazy workouts we cause the same stress level that will make us put on weight as far as the body is worried. Our body treats these “challenges” like threats, feels constantly under attack and it fights against it.
How many people do you know that after their spinning classes (or two classes back to back) feel completely disconnected and hyped up – and the only thing they want to do is comfort eat?
Then, what happens? They put on weight, they get frustrated as they don’t understand why, and they start to get into the downward spiral of training every day – or maybe twice per day as a sort of punishment. We really need to understand that we train because we love our body not because we hate it.
We need to take a step back, take a deep breath and take the lead of our life and workout goals, without letting stress control us.
And when you are relaxed and feel satisfied after your workout you don’t need to rush, and you can really take a moment to understand that an apple is better than your protein shakes full of sugar after your workout.
I am an ex-dancer, Pilates lover, Pilates instructor and personal trainer and this technique, discipline changed my life. I used to kill myself with cardio and crazy intensity workouts; I bloated so much as I was stressed.
I seriously stepped back and had to reset my mind and think ‘less is more, quality over quantity’ and I started my low impact exercises again, super strong but really specific for my body with Pilates.
I swapped running for long walks and I shaped completely. I finally saw my abs back, I started to cook fresh food as I was calmer and more serene and everything came back together so easily. It is the lifestyle you chose that will change your body inside and outside. Calm minds are the most successful ones in every field as they have the power to find the best solutions for every problem.
Try to act on your stress every day doing simple things, like:
- cooking fresh and healthy food
- add a Pilates class and a yoga class in your schedule.
- going out with people that inspire you
- get rid of all your old things and clutter in your house
- create a fresh and productive environment in your house
- meditate for five minutes per day
To book a session with Paola, visit her website.
Image Credits: Paola Langella