THE NERVE RACKER

When your brain is on high alert seven days a week, fat loss can seem im­pos­si­ble. Re­lax and lis­ten to Pure Sports Medicine strength coach Andy Reay

Men's Health (UK) - - Summer 6-Pack Special -

“You’ve heard of cor­ti­sol, the stress hor­mone, right? Well, when lev­els be­come chron­i­cally high, it can trig­ger en­zymes that in­struct your fat cells to grow, ob­scur­ing your abs. It also makes sleep more elu­sive, which lim­its the amount of testos­terone you pro­duce – and the pay­off you get from ex­er­cise.

“For­tu­nately, there are nu­mer­ous things you can do to solve the prob­lem. First, deal with any ir­reg­u­lar eat­ing pat­terns you might have. Ev­ery time you eat, your body re­leases the hor­mone in­sulin, which coun­ter­acts cor­ti­sol, so a “lit­tle and of­ten” eat­ing rou­tine is wiser than work­ing through your lunch and over­com­pen­sat­ing later.

“If you’ve been feel­ing fa­tigued for a while, se­ri­ous graft will likely com­pound your stress, mak­ing it harder – not eas­ier – to achieve your abs. On week­days, try some­thing low im­pact, such as swim­ming, or if you’re strength train­ing, do a high-rep, low-weight rou­tine. Save heavy ses­sions for Sun­days, if you like. One tool used by ath­letes is Heart Rate Vari­abil­ity (HRV) mon­i­tor­ing. By track­ing the time be­tween your heart­beats, an app such as Elite HRV is able to es­ti­mate whether your body is fa­tigued or un­der stress, al­low­ing you to tailor your train­ing ac­cord­ingly.

“Fi­nally, there are sup­ple­ments that can help you. They won’t make up for poor life­style habits, but mag­ne­sium, vi­ta­min C and the lesser known phos­phatidylser­ine (£ 16 na­tures­best.co.uk), a com­po­nent of your cells’ mem­branes, can help to bring down your stress lev­els. Take a deep breath – your six-pack goal is now one less thing for you to worry about.”

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