Better Gains and Less Stress Lies in The Power of The Tongue

How the position of your tongue can reduce stress and boost your overall fitness

When it comes to getting great results in fitness the things we normally focus on are exercise, food, and sleep. These are all very important in order to achieve any fitness goal. One thing that’s often overlooked is stress management. Nowadays, a lot of people are dealing with daily stress, not aware of how it is holding their bodies back.

Stress can be a good thing and a bad thing depending on how it’s experienced. The good stress comes from doing a tough workout or just doing anything that challenges you. This type of stress can lead to growth whether it’s mental, physical, spiritual, or financial. Even the good stress can be damaging if you get too much of it.

The Effects of Too Much Stress

The bad stress is the one that drains you of energy. It’s the type that has you fearing the future or stuck in the past. You may wonder how this stress stops you from achieving your fitness goals. Where do I start?

Stress leads to increased cortisol in your body. Excess cortisol has a negative effect on sleep. The more cortisol you have the less melatonin you produce at night. Melatonin is crucial to sleep.If you’re someone who’s trying to make progress in their fitness, you’ll know that sleep is the biggest key to recovery.

Cortisol also has an inverse relationship with testosterone. The more cortisol you have the less testosterone you produce at that moment. Testosterone is one of the most important hormones when trying to build muscle and/or burn fat. To add to the fat loss aspect, high levels of cortisol is associated with weight gain in the form of fat.

For anyone that’s trying to gain strength, think about how stressful lifting heavy is on your body. Your body can only handle so much stress. How well do you think you’d be able to handle the stress of your workouts if you’re constantly dealing with stress throughout your day?

On the flip side, breathing deeply reduces stress. It’s also great for workout recovery because deep breathing means better digestion of food. Better digestion of food means more nutrients absorbed from the food you eat. For the people who are trying to lose fat, your body has to burn calories in order to digest your food.

Solution

One of the simplest things you can do to reduce stress is to place your tongue at the roof of your mouth. When doing this, make sure your tongue isn’t touching your upper teeth. It sounds weird but by holding this tongue position, you’ll automatically breathe through your nose and into your diaphragm. This allows you to breathe deeply without any conscious effort. Deep breathing puts you in the rest and digest mode compared to the fight or flight mode when you’re stressed.

It’s been six months since I’ve relearned how to properly breathe.I’ve definitely noticed the benefits. I feel more relaxed in general, my digestion is better, and I sleep more deeply. At first it’ll feel weird breathing like this if it’s new to you. After a month, it’ll feel so normal that breathing any other way feels strange. One of the things that helped me the most is doing this while going for walks.

I could go on about the benefits of nose breathing with proper tongue posture but I recommend you test it out for yourself. See how you feel once you make nose breathing a natural part of your life. See how you perform in your workouts, how you deal with daily stressors, and how your body looks as a result. You’ll be amazed!

How Cortisol affects sleep: https://thrivenfunctionalmedicine.com/melatonin-and-cortisol/

Cortisol and testosterone: https://news.utexas.edu/2010/09/27/stress-hormone-blocks-testosterones-effects-study-shows/

Cortisol and weight management: https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/stress-weight-gain

Nose Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing: https://www.oralhealthgroup.com/features/mouth-breathing-physical-mental-emotional-consequences/

Photo Courtesy of: https://www.pexels.com/@snapwire

My Love For Hill Sprints

Hill Sprints are great for your body.

I have a deep love for hill sprints. They have a reputation for being brutal but everyone should do them. Hill sprints are tough but worth it. I’m very grateful to hills because they allowed me to get great workouts when I had limited gym access. Two years ago the gym I  was going to closed down and moved to a new location. The new location made it difficult for me to go as often as I used to. Weeks before that, I began doing hill sprints to spice up my workouts.

With limited access to weights, I had to be creative with my workouts. I completely replaced my squat and deadlift days with hill sprints. You’d think I’d get significantly weaker but I felt great. Squats and deadlifts are two of the top ways to build strength but hill sprints helped me cope without them. The early part of my hill training was rough but like any training method, your body adapts. Once my body adapted, the magic happened. Two times a week, I would go back to those hills. I incorporated them in my training from July to January. With hill sprints, I had as much leg muscle as when I was using weights to train my legs. I enjoyed all the benefits hill sprints provide for me.

Hill Sprints Burn A lot of Fat!

Hill sprints are an excellent way to burn fat. Famous fitness consultant, Jason Ferrugia once said ” aside from proper nutrition, there’s nothing more efficient than hill sprints for fat loss”. From my personal experience, this is 100% true. I’m always at my leanest when I do hill sprints on a weekly basis. Sprints have a reputation for being a fat burning exercise. When you add the resistance provided by the hill, amazing things happen. The hill makes your body work harder. The harder your body works, the more calories it’ll burn. Hill sprints also target several muscles like the quads, hamstrings, calves, and core. Your arms will get a workout too since they’re used to propel your body forward.

Hill Sprints are The Perfect Compliment to Weight Lifting:

Hill sprints will help you in the weight room for a number of reasons. The leg muscles developed through hill sprints will help your performance in leg exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts. Hill sprints also improves work capacity which will allow you to get more work done in less time. Increased work capacity means you require less time to rest in between sets. Another benefit of hill sprints is they bring a lower injury risk in comparison to regular sprints. Your body isn’t moving fast enough to be at risk of pulling a hamstring.

Mental Benefits of Hill Sprints:

Hill sprints offer countless mental benefits. The most prominent benefit is the development of mental toughness. It takes mental toughness to repeatedly push your body even when you’re fatigued. Believe me, your body will be fatigued when running hills. Another mental benefit is the dopamine rush you experience. It’s good for your mind to see yourself repeatedly achieving your goal ( the top of the hill) despite the challenging trail. This also reinforces the notion that you can achieve your goal regardless of the challenge in front of you.

If you want to transform your body you should add hill sprints to your routine. I’m a big believer that incorporating sprints and weights in your routine will yield fantastic results. You should check out my hill sprint routine as well as other sprint workouts I’m experienced with Sprints, Sprints, and more Sprints.

I always feel triumphant after several hill repeats. There’s something satisfying about overcoming fatigue and a difficult path to reach my goal. At the end of my hill sprint workout, I raise my hands up in triumph as I stand on top of the hill.It gives me an extra sense of confidence in myself. I feel like a champion when doing it and that confidence transfers to other areas of my life. Running hills transforms my mind and body.

 

Photo credit: <a href=”https://visualhunt.com/author/3e9858″>Michael 1952</a> on <a href=”https://bestrunningshoes.com/”>Best Running</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”&gt; CC BY</a>