STRESS & BOREDOM: Two Important Things to Manage in the Fitness World

by BLAKE PIESCHKE, CSU Public Relations Intern

Stress and boredom can majorly impact a person in the fitness industry, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Stress can cause impact performance in and out of the gym. Meanwhile, boredom may cause someone to eat when they aren’t necessarily hungry. I want to share some information about these and how I deal with these factors.

Too much stress can take a toll on a person to the point where they reconsider even going to the gym. It can impact recovery from a gym session, can become a distraction while at the gym and damaging to your overall health.

When you’re sore from a workout and stressed, the effects are multiplied because of the amount of stress to your muscles. The mental demands of stress steal resources from your body and leave you feeling more run-down and tired than usual. Exercising while stressed can increase your risk of injury and it is recommended to take a day off if this situation happens.

Also, when you’re solely focused on one thing that stresses you out, your mind will only think about what is stressing you out and your performance levels will drop.

Stress also has the ability to affect levels of the hormone cortisol. This hormone influences your metabolism, immunity, sleep rhythms and blood pressure. Unregulated cortisol levels will leave you feeling run-down, tired, and subject to weight gain, as well as making you crave more sugary and fatty foods.

To me, my physical health is one of the upmost important things in my life. That is why I took less time at my job to focus solely on writing and my other interests. Although my physical health is higher of importance, it does not exceed my mental health.

If I ever experience days like listed above, I will straight up skip the gym and focus on what has been bothering me in the morning. Once I accomplish what is blocking my clear thinking, I feel so relieved and it was only the cost of one gym session. As I have learned from previous experiences, one gym session missed isn’t going to do any harm.

Some other things that help me relieve stress are playing videogames, going disc golfing or just going on a simple walk to clear my mind. When I’m doing these things, I’m clearly not thinking about what has been bothering me and it helps me be occupied to where I don’t binge eat or have food cravings.

When it comes to feeling hungry during the day, most of the times I can guarantee that person is just bored. I find myself looking for an excuse to keep myself occupied to pass the time with eating, even though I had eaten within the past hour.

Some things experts recommend to differentiate betwen hunger and boredom are checking how you’re mentally feeling, drink some water because dehydration has a similar effect to hunger pains, waiting 30 minutes after the hunger trigger and having a plan of activity if it happens.

Personally for me, I try to plan a day ahead in the early morning. I decide when I will work on homework and if it happens to be a nice day out, I will for sure make plans to do an outdoor activity to get me out of the apartment.

The best thing I did to combat boredom while trying to lose weight this spring was buying a Nintendo Switch. A lot of times I will be playing it and just lose track of time. It has been a great tool to keeping my meals spaced out. I usually end up telling myself that when I get to a certain point, I will quit and go eat. Next thing you know, I went way past that point and an hour has past from when I thought I was going to eat.

These tips and tools have helped me in the past and right now and I hope they help you consider some ways to keep your fitness life going well.

Blake Pieschke is a CSU Public Relations Intern and a senior studying Mass Media at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Blake is from Glencoe, MN and has a passion for sports, fitness, and the outdoors. He plans on pursuing a career in sports journalism when his college career is over.

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