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by Tony Gjokaj October 31, 2020 3 min read

Before I started Reforged, I used to manage 4 rental car branches simultaneously. Weekdays, I would work from 7am-6:30 pm - stressed out of my mind.

We would need more than two managers running the branches, and we were down one. Our branches did not have their own car washes, so we had to wash them ourselves and use the dealer's car wash.

At times, there would be unexpected and stressful situations where we would rent 60+ cars daily at our biggest branch... at times, we didn't have these cars and would have to grab them a few cities over.

My average sleep was around 4.5 hours, which is nowhere near healthy for anyone. 3 months into managing these branches took a toll on me mentally with the sleep deprivation and chronic stress.

During this time, I decided to research cortisol and stress in their entirety, and found that sleep, proper nutrition, supplementation, exercise, time management, and practicing stoic philosophy helped me get through this time.

So with that, I wanted to explore stress, cortisol and a theory known as adrenal fatigue in this post.

Let's conquer your stress and dive in!

Cortisol And Adrenal Fatigue

Your adrenals produce and regulate cortisol. When our cortisol is properly "balanced" or regulated, we are able to operate our best. This allows us to handle stressful or intense situations we encounter.

Let's dive into cortisol, then follow it with the theory of Adrenal Fatigue.

Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone that is made within our adrenal glands. It helps with a variety of things:

  • Regulates blood sugar levels
  • Regulates metabolism
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Helps with memory formation

While cortisol manages our stress response, it also assists us in our sleep-wake cycle. In the morning, a rise in cortisol prompts us to wake up. In the evening, cortisol tends to fall.

Cortisol isn't necessary bad... unless it's in significantly large amounts. This is what leads to insulin resistance, reduced immune function, and other issues.

Adrenal Fatigue

When our adrenals are not efficiently operating (due to stress, poor sleep, fatigue, and more), we encounter a collective group of symptoms which is known as adrenal fatigue.

Adrenal fatigue (in theory) is caused by various things: poor sleep, excess caffeine drinking, prolonged levels of stress, and more.

How To Overcome Elevated Stress

In the most practical way, here are some things you should optimize to reduce high levels of stress:

  • A better diet. Ensure you are eating a good amount of calories, along with eating a proper intake of fruits and vegetables. Eating better can help fight a variety of things, such as stress, anxiety, and more.
  • Better sleep.Poor sleep has been shown to elevate cortisol and stress. We aren't just talking about the number of hours you sleep... but also sleep quality.
  • Mindfulness Exercises. From journaling to meditation, practicing mindfulness helps reduce stress.
  • Moderate your caffeine intake. Today, caffeine is consumed in larger amounts than ever.
  • Take stress reducing supplements. Stress reducing supplements like adaptogens work wonders when taken consistently. We prefer herbs like Ashwagandha and Rhodiola Rosea for this reason.

Adrenal Support

We can, however, focus on providing adaptogens to our bodies to aid in supporting the adrenal glands. Adaptogens like Ashwagandha, Bacopa Monnieri and Rhodiola Rosea are common herbs that are found in our adrenal support supplement, Spark.

This nootropic adaptogen is a great way to prepare for stress - to prepare for tomorrow's battle at hand.

Any questions, comments, or insights you'd like to add? Comment below, or email me at tony@reforgedperformance.com.

Until next time, Reforged Warriors.

Go seize your destiny.

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He has been in the fitness space for over a decade, previously coaching individuals in body recomposition and strength training. His goal is to connect others with the knowledge they need to reach their greatest potential.



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