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The Core of JCF Coaching

health stress Dec 09, 2018

The Core of JCF Coaching.

Our Theory: That most modern people live a stressed life

The Science: That stress puts people into an unhealthy state, that causes a series of poor hormonal responses. These responses are the root cause of many physical issues, whether it be a lack of muscular gains, or more commonly, difficulty to lose fat.

How to use this science to your advantage (plain English): The body has two 'modes'

1. fight or flight mode

2. rest and digest mode

 --- Jump past this if you don't have time today for science ---

The technical science version: the autonomic nervous system:

  • consists of nerves arising from the brain and the lower end of the spinal cord and supplying the internal organs, blood vessels, and glands.
  • balances the action of the sympathetic nerves. The sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for intense physical activity and is often referred to as the fight-or-flight response. The parasympathetic nervous system has almost the exact opposite effect and relaxes the body and inhibits or slows many high energy functions.

 ---- Jump back in here ---

Some easy examples: One example we use often is the feeling of eating stressed or not stressed. We've all eaten a meal when we feel stressed out of our heads, you probably remember

  1. you barely chew, and you don't enjoy the meal
  2. the lack of enjoyment leaves you wanted some sort of treat later in the day
  3. you don't digest the food well, most people who eat in this state end up constipated or with IBS
  4. eating just feels like another 'job', so you are likely to grab anything
  5. you are likely to overeat, as you have no connection to when you feel full. This the OMG, I'm so full 30 minutes later feeling.

Compare this to the meals you are relaxed. You make a reasoned rationale choice about what to put in your mouth. You chew properly. You breath slower. You enjoy the food. You notice when you are full.

In this same example, JCF would recommend a 10-minute walk, in the sun, some slow breathes while you are walking, just so you ensure your body is in rest and digest for more time during the day.


The Goal: Its a lofty goal in life, but if possible, we want you to be in 'rest and digest' 23 hours a day and 'fight or flight' one hour a day when you train.

The better your health is:

  • the more you can feel when you are fight or flight
  • the easier you can get yourself into rest or digest


The most practical ways to get healthier: Here are the best tactics to feel better

1. Sleep better - we wrote a whole blog about that

2. Take supplements that enhance your ability to rest and digest (gaba and 5htp)

3. Try to recognise when you are stressed, when you feel amped up, try to get those 10 minutes of slow breathing in

4. Train hard. When you are at the gym, try to leave everything you can in your sets.

5. Don't hang out with people that cause you to stress (as much as possible)

6. Understand males and females deal with stress differently


Understand why JCF makes certain recommendations

Three things we do

1. Review your training volume

2. Review your calories surplus or deficit

3. Review your eating patterns/digestion

The above shows a normal healthy person in acceptable patterns of stress. The diagram shows how many areas cause stress (please review the JCF 5 stresses model).

The Easiest Fix

In near every person we've worked with, reducing or removing foods that add or cause digestive stress is better for a person overall. You and every person in the world has a finite ability to deal with stress. We can't make your boss easier to work with, or your deadlines longer, but we can reduce stress on your digestive systems.

We're about to release a 30 day challenge (for free) but the main point is to reduce stress in your digestion. We'll ask you not to eat dairy, gluten, eggs and soy for 30 days, and during the time, mark down your changes to energy. We've yet to see people say they don't feel better without the extra digestive stress caused by these foods.

If you aren't ready to commit to removing, attempt reducing. Choose gluten-free bread when you can, have your coffee black or with almond milk, don't add cheese, you will be surpised with the difference.


Calories in, Calories Out

A deficit of calories causes the body stress, and in turn a change to hormones. In near all cases, we'd rather see you recomp (calories at maintenance and hypertrophy work).

If you are in a period of heavy stress at work (or just in life) cutting calories at the same time is never a good choice.


Training Volume

There are two numbers we use with training. Maximum Recoverable Volume (your top end), Minimum Viable Effect (the least you can do moving forward).

Depending on where your stress is, we change these. If you are modifying your own training, change intensity and volume to balance your current life.


When everything stops

If you are living a life full of stress, you need to relax before trying to aggressively change your body. Here are signs you are stressed

1. You have no motivation

2. Your shoulders are always tight

3. You can't get over things. You feel always anxious, and unable to get out of flight or flight mode

This happens a lot with large stressful times, divorce, break up, new job, quitting, redundancy, reduced sleep with a new child. In these times, you should train to relax but not to gain. Get to the gym to feel better, but don't concern yourself with anything about getting moving, and feeling better.

Do not smash coffee and pre-workout to fake motivation. You are going to make it so much worse.


When to go hard

Most of us can remember a time in life where you didn't have a worry, you were always relaxed, you could eat anything and you feel asleep easy every night.

It's normally during a younger stage of life without 'adult' responsibilities. If this is you, and you feel like you can always recover and you never feel stress, this is the time to get after it. Train super hard, and you will GROW.


What if I'm really skinny

Lots of ectos say they can't grow and blame stress. A lot of the time, it's pure undereating.

Here is what we recommend for real ectos

  • 6000 cals a day for a year
  • plus high intensity
  • decent volume lifting

Dextrose mid-workout will help get those calories up.

What if I have really high bodyfat

If you have very high levels of body fat, we highly recommend the elimination of gluten, dairy, eggs, and soy.

Next, we recommend a muscle mass program. This is the opposite of most programs, but endomorphs put on muscle quick. You would squat twice a week and deadlift once or twice. You keep training until you can get your rest periods down to 90 seconds.

Getting that rest period down is key. You need an ability to work. You need to practice, practice. If you have no work capacity, it's hard to move you forward.


Closing thoughts

Best selling books like 'The subtle art of not giving a f*ck' are best sellers for a reason. It's really hard to chill out. We work with clients every day of the week with kids, jobs, 2 hours of transit and a mortgage. It's not easy to be relaxed, but its the answer.

We're far from psychologist here, but one thing we like to remind people of is of everything you worried about before, how many times did that worrying help.

With hindsight, many of the problems we face were manageable. We're better and more resourceful than we think. We're mentally stronger than we sometimes imagine. You will survive, you will persist, the sun will rise another day. This too shall pass.

The one common thing we see at JCF is people not realising how much they can achieve if they put the effort into the right area

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