Bring on the "Happy" Chemicals

Crystal Champagne
If any of you are familiar with lululemon you might know one of their manifestos - "A daily hit of athletic-induced endorphins gives you the power to make better decisions, helps you be at peace with yourself, and offsets stress", this statement is so bang on. I recall when a little over 4 years ago I went through one of the hardest times in my life, and during this time I was the most dedicated to exercising because I knew it brought me refuge. It was the time when I decided to get divorced and leave the Middle East with my twin daughters and come home alone.

I did not know how I would survive having to take care of 2 little ones with no certain form of income or housing. One thing that was certain amongst all the chaos I exercised, I knew that pushing myself in my training to kick start the endorphins was the key to offsetting the stress that might have made me physically or mentally ill which I could not afford to let happen.

Weights front

So what exactly are endorphins and how do they work? Endorphins are chemicals in your body that are released when your body has been subjected to certain types of stimuli such as; exercise, pain or experiencing something scary. For instance, if you really hurt yourself your body will release endorphins to ease the pain. Another example would be if you had to speak in public and were terrified, shortly after doing your speech you would experience a rush of positive feelings and these are your endorphins. Weights backExercise is clinically proven to also release these chemicals. However in order to achieve these happy feelings it does not come with light training. You have to work to a point where your body starts to burn fuel without oxygen (anaerobic level). So light weight training or light cardio exercise will not do the trick. You must bring your body to an anaerobic level and this is done by training with either heavy weights or pushing past your aerobic state and incorporating high intensity sprint intervals with alternated periods of lower intensity or also known as the recovery state.

Simple example of sprint intervals on the treadmill:

  1. 5-10 minute warm-up (light jog, low intensity, slowly increasing intensity at the end of warm up).
  2. 1 minute moderate-high intensity run followed by 1 minute low intensity jog (repeat 5-8 times) NB. The more physically fit you are the shorter the recovery time in between high intensity levels.
  3. 5-10 minutes cool down ( light jog, low intensity, slowly decreasing by the end of the cool down)

I have said this before, and I will say it again, I love what I do. It is a great feeling knowing that I can make a positive difference in someone’s day by pushing them to the next level so they walk away from their training feeling better than when they first walked in the door.

This article is for you Lisa, I hope those endorphins kicked in today :)

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Crystal Champagne - Personal Trainer
Crystal combines 10 years of competitive equestrian riding to her certifications as a personal and group trainer to inspire individuals in achieving their fitness objectives. As well, she enjoys working as a strength coach for elite athletic sports teams.

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