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Stress and muscle growth: How do they affect each other?

Stress negative for muscle growth?

It is well known that regular exercise is essential for building muscle. But what if we told you that stress also plays an important role in muscle growth? Yes, you read that right! Stress can have both a positive and a negative impact on muscle growth.

In this article, we take a closer look at the relationship between stress and muscle growth and how you can use it to your advantage.


What is Stress?

Stress is the body's natural response to a challenging situation. It is a survival mechanism that helps us respond to a threat. For example, if you almost get hit by a car, stress makes you react quickly and jump out of the way. This all happens automatically by the brain.

But in our modern society, we often experience long-term stress, such as stress at work or in our personal relationships. This type of stress can lead to chronic stress, which can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression. 

So you have different types of stress that we know. The Leiden Institute for Stress Prevention divides stress into three types: Exciting stress, Frustrating stress and Harmful stress.


Exciting stress:

Exciting stress is a positive form of stress. It can help you perform well and be more alert in some situations. This can range from a first date to a ride on a roller coaster.


Frustrating stress:

Frustrating stress occurs in situations that cause frustration, such as failing a tough exercise or someone you've been waiting for for a long time.


Harmful stress:

Finally, harmful stress is the worst kind of stress that a person can have. This can happen, for example, if an employee has to perform work beyond his or her capacity for a longer period of time, if someone is routinely bullied or after a traumatic experience such as a violent accident or after a violent relationship. If this tension persists and the body does not return to its so-called resting level, we speak of chronic stress. This stress can be very harmful to the body in the long and short term. It is therefore important to always do something with this.


guy stress apexnutrition


What is Muscle Growth?

Muscle growth, also known as hypertrophy, is the process by which muscle fibers increase in size in response to resistance training. When you train with weights or resistance bands, small tears occur in the muscle fibers. The body repairs these tears and makes the muscles stronger and larger.


How does stress affect muscle growth?

As mentioned earlier, stress can have both a positive and negative impact on muscle growth. Below we explain how:


Positive stress

Short-term stress can have a positive effect on muscle growth. For example, when you train with heavy weights, your body experiences stress. This can cause your body to produce more growth hormones, which can lead to muscle growth. In addition, an exciting stress can actually ensure that you are more focused, which means that you can lift heavier than when you experience no stress at all.


Negative stress

Chronic stress or harmful stress can have a negative effect on muscle growth. When your body experiences prolonged stress, it produces more cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. This hormone can cause muscle breakdown and can reduce the production of growth hormones, which can lead to muscle loss. In addition, negative / harmful stress costs a lot of energy for your body, so you can automatically lift less heavy than normal.


How can you use stress to your advantage?

Now that you know how stress can affect muscle growth, it's important to know how to use stress to your advantage. Below we have listed a number of tips for you: 


Limit chronic stress 

Try to reduce chronic stress by, for example, getting enough rest, meditating regularly or practicing yoga. This way you ensure that your body produces less cortisol and produces more growth hormones.


Choose the right exercises

Choose exercises that mimic stressful situations for your body, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or strength training with heavy weights. This causes your body to experience short-term stress, which can lead to more growth hormones and muscle growth.


Get enough rest and recovery

It is important to give your body sufficient rest and recovery after an intensive workout. This not only helps to prevent muscle pain and injuries, but also to reduce stress. Try to get enough sleep, eat healthy and take the time to relax.


Avoid too much stress in your daily life

In addition to limiting chronic stress, it is also important to avoid experiencing too much stress on a daily basis. For example, try to plan your time better, delegate tasks and take breaks to relax. This way you control stress and promote muscle growth.


woman yoga stress apexnutrition


Shilajit and reducing stress.

shilajit, also known as "the blood of the mountains," is a natural mineral supplement that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Extracted from the rocks of the Himalayas, it contains a unique blend of minerals and compounds that can help reduce stress and anxiety. 

Below we discuss some of the ways shilajit can help reduce stress.


Reduces inflammation

Inflammation is often a by-product of stress and can lead to a variety of health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Shilajit contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body. As a result, shilajit can contribute to a healthier body and less stress.


Promotes relaxation

Shilajit also contains adaptogenic compounds that can help promote relaxation. Adaptogens are natural substances that help the body adapt to stressful situations. Taking shilajit helps your body deal with stressful situations, making you feel more relaxed.


Improves energy and mental clarity

Stress can lead to fatigue and a lack of mental clarity. Shilajit can help improve energy production in the body and promote mental clarity. This allows you to feel more focused and better deal with stressful situations.


Supports the immune system

The immune system can become strained by stress. Shilajit contains antioxidants and minerals that can support and strengthen the immune system. This allows the body to better deal with stress and illnesses.

Would you like to read more about how shilajit can help you with your mental health? In our blog "The incredible mental health benefits of ShilajitLet's go deeper into this!




Stress and muscle growth are closely linked. Short-term stress can have a positive effect on muscle growth by stimulating the production of growth hormones. Chronic stress, on the other hand, can lead to muscle breakdown and reduced production of growth hormones.

By ensuring adequate rest and recovery, reducing chronic stress and choosing the right exercises, you can use stress to your advantage and promote muscle growth. It is important to listen to your body and reduce stress when necessary. Shilajit can help to reduce chronic stress, mainly due to the fulvic acid in shilajit.

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