What Norwegian death metal can teach you about stress management.

Imagine life with nothing to challenge you, change you, or encourage you to grow.

Sounds like a total snooze, right?

Well, that’s a life with no stress.

In reality, we want a “Goldilocks amount” of stress: not too much, but also not too little.

So why does so much of the advice around stress management tell you to simply “reduce stress”?

Is that really the right approach, all the time?

Stress itself isn’t a bad thing.

A stressor is simply something that disrupts homeostasis (the status quo).

By itself, a stressor is neutral.

Instead, it’s how you react to a stressor—your physiological and psychological stress response—that determines its positive or negative impact.

How you perceive, experience, and cope with stress not only influences how you behave, but also how stress affects you. In other words, whether it breaks you down—or builds you up.

For instance: Do you like the sound of grown men screaming and growling?

If not, you probably don’t like Norwegian death metal music, and would find it horribly stressful to hear.

If yes, that might be just the thing to help you relax after a tough day.

Same stimulus: different perception, different response.

Luckily, no matter your starting point, you can develop the skills to embrace, manage, and even grow from stress.

The result: You can feel more capable and live a richer, fuller life.

We’ll show you how—with three strategies that’ll help you build resilience and make stress work for you.

(But don’t worry: Norwegian death metal is completely optional.)

When you embrace stress, it can benefit all areas of your life.

In the right amounts—and with effective responses to it—stress can keep you interested, energized, growing, productive, and connected. Stress can give all areas of life substance and meaning.

Check it out:

Dimension of healthHow stress helps usPhysical healthStressors can energize you, sharpen your senses, and increase your ability to withstand discomfort.

Intermittent stress—coupled with recovery—helps your body become stronger and more capable.Mental and cognitive healthManaged effectively, stress helps you focus your attention, plan for future challenges, and enhance memory and learning. Stressors might even feel like fun puzzles to solve.Emotional healthStress can help you develop heightened awareness, stronger relationships, and a greater appreciation for the ups and downs of life.Social healthSome conflict is actually crucial for healthy, secure relationships—it’s a pathway to better understand others. By working through things together, we grow together.Existential healthNothing makes you feel alive like facing a crisis and emerging on the other end with a new sense of self, purpose, and priorities.

It’s often when your values and purpose are threatened that you’re most energized to commit to them.Environmental healthHeat! Cold! Rough terrain! Variations in your environment help you get stronger and more adaptable.

(E.g. Exercising in hot, humid temperatures is hard and initially slows you down, but over time, increases your oxygen capacity and your ability to manage heat.)

Pretty cool, right?

Like a piece of coal, a little bit of pressure can help the diamond emerge.

How to use stress to build you up, instead of break you down

Of course, stress won’t always be present in the “right” amount. 

And some types of stress shouldn’t be “leaned into.” Chronic stressors like abuse, unsafe communities, a global pandemic, racism, homophobia, and so on can harm people’s health.

If stress is unrelenting, demoralizing, and feels completely out of your control, take steps to reduce it and protect yourself and your sanity, if you can.

Concerned that you might be burned out? Take our burnout quizFeeling overwhelmed by stress and anxiety? Read: “How can I cope RIGHT NOW?” These self-care strategies might help you feel better.Discover how trauma affects health and fitnessLearn how to prioritize self-care… without the bubble bath.

But, if and when you do have the opportunity, you can actually increase your capacity for stress by changing how you perceive and process it

When you build your “stress coping muscle,” what you used to think of as overwhelming becomes an exciting challenge.

(Think: things like demanding work assignments, physical training, and change in general.)

Here are three strategies to help you use stress to your advantage.

Strategy 1: Change your stress mindset.

Your mindset is the mental lens through which you look at the world. 

It’s like a framework for organizing your beliefs, assumptions, and perspective.

Your mindset makes meaning out of your experiences. In turn, it shapes your actions and responses during those experiences.

In a sense, your mindset is a self-fulling prophecy.

When you believe…

Stress is an assetStress is harmfulYou’ll be more likely to:

Feel, think, act, and respond in ways that improve your performance and encourage flexibility and resourcefulnessEngage in active coping behaviors, and actually resolve your problemsNotice evidence of your resilience, which reinforces your beliefLong-term, build deep health and fitness, making you even more capable and resilient in futureMeet new challenges, and believe you’re able to meet those challengesYou’ll be more likely to:

Feel, think, act, and respond in ways that make you less resilient and more at risk of negative consequences of stressFocus on how bad you feel, finding plenty of evidence of your “failures” and distressFear the future and what could happen, because you don’t trust your own ability to deal with itSteer clear of situations that could lead to growth

Cope with stressors unproductively, avoiding or ignoring your problems (ironically making stressors bigger and longer-lasting)

Try it: Do a stress audit.

Shifting your mindset can take time and practice. And, you may have to purposely face challenging events to learn that you can recover from them.

However, you can begin to change your stress mindset with this exercise:

Make three columns.

In the first column, list all the challenging or stressful events you’ve experienced in the last year or two.

Some of those were probably really hard to go through. While you were “in it,” it might’ve been hard to see your way out.

But here you are.

Now, in the second column, note what you learned from these events. What skills were you forced to develop, and what wisdom did you gain from them?

Last, in the third column, list the resources that helped you manage and overcome these challenges. What knowledge, emotional resilience, or social support did you draw on?

Consider what you have in front of you.

Sure, there are some experiences that we would never wish to repeat, and not all stressful events make us stronger. (Again, it’s important to distinguish between healthy stressors and burnout or traumas.)

But you might notice that many challenges—even the unwelcome ones—serve you in the long term, making you more compassionate, gritty, or wise.

When you consider future challenges, draw on this list.

What can you borrow from previous experiences that might help you?Or, are there any areas that you might want to develop to help you feel better equipped?

When you believe your ability to cope matches or exceeds the demand of a situation, you’re more likely to look at that situation as a challenge rather than a threat. 

(Not only does this help you feel better, but physiologically, you’re less likely to experience the negative health effects of stress, like high cortisol.1)

Feeling prepared and well-resourced helps you approach growth opportunities—and make life’s inevitable flash storms feel a lot less scary.

Strategy 2: Develop productive coping strategies.

Ironically, avoiding and ignoring stress, or trying to reduce it across the board, can create a vicious cycle:

The more you try to run away from stress, particularly using unhelpful coping strategies, the worse it gets.

However, there’s also a virtuous (positive) cycle that can go in the exact opposite direction:

You embrace stress, use productive coping mechanisms to help yourself process and recover, and actually improve your health—not to mention your resilience to future stressors.

The below table describes the differences between these two coping styles:

Productive copingUnproductive copingCan cause short-term discomfort but ultimately leads to better long-term outcomeTries to alleviate short-term discomfort but ends up creating long-term problemsApproach-focused: Deals directly with the problem or situationAvoidance-focused: Avoids dealing with the problem or situationFaces and accepts reality as it isDenial and wishful thinking (“If only this hadn’t happened…”)Assertive, activeDefensive, passive, helplessOptimism, belief in one’s ability to manageHopelessness, despair, resignationHealthy de-stressing (e.g., exercise, meditation, social support)Unhealthy distractions and numbing-out (alcohol, drugs, compulsive shopping)Thinking practically about how to address the situation (e.g., coming up with possible solutions)Rumination (constantly thinking about the situation and how bad or upsetting it is)

Try it: Practice a productive coping style with 5-minute actions.

Tiny, strategic, 5-minute steps can help you start approaching and proactively dealing with stressors—especially when they feel overwhelming and make you want to run away,

We call it the 5-minute action.

(Although there’s nothing special about 5 minutes. It could be 10 seconds, or 1 minute, or 10 minutes.)

The point is:

It’s something that’s very, very small.It’s an action—something you do.It feels easy and simple.It moves you in the direction you want to go.

So, consider the thing you’re stressed about.

Then pick ONE small action you can take TODAY to help deal with it.

(To identify an action that will actually help you achieve your larger goal, check out The 4-Circle Exercise.)

Here’s an example:

If you’re stressed about your eating habits, your 5-minute action might be to place an online grocery order, so you have access to healthy foods for the next week. (Or, find a healthy meal delivery service if you don’t have time to cook, and you can afford to delegate that task.)

Each time you choose a productive coping strategy instead of an unproductive one, it’s like a biceps curl for your resilience muscle. Eventually, your instinct to choose productive coping gets stronger, and stress actually becomes a catalyst for growth.

Strategy 3: Learn how to turn on productive stress… and how to turn it off.

Being a little amped up is great when you’re trying to line up a free throw to score the winning point, when you’re writing an exam, or when you’re having an important, meaningful discussion with your partner.

However, you also want to be able to turn off your stress response when you need to rest.

You want “stress flexibility.”

In practical terms, that means:

A strong sympathetic nervous system response to mobilize action when it’s “go time” (such as a job interview, audition, or athletic competition).A strong parasympathetic nervous system response to calm you down when it’s “chill time” (such as bedtime).A relatively calm but attentive baseline in between.

More resilient people can rapidly turn their stress response on and off as needed, and match its intensity to the challenge at hand.

Try it: Practice coping flexibility.

To be able to turn “on” and “off” when you need to, you’ll want to have a full toolbox of coping strategies to help you deal with, process, and recover from different types of stressful situations.2

This is called “coping flexibility.”

There’s no one best (productive) coping method that works for everything and everyone, but these are some of our favorites:

Make time and plan ahead: Organize your schedule and routine to focus on valued activities (such as sleep), and anticipate reasonable obstacles. (For help, check out: Planning & Time Use WorksheetDo a mind/body scan: Take five to ten minutes mentally scan your body from head to toe, noticing physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts.Have a crucial conversation: Have important yet difficult discussions; confront and discuss an “elephant in the room” (that cringe-y issue you’re avoiding) with someone you care about.Practice self-compassion: Offer care, kindness, and grace to yourself during difficult times. Ask yourself: ‘How can I be most kind to myself during this experience?’Identify bright spots: Focus almost exclusively on what is going well; ignore problems and setbacks unless they’re actively causing damage. Ask yourself: ‘What is going well, even just a little bit? What strengths, resources, and opportunities do I have right now?’Just breathe: Use breathing techniques to energize or calm your body. (Try “box breathing”: Inhale for 4 to 5 seconds, hold that breath for 4 to 5 seconds, slowly breathe out for another 4 to 5 seconds, and then hold your breath for 4 to 5 seconds more. Repeat as many times as you like.)Seek support: When possible, avoid going into the proverbial woods alone. Whether friends and family; your dog who always listens without interrupting; or a qualified counselor or therapist—find support, allies, and buddies to walk the path with you. Others help “co-regulate” us by providing a comforting presence.

Stress management is a choose-your-own-adventure.

Stress management can be about lowering your load of stressors. 

Often, that’s a great option.

If you honestly assess your life and your ability to affect it, you’ll usually find plenty of areas that are within your control.

In these cases, you can lower unproductive stressors, like avoidable conflicts with friends and family, spending too much time doomscrolling social media thinking about how much the world sucks, and so on.


Stress management can also be about rising to the challenge in areas you care about, or want to grow in.

For instance, maybe…

You watch a few hours less TV a week to take a language class that stretches your brain.You enlist coaching to take your sport to the next level, or sign up for an event that’s just a little harder or scarier than what you can do now.You sign up for Toastmasters, improv, or a standup comedy class to finally confront that fear of public speaking.You challenge yourself to be a better parent or partner by working on your own communication skills.You address injustice in the world by finding allies and working for change.

Ultimately, stress management is about choosing.

Where possible, you can choose what stressors you expose yourself to. Seek challenges in the areas you want to grow, and lower the threats in the areas that are harming you.Where you can’t change the stressors, you can try to choose your response. Learn calming and self-regulating skills, and productive ways to cope. If you find you consistently can’t change your response to stressors, seek help.

(Expert tip: At some point, choose support rather than going it alone. A trusted friend or family member, coach, and/or qualified mental health professional can help you build a strong stress-resilience team.)

When you have choices, you’re less likely to feel stuck.

So when that big life-avalanche comes barreling your way, you don’t feel doomed.

Instead, you might think, “I’m ready. I can ride this beast.” (Maybe even while turning the Norwegian death metal up to 11.)



Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

1. Uphill, Mark A., Claire J. L. Rossato, Jon Swain, and Jamie O’Driscoll. 2019. “Challenge and Threat: A Critical Review of the Literature and an Alternative Conceptualization.” Frontiers in Psychology 10 (July): 1255.

2. Cheng, Cecilia, Hi-Po Bobo Lau, and Man-Pui Sally Chan. 2014. “Coping Flexibility and Psychological Adjustment to Stressful Life Changes: A Meta-Analytic Review.” Psychological Bulletin 140 (6): 1582–1607.

If you’re a health and fitness coach…

Learning how to help clients manage stress, build resilience, and optimize sleep and recovery can be deeply transformative—for both of you.

It helps clients get “unstuck” and makes everything else easier—whether they want to eat better, move more, lose weight, or reclaim their health.

And for coaches: It gives you a rarified skill that will set you apart as an elite change maker.

The brand-new PN Level 1 Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification will show you how.

Want to know more?

The post What Norwegian death metal can teach you about stress management. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

Did you miss our previous article…

How to sleep better—when nothing helps you sleep better

Reviewed by Jennifer Martin, PhD

It’s 3:17 am, and you’re awake.

Your bedroom is a cool 65° F, and inky black thanks to your blackout blinds.

You haven’t touched caffeine since 10 am.

You meditated before bed.

And if you count one more stupid lamb, you’re going to scream.

You’ve done everything right. Why can’t you sleep?

As it turns out, good sleep hygiene (habits and routines that reduce sleep disturbances) isn’t always enough.

Meanwhile, sleep loss can become a nightmarish loop. The more nights you spend tossing and turning, the more you might:

Associate your bed with anxiety and sleeplessnessSleep in, withdraw from daytime activities, and/or obsess about sleepingDevelop a belief that you’re doomed to be a “bad sleeper”

The good news: There’s help.

You have more tools than ever to improve sleep quality.

For this story, we used insights from CBT-I, a research-supported form of cognitive behavioral therapy developed to treat insomnia.

We also worked with Dr. Jennifer Martin, sleep scientist and professor of medicine at UCLA, and Dr. Chris Winter, sleep researcher, neurologist, leading sleep expert, and author of The Sleep Solution. (They’re both contributing experts in our new Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Certification.)

If you’re having trouble sleeping, the following strategies have the potential to transform your sleep life.


1. Train yourself to believe you can handle less-than-ideal sleep.

“I have to fall back asleep, or tomorrow is ruined.”

“I need a solid night’s sleep, or I’m going to blow my presentation.”

“If I don’t sleep well, my inflammation levels are going to skyrocket, and I’m going to get cancer.”

Sound familiar?

Frustratingly, it’s often your thoughts that turn one bad night into a pattern of bad nights.

When you worry, your body becomes alert and vigilant. This state of physiological arousal interferes with sleep, and—if it  continues over time—you may even begin to define yourself as “a bad sleeper.”

Often, the best approach isn’t medication, supplements, or even some otherwise great sleep hygiene.

Rather, it’s addressing the underlying thoughts and emotions.

Build the skill: Reframe your thoughts.

Write down the thoughts or beliefs that come up when you don’t sleep well.

For example:

I’ll never sleep well again.I can’t work out / think clearly / be in a good mood because I’m so tired.My bad sleep is going to cause me to get some terrible illness, like cancer or heart disease.

Notice how worried thoughts tend to:

Use absolutes (like “always” or “neverPredict the future (even though you’re not a licensed fortune-teller)See things as “all-or-nothing” (“If I don’t sleep well, I can’t do ANYTHING.”)

Now, reframe those beliefs using a nuanced perspective.

For example:

I might lose sleep occasionally, but other nights will probably be okay.I’m not feeling my best, but I can do some exercise / work and maybe find a few moments of joy in my day.Sleep is just one aspect of good health. If I don’t sleep well, I can still make sure I eat nutritious foods, drink enough water, and maybe get outside for a few deep breaths.

Compassion in particular can activate your calming nervous system. Imagine: all those people, just like you, staring at the ceiling. Send them some imaginary kindness for their suffering, and mentally reassure them that they’ll be okay too.

Consider also what a growth mindset about sleep might look like. Nobody is doomed to be a “bad sleeper” forever.

For example:

I’m frustrated right now, but I believe in my ability to find solutions if I keep exploring.It feels like I’ve tried all the strategies, but I wonder if there are things I could practice more consistently? Maybe someone can give me some feedback and coaching here.

Knowing a bit about sleep physiology can also be comforting.

For example:

You probably drift into light sleep without realizing it. Ever caught someone snoozing during a movie, and when you called them on it, they swore they were awake?Your brain will eventually make you sleep. Often, even if it doesn’t FEEL like you’ve slept, you probably have. And although some nights you may sleep less, over time, your body will generally fall into a pattern of sleeping at least 5-6 hours a night.

With a little trust in your body, and some intentional reframing of your thoughts, you can train yourself to go from feeling like crappy sleep is a disaster, to feeling like it’s about as devastating as finding a small hole in your underwear.

Not ideal, but you’ll get over it.

2. Have a consistent sleep-wake schedule.

Informal poll:

Who loves a good sleep-in to catch up on extra winks?

[Everyone raises a hand.]

We’re with you. However, delaying your wake time or hastening your bedtime can lead to problems long term.

That’s because oversleeping can reduce your sleep drive.

Your sleep drive is a biological hunger for sleep that accumulates while you’re awake. When you sleep in, you delay that hunger… which is why you might still be wide awake at 2 am the following night.

(To learn more about sleep drive, read: The science of sleep.)

The solution? Spend only as much time in bed as you need (for most adults, that’s 7-9 hours) and stick to the regular sleep-wake programming, even on weekends when you could lounge in bed until noon.

Build the skill: Find a sleep schedule that works for YOU (and stick to it).

Different people have different cycles of sleep and wakefulness.

You may know this as being either an “early bird” or a “night owl.”

(This inclination to sleep and wake during particular phases of a 24-hour cycle is also called chronotype.)

Check in:

If your energy is highest in the mornings, and you’re often the first one to leave a party (yawning), you’re probably an “early bird.”If your energy is higher later in the day, and you have a mug that says, “But first, coffee,” you’re probably a “night owl.”

Once you understand your individual patterns, you can try to work with them—waking when you’re more likely to feel energetic and going to bed when you’re more likely to feel sleepy—rather than fight them.

See if you can shift your schedule (as much as you can control) to wake and sleep at a time that feels more natural YOUR body. As a result, you may find you fall asleep—and wake up—more easily.

This table shows some sample schedules, based on chronotype:

Wake timePre-bed ritual startsSleep timeEarly bird (or early-morning job requirements)5:30 AM8:30-9 PM9:30 PMMiddle of the road (or average 9-5er)7:30 AM10:30-11:00 PM11:30 PMNight owl (or late-starting work requirements)10 AM1:00-1:30 AM2 AM

Depending on work and/or home obligations, you may not be able to start your day at 10:30 am even if that’s what’s ideal for your body.

So, work with what you’ve got. Can you shift your sleep/wake time by an hour? Half an hour? Great. Even small changes can help.

Stick to your new schedule consistently.

Waking up at the same time, even on weekends and off days, is a well-established way to create a strong sleep cycle.

To do this, you can set a bedtime alarm to go off 30-60 minutes before your scheduled bedtime to remind you to start relaxing.

Of course, you can also use an alarm if you feel like you can’t trust yourself to wake at a certain time, but many people find when they discover a schedule that works, they naturally wake when they want.

3. Create a safe sleep space.

Sleep is a period of time when your defenses are down.

You’re less able to react to danger, whether that’s someone stealing your wallet or Sharpie-ing a mustache on your face.

That’s why, to sleep, you need to feel safe.

Anything that disturbs that sense of safety can trigger hypervigilance—a constantly elevated state of scanning your environment for potential threats, closely connected to anger and anxiety.1 This includes conflict with your bedmate, feeling overloaded at work, or that swirling anxiety triggered by the nightly news.

And, as you can imagine, being in a constant state of surveillance isn’t great for sleep.

In situations like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many people even fear sleep, which may come with nightmares, or the fear of being attacked while one isn’t conscious.2,3,4

(Note: Treating conditions like clinical anxiety or PTSD requires the care of a specialist and is beyond the scope of this article.)

Build the skill: Feel safe and secure.

This thought exercise can help you come up with creative solutions that lead to a sense of being cocooned, calm, and connected.

Here’s the general idea:

Imagine you live in a place called Great Sleep Town.

The main attraction of this town: Everyone who lives there gets consistent, excellent sleep. Plus, in each home, you can control all aspects of the environment to optimize sleep, including lighting, decor, noise, bedding, and movement of people.

You also have all the money and resources in the world. Think: Engineers, community mediators, sleep scientists, architects, interior decorators, psychologists, couples counsellors, massage therapists, and yogis.

Remember, you have full control, so get creative!

Use these questions to get started:

How do you think Great Sleep Town created such a strong sleep culture? What supports do citizens have that allow them to feel safe and calm when they “power down”?How do residents spend their days? And with whom?What environmental features does a home in Great Sleep Town have? Specifically, what features do the bedrooms have that facilitate such good sleep?

Of course, not all of the things you dream up will be readily accessible to you—or even invented yet. However, your answers might give you some insights into small things you could change.

What you need for better sleep will be specific to your life, but here’s what’s worked for some of our clients:

Buying some really soft sheetsInstalling an alarm system and improved door locksHaving something for white noise, or wearing ear plugsDecluttering your bedroom, so it feels peaceful and “zen”Planning one small moment of pleasure or relaxation for the next day to look forward toResolving that argument with your spouse/friend/motherLeaving the TV and some lights on so potential intruders know that someone’s homeSleeping with your big, protective dog

Note: While this experiment can reveal some helpful changes, if you’re experiencing significant distress over your sleep, consider working with a therapist to directly treat the underlying fears and traumas that might be causing you to feel unsettled.

Sleep is a skill, not an identity.

This article is by no means a comprehensive guide to solving all sleep problems. If your struggles with sleep are persistent or severe, consult with your doctor.


Whatever your sleep is like now, know that you can change.

As Dr. Winter says:

“Sleep is a skill, not a trait. If you have a good coach, you can get better.”

Keep practicing good sleep hygiene, trust in your body’s ability to sleep, and dig up Mr. Snufflesworth—your comforting childhood stuffie—if you need to.

We hope to see you in Great Sleep Town.



Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

1. Forbes D, Nickerson A, Bryant RA, Creamer M, Silove D, McFarlane AC, et al. The impact of post-traumatic stress disorder symptomatology on quality of life: The sentinel experience of anger, hypervigilance and restricted affect. Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2019 Apr;53(4):336–49.

2. Hall Brown T, Mellman TA. The influence of PTSD, sleep fears, and neighborhood stress on insomnia and short sleep duration in urban, young adult, African Americans. Behav Sleep Med. 2014;12(3):198–206.

3. Gupta MA, Sheridan AD. Fear of Sleep May Be a Core Symptom of Sympathetic Activation and the Drive for Vigilance in Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018 Dec 15;14(12):2093.

4. Werner GG, Riemann D, Ehring T. Fear of sleep and trauma-induced insomnia: A review and conceptual model. Sleep Med Rev. 2021 Feb;55:101383.

If you’re a health and fitness coach…

Learning how to help clients manage stress, build resilience, and optimize sleep and recovery can be deeply transformative—for both of you.

It helps clients get “unstuck” and makes everything else easier—whether they want to eat better, move more, lose weight, or reclaim their health.

And for coaches: It gives you a rarified skill that will set you apart as an elite change maker.

The brand-new PN Level 1 Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification will show you how.

Want to know more?

The post How to sleep better—when nothing helps you sleep better appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

PCOS: Three evidence-based strategies that really work

Reviewed by Stephanie Paver, MS, RD

What is PCOS CausesSymptomsPCOS DietTreatment Weight LossFor Coaches

cne, hair in weird places, weight gain, wonky periods, and fertility struggles.

Those are just some of the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal problem that affects up to 20 percent of women worldwide.1, 2

Because of its varied symptoms along with the lack of a clear diagnostic test, some women must wait years—and see multiple health professionals—before they get an accurate diagnosis.3

Even with good advice, women with PCOS may struggle to do what they know is good for them:

If fatigue is an issue, exercise can feel as appealing as hauling garbage on a hot day.

If sleep is elusive, appetite might intensify, making processed foods seem all the more irresistible.

If mental health is suffering, everything might seem harder.

Also frustrating: Trying to find consistent, evidence-based PCOS advice on the Internet. Seriously. Ugh.

That’s why we wrote this article—so coaches and people with PCOS can find trusted advice that actually works.


What is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?

Physicians diagnose PCOS when someone exhibits at least two of the following:

✓ Irregular periods: They may be shorter than 21 days, longer than 35 days, or completely absent.

✓ “Cysts” in the ovaries: Confirmed by an ultrasound, these growths aren’t true cysts, but rather a build-up of egg follicles.

✓ High androgen levels, like testosterone: This is confirmed by a blood test or visible signs like facial hair, acne, or male pattern baldness.

Though not a diagnostic criteria, high insulin levels and a reduced ability to tolerate carbohydrates are also common.

Biology lesson: The PCOS hormonal cascade

PCOS likely originates in the hypothalamus, a small region in the brain which—among other things—is in charge of regulating hormones.

Anatomical figure of a woman. At the hypothalamus, there is a higher GnRH pulse frequency. At the pituitary gland, there is increased LH secretion. In the body, there is increased inflammation. In the pancreas, there is insulin resistance, leading to high insulin. In the ovaries, there is a lower progesterone-to-estrogen ratio, absent or irregular ovulation, increased testosterone, and excess ovarian follicles. An arrow shows that lack of progesterone from the ovaries contributes to higher GnRH pulse frequency.

In a normal menstrual cycle, the hypothalamus releases a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in regular pulses, triggering the pituitary gland to release two other hormones:

follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)luteinizing hormone (LH)

FSH and LH travel to the ovary, prompting the release of estrogens, androgens, and progesterones. The right ratio of these hormones stimulates ovulation, or the release of an egg.

In PCOS, the hypothalamus releases GnRH at a higher frequency.

Faster and longer GnRH pulses disrupt the normal ratio of LH and FSH. Many (though not all) women with PCOS will have higher levels of LH. More LH triggers the production of more androgens—like testosterone—and inhibits ovulation.

High insulin—a common feature of PCOS—can further contribute to androgen production as well as decrease another hormone called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which can lead to even higher amounts of circulating free testosterone.

Women may also have dysregulated thyroid and adrenal function.

Just like the ovaries, the thyroid and adrenal glands depend on normal hypothalamic and pituitary function.

It’s this hormonal circus that causes the grab-bag of symptoms that appear across various systems of the body.

What causes PCOS?

PCOS arises from a combination of four main influences.


Multiple genes contribute to an increased risk of PCOS, although carrying a specific gene variant doesn’t guarantee you’ll exhibit symptoms.4, 5, 6

The fetal environment

If your mother has higher levels of testosterone during her pregnancy with you, your risk of developing PCOS goes up.7, 8

Childhood trauma

Chronic stress early in life can result in changes in the brain that alter hormone regulation, and increase the risk of many diseases, such as immune, metabolic, cardiovascular, and psychiatric disorders.9, 10

Women with PCOS are twice as likely to have experienced childhood trauma.11

Lifestyle habits

A sedentary lifestyle, poor nutrition, and obesity contribute to insulin resistance and excess inflammation.

This makes PCOS more likely, as well as worsens symptoms.

Getting adequate movement, good nutrition, and managing weight won’t cure you if you have PCOS, but they can improve symptoms, quality of life, and future health outcomes.12

Several environmental pollutants have been linked to PCOS, too.13

These include brominated diphenyl ethers, polychlorinated biphenyls, organochlorine pesticides, perfluorinated compounds, phthalates, and bisphenol A (BPA). Major hormone disruptors, these chemicals are found in air, water, soil, and food, as well as in household cleaning supplies, food containers, and beauty products.

PCOS symptoms

Hormonal imbalances produce a constellation of symptoms, which vary from person to person and range from very mild to severe.

Menstrual irregularities: In addition to being longer or shorter than usual, periods may also be super heavy or very light.

Infertility / anovulation: High levels of androgens stop the release of an egg, inhibiting ovulation.

Ovarian “cysts” / follicles: Many—but not all—women with PCOS have a build-up of immature ovarian follicles (often erroneously called “cysts”).

Changes in hair growth: High androgen levels can cause coarse hair to develop on the face, chest, belly, or back, a symptom known as hirsutism. Meanwhile, hair at the crown and frontline of the head may begin to thin.

Weight gain and / or stubborn weight loss: Weight can stick around like a stubborn barnacle, possibly due to the combination of high androgens, high blood sugar and insulin, unregulated inflammation, and/or a sluggish thyroid.

Acne: High androgen and insulin levels may contribute to oily skin and stubborn acne—especially around the chin, but also on other parts of the face, back, or chest. Painful, longer-lasting cysts can also appear around the underarms, under the breasts, or around the groin, a condition called hidradenitis suppurativa or acne inversa.

Dark skin patches: Also known as acanthosis nigricans, high insulin levels can cause darkened, thickened, velvety skin in the creases of the body, particularly around the armpits, neck, and groin.

Low energy and carb cravings: Some women with PCOS have a reduced ability to tolerate processed carbs. Translation: 15 minutes after you’ve eaten that scone, you’ve dozed off and your face is molding to your keyboard.

Increased risk of diabetes: Compared to the general population, women with unmanaged PCOS are more than four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and nearly three times more likely to develop gestational diabetes.14

Blood lipid imbalances: High blood sugar and insulin can contribute to low levels of high-density lipoprotein (the “good” cholesterol), high triglycerides, and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Sleep issues: PCOS is linked to sleep apnea, which is when breathing periodically stops during sleep.15

Mood swings, anxiety, and depression: PCOS can increase the likelihood of mood swings, anxiety, and depression.16 Because many women with PCOS struggle with their weight, they’re also at an increased risk of disordered eating.

Both the visible and invisible symptoms of PCOS can be incredibly distressing, taking a toll on self-esteem.

Thankfully, there’s help.

PCOS and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Women with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis—an autoimmune condition of the thyroid—are more than three times as likely to have PCOS, compared to the regular population.17, 18

Why are the two related? It’s still unclear.

What we do know:

Both PCOS and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have a strong genetic component. A handful of genes (FBN, GNRHR and CYP1B1) have been linked to both, although researchers aren’t confident these genes fully explain their association.19Women with PCOS have a higher estrogen to progesterone ratio, which can increase immune activity. This is bad news for autoimmune conditions like Hashimoto’s, which are characterized by an already overactive immune system.Women with PCOS may have less gut microbiome diversity.20, 21 This can further compromise the immune system.

This landscape in is like adding gasoline to an autoimmune fire, increasing the likelihood of Hashimoto’s.22

PCOS treatment

Out there on the Internet, you’ll find PCOS treatment plans that list dozens of “never eat” foods and sweat-til-you-drop fitness regimens.

You won’t find that here. In our experience of working with over 100,000 clients, we know one thing for sure: It takes a rare person to consistently stick to an extreme diet and fitness plan.

The good news: Most people see massive improvements with just three tiny and much-more-realistic lifestyle changes.

The PCOS diet: Be smart with carbs

To manage energy and blood sugar, you don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) avoid carbs altogether, but some research shows that lower carb—and possibly low dairy—diets can be helpful.23

The advice

Put the focus on what to eat rather than what not to eat. Aim for about 10 grams of fiber and 20-30 grams of protein (roughly one palm-sized portion) per meal by building plates around these nutrient-rich foods.

Lean proteins: meat and poultry, fish and shellfish, eggs, tofu and tempehColorful non-starchy vegetables: cruciferous veggies (think: broccoli, cabbage, and kale), lettuces, cucumber, celery, summer squash, tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, and asparagusLow-sugar fruits: berries, apples, oranges, and plumsHealthy fats: avocado, olives, nuts and seeds, and oils (olive and coconut)

With the above taking up the most space, fill out your plate with smaller amounts of dairy, starchy veggies, or whole grains.

For help making more nutritious food choices, check out this visual guide: ‘What should I eat?!’

And for more specific nutrition recommendations tailored to your body, lifestyle, and goals—including portion suggestions for the above food groups—see: The Precision Nutrition Calculator.

re there any supplements that help PCOS?

Below is a list of the most effective, evidence-based supplements used to manage PCOS.

If you’re a coach, encourage your client to first talk to their doctor.

NutrientMechanism of actionLevel of evidenceRecommended doseInositolHelps regulate hormone levels and menstrual cycles, as well as improve insulin sensitivity, egg quality, and fertility. 24, 25, 26Very highTwo forms are most effective: Myo-inositol (4,000 mg/day) and D-chiro-inositol (100 mg/day)ZincZinc deficiency is more common in women with PCOS,27 and supplementation may regulate hair growth and improve skin quality.28Moderate30-50 mg/day for 8 weeks, with a meal (can cause nausea on an empty stomach)Vitamin DPlays a role in ovarian follicle development and progesterone production, both important for maintaining a healthy menstrual cycle and fertility.29ModerateIf a blood test confirms a deficiency, 1,000-2,000 IU/day can help normalize levelsMagnesiumHelps regulate blood sugar, estrogen, and progesterone production, and supports the nervous system.Moderate200-400 mg/dayChromiumImproves insulin sensitivity, and may help lower high blood sugar.30Moderate200-1,000 mcg/day (at the higher range, separate doses into two or more)

PCOS exercise: Find joyful movement

Most beings benefit from regular movement. (Even pet hamsters are happier with a running wheel in their cage.)

In women with PCOS, exercise can:

Improve ovulation and menstrual regularity31Improve insulin sensitivityDecrease androgensDecrease risk of cardiovascular diseaseImprove mental health32, 33

These benefits show up with or without additional changes in diet and regardless of weight changes. Meaning: Exercise is a superpowered tool.

The advice

Aim for at least 120 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.34 That translates to about four 30-minute sessions, with (ideally) half of those sessions devoted to resistance training.

But start wherever you are.

If you’re a regular gym go-er, keep at it. Resistance training may be especially beneficial, because it helps improve insulin sensitivity and the ratio of fat to lean mass.35 (Plus, lifting heavy things feels badass.)

If you get your movement mostly from errands, like carrying your groceries or walking to the bus stop, try adding a little more. Consider tracking your steps to get a baseline, then set a goal for a higher number. Or, add a once or twice weekly online or in-person exercise class or workout. (For a zero-equipment, 10-minute workout see: How to stay in shape when you’re busy.)

If the word “exercise” makes you want to wash your mouth with soap, just start anywhere. Even a five-minute walk or a dance party counts. (Wagging your finger and saying, “Nuh-uh,” doesn’t. Nice try though.)

What’s most important: Find something that you actually enjoy doing, because you’ll be more likely to keep at it.

Choose the exercise flavor that most appeals to you. As you get comfortable and consistent with more movement, reassess, and add a little more if that aligns with your abilities and goals.

PCOS: Two different types?

Women with PCOS may have slightly different hormonal profiles (and symptoms) depending on whether they also have excess body fat. Recognizing the two subpopulations, experts use these terms36:

The reproductive type (sometimes referred to as “lean PCOS”) tends to have a lower BMI and less insulin resistance, but higher luteinizing hormone (LH) and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).37The metabolic type tends to have a higher BMI, more glucose and insulin dysregulation, and lower LH and SHBG levels.

With the exception of weight loss, the lifestyle recommendations we suggest in this article still apply to both groups.

Stress management: Self-kindness is the new cool

With PCOS, it can be easy to fall into self-criticism and pessimistic thinking. That’s why, as you do your best to make healthy changes in your life, also bring in an abundance of self-compassion.

The advice

Pay attention to your thoughts, and when you notice yourself being unkind or overly critical, practice speaking to yourself as you would your best friend.

Acknowledgethat your condition can be a real struggle sometimes.

And while it’s not your fault, it is your responsibility to take care of yourself in the best and kindest way you can.

It may help to remember that many other women are dealing with PCOS too. Joining a PCOS support group, or even just thinking about the other women who are “in this” with you can be helpful.

In addition to a self-compassionate mindset, make sure to prioritize those stress-busting basics.

Get adequate sleep. Good sleep helps balance hormones and mood, makes it easier to regulate weight and appetite, and reduces the chance of “Tiredzilla” coming out to torment your friends and family. (For tips on how to improve sleep, read: The power of sleep.)

Include daily stress-relieving activities. Meditation, walks in nature, time with loved ones, and creative hobbies are stress-busting superstars. For even more stress reducers, read: Feel like you’re failing at self care? 3 solutions that can actually help.

Be mindful of how you frame your PCOS story. Are you a helpless PCOS victim? Or, can PCOS be an opportunity to learn more about your health and take better care of yourself? Which story feels better? Which story motivates you to take empowering action?

Of course, sometimes you can “do everything right” and still feel completely overwhelmed, maybe even hopeless. If that’s the case, reach out. Talk to a trusted loved one, your doctor, or a mental health professional.

Sometimes just knowing someone else is on your team can make the difference between “I’m in a black hole and I can’t get out” and “I see some light at the end of the tunnel.”

PCOS and weight loss

The truth is: It can be harder to lose weight when you have PCOS.

That’s one reason why it’s better to focus on the lifestyle habits we mentioned in the previous section. After all, what you eat and how you move has a bigger influence on your health and symptoms than does your weight on the scale.

In many cases, fat loss will happen as a natural side effect of better overall health. But if it doesn’t, you’ll still be eating, moving, feeling, and living better.

dvice for coaches

As a coach, it’s easy to feel out of your realm, wondering: “Am I really qualified to help someone with PCOS?”

And while coaches can’t diagnose or treat PCOS, you absolutely can support them—no special certifications required.

Keep in mind: Your client likely has access to healthcare experts who know the latest PCOS research and treatments.

What’s missing from your client’s life: Someone who can help them put what their doctor recommends into practice.

Most likely, their doctor will recommend strategies that are quite similar to the strategies you’ve already used with other clients: exercise, healthy eating, and stress relief, all of which can improve symptoms of PCOS tremendously.

Stay within your scope, and be the best cheerleader you can.



Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

Deswal, Ritu, Vinay Narwal, Amita Dang, and Chandra S. Pundir. 2020. “The Prevalence of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Brief Systematic Review.” Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences 13 (4): 261–71.Sirmans, Susan M., and Kristen A. Pate. 2013. “Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Management of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” Clinical Epidemiology 6 (December): 1–13.Tomlinson, Julie A., Jonathan H. Pinkney, Phil Evans, Ann Millward, and Elizabeth Stenhouse. 2013. “Screening for Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” Diabetes & Vascular Disease Research: Official Journal of the International Society of Diabetes and Vascular Disease 13 (3): 115–23.Crespo, Raiane P., Tania A. S. S. Bachega, Berenice B. Mendonça, and Larissa G. Gomes. 2018. “An Update of Genetic Basis of PCOS Pathogenesis.” Archives of Endocrinology and Metabolism 62 (3): 352–61.Dunaif, Andrea. 2016. “Perspectives in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: From Hair to Eternity.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 101 (3): 759–68.Vink, J. M., S. Sadrzadeh, C. B. Lambalk, and D. I. Boomsma. 2006. “Heritability of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in a Dutch Twin-Family Study.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 91 (6): 2100–2104.Dumesic, Daniel A., David H. Abbott, and Vasantha Padmanabhan. 2007. “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Its Developmental Origins.” Reviews in Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders 8 (2): 127–41.Tata, Brooke, Nour El Houda Mimouni, Anne-Laure Barbotin, Samuel A. Malone, Anne Loyens, Pascal Pigny, Didier Dewailly, et al. 2018. “Elevated Prenatal Anti-Müllerian Hormone Reprograms the Fetus and Induces Polycystic Ovary Syndrome in Adulthood.” Nature Medicine 24 (6): 834–46.Kuras, Yuliya I., Naomi Assaf, Myriam V. Thoma, Danielle Gianferante, Luke Hanlin, Xuejie Chen, Alexander Fiksdal, and Nicolas Rohleder. 2017. “Blunted Diurnal Cortisol Activity in Healthy Adults with Childhood Adversity.” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 11 (November): 574.Felitti, V. J., R. F. Anda, D. Nordenberg, D. F. Williamson, A. M. Spitz, V. Edwards, M. P. Koss, and J. S. Marks. 1998. “Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine 14 (4): 245–58.Tay, Chau Thien, Helena J. Teede, Deborah Loxton, Jayashri Kulkarni, and Anju E. Joham. 2020. “Psychiatric Comorbidities and Adverse Childhood Experiences in Women with Self-Reported Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: An Australian Population-Based Study.” Psychoneuroendocrinology 116 (June): 104678.Merkin, Sharon Stein, Jennifer L. Phy, Cynthia K. Sites, and Dongzi Yang. 2016. “Environmental Determinants of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” Fertility and Sterility 106 (1): 16–24.Vagi, Sara J., Eduardo Azziz-Baumgartner, Andreas Sjödin, Antonia M. Calafat, Daniel Dumesic, Leonardo Gonzalez, Kayoko Kato, Manori J. Silva, Xiaoyun Ye, and Ricardo Azziz. 2014. “Exploring the Potential Association between Brominated Diphenyl Ethers, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Organochlorine Pesticides, Perfluorinated Compounds, Phthalates, and Bisphenol A in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Case-Control Study.” BMC Endocrine Disorders 14 (October): 86.Joham, A. E., S. Ranasinha, S. Zoungas, L. Moran, and H. J. Teede. 2014. “Gestational Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes in Reproductive-Aged Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 99 (3): E447–52.Ehrmann, David A. 2012. “Metabolic Dysfunction in Pcos: Relationship to Obstructive Sleep Apnea.” Steroids 77 (4): 290–94.Zehravi, Mehrukh, Mudasir Maqbool, and Irfat Ara. 2021. “Depression and Anxiety in Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: A Literature Survey.” International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, August. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2021-0092.Kowalczyk, K., G. Franik, D. Kowalczyk, D. Pluta, Ł. Blukacz, and P. Madej. 2017. “Thyroid Disorders in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” European Review for Medical and Pharmacological Sciences 21 (2): 346–60.Ulrich, Jan, Julia Goerges, Christoph Keck, Dirk Müller-Wieland, Sven Diederich, and Onno Eilard Janssen. 2018. “Impact of Autoimmune Thyroiditis on Reproductive and Metabolic Parameters in Patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology & Diabetes: Official Journal, German Society of Endocrinology [and] German Diabetes Association 126 (4): 198–204.Gaberšček, Simona, Katja Zaletel, Verena Schwetz, Thomas Pieber, Barbara Obermayer-Pietsch, and Elisabeth Lerchbaum. 2015. “Mechanisms in Endocrinology: Thyroid and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” European Journal of Endocrinology / European Federation of Endocrine Societies 172 (1): R9–21.Wang, Lan, Jing Zhou, Hans-Jürgen Gober, Wing Ting Leung, Zengshu Huang, Xinyao Pan, Chuyu Li, Na Zhang, and Ling Wang. 2021. “Alterations in the Intestinal Microbiome Associated with PCOS Affect the Clinical Phenotype.” Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & Pharmacotherapie 133 (January): 110958.Lindheim, Lisa, Mina Bashir, Julia Münzker, Christian Trummer, Verena Zachhuber, Bettina Leber, Angela Horvath, et al. 2017. “Alterations in Gut Microbiome Composition and Barrier Function Are Associated with Reproductive and Metabolic Defects in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): A Pilot Study.” PloS One 12 (1): e0168390.Arduc, Ayse, Bercem Aycicek Dogan, Sevgi Bilmez, Narin Imga Nasiroglu, Mazhar Muslum Tuna, Serhat Isik, Dilek Berker, and Serdar Guler. 2015. “High Prevalence of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis in Patients with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Does the Imbalance between Estradiol and Progesterone Play a Role?” Endocrine Research 40 (4): 204–10.Phy, Jennifer L., Ali M. Pohlmeier, Jamie A. Cooper, Phillip Watkins, Julian Spallholz, Kitty S. Harris, Abbey B. Berenson, and Mallory Boylan. 2015. “Low Starch/Low Dairy Diet Results in Successful Treatment of Obesity and Co-Morbidities Linked to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).” Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy 5 (2). https://doi.org/10.4172/2165-7904.1000259.Monastra, Giovanni, Vittorio Unfer, Abdel Halim Harrath, and Mariano Bizzarri. 2017. “Combining Treatment with Myo-Inositol and D-Chiro-Inositol (40:1) Is Effective in Restoring Ovary Function and Metabolic Balance in PCOS Patients.” Gynecological Endocrinology: The Official Journal of the International Society of Gynecological Endocrinology 33 (1): 1–9.Kamenov, Zdravko, and Antoaneta Gateva. 2020. “Inositols in PCOS.” Molecules 25 (23). https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25235566.Laganà, Antonio Simone, Simone Garzon, Jvan Casarin, Massimo Franchi, and Fabio Ghezzi. 2018. “Inositol in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: Restoring Fertility through a Pathophysiology-Based Approach.” Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism: TEM 29 (11): 768–80.Abedini, Maryam, Ehsan Ghaedi, Amir Hadi, Hamed Mohammadi, and Reza Amani. 2019. “Zinc Status and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology: Organ of the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements 52 (March): 216–21.Jamilian, Mehri, Fatemeh Foroozanfard, Fereshteh Bahmani, Rezvan Talaee, Mahshid Monavari, and Zatollah Asemi. 2016. “Effects of Zinc Supplementation on Endocrine Outcomes in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.” Biological Trace Element Research 170 (2): 271–78.Lin, Ming-Wei, and Meng-Hsing Wu. 2015. “The Role of Vitamin D in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” The Indian Journal of Medical Research 142 (3): 238–40.Fazelian, Siavash, Mohamad H. Rouhani, Sahar Saraf Bank, and Reza Amani. 2017. “Chromium Supplementation and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology: Organ of the Society for Minerals and Trace Elements 42 (July): 92–96.Mikkelsen, Kathleen, Lily Stojanovska, Momir Polenakovic, Marijan Bosevski, and Vasso Apostolopoulos. 2017. “Exercise and Mental Health.” Maturitas 106 (December): 48–56.Guszkowska, Monika. 2004. “[Effects of exercise on anxiety, depression and mood].” Psychiatria polska 38 (4): 611–20.Harrison, Cheryce L., Catherine B. Lombard, Lisa J. Moran, and Helena J. Teede. 2011. “Exercise Therapy in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review.” Human Reproduction Update 17 (2): 171–83.Patten, Rhiannon K., Russell A. Boyle, Trine Moholdt, Ida Kiel, William G. Hopkins, Cheryce L. Harrison, and Nigel K. Stepto. 2020. “Exercise Interventions in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Frontiers in Physiology 11 (July): 606.Picchi Ramos, Fabiene K., Lúcia Alves da Silva Lara, Gislaine Satyko Kogure, Rafael Costa Silva, Rui Alberto Ferriani, Marcos Felipe Silva de Sá, and Rosana Maria dos Reis. 2016. “Quality of Life in Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome after a Program of Resistance Exercise Training.” Revista Brasileira de Ginecologia E Obstetrícia / RBGO Gynecology and Obstetrics 38 (07): 340–47.Dapas, Matthew, Frederick T. J. Lin, Girish N. Nadkarni, Ryan Sisk, Richard S. Legro, Margrit Urbanek, M. Geoffrey Hayes, and Andrea Dunaif. 2020. “Distinct Subtypes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome with Novel Genetic Associations: An Unsupervised, Phenotypic Clustering Analysis.” PLoS Medicine 17 (6): e1003132.Toosy, Sehar, Ravinder Sodi, and Joseph M. Pappachan. 2018. “Lean Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): An Evidence-Based Practical Approach.” Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders 17 (2): 277–85.

Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification. The next group kicks off shortly.


If you’re a coach, or you want to be…

Learning how to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy eating and lifestyle changes—in a way that’s personalized for their unique body, preferences, and circumstances—is both an art and a science.

If you’d like to learn more about both, consider the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.

Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification.


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Cell phones have a terrible reputation. Here’s how to use yours for better health.

We’re not going to tell you all the reasons you need a digital detox.

Because suggesting you part ways from your smartphone is like suggesting you stop driving your car.

Like your car, your phone is merely a tool that serves a function.

(Okay, about 359 functions, give or take a few hundred dozen).

Your car is capable of doing serious harm: impaling you on the steering column, stranding you on a deserted road at 3 am, taking you to the drive-through window of that fast food restaurant you swore you’d never again visit.

Yet (aside from a few enthusiastic bikers and walkers) most folks have never contemplated going on a car detox.

Because that wouldn’t be practical—nor necessary—for many car owners.

It’s the same with your phone.

Your phone isn’t an evil device that inflicts anxiety, distraction, or insomnia without your consent.

In fact, your smartphone is just as capable of improving your health as it is of messing with it.

The difference lies not in the phone itself, but how you use it. 

By following the five-step process outlined in this article, you’ll learn how to use your phone to boost your health, upgrade your sleep, and even grow closer to friends and family.

Your personal health determines your phone health.

Many people believe it’s their phone that erodes their relationships, ability to focus, and overall health.

This, of course, is unstandable. After all, various studies have linked smartphones to sleep problems, distraction, and something called nomophobia.1,2 (More about that below.)

Thing is, physical, social, and emotional health tends to unravel first, leading to phone overuse. Which, in turn, results in poorer health.

In other words, there’s a vicious circle. Maybe you…

don’t know how to connect with your surly teenager, so you connect with your phone instead, which takes time and energy away from your teen, allowing your relationship to worsen.

feel way too stressed about work, so you compulsively check your email, which leads to more work stress.

lack fulfilling hobbies, so you default to whatever digital game will hold your interest, which gobbles up the time you could be using to identify new hobbies.

Feel too anxious to sleep, so you reach for your phone to distract yourself from the anxiety, but then your phone also keeps you awake.

You get the idea.

You could solve any of the above problems without your phone—say, with in-person family therapy, a heart-to-heart with your boss, an art class, or a few sessions with a sleep coach.

But you could also solve them with your phone.

You might connect with that surly teen over funny cat videos. How about a deep breathing app to help you put a period at the end of your workday?

Maybe you could learn to play the guitar by attending that free online university known as YouTube.

Or, on those nights when you’re plagued by anxiety, how about using your phone to listen to a Yoga Nidra or self hypnosis session?

What is nomophobia, and do you have it?

Nomophobia is a fear of losing touch with your smartphone. The name is short for “no mobile phone phobia.”

And yes, it’s a real thing that physicians diagnose.1

Though you can’t diagnose yourself just by reading this or any other article on the web, the following questions can help you to figure out whether to explore nomophobia with your doctor or therapist.

Do you experience intense anxiety if you can’t check your phone?

What’s it like when you have to flip on airplane mode during a flight? Do you find yourself continually fiddling with your phone, nervously waiting until you can connect to the plane’s wifi?

Or if you’ve ever realized, too late, that you either left your phone at home or forgot to charge it, what happened to your mood? Did it plummet in a matter of seconds?

Do you know how to calm, comfort, or entertain yourself without a device at your fingertips?

Say you’re waiting at a doctor’s office, but can’t use your phone. What would you do to pass the time?

If you answered “yes” to the first question or “no” to the second, you might want to bring up the topic with your healthcare provider.

How to turn your phone into a health hero

Use this five-step process.

Step 1: Think about what matters.

Phone frustration tends to arise when someone’s identity (who they are) and their values (what matters to them) don’t match up with how they spend their time and energy.

Let’s say you see yourself as a “family person” who deeply values spending time with your kids. In that case, spending each evening sucked into your screen means you’re not doing what you most value.

And that’s not going to feel good.

To solve this conflict, you first need to identify it.

Our Identity Values and Goals chart can help. If you still feel lost, here’s a fun way to figure it out. Ask yourself:

What makes you angry?

Anger can be a sign your values have been violated. The table below lists a few examples.

I got mad when…So _________ is important to meSomeone lied to me.HonestyI got ripped off.FairnessMy boss asked me to work late and miss my son’s game.FamilySomeone was rude to me.Courtesy

Step 2: Take an honest look at where you spend your time and energy.

Are you putting enough time and energy toward what you value?

Heads up: Your time, energy, and attention will always be limited.

When you say “yes” to what you value, you’ll probably have to say “no” to something else. 

Step 3: Bridge the gap between your phone and your values.

We’re going to make a wild assumption that you’re not putting enough time and energy into what you value.

Because, if you were, you wouldn’t be reading this article.

Now that you’re aware of that contradiction, consider one or more of the following questions with curiosity.

When does using your phone conflict with your values? When does it support them?

Is the phone the most helpful tool for a particular task? How could you take advantage of what it does best?

(For example, if you want to connect with someone, could you actually… gulp… call them instead of just liking one of their posts on social media?)

Are there any circumstances or situations where a smartphone and your identity/values might get along, or work towards the same purpose?

(If you’re learning a new language as part of your identity as “cosmopolitan globetrotter,” could your phone help you do that?)

What are the benefits of your identity and values? What are the benefits of using a smartphone? Do they overlap at all?

Is your phone helping you do the stuff that’s important to you? or is it making it harder to do those things?

You’ll use your answers to those questions to brainstorm solutions (see step 4).

Step 4: Get solution-focused.

In step 3, you probably uncovered certain things that you want to do less or not at all—and others that you’d like to do more.

To make this happen, consider using our “little bit better” coaching approach by brainstorming on two questions:

What might make it a little bit harder for you to use your phone in a way that conflicts with your values?

Here are a few ideas:

Keep your phone out of reach when you’re trying to focus on an important work project.

Prioritize family time by using an app that automatically turns off notifications during dinner.

Create more time for hobbies by removing social media apps from your phone. (You might instead use them on a computer that you locate somewhere inconvenient, such as the basement.)

What might make it a little bit easier to use your phone in a way that matches your values? 

Some ideas to consider:

Use an app to remind you to video chat with a relative or take short meditation breaks.

Sign up for a recipe-focused email newsletter so you can continually inspire yourself to cook healthy meals.

Build a bangin’ playlist that makes you want to get outside and run, take a dance break, or hit it hard at the gym.

Use an app that tells you about the best walking, biking, and/or hiking trails in your area.

Step 5: Celebrate small wins.

Many of us try to motivate ourselves with the proverbial stick, berating ourselves whenever we fall short of a goal. (Dagnabbit! Just lost another afternoon to arguing with strangers on Twitter! Why do I keep doing this?!)

But we’ve found, in coaching more than 100,000 clients, that the carrot works much more effectively. With that in mind, ask yourself:

How might you reinforce your new approach to using your phone as a tool?

Maybe you:

Congratulate yourself each time you want to pick up your phone for no reason, but don’t actually do it.

Make a game out of beating the “screen time monitoring” on your phone—for instance, can you lower your time spent on some apps (such as whatever you mindlessly scroll) and boost your time on others that you truly value (such the one you use to video call family)?

Play with alternatives, such as using pen and paper to make a to-do list. But use the fancy kind, so it feels special (and the phone feels kinda disappointing in comparison).

The best strategies will vary from one person to another. 

So choose something that you (or your client) feel ready, willing, and able to do, erring on the side of something that seems too easy rather than too hard.

Try one action, and see what happens. Think of it as an experiment. It might work. It might not.

Either way, you learn about yourself, which is always a positive.

Keep experimenting like this—testing one small change after another, and celebrating all the small wins, no matter how tiny—until you elevate your smartphone to the superhero status it deserves.



Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

1. Bhattacharya S, Bashar MA, Srivastava A, Singh A. NOMOPHOBIA: NO MObile PHone PhoBIA. J Family Med Prim Care. 2019 Apr;8(4):1297–300.

2. Carter B, Rees P, Hale L, Bhattacharjee D, Paradkar MS. Association Between Portable Screen-Based Media Device Access or Use and Sleep Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2016 Dec 1;170(12):1202–8.

If you’re a health and fitness coach…

Learning how to help clients manage stress, build resilience, and optimize sleep and recovery can be deeply transformative—for both of you.

It helps clients get “unstuck” and makes everything else easier—whether they want to eat better, move more, lose weight, or reclaim their health.

And for coaches: It gives you a rarified skill that will set you apart as an elite change maker.

The brand-new PN Level 1 Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification will show you how.

Want to know more?

The post Cell phones have a terrible reputation. Here’s how to use yours for better health. appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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Are you suffering from “burnout”? Take this quiz (and learn what to do)

“Is it burnout, or am I just being a baby?”

Burnout is gaining recognition in the work and wellness worlds. This makes sense, as self-reported stress levels are higher than ever.1 (And global pandemic, you’re really not helping.2)

But, like many health conditions, especially those related to mental health, there’s still a fair bit of stigma around burnout.

Some people hear the term “burnout” and say:

“This wasn’t a thing when I grew up. When did people become allergic to hard work?!” (As they take a big gulp of their mid-morning bourbon.)

Truth is, burnout is nothing new.

It’s been around as a clinical concept since the 1970s, and it surely existed before we slapped a formal name on it.3

But in 2019, the World Health Organization officially recognized it as a workplace phenomenon, and are currently working on developing tools to help recognize, treat, and most importantly, prevent burnout in workplaces.4

That’s good news because: Knowing you’re burned out also means you can recover from it sooner—and better.

Plus, preventing burnout usually means improving overall wellbeing.

In this article, we put together a handy quiz to help you spot the signs of burnout—either in yourself or in clients. (If you want to jump to it, click here.)

After that, we’ll share three ways to counteract burnout—even if you can’t make stress “go away.”

Ready? Let’s dig in.


What is burnout?

Burnout, also known as burnout syndrome, is a state of mental, emotional, and physical exhaustion that can happen when the demands in our lives consistently and chronically outweigh what we’re able to do or produce.5,6,7

It’s not a single bad day—or even week—at work. Rather, it’s an ongoing, long standing pattern of feeling like you’re trying and failing, without success, support, recognition, or recovery.

In most countries, burnout isn’t considered a medical condition, but rather an occupational (workplace) phenomenon.

That said, some places (hi, Sweden and the Netherlands), do recognize burnout as a medical diagnosis that requires time off from work.

Folks most at risk for burnout have jobs where:

Actual demands are high (fast-paced work, high stakes, lots of decisions, significant consequences for mistakes)Perceived demands are high (it feels rushed, overwhelming, urgent, and busy—especially for people who care about “doing a good job” or “being a team player”)Ideals are high (people have high personal standards and strongly believe in the value and importance of their work)Resources are low (such as time, money, support, and rest)

When you think of this combination, you might already be imagining who feels it most: service jobs like health care, first response, teaching, or coaching are prime examples of occupations with high rates of burnout.

But burnout can affect people in any career. And even though it stems from work, burnout’s shockwaves can impact all areas of your life.

A multicolored wheel showing the different ways burnout can impact your life in each area. Physical: Slow recovery; more pain; worse sleep. Emotional: Cynicism, loss of idealism; emotional exhaustion. Environmental: Reduced ability to deal with high-stress settings and surroundings. Mental: Poor focus; “spacing out”; heightened worry. Existential: Reduced sense of personal accomplishment; feeling that nothing really matters. Social: Callousness towards others; relationship issues; feeling alone and alienated.

Luckily, recovery can also come from many areas of your life. We’ll get to that part in just a minute.

Burnout test: Are you showing signs of burnout?

For each statement that sounds like something you experience relatively often, tick the box.

At the end of the quiz, you’ll get a score.

In general, the more signs you experience, the more likely you are to be on the road to burnout. (Check out the tips we offer at the end of this article.)

Important: This is not a clinical diagnostic test.

If you’re noticing more than a few of the below, even if it doesn’t feel like a “big deal,” consider consulting a healthcare professional.

Sleep, fatigue, and energy levels

Trouble falling or staying asleep – 1 pointPoor quality sleep (e.g., restless, wake up often) – 1 pointTired (so, so tired); run down and drained – 1 pointWired… can’t sleep! Running on an invisible hamster wheel! – 1 pointRely on caffeine for alertness through the day (e.g., coffee, black tea, energy drinks, caffeine tablets) – 1 pointBody feels heavy or sluggish – 1 point

Physical symptoms

Heart palpitations, racing heart – 1 pointTightness in chest or trouble breathing – 1 pointStomach upset, digestive issues (e.g., heartburn, gas, irritable bowel) – 1 pointHeadaches, migraines – 1 pointJaw pain/tightness; tooth grinding (dentist might notice this if you don’t) – 1 pointJumpy, startle easily – 1 pointChronic aches and pains (e.g., muscle aches, inflamed joints, back or neck pain) – 1 pointIrregular, painful, and/or absent menstrual cycles (if you have a uterus and would typically be menstruating) – 1 pointFeeling spaced-out or dizzy – 1 pointHunger and food cravings; emotional eating – 1 pointLack of appetite – 1 pointPoor immunity—you seem to get every bug going around or just feel kind of “off” much of the time – 1 pointPoor recovery—takes longer to recover from workouts, injuries don’t heal as well, seems hard to bounce back – 1 pointInflamed (e.g., flare-ups of allergies, skin issues, joint pain, sinusitis) – 1 pointHair falling out – 1 point

Cognitive / mental symptoms

Forgetful or often worry about forgetting things – 1 pointHard to concentrate or focus – 1 pointFeel anxious and/or worry a lot – 1 pointFeel overwhelmed, and/or frazzled—so much to do/juggle! – 1 pointProcrastinate and/or avoid tasks – 1 pointHard to prioritize tasks or choose what is important to do next – 1 point

One or more of these thoughts seem familiar:

“Everyone else is the problem. They’re so unmotivated/stubborn/lazy/crazy.” – 1 point“My boss/workplace is the problem.” – 1 point“Everything around me is broken. Nothing works right. I hate ____.” – 1 point“This is all out of my control. So many things need to be fixed, but it’s not my job to do it.” – 1 point“I just keep trying and trying, but it’s like being on a hamster wheel. I never get anywhere.” – 1 point“I’m fine. This is fine. It’s all fine. I’ll just handle it like I always handle it. Fine. Fine. I’m totally fine.” – 1 point“AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!” – 1 point

Emotional symptoms

Feel “blank”, emotionless, numb – 1 pointFeel sad or “down” – 1 pointFeel trapped and stuck, out of options – 1 pointFeel pessimistic, discouraged, hopeless, “what’s the point” – 1 pointFeel resentful, irritable, short-tempered – 1 pointFeel chronically frustrated; everything around you sucks and people are jerks – 1 pointFeel disconnected, alienated, alone – 1 pointFeel like nobody recognizes or appreciates you and/or your work – 1 pointFeels like nothing you do or are is good enough – 1 pointSeems like nearly every day is a hard day – 1 pointFeels like you need something to cope (e.g., drugs, alcohol, eating/not eating, shopping) – 1 pointOften focused on your shortcomings (e.g., not fit enough, not good enough, not smart enough, not organized enough) – 1 pointFeel out of control – 1 pointTrying very hard to control other things—like your body, other people, your routine—but it feels like you’re failing – 1 point

Relationship symptoms

Can’t relate to or connect with other people, such as family, friends, coworkers, clients, etc. – 1 pointAvoid others (e.g., procrastinate contacting clients, keep office door closed to other people, such as family, friends, coworkers, or clients) – 1 pointFeel like you can’t depend on or trust other people (they screw things up or let you down) – 1 pointActive conflicts with others at work, home, school, etc. – 1 point

Your burnout score:

Score: 3 or less

Sounds like you’re doing alright. You may have an occasional bad day, but you recover from it, and move on.

Score: 4 to 8

Hmm. You might benefit from a little more recovery and self-care. Consider consulting a qualified mental health professional, even just for a chat.

Score: 9 to 13

Be careful—you’re at risk of burnout, particularly if you feel several of these intensely and often. Consider consulting a qualified mental health professional.

Score: 14 to 18

You are at severe risk of burnout. Do something about this urgently. Seek help and support from a qualified professional.

Score: 19 or more

You are at very severe risk of burnout. It’s time to take action and seek help and support from a qualified professional.

3 ways to counteract burnout syndrome

Whether you scored high and are looking for a solution, or you’re curious what to do if you’re concerned about burnout creeping up on you in the future, here’s what can help.

(And if you’re working with a client showing burnout symptoms, you’ll definitely want to share these strategies with them.)

#1: Protect your time, space, and emotional investment with good boundaries.

Boundaries, or the lack of them, are a key factor in burnout.8

This can be boundaries between:

Home and work (for instance, struggling when working remotely, finding yourself doing work outside of work hours… or in your bed)Personal and professional identities (accidentally venting about personal stuff to a client, or being asked to do work that’s outside the scope of your job)

Conversely, having clear, strong, and well-defined boundaries can alleviate burnout by:

Helping you switch “work mode” on and offProtecting time with friends and loved ones.Reducing the amount of emotional labor you’re doing.

(Emotional labor means managing other people’s feelings, as well as controlling your own emotional response to them. Learn more: Invisible stressors: Are they sucking the life out of your health?)

How do you maintain good boundaries? Here are a few ideas.

Identify what you can and can’t control. Try our Sphere of Control Worksheet.

Implement a “focus filter.” Consciously tell yourself, ‘I’m choosing to focus on THIS right now.’ This applies to work—you don’t do housework or counsel your mother-in-law while you’re trying to do your job—but it can also look like spending time with your partner without thinking about work as you gaze across a candlelit table.

Be intentional about your environment. If remote working muddles your work-life boundaries, set up a separate space for work-related duties—even if it’s a specific corner of your kitchen table or the middle seat of your couch.

Because as fun as it is to take conference calls from bed in your housecoat, creating separation between “work” and “home” will make turning off “work mode” and getting into “rest mode” at the end of the day feel much easier.

(Plus, if you can go somewhere and shut a door, it might—slightly—reduce your “on-call” status for other family members. Cue: “MOM!! Billy is touching my Tonka truck with his Lego!!”)

Clarify your boundaries—what you’re saying “yes” and “no” to at a given time. Maybe you tell yourself you want to say “yes” to family time (or plain old sanity time for yourself), so you’re no longer checking emails after 6 pm.

You could uphold that boundary by putting your phone on mute, so you don’t hear emails pinging as they come in.

Communicate your boundaries clearly to others, and enforce them as needed. Tell others what your boundaries are. Be explicit and clear. Don’t expect folks to “just know.” (As Brené Brown says, “clear is kind.”)

It can be uncomfortable to advocate for your needs, but it’s kinder to yourself—and the other person—to be honest about what you can and can’t sustain. In our work email situation, that might mean putting on an auto-responder that lists your office hours, so people know when to expect to hear back from you.

Remember, it’s not just about the “no.” It’s also about the “yes.” As in, what have you consciously decided is worth your time, energy, and attention?

What activities are aligned with your values? What do you want to do and feel more of? What needs to be cleared, constrained, or revised so that you can prioritize better, and “replenish your tank” more effectively?

#2: Cultivate engagement by spending more time on what you love doing, with people you love working with.

The flip side of burnout is engagement.9,10

Engagement means you’re thriving in your work role. You’re energized by your work, and the people around you support you and respect your boundaries.

Rates of burnout are lower in workplaces that focus on the following six engagement-promoting components:11

Appropriate workloadsControl over work (at least a little)Rewards, including simple appreciation and recognitionCommunity and genuine, supportive social connectionsFairness and equityValues that feel meaningful

Of course, if you’re an employee, you may not have control over whether or not your job has all these components. But you can:

Talk to your manager about workload, what you want to work on, and how you’d like to receive feedback. Rather than trying to do all the things like a hero, ask for help prioritizing, if needed.

Build strong connections. Invest time in relationships that feel genuine and supportive. If possible, connect with colleagues… and also have relationships that have nothing to do with work.

Consider your values. What matters to you? Think about what your personal values are, and how they align with the work you’re doing. Have your values changed? Or do you just need more help finding a match between job demands and what you truly feel is important?

Model productive, collegial, and growth-oriented behavior. Many teams bond over a shared hatred of workloads, clients, bosses, or the general day-to-day BS.12 In some ways, this is practical and realistic. However, research suggests that only venting—without productive and positive action—doesn’t make us feel better.13,14 In fact, focusing all our attention on awfulness tends to make us feel worse. So, if your coworker had a crap day, instead of complaining about how horrible the job is, buy them a coffee or suggest you both sneak out for a walk in the park.

Consider constraining the complaints. Some psychologists suggest using a “complaint window” during which you specifically allot time and energy to complaining. Outside of that time, you don’t. For instance, “I’m going to devote the next ten minutes to saying all the things I hate about work, then that’s it for the day.” (The same principle works for a “worry window”—establishing a set period of time to worry about things.)

Practice compassion. Sure, some customers might just suck, and some bosses are just grouchy tyrants. But many people are under pressure themselves, or struggling with stress they don’t know how to manage. Unless it’s clear you work with a sadistic sociopath, try to find the human underneath, and consider what they might be going through. If you can’t find compassion, that can be a sign of compassion fatigue. Try our Compassionate Coaching Worksheet.

If you don’t have a boss or manager (maybe you’re a self-employed coach or you’re a caregiver to a family member), consider how you might implement these ideas into your work situation.

That might mean delegating or outsourcing tasks to manage your workload, saying no to things you really don’t want or have time to do, or finding a mentor to provide advice and social connection. (A mentor can skyrocket your potential. See: How to find a mentor, and why mentorship is so important for you—and your clients.)

#3: Focus on deep recovery.

There are going to be times when you can’t lower your demands.

What happens then?

Increasing recovery can help offset increased stress.

By pumping up your recovery practices, you may find you’re better able to handle workplace (and everyday life) stress.

Recovery isn’t just sleep and taking days off from the gym. The best kind of recovery addresses multiple aspects of your health—your physical health, yes, but also your emotional health, your social health, and more.

We call this “deep recovery.”

A multicolored wheel showing the different ways to implement deep recovery. Physical: Nutrition to support recovery (e.g. adequate energy and nutrients); varied movement that promotes physical adaptation and function; enough good quality sleep, etc. Emotional: Recognizing, expressing, and sharing emotions appropriately; taking time away from difficult emotions; purposely evoking positive and/or calm states, etc. . Environmental: Creating a literal and metophoric space that supports recovery; creating safety and security; eliminating distractions; access to healthcare; etc.. Mental: “Deep work” and interspersing periods of focus with periods of mental recovery; “mental play” and creativity; building thinking and problem-solving skills; engaging in a wide variety of mental tasks, etc. Existential: Being of service; participating in meaningful activities, time devoted to introspection and reflection, etc. Social: Healthy, affirming communication and conflict resolution; inclusive and welcoming community; safety and security in relationships; being able to discuss challenges; etc.

With burnout, the mental, emotional, and existential pieces are particularly important. However, many people might experience these as physical issues too. For instance, you might not consciously feel angry… but your jaw muscles are grinding like a wood chipper. You might not consciously feel hopeless… you just feel exhausted.

Having a professional as an ally to work through those areas—especially one you like who you feel understands you—can help you get better results and feel less alone.

Consider reaching out to your primary care physician or a therapist (or encouraging clients struggling to do so).

And remember:

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. (Even The Rock needs a spotter when he benches 900 pounds.)



Click here to view the information sources referenced in this article.

Heinemann LV, Heinemann T. Burnout Research: Emergence and Scientific Investigation of a Contested Diagnosis. SAGE Open. 2017 Jan 1;7(1):2158244017697154.American Psychological Association (2017). Stress in America: Coping with Change. Stress in America SurveyAmerican Psychological Association (2021). Stress in America: One Year Later, A New Wave of Pandemic Health Concerns. Stress in America SurveyBurn-out an “occupational phenomenon”: International Classification of Diseases [Internet]. [cited 2021 Sep 29].Danhof-Pont MB, van Veen T, Zitman FG. Biomarkers in burnout: a systematic review. – PubMed – NCBI. J Psychosom Res. 2011;70:505–24.Sabo B. Reflecting on the concept of compassion fatigue. Online J Issues Nurs. 2011 Jan;16(1):1.Gazelle G, Liebschutz JM, Riess H. Physician burnout: coaching a way out. J Gen Intern Med. 2015 Apr;30(4):508–13.Demerouti E. Strategies used by individuals to prevent burnout. Eur J Clin Invest. 2015 Oct;45(10):1106–12.Leiter MP, Maslach C. Burnout and engagement: Contributions to a new vision. Burnout Research. 2017 Apr;5:55–7.Leiter MP. Assessment of workplace social encounters: Social profiles, burnout, and engagement. Int J Environ Res Public Health [Internet]. 2021 Mar 29;18(7).Maslach C, Leiter MP. The Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What to Do About It. John Wiley & Sons; 2008. 202 p.Pouthier, Vanessa. 2017. Griping and Joking as Identification Rituals and Tools for Engagement in Cross-Boundary Team Meetings. Organization Studies 38 (6): 753–74.Bushman, Brad J., Roy F. Baumeister, and Angela D. Stack. 1999. Catharsis, Aggression, and Persuasive Influence: Self-Fulfilling or Self-Defeating Prophecies? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 76 (3): 367–76.Bastin, Margot, Patricia Bijttebier, Filip Raes, and Michael W. Vasey. 2014. Brooding and Reflecting in an Interpersonal Context. Personality and Individual Differences 63 (June): 100–105.

If you’re a health and fitness coach…

Learning how to help clients manage stress, build resilience, and optimize sleep and recovery can be deeply transformative—for both of you.

It helps clients get “unstuck” and makes everything else easier—whether they want to eat better, move more, lose weight, or reclaim their health.

And for coaches: It gives you a rarified skill that will set you apart as an elite change maker.

The brand-new PN Level 1 Sleep, Stress Management, and Recovery Coaching Certification will show you how.

Want to know more?

The post Are you suffering from “burnout”? Take this quiz (and learn what to do) appeared first on Precision Nutrition.

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