When we think about stress, we mostly think about external stressors like being fired, a death in the family, moving, getting married, breaking up, or bumper to bumper traffic in 101-degree heat with no working air conditioning. While these are valid stressors that do affect us a great deal they tend to be short term. If these were the only stressors we had to deal with in life, we would be very healthy people. However, the stressors that most affect us are not something we tend to think about every day.
It now seems ridiculous that I never realized how full of stress my lifestyle was. I used to be a very active fighter. One year I fought eight times, this was in addition to running my personal training business, having something resembling a social life and struggling to pay the bills (unfortunately professional Muay Thai fighting is not very lucrative). I felt a tremendous pressure to do it all and get to the top. I often trained twice a day 5-6 days a week often sleeping only 6 hours a night and I dieted hard and often to maintain a certain weight. The thing is I felt okay during this time. I felt pretty darn good. I was doing it all and winning fights, but stress is a sneaky bastard. You can only last so long going that hard, and soon I started to feel the effects of chronic stress: fatigue, lack of ability to perform in my training, digestive troubles, insomnia, anemia, irregular cycles, etc.