Chatting to a few clients this week about the cumulative nature of stress and how it’s important to adapt your training to accomodate other stressors. As the saying goes, we (mostly) train to complement our lifestyles, not to complicate them. And not paying attention to our overall stress levels tends to make everything harder than it should be.
We all have varying levels of stress in our lives, and rarely do these remain constant. They come and go in cycles as deadlines loom and events come and go, and yet we insist on going H.A.M. in the gym regardless of whatever else is going on. This inevitably leads to something breaking, usually in the form of a training injury or illness. Now I’m not suggesting that we don’t push ourselves in the gym, that’s kinda the point, applying stresses to our system in order to create the demand for adaptations that lead to increased ability. But we might need to be a little smarter with when we go harder and when we step back a bit.
Think of your body as a bucket being filled from 4 sources:
- Work/ study pressure,
- financial pressure,
- family and relationship stresses and,
- training stresses.
Your capacity to deal with these is limited by the size of your metaphorical bucket. If one of these sources of stress increases, you either have to find ways to deal with the others, or you have to focus on how you can relieve some of the other stresses.
On the output side you have more control. You can make getting outside for a walk a priority, you can do the same with sleep. You can work to improve your nutrition and recovery, and you can practice mindfulness. All of which have been shown to have positive effects on reducing stress.
So if other stuff is building up, dial down training stress and look for ways you can take some pressure off.
Speaking of stress…
Social hangovers are a thing usually experienced by us introverts. Needing time to recharge after social events and generally needing a bit of downtime to recover. And after a year of minimal social interaction for many of us, more people are experiencing the phenomenon as we get back to socialising more.
Here is a simple pushup fix if you find your shoulders and elbows get a bit grumpy doing them.
Setting u with your fingertips pointing forwards, rather than pointing inwards, makes sure your shoulders are more externally rotated and your elbows tuck back. That’ll save you a world of grief in your shoulders and elbows.
Check your setup next time you have pushups programmed and make the fix if needed.