Mistake #3: Not Balancing Stress
Maybe you have heard it before – “You don’t get better during your training session; You get better when you recover from your training.” When we exercise, we apply stress to our muscles and nervous system. The human body is smart – it adapts to make the task at hand easier. The more you are tasked with the same obstacle, the easier it will be come.
Our body will get better at recruiting more muscle fibers more effectively, and work hard to rebuild muscle tissue to be bigger and stronger than before. This is how we improve in the gym.
But to do this, our body needs time to HEAL and RECOVER.
Sounds easy, right?
Maybe in theory.
As adults we have 101 priorities, responsibilities, and expectations, and we may label ourselves as “busy” or “overly stressed”.
Work stress, life stress, kid stress, social/relational stress, financial stress – stress may look a bit different to each person, but for most of us, it’s always there in some form.
Understand that training and exercise is considered a stressor on the body and needs to be handling appropriately. There is such a thing as over-training when we “under recover.”
Stress is stress is stress, and the hormone cortisol will always respond accordingly.
So what does this have to do with recovery and fat-loss?
Research studies have shown that adults who reported low-stress levels gained significantly more strength and more muscle than those who had high stress. Even when looking at recovery in terms of wounds, research has shown that those with higher stress and higher cortisol levels had slower healing than those with low stress.
In practical terms, a highly-stressed individual will likely not see the same results from training as an individual with low-stress, or better mechanisms for managing stress.
Stress effects the immune system negatively and also alters our hormones leading to elevated cortisol – ultimately interfering with the muscle building and recovery process.
Because of this, it is essential that we spend more time outside of the gym engaging in restorative activities. Activities like walking, Epsom salt baths, massages, sleep, and positive interactions with friends and family.
Now that this blog has completely stressed you out, about being stressed – take a deep breath.
Stress will always be a part of life; there is no way of getting around it. Knowing this, we must prioritize stress management techniques that help us better deal with our chronic and acute stressors on a daily basis.
Below are a handful of stress management recommendations that help you control stress AND ULTIMATELY RECOVER FASTER AND SEE BETTER RESULTS IN THE GYM!
1.) Breathing Exercises
A technique we utilize often at PSTS is deep Diaphragmatic Breathing. To perform, place one hand on the chest and the other on the belly. Take a deep breath in through the nose, ensuring the diaphragm (not the chest) inflates. Continue this breathing technique for at least 5-minutes and experience immediate reductions to heart rate and blood pressure.
2.) Use Music
Listening to music has been shown to reduce cortisol and boost immune function. Find a playlist that makes you happy and treat yourself when in the car, getting ready in the morning, or in your earbuds at work.
3.) Schedule a weekly/bi-weekly/monthly massage
No explanation needed – your mind and body will thank you!
4.) Find ways to get better/more sleep
If you are not sleeping well, chances are you probably are not reaching your potential. When you are getting adequate sleep regularly fat-burning is enhanced!
5.) Practice Self Myofascial Release (SMR)
Use a foam roller, tennis ball, lacrosse call, or medicine ball to improve flexibility, muscle recovery, movement efficiency, ease overactive muscles, and reduce pain.
Want to learn more about proper recovery, SMR, and breathing techniques?
PowerStrength has started a Re-Charge Recovery Class on Wednesday’s at 6:30pm! We focus on breathing, mobility, and SMR, all while socializing with friends, and listening to calming music. Recovery is training! FREE for all current members and $10 for Non-Members. Join us this coming Wednesday at our East Location.