Stress one of the major influencers upon training adaptions. Everyone worries about their strength gains and their cardio times, whether they are training hard enough, but very few worry about how stress is effecting adaptions. If stress is not mitigated then the hard hours spend training will a waste as little to no adaptions will occur. The role of a strength and conditioning coach is mainly to programme so that stress doesn’t play its negative role. This is where you see a difference with the gym enthusiast, class goer and weekend warrior who want to hit every session hard, the best endurance athletes in the world spend around 80% of their training in the green zone or <70% HR max. It’s not because they have the time to do that, it’s to not stress the body more than it needs.
The body does not see any difference in life, work, emotional, financial, relationship or physical stress, it is all stress to it. The issue is the rise in the hormone cortisol to anything stressful that occurs, this is your fight or flight hormone. When this rises to prepare your body for the stressor, anabolic hormones decrease, eg testosterone. These hormones work in tandem with each other. Now this isn’t to say all stress is bad, a small amount is needed to break down muscle fibres so that testosterone can go in and do its thing and create change. However when there’s too much, it blocks the anabolic hormones from giving you your adaptions, instead cortisol actually does the reverse and starts eating away at muscle too much, because cortisol is catabolic. This is why you’ll hear of head coaches telling their athletes to do nothing and rest when not in training, they don’t want any unnecessary stress placed upon the body. You see, it is a big balancing act and requires a lot more than just writing a single session, because when cortisol is high, there is no point in training. You probably realise now, this is where the gym goer differs from the pro athlete.
So how do you mitigate stress when you’re working full time, have a family, the children need your attention and you have to fix the fence that broke last summer. Here are a few tips for you:
How to mitigate stress if you’re working full time
So that’s all things stress, we want it, but just a little, after that we don’t want any, just high anabolic hormones instead.