The Balance Act of good and bad stress for optimal recovery.
Not all stress is the same type of stress. Good stress builds you up, and bad stress breaks you down.
Good stress vs. bad stress There are a couple of key features that differentiate good from bad stress. Generally speaking
Good stress builds you up over time, and is short and intense.
Bad stress breaks you down over time, and is chronic and on-going.
We need stress to force change. Our body is always striving for homeostasis - balance - but requires a process called hormesis, which is the introduction of a substance - such as stress - which forces a hormonal and/or physiological change. Once the change happens, the bidy re-adjusts and adapts as the new normal.
The changes that happen in a single workout are "good" if that workout is a manageable intensity that you recover within a reasonable amount of time. In this case - the exercises forces hormesis, and we experience a positive reaction.
The changes are "bad" if that workout is too long, too frequent, always too hard, and if you don't recover properly afterwards. The stress could also be "bad" if the workout isn't challenging enough, and if you spend a lot of mental stress wondering and worrying about "doing everything perfectly". In this case - the exercise forces hormesis, but the stress was too much and we are now experiencing negative effects.
The main factor that turns bad stress into good stress is being able to properly recover within a reasonable amount of time. How do we know if we are properly recovered? By assessing how you're feeling in the days afterwards.
How's your sleep?
How's your eating?
How are your all-day energy levels?
Are you able to maintain those factors at a level sufficient to you, and meet the rest of your lifestyle goals outside of working out?
Judging by your recovery, could you have worked out harder?
Then, adjust workouts accordingly to meet your goals.
There are some differences between good (acute) stress and bad (chronic) stress of the physiological processes mentioned above.
UNDER GOOD STRESS
Hormones such as cortisol and our catecholamines, the hormones dopamine; norepinephrine; and epinephrine (adrenaline/adrenalin), go up temporarily freeing up blood sugars for quick use.
are what give you the "runners high" or awesome feeling that we experience post-workout
cause us to experience a short decrease joint pain.
prepares the body for injury and illness
depresses our immune system
Our nervous system is active and firing, building new neurological connections while strengthening old ones resulting in good moods and clear function.
Muscle Breakdown causes muscles to repair and get stronger. Through this process, old proteins are cleaned out replaced with new ones, the body is able to clear out accumulated "junk" through this process and results in short-term soreness and tenderness.
UNDER BAD STRESS
Hormones such as cortisol and our catecholamines, are chronically elevated and keep dumping blood sugars into our system
make you feel jittery, wired, and irritable
cause us to experience ravenous hunger when the hormones finally dissiapte
interferes with glucose regulation and metabolism - we put on weight especially around the mid-section.
interferes with bone metabolism and puts us at a higher risk of osteoporosis and reduction of bone density
interferes with the other hormones, causing the cascade to fall and hormone imbalances to remain uncontrolled.
Our nervous system is overactive and does not know when to quit firing, resulting in our monkey mind taking over or brain fog. We experience bad moods, mental fatigue, and we just cannot seem to put our exercise hats on and our techniques start to falter.
Muscle Breakdown causes physical fatigue and damage/injury, our muscles are braking down faster than we can repair them so the body is unable to clear out accumulated "junk" resulting in cellular level damage and long-term or persisting soreness and tenderness.
Tune in, turn off and chill out Recovery is both a mind and body game and it starts with giving yourself some love and care.
Get quality sleep, as often as you can.
Encourage yourself. Notice when you're being self-critical, and call it out.
See yourself as a courageous and resourceful problem solver.
Relax. Focus on the big picture instead of "wondering and worrying" about small details.
Anticipate, plan, strategize. Be proactive and prepared for problem solving.
Reach out to friends, family, and people you trust. Ask for help. (Even if it's difficult.) (Especially if it's difficult.)
Pay attention to your body signals. (Like pain, or energy, or your third migraine this month.)
Keep moving, as often as you can, in as many ways as you can.
Appreciate movement as a gift rather than a chore.
Nourish, fuel and replenish Simply eating better will help in big ways. This means:
Eat enough lean protein.
Eat plenty of colorful veggies and fruits.
Keep your carb intake moderate (neither too low nor high), and choose slow-digesting, high-fiber "smart carb" options with a focus on FIBER!
Do all of the above consistently.
What's your recovery plan?
Today, think about the recovery strategies that are already working well for you. How can you keep doing those as consistently and effectively as possible?
DISCLAIMER: Information contained within this website or any resources not limited to videos and or eBooks, is not to be considered medical advice and is for informational purposes only. You are responsible for your own health. BK Kissinger, CHC, NASCM CT, Wolfpack Triathlon and Nutrition Coaching, Brave Soul Coaching, Jenniferlyn Kryvicky, M. Sc., LN, CFSP, CHC Shine Total Health, LLC and The Shine Lab are information only resources and you should always seek advice from your medical professional before starting any physical or nutritional program.