What if I told you that your stress is ruining your training? You do everything you can to recover…or do you? If you find yourself in an over-trained state, it isn't the stress of your lifting, no that stress if from your LIFE.
To demonstrate the idea of how mounting stress can cause turmoil on the body, he pulled out a jug of water and several glasses of various sizes, each representing a person's stress tolerance. Think about the size of your internal glass and consider that every aspect of your life is a potential stressor. Can you identify where your spill over point will be? Are you a coffee cup or a Big Gulp?
From an evolutionary standpoint the only thing we needed to stress about was the threat of an attack from an animal. Our natural fight or flight response was our survival mechanism when things became dangerous. Put yourself into today's society and that is very different Have a confrontations with something that might eat us are few and far between, but our fight or flight response is running at a continual low-level hum. Stress from work, money, relationships, the kids, the in-laws, or your favorite team losing all contribute to keeping the system in a constant state of agitation. Even low-level stress tells the nervous system to be on alert.
Your body releases cortisol, which is a nightmare for someone who is trying to put on muscle. Even stress at a level of two on a scale of 1-10 forces your nervous system to adjust to the proposed threat. A continual state of stress fatigues your nervous system, and sooner or later overtraining occurs and results decrease.
The human body is the most adaptable organism on earth, but years of low-level stress can only be buffered for so long. Many of those tight muscles that you spend time stretching are a result accumulated stress. That tight low back or stiff neck that you battle every morning are very likely your nervous system’s response to your stress level, not some gross asymmetry in your muscles.
If you are in a major training rut, step back and take inventory of your life. What is causing you stress? How can you eliminate it or decrease it ? No one is exempt from stress. Our ability to get strong in the gym correlates directly with our ability to cope with life going on around us. All chronic illnesses have stress as one of the prevailing causes. It can no longer be ignored. Find the thing that gets you centered, calms you down, and allows you to breathe easy. Once you have, your progress in the gym can get back on track.