Stress, Recovery and Adaptation

Many, if not all of the athletes I train are diligent in their recovery from physical stress. But to become a next-level athlete, and to maximize and reach their potential, they will have to do more than just recover from the physical. There are also mental and emotional stressors that can negatively impact training and performance.

As athletes (and human beings) we are exposed to many different stressors on a daily and weekly basis. This is good and necessary for growth. No stress = no growth. It is the recovery from these stimuli that provides the growth we seek in all areas of our lives. Adaptation can only be experienced after stress and recovery from said stress.

Different Kinds of Stress: Physical, Mental, Emotional

As we begin to look at stress a little more closely, we see that there are three distinct types of stress: Physical, Mental and Emotional.

Physical Stress: Running, jumping, weightlifting, pulling, pushing, moving, training.

Mental Stress: Thinking, concentrating, focusing, visualizing, imaging, analyzing, problem-solving.

Emotional Stress: Feeling angry, feeling fearful, feeling sad, feeling depressed, feeling negative, feeling frustrated, feeling hurt (negative emotions).

All of the above examples can and will take a toll on you. In order to manage these stressors and leave yourself in a better position to train and compete at a high level, recovery is necessary.

Physical Recovery: Eating, hydrating, sleeping, napping, decreased heart and breathing rate, decreased muscle tension, receiving a massage, acupuncture, cryotherapy, ART, deep focused breathing, yoga*.

*Yoga can be meditative, relaxing, recovery-based movement — or it can be a workout in and of itself. Whether it is a recovery practice or another workout will depend on the type of yoga and your intention going into class. 

Mental Recovery: Calmness, “slowing down” mentally, increasing fantasy, decreasing focus, increasing creativity, increasing spontaneous imagery, brain activity slowing down, meditating.

Emotional Recovery: increased positive feelings, decreasing fear and anger, increasing fun and enjoyment, increased feelings of safety and security, increased feelings of self-esteem, increased feelings of self-fulfillment, meditating.

For every stress, you should make sure to implement an equal and opposite recovery practice.

Stress Considerations:
Quantity of practice
Quantity of competition
Travel Stress
Relationship Stress
Physical Conditioning Stress
CNS Stress
School Stress
Friendship Stress
Business Stress
Coach Stress

Recovery Considerations:
Quantity of Sleep
Consistency of Sleep
Quantity of R&R
Quality of R&R
Fun Times
Personal Free Time
Number of small meals
Healthful eating
Relaxation exercises

One of my favorite ways to look at stress and recovery I picked up while at Gym Jones Fundamentals in 2013: Stress and Recovery is like your bank account. Every stress is a debit to your account. Every recovery practice is a credit. If you spend too much (train) and don’t put anything back into your account (recover) you will soon find yourself broke and in debt (overtrained). To stay in the black (making money) you need to do at least as many things to recover as you do to train.

As an athlete (or even as a weekend warrior) it’s your job to maintain balance and a healthy equilibrium. Train hard — but recover harder!

Week 27 Training: 15.02.10

Reminder: This is week 3/4 of this 4-week mini-cycle. Our last deload (next week) will lead us into Week 1 of the 2015 CF Open. Push hard this week, with a focus on moving well and executing your workout strategies.

A. 3 Rounds – E2M
5 Weighted Ring Dips – AHAP @ 33×3
5 Weighted Pull-Ups – AHAP @ 33×3

Notes: Start with your bodyweight. If you can execute perfectly – then and only then add weight to the movement.

B. For Time:
20 Clusters @ 155/105
20 Burpees Over Bar
ME UB WB @ 30/20
Rest 5 Minutes
20 Power Cleans @ 155/105
20 Burpees Over Bar
ME UB WB @ 20/14
Rest 5 Minutes
20 Thrusters @ 155/105
20 Burpees Over Bar
ME UB WB @ 14/10

C. 3 Rounds:
15 Reverse Hypers – Mediumish
4×5 Toes To Bar


CrossFit Jääkarhu is a local community in Austin, Texas that is focused on identifying goals, coaching progress and getting results. If you are interested in learning more about our gym, visit our main website (click here). About CrossFit Jääkarhu Programs Available How to Start

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The CrossFit Games
2014 Reebok CrossFit GamesJuly 25th, 2014

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