Many people use the gym as “me time”. Maybe it’s your chance to escape everything that is going on in life and focus on you. Some people have even gone as far to label it “iron therapy” or “squat therapy”. Personally I think its great to see more people focusing on their own personal health and fitness. However, is there a tipping point? Can you reach the point where the whirlwind that is life affects your performance? Could psychological stress Be Stunting Your Performance?


Stress Can Be A Good Thing

When it comes to the gym, stress can be a good thing! You NEED to place a certain amount of stress on your body in order to see adaptions. You simply won’t increase physical performance without an increase in mechanical or metabolic stress. That being said, the body is not an unbreakable machine! There comes a point at which the stress is too much and at this point you will either break, plateau or be unable to recover.


Looking At Stress In The Bigger Picture

Your training sessions and life outside the gym are not two separate things. They are both part of a larger puzzle. As mentioned before, there is only a certain amount of stress your body can take. This means you have to think about emotional and psychological stress, as well as mechanical and metabolic. Life, work, relationships, your favorite sports team, school and everything in between will create different levels of stress.

A recent study in 2014, found student athletes with higher levels of stress failed to recover effectively. Meanwhile, those with lower stress levels showed higher levels of recovery +1hr, +24hr, +48hr, +72hr & +96hrs post training. To see a visual representation, check out YLM Sport Science Post Here.


It’s All About Balance

Whilst I believe “iron therapy” can be a good thing, it’s important to keep your life outside the gym in your mind. You may have had a completely rubbish week, to combat this you’ve been heading to the gym and pumping out heavy squat sessions every day. You’re going to crash and burn. The likelihood is you simply won’t recover quickly enough to keep this pace up.

What happens when the gym starts to plateau, or you start to get injured? suddenly your one way to get away from the stress of life, is causing you more stress?! I’m not saying don’t go to the gym, simply bare in mind you may want to scale back volume or intensity.

During the warm up of every session Personal Training in Berkshire, I will generally chat to my client about their week. Whilst this is pretty common place to chat to your client!! I am also using it to gauge their stress levels and see how they are feeling. From here, I can adjust the session accordingly so I don’t burn them out or add to any psychological stress!