Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to go through your day without some elements of stress. Work, family and even the thought of a hero WOD looming in the not to distant future all bring about types of stress. Generally, stressors are both from two different arenas.
Stress manifests its self from both internal and external sources. Internal stressors are regulated by the individual either consciously or unconsciously. Examples of individual stressors are elevated heart rate, breathing, sleep/wake cycles, hunger/satiation, biological rhythms, hormone fluctuation, and mood state. External stressors such as work, social life, stock market fluctuations, trainer/client interactions, injury, and school are the day-to-day occurrences that “impose” themselves on the individual and influence mood, energy level, and motivation.
Stress, regardless of where it stems from, is very cumulative in nature. It can also “pore” over and manifest its self in several different ways. It can cause changes in mood, affecting your desire to perform well on a workout or it can choose to manifest itself physically in weight or limiting your ability to push for that extra rep. Regardless of how stress effects us, dealing with it appropriately is paramount for a CrossFitter.
Hans Selye, a pioneer in stress research, defined stress as “the nonspecific response of the body to any demand made on it” Selye used the term “stressor” to describe those events that may disturb our normal homeostasis. The interesting fact about Selye’s research was that a “stressor” doesn’t have to be negative in nature to throw off our homeostasis. Something exciting like a close basketball games can “stress out” the body similar to negative internal/external stressors defined above. This fact is key to understanding how to manage it.
How do we manage it? Here are the top 3 most researched methods of controlling stressful flair ups. The first one is probably the most relevant to CrossFit…
1. Exercise – Most researchers agree that physical activity may on of the most effective mechanism in dealing with stress. Interesting enough, its use as a therapeutic agent is not new. Its use can be traced to both the ancient Greeks and Romans. As far back as the fifth century, the Greek physician Herodicus prescribed gymnastic exercises as treatment for a variety of illnesses. Romans reportedly used exercise for treating disorders of the nervous system. Physical activity has been suggested to be the most natural response to stress because the stress response was originally intended to prepare one for physical action.
2. Breathing - Research has shown that many of the negative endocrine responses linked to stress can be controlled simply by controlling your breathing. Proper Diaphragmatic breathing improves blood flow to recovering muscles, more effectivly oxygenates the blood providing a “waking” effect to the brain.
3. Sex – I’m sure we all know about the tension relieving effects that sex can have, but few realize the true stress-releaving nature that physical contact can have. In an Arizona State University study on 58 middle-aged women, physical affection or sexual behavior with a partner significantly predicted lower negative mood and stress, and higher positive mood the following day. Simply put, researchers found that sex and physical intimacy led women to feel less stressed and be in a better mood the next day. Unfortunately, the same study found that when stress levels were high, libido was low making these “encounters” more rare.
Regardless of what methods you choose, make sure you do what works best for you. Do you guys have any favorites that work for you that you would like to recommend?
A. Snatch Complex x 4
2 x Snatch Balance
2 x Overhead Squat w/ 5 sec hold at bottom position
2 x Hang Squat Snatch
B. 2,4,6,8,10 for time
Power Clean and Jerk (155/105)
*Between each round, perform 10 Chest to Bar Pull Ups
**20 min cut off