Managing the Big One: Stress

It seems like soreness, sleep, nutrition, and even programming take up 98% of our conversations about optimizing training. How many times have you spoken to your coaches about how to “roll out,” or said something like “What’s a good stretch for…?” What about nutrition? How many times has your interest in improving your fitness led you to what you chose for lunch? The same is true about topics like supplementation and what time you go to bed at night.

What’s remarkable to me is how little we are willing to discuss stress. Considering the impact it has on our health and fitness gains, it’d make sense that we’d address it as often as we address anything else, but we don’t.

Stress is on par with nutrition, sleep, and even injury in it’s ability to blunt your training efforts. Keeping in mind that the training that we do is inherently stressful by design, I’d encourage you to read on.

Training a half dozen high stress training sessions, especially prolonged stressors like endurance running or repeated mid-range glycolytic sessions, each week may be doing you more harm than good. If your career, relationships, or financial situation is particularly stressful, you ought to pay close attention to this.

“But, I’m motivated! What do I do?”

I hear you. Maximizing the training sessions that you do take part in will trump any cortisol-bathing-adrenal-fatigue-party you’re trying to throw six days a week, plus it’s more sustainable. Here are some ways to stay in the game:

  • Lift heavy once or twice a week
  • Train intense conditioning sessions only to the extent that you can recover (Check: mood, resting heart rate, soreness, motivation)
  • Go for regular walks (if this doesn’t sound cool then you’re probably a guy, which, in that case, call them “Man Walks” and you’ll be fine)

As someone that makes a living training people in very purposefully stressful environment, listen to the words that are coming out of my mouth. Adrenal fatigue is a real thing. And, managing your stress levels may be the most critical piece of your performance growth.


Logan Gelbrich



8/28/13 WOD

Complete the following for time:

1 Mile Run
30 Shoulder to Overhead (135/95)
15 Front Squats