Sunday, May 29, 2016

Five Ways to Change Your Fitness Level, and Your Life (Part 2:Proper Recovery and Stress Reduction)  

   by Bob Wells, CPT, CES, PES, Pn1, Pn2


"Nothing great was ever achieved without hard work."

We have all heard this quote, or some variation of it regarding the need to work hard if we wish to be successful in our lives. Quotes like these, and their call for hard work inspire us to persevere at work, in the gym, and on the playing fields.

We lionize those who seem to never rest, pushing their minds and bodies to the brink of collapse. We erect statues in their honor and memory, and endlessly recall their admonitions to work increasingly harder.


There is no debate about the need to work hard to achieve our fitness goals, such as our dream bodies. However, it should be also noted that nothing great can never be sustained without proper recovery and stress reduction.

College football fans surely remember the case of Urban Meyer, whose legendary hard work initially paid off with an average record of 11.4 wins and just 2 losses his first five years at Florida, claiming two national championships in that same span. Stories about Meyer's legendary work ethic grew, as did his mental and physical stress.

His last year with the Gators ended with a trip to the emergency room, a 'dismal' 8-5 record, and the beginning of a two year break from coaching to recover from his inordinate amount of stress and hard work. Clearly, hard work has a tipping point, where there is an inverse relationship between it and success.

Therefore, we need to recover properly and reduce our stress if we are to achieve even greater successes in the gym, on the playing fields, and in life.

Here are five things that we can use to recover and reduce stress:

1.  Get a good night's sleep.  According to Harvard Medical School, adults need 7.5 to 8.5 hours of sleep a night. Proper sleep will allow us to recover and perform optimally, physically and mentally. (Check out Hacking Sleep for tips on how to engineer a good night's sleep.)

2.  Practice yoga.  Yoga, which has become extremely popular in the last 40 years, is another way to relieve stress. (Here are some basic yoga poses, or a list of yoga classes near you.)
Photo by Ilaria Vecchi Photography
3.  Curl up to a good book.  Find a quiet spot to read for 30-60 minutes each day.

4.  Meditate.  Meditation, which can be done in just 10-15 minutes a day, is an effective way to calm our minds and reframe our thinking. (Check out how to meditate to get started now.)

5.  Get a massage.  Massages are a great way to relieve the accumulated physical and mental stresses of our lives. (Equinox spas are amazing, but feel free to try one of these other spas near you.)

Check out "Strategies for getting control of stress" for additional ways to relieve stress and recover properly. Remember that rest/recovery is as important as the hard work that you are doing to achieve your goals. 

28 comments:

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  2. Great tips! I'm a pain for taking devices to bed with me, but I'm trying harder not to.

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  5. Super list on creating good fitness habits! I believe good fitness habits are the most important thing we can do for success in getting healthy, fit and to live our best life! Thanks for sharing great stuff.

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  6. This looks good to me. I would like to try it, that's for sure. I like to make my exercises at the fresh air.

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  7. When it comes to strength training, you can alternate between free weights, Nautilus or other resistance machines and perhaps other workouts such as kettle bells. Get the facts

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