Monday, June 12, 2006

The Tao of Stress

"Your body doesn't distinguish between training stress and life stress."

Will told me this as we drove through a monsoon on Saturday morning. We had both come up short in a workout about a half-hour prior.

I spent my weekend thoroughly trashing my body and my mind. Cutty Sark is not a supplement, and spending your Saturday and Sunday at the office does not qualify as rest and relaxation.

It showed in my workouts, and I didn't see it coming. On Thursday morning, I kicked ass. Dumbbell swings, box jumps, and clapping pullups--I couldn't be stopped.

On Friday afternoon, I dragged ass. Ring dips, handstand pushups, and pushups combined their collective powers like Voltron, smacking me around until I was junk.

The real test came on Saturday morning. I'd spent the night before in some bar where it was obvious that the girls liked girls more than they liked guys. No, really. They were holding hands.

This revelation led to copious drinking, despite the little voice in my head yelling "HYDRATION!"

After two hours of fitful sleep, I dragged myself to Crossfit Boston. Neal decided squat cleans, couched in some medieval version of Double Dare, would be the most productive use of our time:

20 Cleans (65# bar)
15 Good mornings (65# bar)
10 pullups

It was four rounds of hell, and I'm pretty sure I finished dead last. I couldn't overcome the thrashing I'd subjected myself to the night before.

You can be under-recovered from exercise, or you can be under-recovered from life. Your body doesn't know the difference. Next time you're dragging ass, take a look around. Stress takes many forms--they aren't all as obvious as 6 ounces of whiskey and five beers.

According to some study (which I'll blantantly fail to cite), the most stressful life events are moving, marriage, and a new job. We tend to associate these things with happiness--two of them, anyway--and we forget that they're powerful stressors.

Go ahead and add yours up. If you find that your life is full of stressors, positive or negative, do your best to minimize them when you're training hard.

If you try to train six times a week while you're planning a wedding, running a small business, and working with Bono to end hunger in West Africa, you're going to turn into a big puddle of useless.

On the other hand, if my weekend sounded like a whole lot of fun, you'll need the following ingredients to replicate:

150 dumbell swings
1 Glass of Cutty Sark
100 box jumps
5 Samuel Adams
75 clapping pushups
1 Very Ambiguous Bar
45 ring dips, handstand pushups, and regular pushups
1 Overdue Marketing Plan
80 cleans
An American bulldog
60 good mornings
2 hours of sleep
40 pullups

I'm currently accepting naming suggestions for this one. And no, "Jon" is not a valid option.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Voltron got served!

6/13/2006 04:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot to add 1 bald man and two marines!

6/13/2006 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Gilson said...


Plus Neal "The Viking" Thompson and two of our Nation's finest!

Paresh and Jim, two damn good U.S. Marines, were at Crossfit Boston at 8:00 am for a truly horrible session of deadlifts and box jumps on Saturday morning.

Sorry for the omission, guys!

6/13/2006 06:34:00 PM  
Blogger Will T said...

Ok so if I am moving, starting a business, and getting married does that mean I am super-setting in some strange manner. How would I build some sort of escalating density, or even work in active recovery? Would you suggest some sort of Tabata protocol or HIIT training? Am I just screwed?!?

6/13/2006 07:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dork that I am, I'd actually love to see that study; or more accurately, who the sample was and what the methodolgy was. (Not that I don't believe you saw the study; I always read things and then forget where I saw them) I'm also moving, fighting with the RMV and starting a new job, but that seems fairly common for people in their early twenties. I'd think having kids or a tramautic event would be way more stressful.

(Yes, out of school and still thinking too much.)

As for the bar, you did know that this weekend was Pride, right? :)


6/13/2006 10:53:00 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Gilson said...

You guys rock. I'm near tears.

Will--you're f*cked. Sorry buddy.

Jo--like Pride Fighting? Just kidding. I had no idea, but I caught on pretty quick. Here are a few references.

Holmes, T. H., & Rahe, R. H. (1967). The social readjustment rating scale. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 11, 213–218.

Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal and coping. New York: Springer.

Krieger, N., Rowley, D. L., Herman, A. A., Avery, B., & Phillips, M. T. (1993). Racism, sexism, and social class: Implications for studies of health, disease, and well-being. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 9(Suppl.), 82–122.

For a "fun" way to self-evaluate, try this:

6/14/2006 02:45:00 AM  

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