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 Post subject: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:40 am 
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Hey everyone.

I am currently in the middle of a very stressful life changing event. I am having trouble developing an appetite, having trouble sleeping and very little desire to do much. I have scheduled appointments with a therapist and my general doctor.

I am wondering if I should even be attempting to workout at this time in my life. I have continued going to the gym and trying to get a workout in but it leads to failure everytime. I am extremely weak due to lack of nutrition and sleep. I want to keep going because I know that the exercise helps but at this point it truly feels hopeless to make any progress. I am likely headed toward more regression than progression.

What does everyone think? Lay off the workouts for a while or keep chugging away the best I can?

Any help is appreciated,
Travis


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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 9:58 am 
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Keep your workouts short and intense. I just did a 10 minute push/pull/leg workout in the hotel gym. That will hold me until I get to my regular gym this weekend. Do something like that in the morning. Do body weight at home if you want. Add in some relaxing walks, maybe yoga or meditation and that's all you need.

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Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food.~Hippocrates
Strength is the adaptation that leads to all other adaptations that you really care about - Charles Staley
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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 11:54 am 
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can you make the event less stressful?


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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:15 pm 
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Oscar_Actuary wrote:
can you make the event less stressful?


Unfortunately I do not think so. My marital status might be changing despite my desire for it to remain as is......

Didn't really want to come out and say it but, there it is.


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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:27 pm 
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I'm sorry to hear that.
not sure what side of the coin you are on. I'm not totally unsympathetic (or it is empathetic?) to your plight. I have alluded to my wifes lack of motivation more than once here. I love her and like being with her in a vaccuum, in a case where you don't consider a future. But at 43 and having known here for 20 yrs I'm about to give up on her ever changing.

Every non-marital counseling , non-bible based advice I get (read) is "She won't change, leave now". I actualyl find worknig out to be a great stress reducer in that sense. Whle my situation is chronic, yours may be more acute and impacting your eating in this way. So I see how training is compromised.

Well, I know thats of no use to you, and good luck on your situation


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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Sat Nov 19, 2011 1:10 am 
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I'd say don't keep hammering away at exercises that have become frustrating. Do something new, and don't try to progress anything too fast. Think of lifting as an outlet.

Good call on the therapist and the doctor. You already have some of what are called "vegetative" signs, that indicate that depression is affecting your whole physiology. A few months of meds may be the best way to turn that around.

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. I hope that your wife will go with you to therapy, and make an honest effort to work things out.

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Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan


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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:46 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
I'd say don't keep hammering away at exercises that have become frustrating. Do something new, and don't try to progress anything too fast. Think of lifting as an outlet.

Good call on the therapist and the doctor. You already have some of what are called "vegetative" signs, that indicate that depression is affecting your whole physiology. A few months of meds may be the best way to turn that around.

I'm sorry to hear about your troubles. I hope that your wife will go with you to therapy, and make an honest effort to work things out.


Thanks Doc, for the advice! I am going to try to steer clear of any meds for depression. The side effects always seem to far out weigh the benefits but, I guess I can talk that over with my doctor.

I am about a week into this "adventure" now and have started to try to wrap my head around the entire situation. I have had a few revelations that have started to improve my mood and overall psyche. I am coming to realize how lazy I had become in most facets of my life. I wasn't living at all, just waking up everyday doing the same thing......

Laziness is the devil's bidding, I swear. :evil:

We are attending the therapist together so we will see how that goes. No matter the outcome my life will never be the same again. In an odd sense this is singlely the greatest thing that my wife could have done for me.

Thanks again,
Travis


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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:22 pm 
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Well, see how it goes, and keep an open mind. You are moving in the right direction.

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Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don't really matter.--Francis Chan


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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:28 pm 
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I'm so sorry to hear of your situation. I understand how that feels and depression can make you completely weak and depleted. I recommend doing lighter exercises. I'm not sure if your into this sort of thing, but have you tried yoga? It can be soothing and reduce stress and anxiety. Good luck.


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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:11 am 
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acanta wrote:
I'm so sorry to hear of your situation. I understand how that feels and depression can make you completely weak and depleted. I recommend doing lighter exercises. I'm not sure if your into this sort of thing, but have you tried yoga? It can be soothing and reduce stress and anxiety. Good luck.


Thanks for the tip. I might give yoga a try. I really need to improve my flexibilty anyway so this could be a double bonus!

Just to update if anyone cares; My overall mood has improved slightly. I am now 1 month into this saga and I am no longer in shock over the whole thing. Each workout seems to get a little better in regards to concentration. I have started jogging at the end of my lifting workout. I am a terrible runner but it seems to really help clear my mind temporarily.

I have seen my doctor to get an overall health assesment and everything was good there. Slightly anemic by a couple decimal points but she didn't seem too concerned. I spent a few years drinking alcohol far too often and far too much so I was a little concerned I had messed up some internal functions (liver, kideys, etc...) but everything checked out normal there too. What a relief that was!

Sorry for the ramblings. It's kind of theraputic to get some of this off my chest so hopefully nobody minds.....

Take care,
Travis


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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:03 pm 
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I never seen this thread when it was created.

Hope things keep improving.

I have some sh*t going on now, too, so thought I'd chime on the workout part because I honestly think lifting has kept my sanity in check.

On top of my situation, I also tore a hamstring which took away the 2 things I love to do most - Deadlift and Squat. Generally, if I was ever really stressed, I would just go to the gym and deadlift but I "couldn't even do that".

Btw, this - "couldn't even do that", is the kind of thought that you need to kick out your mind instantly, before they register and get you down. It's negative and, just adds to any other negativity that's already floating around. We all have an "inner voice" and if it's filled with thoughts that put you down, then you're going to feel very low. I honestly believe (infact, know) this is a huge deal, btw. The mind is an extremely powerful thing.

Think of like going for a new PB - if you constantly tell yourself before the lift that you're NOT going to make it, I guarantee you won't make it. If you constantly think negatively of yourself, then you are not going to feel very positive.

Going back to my training, I had to just forget DL's and squats. What COULD I do? I could train upper body, and focus on getting better on one leg, I could do all those things that i've been meaning to do for ages but never got round to. Like learn some olympic lifts or, Turkish get ups. Mess around with some complexes. Learn how to kick properly and spar a little. If feels GOOD to develop new skills.

Also, for the upper body lifts I could do, I used the 5-3-1 progression, which you start with 90% of your 1RM. This means that for the first few months, even on a bad day you will make your reps and probably even exceed them. It could be worth doing this but, starting with 80% of your 1RM. You would beat the minimum reps every single work out. I've done it on hardly any food and 4 hours sleep - even in that case, you can do "what you need to do" and walk out with your head held high and clear refreshed mind set.

I also just accepted that I wouldn't be able to eat enough consistently enough to add any muscle mass so, I dropped it from my priority list. All i focused on was getting stronger on the 2 lifts that I used 5-3-1 for, and getting more comfortable/competent with the new things I was learning.

I also generally thrive on the intensity of a training session. Even if i'm not as good as this time last year, I feel great after throwing around some weights. It feels fantastic, even if a lot of other things in life at the moment don't. I don't even think about anything whilst training (which is probably key!). I'm kind of in a daze the whole time, if anything i'm just thinking about technique etc.

I've "trained for sanity" for years now but this past year has been the most testing. I think because i've always used it as a stress release, I have come to rely on it. I don't think it's bad at all. If my family need me and I feel weak, I go to the gym, drift into myself and lift till I can't lift any more. Then I get a shower, walk to the supermarket, drink milk, eat a flap jack, and feel fantastic. It's as if zapping away my physical strength in the gym gives me mental strength outside of it and then i'm ready to be there for whatever i'm needed for. If I feel myself getting mentally weak and pity beginning to set in, I "save it" for the gym, I make a mental note that I need to train at the next available opportunity - as priority, because I know it will flush away the crap.

Also, don't know if you read much but I would recommend you read more, or start reading. Reading to the mind is what exercise is to the body.

This is what works for ME, anyway.

If I were to summarise this, the underlying theme is - Better yourself. Get better, improve! Even if it means taking 10 steps back to allow a steady weekly/monthly progression. Or just learning something new (like Yoga!), or reading some more (or at all). There is something empowering about constantly getting better. There's something about it which gives you that inner confidence needed to kick the sh*t out of life and not let any Thing or any One get you down.

Not sure if that will help or not but, I felt compelled to reply.

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:21 pm 
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KPj, thanks so much for the thoughtful response. I hope that your sh!t clears up for you as well.

The biggest problem I am having is that I try to mentally convince myelf that being at the gym and working out is the best thing for me and I try to channel all the frustration into the workout but I am having problems overcoming my natural reactionary response to the situation. Hopefully with time it gets better. Maybe I need to channel all my energy into beating the living sh!t out of my natural emotional responses :headbang: :headbang:

Thanks again for leaving the well thought out comments!

Travis


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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:13 am 
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No problem. Every situation is different and unique to it's own circumstances, so not always comparable.

In my case - not to hijack but - my mother is terminally ill. The experience so far has been a huge reality check and has made me question pretty much every personal value i've ever had. I began (and still feel this thought process trying to creep back into the forefront of my mind), for instance, wondering what the hells the point, and I struggled to really care much about the future, and got into a rut.

However, a good training session always made/makes me feel better. Learning about training (or anything) makes me feel better. Training and helping others train makes me feel better - It helps to help. Just being "there" for my family keeps me distracted as well as determined. When I feel myself getting wore down, I keep my mind on my next training session. If I can't train, I read, or learn, work, or spend time with those I love. I've learned some bizarre things this year lol, I've learned about the study of pain and the perception of pain in your mind, learned more about the "4th world", I've learned a lot more about World War 1, World War 2, personality typing, cancer, eating disorders, and even muay thai, to name just a few of my distractions.

Everyone reacts differently, this is just how I need to cope (with anything). I need distraction because at the wrong time, idol thought can lead me into a field of negativity, and being overwhelmed with negativity is a cancer in itself.

One of the most important things I've come to realise which may apply to every sh*tty sitation is - Everything can get better. Even when the inevitable outcome is NOT what you want, things can still get better if you just believe they can. My dad throughout my life during negative situations has often said, "it is what it is". I think I only truly understood this in the last few years. Sometimes, sh*t just happens and you can't stop it. You can either beat yourself up about it or you can get up and move on and learn from the experience. There's not always a reason why or someone to blame. Bad things just happen.... people change.... It's not your fault, it's just the way it is. It's just life - It is what it is.

I believe things either get better or worse and the direction you take is 100% down to you. Being in a rut is never good. Not believing in yourself is a sure fire way to get stuck in a rut. To believe in yourself you need to stay positive and to stay positive you need to keep out the negative. In my mind, striving to be better (at anything!) is the way to keep up the positive and keep out the negative and essentially instil that "belief" that you need to make things better, regardless of the outcome.

Anyway, kind of got side tracked. It's not the same situation at all and not comparable but, the post came out so i've left it in. I'm just a very big believer in "getting better" and positive effect this has on your mentality. I've seen it with a lot of people I've trained, too.

I meant to just comment on the training thing - I just think you should take enough steps back to make things "too" easy, and steadily progress from there (and do some stuff you haven't done before). I would also suggest making some new training goals. Kind of like wiping your training slate clean and starting over.

Also, don't know if this will help but when I train, I don't really think about anything. I think it's this "emptyness" that really helps. Sometimes your mind is tired because it's been in over drive and being in a situation where you can "switch off" can make a significant difference. For me, if I think about all the things that get me down, it gets me down - If I done this in the gym I would probably half a$$ the session and leave in a worse mood than I arrived. Just switching off and concentrating on the session works wonders, though.

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 10:11 am 
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I'm with Kenny on the stress reduction. 2010 was the worst year of my life. There were days when I was praying not to get through the day but to only to get through the next five minutes. Every now and then, I look back and think about everything I had to go through and quite frankly don't know how I did it.

Having said that, my only sanity for much of that year was in the gym. I know it is a cliche, but they gym became a sanctuary for me. My mind would get clear for an hour or longer. I can remember one day, I had a good session in the gym. I was walking out and I was happy. As soon as I walked out of the door, everything was dumped back on my shoulders. I could feel the weight of all the stuff going on slam back on me.

Going to th gym, changed absolutely nothing. What it did do was provide me an hour of escape/safety and a healthy way of relieving stress. That day, I remember shifting my gym bag on my shoulder. I knew all I had to do was plow on and I'd get through the day. Things slowly got better. My life was forever changed, but honestly the gym and praying were the biggest factors in me making it through the situation. Well, that and my wife and sister. Those two strong women carried me the times I couldn't walk anymore on my own.

BTW, buy the book Raising the Bar. I've read it probably 4 times in the last six months.

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 Post subject: Re: Stress and exercise?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:41 am 
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hi. Welcome


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