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Mental Struggles and Training

Exactly what I was about to write @Voxel!

I work a lot with different stress related disorders, and can only support your simple illustration there! For example, many patients with exhaustion disorder are initially unable to perform the simplest physical endeavor, as it tires the brain too much. Stress is stress no matter where you put it.

Yep. I call that clearing the slate. Just wipe everything clean (mentally), grab the bar and see what happens. I’m pretty sure what’s going to happen when I do that.

The next day or few days though, that tells the tale if I’m mentally drained, intolerant, or just feeling demoralized in general.

Too many heavy singles is a direct pathway to the pit of despair for me.

On the other hand, metabolic range type stuff, (not gonna call it Deep Water, but like 10x10) while physically exhausting, is also invigorating.

My all time go to that almost always feels good/better is 10 sets of 3, 50-60% max on like deads, front squats, or cleans from a hang.

Individual results certainly may vary.


I think you see exercise as a stress reduction method. Which is right. But it’s odd though. Because it is also a stressor. Depending on my mood and or level of exercise.

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I think the model was something I caught in a Scott Stevenson book. It’s good though. Works for me.

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Absolutely. How have you managed it thus far? How deep into a hole do you dig yourself before you realise?

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Really interesting discussion. I can relate to exercise as a stress reducer until suddenly it’s not. I have in the past also felt not exercising as a stressor due to guilt and anxiety over lost progress.

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A very insightful response from you. A doubled edged sword it is.

Sometimes(like recent times) we talk about “Stress” and “Stressors” as factors that disrupt our homeostasis. So fighting with your girlfriend is stress, and training is stress and missing a meal is more stress on your body.

Other times (like in my childhood) we talked about “Stress” as the result of the disruptions. Like so much aggravating stuff has happened to me that I’m “stressed” and now I’m irritable and can’t think straight.

If you’re irritable and can’t think straight (like you’re “stressed out” in the old sense of the word) it can be useful to Stop Thinking, or Turn Off Your Brain, or Forget Your Troubles for Awhile.

Exercise can be good to help you get to this “relaxing” or “meditative” or “stress reducing” mindset. You focus on your muscles, or your breathing or whatever and forget your troubles for awhile.

The problems is that Training is not Exercising. Especially if you’ve been doing it for awhile. You’re not going into the gym for some moderate, de-stressing physical activity, with no pressure to perform. You’re going to rip shit up, you know what constitutes a “good” or a “bad” workout, and you’re going to try hard to have a “good” one.

And if you’re really “stressed”, like you’re homeostasis is already thrown off, your performance is likely to be impaired or lowered. So you’re pushing hard when you’re already messed up. You just add to the stress.

Easy, calm stuff works better for mental clarity or stress relief for me. Like walking through the woods or by the water helps me relax after my stressful curls and tricep kickbacks.


Me? I usually whine in my log that life is not fair, try out 9 different strength programs over two weeks, then eat a pizza, sleep a full night, and settle back into my tried and true.

@FlatsFarmer awesome points.


You are my spirit animal

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This is it. I’m not in the gym to fuck about. I want to make improvements. I want to be the best I can be knowing all the stress recently has meant I’m eating shit, sleeping very little and I can’t hold a though for more than 56 seconds. So that’s not gonna work. Which adds to the stress.