Exercise and physical training should enhance your life not hinder it. Workout intensity, in of itself, is not a bad thing. We need to make sure that we push ourselves appropriately in order to maximize the beneficial effects of our training. Unfortunately, this really only applies to the general population and becomes a little more challenging when dealing with high stress occupations and lifestyles…
Without getting too far into the academic weeds; Intensity causes stress to the body, the body recovers from the stress, and then the body can handle more stress next time around. This is how we get stronger, faster, and more fit. Too much stress, however, starts to have a negative and compounding effect that causes a break down inside the body leading to the body not being able to recover enough to handle more stress. This in ability to recover will result in decreasing performance both in the gym, on the job, and in your personal life.
People working in Emergency Services, Law Enforcement, and Military Service, generally experience more stress and due to the nature of their work, need to manage their stress and recovery to be effective at their job. Effort should be relative to how you are feeling on the day, percentage work on lifts should be done by feel, don’t expect to hit the actual weight of 90% of your best 1RM after you worked all night or had a bunch of calls during your shift, but maybe just 90% of what you feel you can do.
Are some days going to be harder than others? Yes, you can’t control what will happen during a shift or in your personal life. Does that mean you HAVE to hit your deadlift percentage work in order to “stay fit” or “get fit”? Absolutely not, after a long night shift of “call after call” your nervous system is going to be fried and trying to max out a lift is going to be more detrimental than beneficial. Hurting yourself in the gym just to say you pulled a new 1RM deadlift isn’t going to benefit you or your job, short or long term.
“Accept the things you cannot change and have the courage to change the things you can” – Let your ego go in the gym, do the work you can, and move on with your day to maximize your recovery.
Coach Tyler Tait
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