Relax and Recharge

Balancing Training with Recovery

Meditation for stress relief. Getty images

Stress relief, rest and nutrition are every bit as important to your training program success as the actual training. Actually even more important because training, which is a form of stress, breaks the body down and causes small tears in the tissues. It is through adequate rest and nutrition that your body is able to recuperate, rejuventate and rebuild stronger. Since excessive stress is destructive to your health and well-being, ways of dealing with and alleviating stress are crucial for your long term progress.

Let’s look at the significance that rest, nutrition and stress relief has on your physical training, as well as some strategies for improving upon these important areas.


Is rest the same thing as sleep? Not necessarily.

Rest is the reduction of physical activities in order to relax.

Whereas sleep is a state of rest in which the body is not active and the mind is unconscious. 

The difference between rest and sleep is the level of consciousness or mental activity. Therefore, adequate sleep is necessary to give both the body and the mind a break from the day’s activities. It is understood that for sleep to be effective in regenerating the cells and tissues of the body, it must be restful sleep.


Nutrition refers to the food substance that you eat and the way that they influence your health. 

This includes not only what ingredients you eat, but also how you eat it, how much you eat, and when you eat.

Stress Relief

Stress can be created by internal means, such as concern about some challenging circumstance, or the cause of that worry. Or, it can be created by some external force that causes your body to change strength or shape.

External stress can include environmental stressors, such as noise, traffic, electromagnetic frequencies, microwaves, or pollution.

Stress is also caused by physical training, such as by lifting kettlebells or other weights, or any kind of relatively intense exercise. This kind of stress is generally “good stress”, as long as it is properly balanced with rest and recovery, to allow healing of the exercise-induced stress.

Internal stress can take the form of argument, interpersonal conflicts and all forms of negative energy, and the kinds of relationships which leave your tired, anxious and other disempowering feelings. Or your response to challenges can manifest as nervousness, anxiety, lack of confidence, worry, a hyperactive mind and so on. Internal stress is normally associated as being negative and the best defense against this kind of stress is the ability to breath and stay calm so that you can navigate the particular challenge with grace.

Stress relief includes practices which help to reduce, alleviate and/or eliminate the stressors. Since there are some forms of stress relief which have negative health consequences, such as the use of alcohol and other drugs, we will limit our discussion on stress relief practices to those things which have a positive effect on reducing stress without the associated drawbacks.

Included in these stress relief practices can be such things as meditation, tai chi or other qigong movements, stretching, yoga, immersion in nature and other environments which brings you tranquility and quiet, floatation tanks, or any personal time that allows you to forget about any real or perceived “problems” and to be present in the moment. This could be reading an empowering book, playing with your children or pets, laughing with friends, and other feel-good activities.

In order to make consistent progress in your health and fitness over the long-haul, the physical training is not enough. Balance your physical training stress with de-stressing activities that include sleep, high-quality nutrition, and other stress-relieving activities.

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