• Sam

Stress & Contentment process


We stress a system, then it recovers, then we stress it again, and it recovers. This general adaption theory is one of the cornerstones of human performance. We can’t improve a system without providing it with stress. Even the health benefits of eating vegetables are caused by the concept of hormesis. This means the small level of toxicity that vegetables have as a defense mechanism causes cellular stress that our body beneficially adapts to. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2635914/pdf/nihms54406.pdf)

This stress and recovery concept is crucial to us from a biological level. However, it doesn’t help us with our social, career, or economic development. However, when we replace recovery with contentment, this concept can be expanded to these areas.

Career example – I am personally 2 years into opening a gym, and in my 6th year of self-employment as a strength & human performance coach. I spent the first 3 years of business heavily working on my spread across as many sectors as I could handle. I was working in primary schools, secondary schools, giving presentations to headteachers, parents of students, alternate seminars to corporate groups, the outdoor industry and working 6 days a week with clients in gyms. Once I had sufficiently stressed my system from a publicity perspective I became content with the number of inquiries I was receiving on a weekly and monthly basis. Since opening my own gym, I haven’t needed to run any advertisements to reach capacity. And thus, for the past 2 years, I have been “content” with this process.

However, with the COVID-19 situation, we are re-vamping the facility (Pictures attached) to be better than ever, and thus a new wave of STRESS is required to spread the word. With online-only memberships and an increased capacity for distance education.

How does this translate to you and human performance?

I realised when developing my business, there is a limit to the number of things you can stress at any one time. For example, the psychological stress of psyching myself up for a big lift at the end of the week literally subtracts my potential attention from business. Likewise, work projects like a seminar for 40 people on a Saturday will be in the back of my mind for at least 2 weeks beforehand. This is the only way I have ever been able to fully accomplish tasks to the best of my ability. By accepting average performance in many areas to allow for excellence in others.

To be able to do my best work, I must be content with an average training week. To be able to achieve a PB in any lift, I have to be content with an average workweek.

Question – What areas of your life could you load back on for a month to allow for excellence somewhere else?

This is an important concept to consider and one that we HEAVILY adopt in the RECOGNISE and REBUILD Human Performance modules. We spend time adopting minimum effective doses of exercises and nutrition to understand how good we can feel by doubling down on sleep and relaxation. Then slowly ramp up stressors to see where the optimal levels lie.

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