Road Cyclists Blogs Spinning

Stress Needs Rest

Successful training is a combination of both art and science -- it must involve the right combination of overload, recovery, and insight.  Because the body responds to exercise in the same way it responds to stress it is critical to remember that “stress needs rest”.  When we do not sufficiently respect the balance between training and recovery, overreaching, and if left untreated, overtraining can occur.

Unfortunately these physiological states are not only related to physical training loads but rather the sum of life stressors (lifestyle factors, environmental factors and physical factors). See my previous blog post, “Don’t Worry - be happy!” for more information.

Fortunately overreaching and overtraining have been well studied--McNair, Lorr and Doppleman (1971) initially developed the Profile of Mood States (POMS) Questionnaire for people undergoing counseling or psychotherapy. The POMS was made popular in the area of sport and exercise through the research of Morgan & Pollock (1977) and Morgan & Johnson (1978). POMS, which contains 65 questions, has subsequently demonstrated that it can be used successfully to assess performance status in athletes (yes, as a participant in the Spinning™ program - you are an athlete…). Brianmac, Sports Coach has the questionnaire posted on his website. To take it and see your score got to: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/poms.htm

For a shorter version (Anderson (2002), each morning assess yourself against the following six questions:

  • I slept well last night
  • I am looking forward to today's workout
  • I am optimistic about my future performance
  • I feel vigorous and energetic
  • My appetite is great
  • I have little muscle soreness

Rate each statement on the following scale:

  • 1 - Strongly disagree
  • 2 - Disagree
  • 3 - Neutral
  • 4 - Agree
  • 5 - Strongly agree

If your score is 20 or above you have probably recovered enough to continue with training, if not consider rest or an easy workout until your score rises again.

The Spinning™ Energy Zones provide a template for avoiding overreaching and overtraining. So train smart and remember that “stress needs rest”.  Next time: distinguishing between overreaching and overtraining.

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