What is Stress &  How to Deal With Distress Like a Pro

What is Stress & How to Deal With Distress Like a Pro

Are you ready lifter? (15min read ahead)


Here is your next lesson from The Recreational Lifters Free Fitness Course, Helping you Evolve into who you deserve to be

What is Stress & How to Deal With Distress Like a Pro


In this article we'll review the facts surrounding stress and how to recover more effectively. 

But first off - why would you want to control your stress levels at all?

To kick things off let’s make a clear distinction here between stress and distress. 

Stress is a normal physiological response to changed conditions (either inside or outside) that prepares your body to better deal with those changed conditions.

 It is a necessary function. Without it, we wouldn’t survive or evolve. 

Distress, on the other hand, is a state where stress has gotten out of hand. 

Either the stress is produced inproportionately in response to a stimulus (mental breakdowns over spilled ice cream) or it is prolonged and unresolved (chronic stress).

Prolonged and out of hand stress wreaks havoc in the body and brain. 

As for metabolism - distress is one of the most harmful problems that could slow down your fat loss or bodybuilding goal. 

You can correct nutrition and physical activity in one day - these are what I see as “simple actions”.

 But you can’t just switch off the distress, especially when it is a product of a negative feedback loop or bad habit. 

Distress untreated causes the same kind of hormonal problems that sleep disorders do.

 It is one of the reasons why people ruin their sleep and the negative feedback loop feeds itself. 

Distress can cause both increased and decreased hunger by means of emotional eating, it can decrease motivation, increase inflammation and insulin resistance, decrease willpower,  increase  the storing of visceral fat around organs,  slow down your cognitive function,  decreased memory and learning, create mood disorders

All of these things, push the negative feedback loop FASTER

Basically, stress affects everything from a physiological perspective, like hormones, and cognitive behaviours, like your habits. 

That is why distress (not stress) needs to be addressed & controlled whereas stress, just needs simple actions like exercise nutrition and regular sleep to be balanced.

So….What are the practical ways to deal with distress?

 Im glad you asked

Number 1: Analyze the situation.

Stop, and write down everything that affects your everyday emotional or physical wellbeing.

Don’t leave anything out. 

If it suits you better - start a journal, I personally found this to be super impactful. 

Journaling gave me the opportunity to release my thoughts onto the paper and out of my mind.

Investigating these journal entries, will prompt questions to yourself such as:


Is the bad sleep the at the root of my stress or is it the other way around? 

What caused this?

What was I thinking prior to the moment of stress? 

What do I habitually do after I experience distress? 

Did I react or respond?

How would I rather respond?



Number 2: Deal with the root cause of stress first, not the symptoms.

We typically overemphasize the importance of recovery, but it is not always the solution to fixing  the root cause.

It takes a disciplined belief to take action towards the root cause. 

Thats why more people delay in solving their problems, you can not just whimsically solve anything

Sometimes there is a problem that can and needs to be dealt with, but for some reason, we avoid it and say we’ll start on monday so we can “rest up” and be ready.

It might be difficult to face some things or simply think, that someday, but just not today, we will be better prepared. 

Im sorry to tell ya, but, this never works. 

Not for bad relationships, smoking, work, or money problems. 

Inaction makes them grow like cancer, continuing to take more and more of you daily. 

The earlier you face it, the sooner you’ll start the recovery. 

Start with the first step, and you’ll be fine to take it 1 step at a time.

You we're made to survive & thrive

If you weren’t capable of succeeding, you wouldn’t be challenged

Adopt this belief and fortify your spirit so you may overcome the past you.



Number 3: Ditch the things that drain your energy like smoking, alcohol, toxic people, and staying up late.

You’d be amazed at how much better your energy levels will be once the leaks have been plugged.

There’s two major ideas you need to REJECT if you want salvation…


1) there’s no such thing as too much stress. 

So ridiculous its laughable, but those that say this fall short from understanding what stress is. 

Go back to the beginning of this lesson to remember what i'm referring to here


Simply know your limits (you are not God) and stay within it. Then every once in awhile, you can go and redefine those limits.

2) Good stress relieves bad stress. 

Sorry to break it to you once again, but stress is stress. 

Your body doesn’t know if you’re going for a 1 rep max lift or fighting a lion. Your body will release cortisol & adrenaline to keep you alive whenever stressed.

However, worth noting is that at the same time there is no amount of stress you couldn’t handle if you had enough time, treatment and the resources to recover. 

 Essentially stress and recovery must be in balance; you don’t want too much of either one.

Too little stress and too much recovery means you aren’t evolving as a person and wasting your potential. 

Too much stress and too little recovery means you aren’t evolving and are burning out your life-force.

This is where having the appropriate training routine & nutrition regimen to fit your needs comes in. 

Let’s go over, exactly how you can do that for yourself


First…. Leave everything that is secondary behind.

Focus your energy and time by prioritizing what’s most important. 

This is an essential skills for everyone to learn as they mature.

What are the vital things in your life right now, Lifter? 

Focus on those and watch everything fit themselves into the back seat. 

Recovery is one of those top priorities that usually falls to something secondary like keeping up with he kardashian soy-flix.



Number 4: Time - learn to manage it wisely.

Modern society has made us such poor time managers. 

Marketing and Advertising budgets tear our attention into a hundred different places at once. 

Thank the internet for the 7 second attention span you have…

On a daily basis, most of us go through our Facebook feed than our email box as we read half an article.

On a daily basis, most of us go through our Facebook feed than our email box as we read half an article.

The average person is to attacked by 2-3 different screens within the first 1hr of the day.

That’s the phone, tv and laptop, all calling your name, saying "LOOK AT ME"

Don’t let the tech tools manage you. You need to manage them!

Stick to a schedule. You have to plan your action, ahead of time.

This carry's over to many other facets of life when you are always  prepared

One way is to block off your time - time blocking opens time for you to do the secondary things you like.

Another method of scheduling is fragmenting. 

This can help with daunting projects that seem larger than life. 

If you have bigger things to take care of, don’t try to do them at once or wait for a good opportunity, Separate them into fragments and do them one at a time. 

Perhaps that’s 1 hour a day throughout the next 12 weeks. 

If you’re a student you, you are probably doing the complete opposite of this, and this is the first thing you need to do.


One other method is to never overlap things, and only do them in succession. 

Basically this is an anti-multitasking philosophy. 

Only start the next thing when you have finished the previous one to avoid open loops. 

Think as if you’re building a long chain and you need to complete a link before going on to the next one. 

You are the one thing that connect all of the loops.

I personally find this to be incredibly powerful and expands my attention span by providing peace of mind, something was done IMMEDIATELY. 

It’s great mental & physical discipline. 

I first started doing this by reading every caption of every post I saw on my social feed prior to scrolling to the next post. 

I found this to limit time wasted and actually improve how much I got out of the time I spent on instagram.

This satisfaction lead to less and less compulsive “5mins scrolls” that turned to 20min scrolls

Learning to be proactive, not reactive is a skill like everything else and needs time and effort to be mastered. But it doesn’t need to be complicated. 

If you plan ahead, and finish what you started before starting something new, you will be half way there in being a proactive person.



Number 5: Find your Zen & Flow State. 

This is something we can always practice and improve upon.

I was never a big fan of  the “doing nothing, thinking nothing”  notion, but I’ve come to learn you really are doing something, something remarkable at that. 

Very quickly I learned to can calm myself down and recharge between sets. 

Dr Huberman say that meditation is actually “Non Sleep, Deep Rest”. 

That’s why when your practice it you feel restored and fresh. Like you took a good nap.

The point to make here is, to find the thing that restores your energy and work it. That means, to derive some value from doing it with real intent.

We’re not talking about relaxing, watching television, or drinking a couple of beers with your buddies at the local pub. 

Those things won’t restore your energy, in fact they will just further drain your future energy.  

If you’re opposed to meditation you can try reading, spending quality time with a loved one, listening to peaceful music without words or taking a walk in nature. 

I’d recommend athletes or sports fans to read “The Mindful Athlete” by George Mumford to learn how to weaponize meditation like Kobe and Michael Phelps did.

If you want to give meditation a try it’s really quite simple. 

Think of it as a breathing exercise where you are working the breathing muscles in your core that push oxygen throughout your body. 

Push the oxygen from the tip of your nose, across your face and all throughout your body, down to your fingertips and your toes.

Your only goal here is to concentrate the internal feeling of breathing.

Every breath from beginning to end should take 10-12 seconds. 

Do this every day for a couple of minutes and then add onto it until you can sit undisturbed for 20minutes.

This has been proven to have life changing benefits to anyone's stress level.



Last but not least, Number 6: Take care of your body.

It is an old cliche that a healthy mind needs a healthy body. But it is true.

Nutrition, hydration, sleep, rest, chronic diseases, physical activity - all need to be addressed. 

The best way to do this will be unique to you, your lifestyle, your body and your goals. 

Some physical activity is better than nothing but we recommend you start with something you enjoy doing- like swimming, bowling or whatever it is.

Then when you've been consistent with your activity, you're ready to get serious and get professional help to fast track your evolution.


Okay, we can talk about stress and recovery forever because it is an important and extensive topic.

But the point here isn’t to teach the subject, but to give an overview and the main principles to start working at it right away.


To summarize, the most important points are:


  1. Whats actually going on?
  2. Distress has a root cause, deal with this first.
  3. Stress needs an equal amount of recovery. You don’t want to get rid of stress, because it is the power that keeps you evolving and moving forward.
  4. Manage yourself, cause no else will manage you better
  5. Find and Practice the Flow State with meditation breathing
  6. Take care of your body with daily activity for a natural high


If you read this entire article, you have proved to be rare amongst the 7 second having lifters, that left, the moment they saw it would take 15mins to get this far.

maybe it even took you longer.

No issue there, it will have only further proven your mental capacity to deal with stress like a pro.

Keep closing those loops and we look forward to seeing your evolution take place.



If you want more help, guidance or accountability with your fitness & health, reach out today.

Theres no time like the present, to gift yourself a better future

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