Stress Relief: Why Raging Aggressive Workouts Are Not the Way to Go
Whenever we are upset, sad, furious, or just annoyed, we get to go work out until we release all of that heavy stress from our shoulders. Sounds great, right? Though seen as harmless, I can tell you through my own experience that working out for stress relief is the wrong way to go.
It has become commonplace to use your negative emotions to fuel a tough workout.
Related: Adrenal Fatigue - Real, Or a Big Lie?
When embracing negative emotions, you become more aroused and more aggressive. More aggression means more energy and strength, and more energy and strength means lifting more weight for more repetitions.
That sounds amazing in theory.
For one session? Sure! But what happens when you "channel your emotions" every time you work out? You hear the phrase "your body is very smart and adapts to anything you put it through." Well, so is the mind.
The mind adapts the same, if not better than the body can. Before we set out to attain our ideal physique, let's look at why using stress relief as a reason to work out is not an ideal approach towards your fitness journey.
Reasons Not to Use Working Out as a Form of Stress Relief
#1 - Forms Negative AssociationsThe first reason for not using stress relief as a reason to fuel your fitness journey is that using a negative approach forms negative connections with the activity you perform. Simply, the more you work out upset, the more you associate working out with being upset.
That can lead you into two problems:
- Your life becomes a little easier/you lose stress making fitness unneccessary to your life (in your eyes).
- You start to think of your work outs as punishment. Regardless which problem you run into, you will find more difficulty in your journey than there needs to be.
#2 - Aggression Becomes NormalThe second reason for not using stress relief to fuel your workouts is that this aroused state of aggression becomes a kind of "normal" to you.
Countless time I would turn up the music, get a good whiff of ammonia, and let out my aggression. Any day that I was not load up on caffeine or getting myself amped up, my work out just felt like it flat out sucked!
Did my work out suck?
Not at all, but I was so used to my amped up state as my "normal work out" that anything less intense was just lazy and unproductive. This constant state of arousal combined with watching Youtube training work out motivation videos made me believe that this intense, uncaged, aggressive state was the way a work out should be.
Though workouts should be intense and they should challenge you, they should also build upon one another and be progressive.
#3 Negative Feelings, Negative LifeThe third and last reason for not using stress relief as a way to fuel your workouts is that a negative feeling transfers to a negative life.
You act on the thoughts you associate your life with. Not just the thoughts you associate your life with, but you are associating yourself with these negative thoughts during an emotional and aroused state.
If you tell yourself your life sucks... It's going to suck. If you tell yourself that you are weak without aggression, you may not have the confidence to hit heavier weights when you try and hit personal bests.
The more you repeat negative phrases, the more you subconsciously believe them. By focusing on the negative thoughts, you are (without being fully aware) moving towards a negative life.
Final ThoughtsAs you can see, I am not a big fan of stress relief workouts. Yes, some days can be good therapy, but revolving your fitness journey around stress relief is a sure way to failure in and out of the gym.
At times you are not stressed you may be tempted to quit your journey. When you focus on negative thoughts while lifting you start to associate lifting with negative thoughts.
When you "beat the stress out of yourself" with working out, you start to truly believe that your most intense work out is how every work out should be. When you associate yourself with negative thoughts, you work towards a negative life.