When you’re working in the weight room, muscle tissue is being broken down from the physical stress of lifting. It’s built back bigger and stronger during the recovery phase with amino acids from protein and about 48 hours of rest. But what happens to this process when you’re under mental stress? A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise measures the effect on 31 recreational lifters.
After completing a stress questionnaire, these college students engaged in 6 sets of 10 reps on the leg press with resistance set at their 10 rep max. Although mental stress had no impact on soreness, energy levels or fatigue, it did impact the first hour of recovery. Those who weren’t under much stress got their strength back faster.
True Strength Moment: Since mental stress only impacts the first hour of the recovery process, there’s no harm in using weight training as a way to help take some of the load off your mind. Physical stress is a great way to beat down mental stress. Dialing in a healthy balanced diet can also help.