Chill Out!

Saturday, December 22, 2012



Row 500m
Olympic Squat on the Wall
T-Spine Smash
Super Rack Stretch with Band
Hip extension with a band


Front Squats

1) Every 45 sec for 3 min (5 reps) – 1 rep @ 80% – rest 1 minute

2) Every 45 sec for 3 min (5reps) – 1 rep @ 85% – rest 1 minute

3) Every 45 sec for 3 min (5reps) – 1 rep @ 90%


Classic Conditioning:

3 Rounds for time of:
100′ Wallball roll (no kicking, hands only)
200m run
100′ Wallball overhead run
5 Hang Power cleans (125#/85#)


Advanced Conditioning:

3 Rounds for time of:
100′ Wallball roll (no kicking, hands only)
50 Double Unders
100′ Wallball overhead run
5 Hang Power cleans (225#/155#)

Cool Down:

Pigeon stretch
Couch stretch
Calf Stretch
Roll out legs and back



I find it a shame how the holidays and family gatherings in general tend to cause so much stress. When people have a cold they will frequently say it’s because they’ve been so stressed out lately. Work has been really hard or I just had an exam week. Stress can make you ill. I focused on studying Health psychology in college. I was most interested in Trauma, but did most of my research on minor acute or chronic stress. One project looked at relationships and skin barrier recovery, and the other at lifestyle stressors and upper respiratory infections in children.

I’ll first briefly (I don’t want to bore you with the details) discuss the relationships and skin barrier recovery study. We had couples that had been dating for at least 2 years and that lived together come in for the study. The participants were connected to an EKG. We took saliva samples every 30min across the 3 day, 5 hour per day, study and had them fill-out several baseline stress questionnaires. We irritated their skin and measured the level of humidity from the skin across time. Participants were placed into two situations.  A supportive, and a stressful conversation with their partner. The saliva samples indicated the stress hormones that were being released (such as cortisol). The EKG showed us changes in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, and the level of humidity monitored from the skin demonstrated the rate of healing. Previous research indicated that with prolonged increase in levels of cortisol, the immune system starts to shut down and the body’s ability to protect itself becomes decreased. Furthermore, constructive relationships have been shown to improve health in cancer patients, and caretakers have a higher than normal frequency of getting sick and have a shorter lifespan. So monitoring the nature of a relationship is important in understanding how stress can affect health.

So what we found in the study is that not only does prolonged stress affect the body, but stress affects it immediately at the time of stress, even if the stress is minor. There was a significant difference between the skins ability to heal after the supportive vs. the conflictual conversations. Just to reiterate that point… a stressful conversation can affect your body so immensely that your ability to heal a minor skin irritation is significantly affected at the time of the conversation. The EKG and saliva samples show that the conversation was in fact stressful and that the fight or flight system had been activated in comparison to the support conversation.

There were a few other interesting findings, such as people with a higher baseline of stress were more affected by acute stress than those with a lower baseline. So you do not become resistant to the affects of stress. Also the nature of the relationship played a role in the level of stress perceived or experienced during the stressful conversation. Now obviously the study wasn’t perfect and some of the measures were quite questionable, but there is no doubt that stress negatively affects the body’s ability to heal itself and that relationships have a imperative role in that regard.

So as you spend your holidays with family, extended family and so forth, keep that in mind. Know what makes you happy and be aware of the impact you might be having on your loved ones. So calm down, keep things in perspective and enjoy this holiday season. And I’ll go over some of the interesting findings of the other study I mentioned next week.

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