Now I’m the first to advocate working out to help manage the stress in your life. But you will want to look at the environment and conditions of the stress.
When a client or athlete comes into the gym, obviously dealing with some level of stress, it is important to take a deeper look. Is the stress due to the daily grind, some burn-out and fatigue is setting in? Or has this a long term source of stress caused a disruption of the lifestyle? In the case of the daily grind wearing you down, I’ll taper back on the workout intensity of the workout and monitor the energy level closely. In some cases a good focused workout in just what is needed to help manage the stress level.
When you’re under a great amount of stress for a significant amount of time, you are dealing with something quite a bit different. Many factors come into play when your lifestyle is altered due to stress. Sleep patterns and eating habits are compromised the most. When that happens the body is not the same machine. Even the advanced athletes lose some functionality, or ability to complete the more technical movements properly. Then we need to worry about that athlete/ client getting injured during the workout. In those situations stay with the dynamic warm-up and movement prep phase of the workout, just add a couple sets. This allows for a deep, inclusive warm-up. That also allows me the extra time to evaluate just how functional the body is and how I might need to alter the workout. In some cases the warm-up and movement prep is the workout. In others, we’ll proceed on into the workout which will be less technical and more machine based.
That way the client will get a great workout/ stress management, as well as stay safe. In either situation, keep that body moving. Feed and hydrate it as well as possible and your body won’t let you down in the stressful times.