The Secret To Balancing Stress & Recovery In Your Life

Zaid K. Dahhaj
6 min readMar 19, 2018

Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.” (Jules Renard)

“A person holding a wire with tiny light bulbs in their hands” by Diego PH on Unsplash

The concept of maximizing performance by alternating periods of activity with periods of rest was first advance by Flavias Philostratus (A.D. 170–245), who wrote training manuals for Greek athletes. Russian sports scientists resurrected the concept of the 1960s and began applying it with stunning success to their Olympic athletes. Today, “work–rest” ratios lie at the heart of periodization, a training method used by elite athlete throughout the world.

The science of periodization has become more precise and more sophisticated over the years, but the basic concept has it changed since it was first advanced nearly 2,000 years ago. Following a period of activity, the body must replenish fundamental biochemical sources of energy. This is called “compensation” and when it occurs, energy expended is recovered. Increase the intensity of the training or the performance demand, and it is necessary to commensurately increase the amount of energy renewal. Failed to do so in the athlete will experience a measurable deterioration in performance.

Energy is simply the capacity to do work. Our most fundamental need as human beings is to spend and recover energy.

We need energy to perform, and recovery is more than the absence of work. It serves not just health and happiness, but also performance. Many people who come across performance problems can usually trace the source to either overtraining or undertraining in one or more dimensions — physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. Both overtraining and undertraining have performance consequences that include persistent injuries and sickness, anxiety, negativity and anger, difficulty concentrating, and loss of passion.

Balancing stress and recovery is critical in managing energy within all facets of our lives. When we expend energy, we draw down our reservoir. When we recover energy, we fill it back up. Too much energy expenditure without sufficient recovery eventually leads to burn out and breakdown. Too much recovery without sufficient stress leads to atrophy and weakness. Just think about an arm placed in a cast for an…

Zaid K. Dahhaj

Sleep King. Helping family men fix fatigue in less than 42 days without letting loved ones suffer. Founder: The 2AM Podcast.