Learn To Regulate Your Nervous System Outside Of The Gym To Increase Your Results Inside The Gym by Dr. Kristin Lander, DC, CISSN

Learn To Regulate Your Nervous System Outside Of The Gym To Increase Your Results Inside The Gym by Dr. Kristin Lander, DC, CISSN

Learn To Regulate Your Nervous System Outside Of The Gym To Increase Your Results Inside The Gym

By Dr. Kristin Lander, DC, CISSN

Of Fiercely Fueled Nutrition

I know this title sounds strange since I usually write about performance nutrition, but in a roundabout way it is. Understanding the interplay between how your body functions or performs, as well as what you put in it, can help you reach places in sports you didn’t think were possible.  

Being a GREAT lifter is about way more than what happens in the gym. ⁣⁣Obviously we all know one extremely important aspect of sports performance is nutrition.  One of the biggest reasons for this is nutrition’s role in recovery from training sessions so we can go hard again in the next one.  

But it’s not just about nutrition, it’s also about sleep and stress management.  Sometimes I work with athletes who we get so dialed in on nutrition we get to start pulling other levers to increase their performance and recovery.  

But I also work with athletes who are in the process of habit change with nutrition and we need to pull the other levers to improve their performance NOW while they are doing the work needed to develop long term healthy nutrition habits.


One area I find a lot of athletes aren’t coached in is how to properly regulate their nervous system. ⁣⁣Meaning how they turn on the intensity needed for a hard training session or long/stressful workday and then turn that intensity off to amp up recovery. 


The most effective and efficient way to do this is by developing a habit of spending time relaxing every day. ⁣⁣


𝘞𝘢𝘪𝘵,  𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵? 𝘐 𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘐 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬, 𝘧𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘭𝘪𝘧𝘦, 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘭𝘦𝘧𝘵 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘭𝘴𝘦. ⁣⁣


Ummm no. That’s a recipe for burnout, injury, and dissatisfaction with life. ⁣⁣

If you’ve ever felt a loss of enjoyment with training, it’s likely because you’re spending way too much time in a sympathetic state (think ‘fight or flight’ which is common in the workplace and the gym) and not enough time in a parasympathetic state (rest and digest).  In order to continue to perform at a high level in anything, you need both.  

In my experience, most athletes are obsessed with the work required to reach their goals, and have a hard time understanding part of that work is also RESTING.


Most of my Fiercely Fueled clients do a stress reducing activity built into their plan each day. ⁣⁣


Guess what happens with these athletes over time? They meet their goals faster than they ever have AND they report higher life satisfaction than before they became part of the team. ⁣⁣

Why does this work so well?  Our body can only handle so much stress on a given day and it can’t distinguish between physical and mental stress.  It’s all lumped into the category of stress… even training is stress.  So if we can dial back some mental stress, that means we have a greater capacity to handle more physical stress (ie. pushing harder in training) and we then increase recovery. 

How does this tie into nutrition?  As I said in the beginning, nutrition isn’t just about fuel for training, it’s about recovery FROM training, too.  The better your recovery is in other areas means the more effective your nutrition plan can be.  This can mean the difference between

  • Easily staying in your weight class… or not
  • Gaining muscle… or not
  • Gaining strength while losing weight… or not
  • Having energy for activities beyond work and training… or not
  • Setting PRs… or not
  • Winning medals… or not
  • You get the idea…


My  recommendation to athletes is to start suuuuper simple.  Remember, this is supposed to REDUCE stress, not add to it. It doesn’t have to be for very long. Even 3 minutes a day if you’re currently doing 0 minutes would make a big impact! ⁣⁣

Pick one of my 𝐟𝐚𝐯𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐞 𝐬𝐭𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐝𝐮𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬 below and do it for 3 minutes a day.  If you’re already doing that, extend it to 5 minutes or do two 2-3 minute sessions each day:


📦 Box breathing (4s inhale, 4s hold, 4s exhale, 4s hold, repeat for several cycles)⁣⁣

🧘 Guided meditation⁣⁣

🚶‍♂️ Leisurely walk⁣⁣ 

🌳 Spend quiet time in nature ⁣⁣

🛀🏽 Hot bath⁣⁣

📖 Read a few pages of a book (for fun, not to learn)⁣⁣

Which one can you start right now?  Pick that and do it.  Not tomorrow, but right now.

To learn more incredibly simple and effective methods to increase your performance and recovery, click here to download my free pre and post-training meals guide.

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