Shuttling between work and training? Here’s how to train smart as a recreational athlete.

Updated: Mar 31


Work stress and training stress, recreational athletes, performance
Shuttling between work and training?

Five alarms set, to be on time for 5 a.m. practice.

A day spent behind piles of papers or in front of blue screens.

Threatening deadlines and targets.

Driving home to rest and sleep.

This is a recreational athlete juggling with work, family, and passion.


Unlike sports being a profession for elite athletes, recreational athletes take part in marathons and other such sporting events out of sheer passion and to ramp up their fitness and community engagements. These athletes train hard to shoot their personal best, desiring a winning edge and they transit from low-intensity workouts to high-intensity training. As the sporting event nears, recreational athletes introduce drastic changes in their routine. They squeeze in practice into their work and home time-frame and spend 2–3 hours of training, adding emotional and physical stress to their routine stress levels. Amid all these hard pulls, it is necessary to keep the athlete’s health and fitness intact during the training.


Apart from the training stress, recreational athletes must handle work stress too. Stress is necessary to propel one towards a goal, but it is equally necessary to keep it in check and not let it grow out of proportion. Otherwise, it can curb the purpose of training itself. High stress decreases the release of anti-stress hormones, leading to alterations in heart variability rate (HRV) and cardio reflex sensitivity. The muscle and tissue recovery rate also slow down, thus leaving a high risk of burnout and injury.


Short-term overloading i.e., training aggressively a month or less before the event is another cause for concern. This leads to alterations in muscle nerve activity, constricting blood vessels, and increasing stress. On long spells, this affects the regular activity of the heart.

Training intensely for better performance is never a good reason against deteriorating health. The big ask is: How can I train with intensity and keep up my health simultaneously? This calls for recovery.

Recovery is nothing less than reclaiming the energy that has been zapped out of you and re-energizing yourself for another day of exertion. The benefits of training are accomplished only through the recovery process. Too much stress and lack of recovery results in overloading, increasing the risk of injuries. At the same time, too much recovery time can result in suboptimal time management and inadequate training. Recovery needs to be quantified and monitored to optimize the training load for optimal improvements in performance. Repose provides an around-the-clock assessment of stress levels and recovery scores. As most of the recovery happens during sleep, Repose also considers the sleep quality estimation to track recovery during the night besides tracking daytime recovery. Its recovery plot briefs on the recovery gained as well as the recovery you need to balance the stress of the day. Recreational athletes require extra recovery during the training period to balance the added stress. Unfortunately, this seldom happens. This ‘under recovery’ of the body is a threat to the athlete’s performance.


Stress, sleep and recovery quantification by Repose lifestyle assessment
Stress, sleep and recovery quantification by Repose platform

One of the main reasons for the stress-recovery imbalance is the lack of quality of sleep. High-intensity training during the day coupled with high levels of stress makes bouncing back to a normal state a strenuous process. The inclusion of recovery activities during the day makes this bounce- back easier. This could be 2 rounds of 5 deep breaths, a short walk to let out the stress, meditation, or even a few minutes of turning away from the blue screen. These activities are moderate enough to allow a good flow of blood into the muscles, thus speeding up the recovery. This is called active recovery- recovery while awake. These add up, at the end of the day to have quality sleep, with quality recovery.

Stress, sleep and recovery insights from Repose lifestyle assessment
Overall insights of a 24 hrs assessment by Repose platform

One of the main reasons for the stress-recovery imbalance is the lack of quality of sleep. High-intensity training during the day coupled with high levels of stress makes bouncing back to a normal state a strenuous process. The inclusion of recovery activities during the day makes this bounce- back easier. This could be 2 rounds of 5 deep breaths, a short walk to let out the stress, meditation, or even a few minutes of turning away from the blue screen. These activities are moderate enough to allow a good flow of blood into the muscles, thus speeding up the recovery. This is called active recovery- recovery while awake. These add up, at the end of the day to have quality sleep, with quality recovery.

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