290419 Exercise and rest period cycles Part 2 Background information

290419 Exercise and rest period cycles Part 2 Background information

In 1954, Hans Selye came up with a description that described how an organism adapted to sources of stress in their environment. He called the model the “General Adaptation Syndrome” aka GAS. He further described two such stressors, one good and one bad. They are respectively:

Eustress or that which produces growth, performance enhancements and repair.
Distress, which can cause decay, damage, death or disease in the living organism.

The General Adaptation Syndrome theory states there are three phases to an exposure to stress. Phase number one is the initial alarm, phase two is the resistance to the stress and the final phase is the adaptation to the stress (which Selye called exhaustion).

Breaking the three phases down into manageable bits of information one will find the first stage is the body’s initial response to the stress, i.e. flight, fright or freeze. (“Shock or alarm”, as it is described in the Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning book by Baechle and Earle) The body at this point has a temporary inability to cope with the situation; however, it quickly calls on energy reserves and begins to function in a more appropriate manner.

This is the beginning of the resistance phase in which the body adapts to the stimulus and returns to a more normal state. The body is preparing itself for a continuation of similar stresses by growing stronger in response.

The final stage is exhaustion. If the organism does not have a pause in the constant stress, it begins to break down. Thus, overtraining has reared its ugly head and progress begins to “grind to a halt”. Minor injuries appear, desire diminishes, and working out is no longer enjoyable. The workout program has failed!

Author: ActivelyFitSeniors

Danny M. O’Dell, M. A., CSCS*D is the co-owner of The Explosivelyfit Strength Training Gym, located in Nine Mile Falls, WA. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He has a Master's Degree in Human Services and is a strength and conditioning coach in a local School District along with being a regular contributor to the Washington State Coaches Association magazine.