I am not a psych professional, but as a coach/trainer for more than 16 years now, I’ve had to pick up a bunch of it along the way due to all the mistakes I’ve made.

When I first started training I thought it was all just exercise physiology and nutrition. Bah- this will be easy.


As a trainer, you are now laughing hysterically since you know that while exercise and nutrition are important (which is why I created the Flex Diet Cert), psych trumps all physiology with virtually every client every time.

Here is a principle I wish I would have learned much sooner. It will help you get better results for your clients much faster.

Eustress vs. Distress

1) Eustress – stress that can be resolved relatively fast. This is the best for long term progress/learning.

An example would be to have Karen do her meal prep on Sundays instead of training. There will be some stress to get on the phone, pick food, have said food delivered, and then cook said food.

Some stress – but nothing that she can’t handle.

2) Distress- mood/state may be a mess, and it will take some time to resolve the stress. In short, you “Goggins dat $hit.” The client’s risk of injury is higher and long term progress can be less (high risk).

An example would be tossing 17 items at Karen for her body comp changes then yelling at her about how she will never succeed.

Again, I know you are not going to do that of course- it is just an extreme example.

Another extreme example is PTSD – a high-stress situation, you are having a hard time resolving that stress. There is a way out of course, but it will take some time.

As you can see, even in both cases this is a spectrum. Think “dimmer switch” not “on/off.”

In my biased but correct opinion, 90-95% of almost everything you do and have your clients do should be more eustress based.

However, if you go down the distress path, you better win!

Just this simple concept of eustress vs distress will get you super far – in both psych and physiology.

When you are ready to go balls deep into the psychology of change without going back to school or attempting to read a textbook – enroll in this course from my good friend Dr Lisa Lewis.

Yes, you can buy textbooks and take that route for sure. The big downside is that even the books with amazing info are as fun to read as being on hold with the IRS for 2.7 hours. Yes, I am looking at you OG Motivation Interviewing book.

>>Pysch Skill for Fitness Pros <<

As a bonus when you enroll, you will get an exclusive new module Dr. Lisa did on adding resiliency; complete with an interview with yours-nerdy too.

Any questions hit me up.
Dr. Mike

P.S. Read about more ways to control your stress.