6. Stress & Human History

WHY: If you want to understand exercise, you must understand stress. Exercise is planned,  structured stress. Knowledge about how the psychological stress/emotional chemical environment can overlap physical training stress via inborn factors and experiences is probably the most important thing to understand as a coach aka a stress manager. 


WHY: I think this should be your first pick. Sapolsky will incorporate both stress science and human history while making you laugh.

WHY: If you like physiology you will enjoy this book. This book explains how stress affects every system in the body, such as the immune system and how exercise can be a beneficial stressor.

WHY: This is a fascinating read and will help you understand primitive and modern human adaptations.

WHY: This book is a must in understanding what a homeostatic and allostatic system is and why the difference matters. This information can be related to your training modalities, programming, and understanding behavior.

WHY: Once you have explored the above topics you can begin to understand where humankind is headed and the problems we may come to face. This information can be related to client behavior and lifestyle barriers.

Seminars & Online Courses

WHY: Learning about human behavior can help you understand and interact with clients and athletes. You can be more effective as a coach, create better relationships, and help clients succeed more in the gym.


  • Healthy Living Stanford: Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers with Dr. Robert Sapolsky March 30, 2007


WHY: This article goes through what stress is, how it can affect your health, and how to manage it.

WHY: “How many people have gut issues? So many. How many people know that stress can impact gut health? Not that many. This article is great for your own health, but also for your clients.” –  Lucy Hendricks

WHY: This article is basically a textbook on allostasis, homeostasis, and the human brain. I can’t recommend this article highly enough.

WHY: This article makes the connection between understanding the brain, stress, and training. The articles explains how physiology dictates behavior and behavior modifies physiology. Part 2 connects these concepts to training modalities.


WHY: The Reckoning Deux presentation explores evolutionary history and the dysevolution of our species in the modern world. Dr. Davidson will make you question everything you do and present strategies for the practical application of the models and concepts he presents.