How To Control Cortisol To Keep Muscles (Part 1)

cortisol hormone organ body

Cortisol. It’s a weird name that I hear rarely. One time, in the gym, a guy told me to be careful about it. When I asked him what is it, he told me: “It’s the stress”. Follow this logic, we stress every day, it means each day we lose a little bit of muscle? It makes no sense. The first time I tried to learn about it, I didn’t understand anything. Cortisol is a hormone and you have to learn some medical things. I didn’t like this situation, because I wanted to know how to control cortisol to keep muscles.

This week, someone told me about cortisol and his explanation was very vague. I see that many people are afraid of it because they don’t understand it. It’s time to go deeper to understand Cortisol, because the body doesn’t create it to destroy itself.

What is its role

role

Cortisol is a stress hormone and it works like a type of alarm system in your body. It controls your fear, motivation, mood to handle dangerous situations. This hormone has several role:

Organize the energy of the stores

It organizes all type of energy that your body has to always be functional for a dangerous event. It means amino acids from muscle tissue, muscle and liver glycogen and fatty acids from body fat.

Stabilize blood sugar levels

When your blood sugar levels are very low, it helps to keep normal levels.

Boost your stamina and attention

Cortisol boosts Phenylethanolamine-N-methyltransferase (PNMT). PNMT is an enzyme that transforms noradrenaline to adrenaline. This method increases your adrenaline’s rate.

Boost the power of muscle contraction

This is a consequence of a high rate of adrenaline.

Boost the power of heart contraction and rate

It’s an effect of a high adrenaline’s level. Oxygen move better to muscle

Weaken the immune system

When there is a threatening situation, the body needs all the resources possible. For example, a fight. The high rate of cortisol will weaken the immune system to have the maximum of energy possible. When the rate decreases, the immune system has the full power back to repair the damage from the fight.

All these roles help you to get through an unsafe situation and survive. The thing is if the cortisol has a high rate for a long time, it can create problems in your body. Let’s see in different areas how cortisol can be bad.

Muscle Gain

gain muscle

A high rate of cortisol for a long period can impact muscle in a unhealthy way with these methods:

Muscle is less feed by food

Muscle receive fewer amino acids to create new tissue. Restocking of glycogen stores is decline too.

Boost muscle damage

There is a high level of protein damage (catabolism) than protein synthesis (anabolism). This is why we say “stress (cortisol) eat the muscle”.

Muscle take more time to repair

The immune system is very important to repair muscle. When a high rate of cortisol is recurring, it weakens the immune system.

Boost myosatin

Myostatin is a myokine, a protein created by the muscle and it limits its growth. It means when you have a high rate of myostatin, it limits your muscle gain.

On the long term it declines testosterone rate

Pregnenolone is a hormone that creates testosterone and cortisol. To have a high rate of cortisol, your body needs a huge amount of pregnenolone to make it. It means there will be less pregnenolone to create testosterone.

At the end of your training session, the level of your protein synthesis is big for around 24-30 hours. This is the period where your body repairs your muscle and add new tissue. When your immune system is fragile, your body uses these amounts of hours to only repair the breakdown you caused. Your body is not able to produce new muscle, it means you don’t gain muscle.

Recovery

fat loss weight

A long period of high rate of cortisol can impact your recovery in these ways:

Decrease the production of growth hormone

At night you have a natural spike of growth hormone and a high rate of cortisol disrupt your recovery. When your recovery is not optimal, you don’t progress.

Decline muscle glycogen storage

Gycogen is critical in the process of recovery.

Speed down the reparation of muscle

Growth hormone maintains, build and repair tissue. It means it also builds muscle mass. You gain muscle by repairing muscle. When the cortisol decreases the production of growth hormone, you don’t have results.

Increase adrenaline rate

Adrenaline (or epinephrine) is a helpful hormone before a workout session. It boosts your cardiorespiratory activity (more oxygen to the muscles). It also improves your metabolism, your mood, and your body is more reactive. Before to go to bed, it doesn’t help you to sleep.

Fat loss

The famous coach Charles Poliquin said that when you have too much cortisol, it stores your fat in abs. There is a problem here because cortisol has also as function to organize stored energy. Fat is a kind of energy for the body. It means cortisol doesn’t store fat, you know, fat is energy.

Another function of cortisol is that is a fat loss hormone when the rate is high while a short time. If the high rate is recurring, it complicated the action to fat loss.

Decline the transformation of hormone T4 to T3

A little explanation about these hormones. The thyroid is a gland in the neck. It creates three hormones: triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4) and calcitonin. T3 and T4 adjust the temperature of your body, your metabolism, and your heart rate. T3 usually sticks to protein in your body.

The thyroid creates a lot of T4 to change it in T3. T3 modifies the metabolism rate. When you have a high rate of metabolism, you burn more calories. In the case where your body has a low level of energy, the thyroid creates less T4. Fewer T4 means fewer T3 and the result is a low metabolism rate and the body burns fewer calories.

Do you remember what happens in a situation when your body lacks food? The cortisol rate is high to keep blood sugar stable and organize stored energy. This is a mechanism of the body to survive since the prehistoric era. Today is good because access to food is better. Unfortunately, cortisol can have a high rate because of other stress factors.

Insulin resistance

Cortisol boosts the blood sugar rate in a crisis event (lacking food, running away or fighting). These emergency circumstances allow the body to release glucose for energy. When people are sedentary and the blood sugar level is high, it’s not good. The level stays longer high and can drive to hyperglycemia. The body to avoid it creates insulin to decline the rate of blood sugar to a normal level.

Imagine a situation where cortisol’s rate is high a lot of time. It boosts the blood sugar levels and the body produces insulin every time. The result of this is insulin resistance. In the plan to lose fat, settle a caloric deficit is crucial. Unfortunately, insulin resistance and a metabolic rate low make the process more difficult. It can even create a surplus of fat.

Let’s be things clear, insulin alone doesn’t make you fat, it stores the elements of your food. It’s when insulin has a high rate that is tough for the body to use fat in a good way.

Insulin resistance means that the cells work badly with insulin. The result is the body needs to create more insulin to do the same task with the cells. When there is a huge amount of insulin, it takes more time to go back to the normal level. When there is a big quantity of insulin for a long time, the body has trouble to use fat.

It is the same thing for cortisol. Alone, cortisol doesn’t make you fat. It’s when cortisol has a high rate that is tough for the body to use it in a good way.

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

Proteins And Kideys

protein

I watched a Jamcore DZ’s video  and I learned a lot of stuff.

When I started to train in a gym. I often asked myself this question : « How much protein do I have to eat at each meal ? ». I asked this question to people in the gym and I had several different answers. For example, someone told me that if I ate too much protein, it could destroy my kidneys or that whey (shaker) was better protein than protein from food (chicken, beef, eggs, etc).

I think you also ask yourself this type of questions so I will help you understand better.

Firstly, everyone knows that protein is very used in fitness and bodybuilding. You can find protein in food or as a dietary supplement such as whey, casein and amino acids. Protein are composed of amino acids.

kidney

1) How much daily protein is recommended for someone who doesn’t do fitness  ?

It’s 0.8 grams (gr) of protein per kilogram (kg) of body weight or 0.36 grams per pound. For this article, I will use the unit of mesure kilograms (kg).

I will take the example of Jamo who is a former professional bodybuilder who continues to train. Jamo weighs 95kg. 95kg at 0.8gr per kilo of bodyweight gives as a result that Jamo eats 76gr of protein per meal. Jamo want to keep his bodybuilder body without steroids. For this, he must eat several times a day and that makes a total of 360gr per day.

2) With sport, do these recommendations change ?

Yes, because a sedentary person will use more of his/her body, which means that this person will use more his/her muscles. The meals content changes with the sport and the type of sport. If we compare a person who is doing fitness and a person doing marathons, we see that the meals are different.

A person doing marathons needs to eat more carbohydrates than protein to have endurance. A person who does fitness/bodybuilding need to eat more protein than carbohydrates for muscles rebuilding and muscle growth.

3) Depending on the intensity, do these recommendations change ?

Depending on the intensity, the answer is yes and no. It also depends on the muscle mass. When a person is doing a really intensive workout, the most important marcro is carbohydrate.

An increase of protein is necessary when a person decreases carbohydrates to be shredded. Increase protein helps maintain muscle mass.

4) With age, these recommendations change ?

change

With the latest scientific studies, we learned that proteins need to be increased with age. When a person start to become old, that person loses muscle mass naturally (and it’s normal). It’s for this reason that it’s important to play sport to maintain muscle mass. And to help to maintain this muscle mass, it’s necessary to increase protein.

This a scientific study about it, click here

5) Consume a large amount of protein destroys kidneys ?

The answer is yes and no. In a case where a person has pre-existing kidney problems before playing sport, it’s important to see a nephrologist (kidney specialist) or a doctor. For people who have healthy kidneys, proteins don’t destoy the kidneys. Kidneys are the most detoxifiying organs of the human body and we (human being) have been created to eat meat. The human being is made to eat a lot of meat. Until now, no study has shown that the protein destory kidneys, except for people with pre-exiting kidney problems.

Here is a scientific study on the effects of high protein intake on the kidneys, click here . This study shows that is a myth and a lie.

6) Assimilation and MPS (mass protein synthesis)

Assimilation is when you eat protein. A part of the protein you eat will be assimilated for protein synthesis. Everything else, your body will assimilate because your body is made of 80% amino acids, so these proteins will be used for your skin, your hair, your eyes, your organs. Absolutely all the protein that you eat will be absorbed by your body, nothing is thrown away. There is no protein in you pee.

The goal of protein synthesis is to repair or eliminate damaged proteins and to build new proteins that are copies of the original. New proteins are stronger, denser and more resistant to stress. Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS) is the reconstruction of muscle caused by stress placed on the body. This can be an injury (muscle tear) or because you intentionally damage a muscle (lifting weights creating micro tears in muscles). MPS process activated right after micro tears and can last up to 48 hours on a damaged site before being repaired.

A part of protein you eat is used for protein synthesis, which will create the state of hypertrophy with hormones. Protein synthesis doesn’t buid muscle, it’s muscle protein synthesis (MPS).

I just read again my text and I see that it’s a bit difficult to understand (for me too ?!?). To make it simpler, protein synthesis repairs your skin, your hair, your eyes, your organs and create the state of hypertrophy. Muscle protein synthesis repair only your muscles.

Here is a scientific study on nutrition and muscle protein synthesis, click here .

7) Liquid and solid protein

Liquid proteins are whey and casein (shaker). Solid proteins are chicken, beef eggs, etc. The diffrence is that the body assimilates liquid proteins faster than solid proteins. The problem is that the quality of liquid proteins is 75% bad on the market, so it’s up to you to study ingredients (as for food in supermarkets) to find the best quality possible. I wrote an article on this subject, click here

8) Number of grams of protein per meal

  • For men, it’s about 30-35gr of protein per meal. For women, it’s about 20-25gr of protein per meal.
  • For older men, it’s about 35-40gr per meal. For older women, it’s about 25-30gr per meal.

Here is an interesting study for women. Eating a large amount of protein has harmful effects on the bones. Click here .

Share this article if you think it can help someone you know. Thank you.

-Steph

The Confusion Of Whey Protein

confusion

I watched a JamCore DZ’s video  and there is good stuff.

People have a lot of questions about whey and they become crazy. Companies take advantage of this confusion to make money without educating people.

People who are misinformed think whey help to lose weight. It’s for this reason I’m writing this article to explains how work whey. The notion that whey makes you lose weight or make you shredded is not always the case because you have to follow a very special protocol.

There is 3 types of whey : concentrate, isolate and hydrolizate.

Look this metaphor :

  • Concentrate = Mini Cooper

  • Isolate = BMW

  • Hydrolizate = Porsche

 

These 3 categories mean the ability to assimilate, save and rebuilt your muscle tissue These 3 categories have the same goal, the only difference is the speed of protein’s absorption by your body. It doesn’t mean the concentrate is bad. In each category there is good and bad quality.

Whey

whey protein

The whey is extracted from cow milk.

Concentrate whey has a rate of protein of 60-80 %. The rate of carbohydrate is high because of of the sugar that has in the form of lactose.

Isolate whey is extracted from concentrate whey by a cold process to not denature the whey. The isolate has a higher rate of protein, less carbohydrate and the same rate of lipid than the concentrate. But there is not lactose. In the isolate whey there is not lactose then if you have flatulence, the quality is bad.

Hydrolizate whey is extracted form isolate. The hydrolizate whey is predigested by a a microfiltration process. This process make absorbing easier for your body. The rate of protein is higher than the isolate.

The isolate and the hydrolizate are more BCAA than the concentrate. The concentrate whey is the slowest to go to muscles to rebuild them.

All this works if you do the good things

Which whey take ?

All depend of your budget. There is rich and poor people. But what is interesting is that you can be poor, buy concentrate whey and gain muscle and you can be rich, buy hydrolizate whey and do stupid stuff and don’t gain muscle. The type of whey doesn’t matter because it’s the person who is organized, disciplined and who have goals that will succeed.

When take whey ?

when

It’s a snack between breakfast and lunch then between lunch and diner. You can take it after training, it’s better to take an isolate or hydrolizate whey because they’re rich in BCAA (amino acids) to rebuild your muscles faster. You can take also a simple source of sugar like vitargo that composed of maltodextrin and fructose.

Now, if you’re drying out, you can just take isolate or hydrolized to gain muscle.

When can take concentrate , isolate or hydrolizate whey (it depends on your budget) with a good source of carbohydrate (oatmeal and a banana) and a good source of lipid (peanuts or almonds butter). These good source of carbohydrate and lipid are better than mass gainer you can buy in shops. These mass gainers are a lots of crap and sugar in there. Don’t buy mass gainers, it’s expensive and bad for your body.

The notion of whey can allow you to lose weight by magic is a scam ! You have to do things right, it means follow a nutritional plan and a workout plan.

Whey is more absorbed by you body with water. Take it with cow milk is less assimilate, it’s a little bit better with coconut milk and almond milk. But the best way for your body to absorb completely the whey is water.

How much gram per meal ?

For men is around between 30-40gr of protein or whey per meal. It’s around 3gr of leucine that is responsible for the synthesis of protein and also responsible to rebuild muscles. Remember 3gr of leucine is important for the whey’s quality you buy. For women, it’s 20-25gr per meal.

How to know if it’s good quality ?

good quality

First

It’s impossible to buy 1kg (2.2lbs) of high quality whey at prices offered by brands. Because most of companies to sell whey at these prices (high quality whey is very expensive), they do what we called « spiking ». It’s increase rates by playing with amino acids to pass tests and sell more. The 2 countries in the world with the best whey quality are Japan and New-Zealand because their laws are very strict.

Second

You need to check there is 3gr of leucine. The leucine must be on the nutrition facts label or nutrition information panel on the whey’s pack. If it’s less than 2.7gr, don’t take this whey, it’s crap. Why ? Because normally you must have more than 2.7gr of leucine per dose (for men 30-40gr of whey = 3gr of leucine). If there is not the dose of leucine on the nutrition facts label, don’t buy it.

Per dose of whey, you should have 25 % of BCAA and the leucine should be at 11 % of the 25 % of BCAA (around 3gr of leucine).

The source of milk should be without hormones. It means the cow should be fed with grass.

The treatment of protein should be at low temperature as for the isolate so as not to be denatured. If it’s denatured, the quality decreases.

There is not artificial sweeteners and artificial flavor. The less ingredients in the whey, better is the quality.

I will not advise you a brand. You’re a smart person, now with these information, you’re able to select yourself your whey.

Searching, studying, have a great physique is not only the body, it’s also the mind because it’s the mind that make the body even more.

-Steph