How To Control Cortisol To Keep Muscles (Part 2)

health

This is the second part of how to control cortisol to keep the muscle. I’m talking about health before tips to manage it with workout programs, food, and supplements. If you didn’t read the first part, click here.

Health

Have a high rate of cortisol influence health and mental health. It disturbs neurotransmitters. When it’s is high, it increase the adrenaline (epinephrine) level. Here the effects for health:

Reduction of noradrenaline

Noradrenaline fatigue makes you less focused and your blood pressure is low. And it can also lead to depression and anxiety.

Decline of dopamine

Dopamine creates noradrenaline. When you create to much adrenaline, you can damage the dopamine too. The consequences are Laziness, depression, lack of pleasure (anhedonia) and lack of motivation.

Deacrease the sensibility of beta-adrenergic receptors

Release a lot of adrenaline for a long time affects beta-adrenergic receptors. It’s not good to have a high rate of adrenaline all the time. It raises blood pressure to a high level and can damage the cardiovascular system.

The body to protect itself decreases the sensibility of the receptors. It does it to less react to its own adrenaline. The effects are depression, laziness, low self-esteem, and low energy.

How to control cortisol

boat control board

It’s time to know how to manage cortisol in a good way.

Workout

3 elements of workout can influence to not have an unnecessary high rate of cortisol.

Volume of workout

More you train, more you need energy. When you have a high need of energy, the cortisol will be more use to help to organize resources.

Effort demand

More you make effort, more you produce cortisol. For example, when you go to failure, you create more cortisol.

Mental strength

In the case where you do a stressful exercise, you create more cortisol. I mean when you try to bet your record on squat or deadlift, your body release more cortisol.

To make a comparison, there is a difference in cortisol production with exercises. With polyarticular exercises (squat or deadlift), you create more cortisol than others (curls).

All this information helps to decrease the damage of cortisol with a little plan:

  • When you do a big volume of workout => reduce your effort for each set (no failure).
  • When you do polyarticular movement => reduce the volume of training.
  • With polyarticular exercise avoid to go to failure.
  • When you do a real heavy training (92.5% + range) => reduce the workout volume.
  • In the situation where you add a new exercise => cut down the volume until you understand the new movement.

Food

Food

As said before, cortisol has also the function to stabilize the blood sugar rate. The body creates more cortisol when blood sugar rate is low. Eat carbs helps to reduce it and help to keep a normal blood sugar rate.

There is a lot of different type of low-carb diets. In my point of view, it’s a bad idea to use it if you have often a high rate of stress. This situation can drive to a constant creation of cortisol. Of course, you can produce glucose from amino acids to keep a normal rate of blood sugar. What I am saying is a keto diet doesn’t protect you at 100% of an excess of it. If you are a very active person, doesn’t eat carbs can have a result of a high level of cortisol.

In the meantime, a high-carb diet is not the solution. Eat around 30% of carbs in your caloric intake helps to have a low glycemic and have the cortisol under control.

Eat carbs at the diner helps to reduce cortisol to sleep well and have a better recovery.

Supplements

diet supplement

It’s also possible to use some supplements as tools to manage better cortisol.

Glycine

Glycine is an essential amino acid. One of its functions is to slow the nervous system when it’s too busy. In consequence, it reduces adrenaline and cortisol. Glycine boosts the distribution of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical called happy chemical because it’s a well-being neurotransmitter. Glycine also stimulates mTOR . mTOR improves protein synthesis from a workout session.

Magnesium

Eat magnesium after a training session and in the evening. As a result, it reduces the link between adrenaline and adrenergic receptors . This helps you to relax and at the same time protect the beta-adrenergic receptors.

Rhodiola

Rhodiola Rosea is a plant from mountainous areas of Europe, Asia and Arctic. This plant has several benefits. In this case, it improves the ability to handle stress. Less stress, less cortisol.

Training supplements

Carbs from workout supplements are easier to absorb while a training session. In the situation where you have already carbs, your body can create less cortisol. Remember it also organizes your resources (energy) for your body.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps in the process in the conversion of adrenaline to noradrenaline. This vitamin decreases the effect of cortisol in an indirect way. It blocks an excessive production of adrenaline.

This avoids to have:

  • a reduction of dopamine or noradrenaline.
  • adrenergic less sensitive.

Conclusion

The body doesn’t create cortisol to destroy itself. Cortisol is a hormone that helps to survive in dangerous situations. The problem is when it has a constant high rate, it becomes bad for health. Today, we have a lifestyle that makes easier to have a high level of stress. This is, for this reason, is important to know how to control it to have a better life.

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

-Steph

Calories Are Good Or Bad

calories

I read a Nerd Fitness article and there is good stuff.

In the world of nutrition, we can find contradictory things. It depends of the point of view of people about food :

  • I’m Paleo and I eat only meat, vegetables, fruits and nuts.

  • My diet is based on my macros (protein, carbs, fats). Paleo is ridiculous.

  • Fool, a calorie is a calorie. You can lose weight by eating less.

  • I have a good physique and I eat pizza. I’m weird

Each person has his/her vision about « eat healthy ». It for this reason that this theme is confused with a lot of contradictory scientific studies.

What’s this

what's this

A calorie is a unit of energy

This is the equalent of 4.184 absolute joules (that is different of 1.21 gigawatts.

Here what is means : 1 calorie of food is equivalent to 1 kilocalorie that is the amount of energy required to increase the temperature of 1gr of water from 15C° to 16C°.

In a certain way we can say that a calorie is a calorie but what is interrests us is « does different kind of calorie affect our body differently ? »

  • Is what 1000 calories of cookies is the same as 1000 calories of grass-fed steak and vegetable ?

  • Does our body treat these foods differently or it’s only energy in and energy out ?

  • Does the type of food affect our body other than just to lose weight and gain muscle ?

These questions create a lot of debates and on internet everything is amplified with people who show scientific studies. Internet is good to debate but we’ll go deeper.

First step

first step

It doesn’t matter the « nutritional philosophy » you have, but something is obvious. How you eat is responsible of 80-90 % of your success ou your failure.

You can improve you cardiovascular heath by running a lot but if your goal is to transform your body, how you feed your body will play an important rôle.

Training (exercices) have a role of support of maintenance of the body.

When we talk about pure weight loss, eat less calories that you burn each day is the key of the equation.

But we want do everything to avoid to have heart disease and diabetes. It for this reason we need to focus on the food’s type that we eat and the amount of food that we eat.

Calories are equal to loss weight

equal

A person eat around between 3000 and 3500 calories per day of everything he/she wants. And now, he/she wants to lose weight.

This person decides to eat 2200 calories per day by eating less. This person doesn’t change what he/she eat but change proportions.

This person see that he/she loses weight, it’s good and it’s possible that he/she feels unhappy because he/she decreased drastically his/her normal amount of calories. Yet, it’s a good step in the right direction.

When we consume on average less than 500 calories per day, we burn 500 calories that we have in excess in our body. We can combine this with exercice and we can lose aound 0.45kg (1lb) of body mass per week.

As quoted on Examine.com , « a net negative energy balance…is responsible for weight loss ».

You noticed, it says « lose weight » and not « lose fat ».

It’s at this point that the big problems begin. People eat less and it’s enough for them.

We know our body react differently to certain types of food like sugar. Certain food fill the stomach more than other without have a lot of calories (vegetable). And others fill us less the stomach with a lot of calories (soda, cookies and candy).

Remember that all processed foods are scientifically created so that you are always lacking this type of food as a drug addict.

Use small plates is very effective to help to eat less. A study from Cornell University  found that if they gave people a large tub or a medium tub of popcorn, and then gave them stale popcorn, the size of the tub mattered far more than the staleness of the popcorn in determining how much people ate !

We’re not rational creatures. Some food are dense in calories and low in nutrients and make us hungry all day.

Compared to a diet of vegetables and meat, it’s the opposite. It’s food low in calories and dense in nutrients and we have a sensation of satiety. Which make it easier the reduction of calories to lose weight.

If you have a lot of weight to lose, eat less to start to be in the good direction.

Now if you want an athletic body, it’s a little bit different. There is 2 type of food that affect the composition of our body and our athletic performances.

Eating for health and success

health success

To have an athletic body, you must take care about your macros (a certain amount of fats, carbs and protein).

It’s clear that 100 grams of vegetables carbohydrates is not equal to 100 grams of candy :

  • Consideres that sweets and processed food are created for you to eat and buy more like a drug addict.

  • Look the difference of micronutrients between vegetables and candy

  • Pay attention of your energy after eating vegetables and sweets/candy. With which you have the most energy ?

We searching a way to eat that allow us to have a good look/appearence and to feel good. A diet that takes us away from the hospital and allows us to enjoy life.

Look, if you like the idea to eat less but you don’t like the idea to count calories and macros each day, you can hack something. Stay focus on a type of food : Real food !

Instead to count calories

At each meal, have 1-2 vegetables in your plate (or the half of the plate) and have a great source of protein.

Not aim to lose weight for a few weeks

Track your calories and macros for few days or 1 week to analyze what you eat. Take note, note the size of portions and do the total of the quantity of the day. This allows you to plan your meals during the day and during all the year.

We know that eat less and to more physical activity, help us to lose weight and we are still overweight. Eat less isn’t a permanent solution because there is also the element of behavioral psychology.

Real food

It’s simple, our body is a complex machine. And even if a calorie is a calorie is a simple equation to lose weight, each « health » factor can be affected by the quality and nutrients of this calorie.

For this reason, I want you eat real foods, decrease sugar and think long term (new habits) rather than the 12-weeks formulas.

What methods you used and that didn’t work ?

What are your goals ?

-Steph

P.S. Do you want a free training program ? Click here