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

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

Masturbation And Sport

hand draw

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

My intention is to explain masturbation’s effect on a sport activity without being vulgar. Masturbation is a normal activity for some people and abnormal for others. In some religions, it’s a forbidden or ignoble activity but it’s an activity that most people do.

Type of person

type person

The open minded person

For this person, masturbation is a normal activity because it’s natural and give a good mood. It’s not something bad.

The guilty person

For this person, masturbation is an abnormal activity, ignoble but despite that, this person does it and still feels guilty after masturbation.

The obsessed person

For this person, masturbation is an obsessive activity. This person could masturbate every hour, every day.

The bored person

For this person, masturbation is an activity to kill boredom. He’s a person who has nothing to do in life or in the day and doesn’t know what to do, masturbation.

How the body reacts

body reaction

chart masturbation dopamine orgasm prolactin testosterone

  1. The intensity of masturbation increases (black line)

  2. There is a release of hormones, it’s dopamine. Before masturbation, there is a first release of dopamine that cause sexual arousal and there are other dopamine release during masturbation (blue line)

  3. Sexual arousal during masturbation will start the process to have the explosion, this explosion is orgasm (red line).

  4. Once the orgasm has happened, there is a release of hormones, it’s prolactin. Prolactin causes the loss of interest to continue masturbation. You satisfied and you don’t want to continue to masturbate. In some situation, prolactin can make you feel guilty (green line).

Stop masturbation for 1-3 weeks

stop

chart masturbation dopamine orgasm prolactin testosterone

There is a black line in the middle of the chart. This is the line of testosterone. When you stop masturbation for 1-3 weeks, there is an increase in testosterone rate. But after 3 weeks, the testosterone rate returns to normal. You have to base on your normal testosterone rate to see if your testosterone is affected by anything.

It’s possible that during masturbation, the testosterone rate is below your normal testosterone rate. In this case, it’s another problem and it’s necessary to see your doctor for more details.

Most people think that masturbation makes you lose testosterone. So if masturbation makes you lose testosterone, it means that masturbation also make you lose muscles. The truth is that this myth is wrong.

Masturbation and gain muscle

anatomy muscle

The answer is « No » because the elements that influence muscle gain are training program, nutrition and rest/sleep. The only thing that masturbation does before or after a training session is the increase in heart rate.

Warning

Now that you have this information, it doesn’t mean that I encourage you to masturbation several times a day, every day. You do this when you want according to your desires but in moderation.

Here are several scientific studies on masturbation and testosterone :

  • Endocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm in healthy men following a 3-week sexual abstinence. Click here . 
  • 3 Weird but Surprisingly Effective Tricks & Tips to Raise Natural Testosterone Levels. Click here
  • Lack of sexual activity from erectile dysfunction is associated with a reversible reduction in serum testosterone. Click here.
  • Studies on the relationship between plasma testosterone levels and human sexual activity. Click here
  • Acute changes in plasma testosterone levels and their relation to measures of sexual behavior in the male house mouse (Mus musculus). Click here
  • Effects of ejaculation on levels of testosterone, cortisol, and luteinizing hormone in peripheral plasma of rhesus monkeys. Click here
  • Relationship between sexual satiety and brain androgen receptors. Click here .
  • Increased estrogen receptor alpha immunoreactivity in the forebrain of sexually satiated rats. Click here
  • A study of the prostate, androgens and sexual activity of male rats. Click here
  • Androgen Receptors: 5 Ways to Increase the Density and Sensitivity of the AR. Click here
  • Scientists visit sex club for research into testosterone levels. Click here
  • Male and female salivary testosterone concentrations before and after sexual activity. Click here
  • Sex and Testosterone: Most Enjoyable Way to Boost Male T-Levels Naturally. Click here

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

-Steph

The Bulking’s Myth

bulking

I read an article on T-Nation  and here is what I learned

Here’s what you need to know :

  • After a certain point, your ability to gain muscle will not go faster by consuming more food.

  • The body can’t build more than a few kilograms (pounds) of muscle in a month. Remember that the weight you gain is not only muscle.

  • There is a better way to gain muscle. Don’t used the bulking period as an excuse to eat junk food.

The gluttony game

To have more volume you have to eat more, we agree. You will be able to gain a large amount of muscle mass only if you eat enough calories and nutrients to help your body to build muscle. For those who take steroids, that’s another story. In fact, if you don’t eat enough, it’s possible that you lose muscle even if you train hard. More you eat, more you grown.

But not so fast

If you don’t eat enough, your muscle growth will stagnate but that doesn’t mean that if you eat more, you will gain much more muscle.

A major mistake that you can do when you train to have a muscular physique and aesthetic, it’s eating too much junk food and have a high percentage of body fat to boost your muscle growth.

When you are natural, your body has a limited ability to build muscle. The amount of muscle you can build depends on the ability that your body has to synthesize new muscle tissue from protein you eat.

The ability of your body to synthesize the protein depends on your natural testosterone levels, your testosterone with your cortisol ratio, your insulin sensitivity and your genetics.

You can eat the amount of food that you want, you can’t change your ability to synthesize protein. Overeating will increase your body fat percentage.

Your body is a construction worker

body under construction

Imagine that your muscles is like a house you trying to build. The bricks are amino acids (from proteins) and the money to pay construction workers are carbohydrates and fat you eat.

If you don’t give enough bricks (protein), they will not be able to build the house as fast as they can. A deficiency in protein means a slow muscle growth.

If you don’t pay your construction workers enough with nutrition, they will not be motivated to work hard. If you really don’t pay your construction workers, they will even destroy your muscles (catabolism due to a too low calories intake ).

In summary, if you don’t eat enough protein and calories, you will gain muscle very slowly.

Giving more bricks (protein) to your construction workers , they will be able to build the house faster. But at some point, sending too many bricks will not speed up the construction speed. For example, your construction workers can add 1000 bricks per day in a wall. If you give them 2000 bricks, it will be useless because it will exceed their ability to work. This is the same thing for the salary (calories).

The athletic threshold

« But I gained 6.7kg (15lbs) in 3 months and I didn’t gain fat »

This is something we often hear. If it’s possible to gain only a few kilograms (pounds) of muscle per month, why so many people say they have gained much muscle without gaining fat ?

It’s possible to gain muscle without gaining much fat and the answer is : an athletic body. An athletic body isn’t the body you see in bodybuilding competitions. An athletic body has a body fat percentage between 10-20%.

The guy believe he gained 6.7kg (15lbs) of solid muscle because visually, he looks to have kept the same body fat’s percentage. But if we look in detail, he gained 2.7kg (6lbs) of muscle, 3.1kg (7lbs) of glycogen and 0.9kg (2lbs) of fat in a period of 3 months.

Here are two situations :

Situation A

  • Go on a bulking phase

  • Gain 11.3kg (25lbs) over a period of 6 months

  • The details of 11.3kg (25lbs) is 2.2-4.5kg (5-10lbs) of muscles and the rest is 0.9-1.8kg of glycogen (2-4lbs) and 4.5-6.8kg (10-15lbs) of fat.

  • To lose the excess fat, you have to do a strict diet. If you are extremely strict, you can expect to lose 0.4-0.9kg (1-2lbs) of fat per week without losing muscle.

  • The best scenario is 6-12 weeks to lose fat. Otherwise 12-20 weeks.

Situation B

  • Increase your calories but just enough to give your body the nutrition needed to maximize your muscle growth.

  • You gain 0.6kg (1.5lbs) of muscle per month with less fat.

  • After 6 months, you gain weight 2.2-4.5kg (5-10lbs) but only 1.3-2.2kg (3-5lbs) of fat.

  • To lose fat, you need to do a diet for a month.

The best way

Many people ruin the potential of their body with the internet gurus tips that advise eating as much as possible (even junk food). Result, a lo of unnecessary fat that gives the impression of being muscular.

Many people don’t eat enough to help muscle growth but eating too much or eating junk food isn’t the solution. We must calculate the number of calories that we have to take a day and select food throughout the year.

Did you go in a bulking period ?

-Steph