Cortisol and Muscle Gain

Posted on June 29th, 2010 by Mic in Fitness Model Workout Ideas

woman training

woman training

Hi,

One of the things I mentioned before was that cortisol was important for muscle gain.

Now almost everyone associates muscle loss with cortisol, however – as you have found out – when dealing with hormones, it is not quite that simple.

When the body is under stress, and this can be from exercise, your cortisol levels don’t just rise. They actually rise and fall in a repetitive manner, sort of like a wave.

The idea then is to use this cortisol wave to help with your muscle gains.

Your anabolic hormones (androgens) and cortisol work together in a synergistic and antagonistic way. This depends upon the type of exercise you do, the amount of time you spend exercising and the foods you eat.

Get all of those right and your muscle gains will improve and your fat loss will increase.

Cortisol levels do rise as stress increases, but it only goes so high – otherwise it would be destructive. Your body has a negative feedback loop which keeps the levels of cortisol from rising uncontrollably.

Both cortisol and androgen hormones rise with exercise. The trick is to take advantage of the up and down nature of cortisol so that the androgens “win”.

The best way to take advantage of this cortisol wave is to use intervals in a specific way. That is a period of intense exercise with supersets.

The idea is to cause a spike upward in cortisol so that as it comes back down you are exercising in a way to take advantage of the higher levels of androgens combined with the lower levels of cortisol.

So here is what you can do. You need to prime your body to raise your cortisol levels. You can do this by – after you warm up – doing a few minutes of sprints or other overall exhausting body exercise.

My favorite is to find a chinup bar that is high enough that I have to jump up to reach it. I squat, jump up and do a pullup or chinup while pulling my knees to my chest.

Do that as many times as you can and you will be thoroughly ready for the next phase.

You will have primed your body to use cortisol for muscle gain.

What to do next follows in the next post.

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