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Cortisol and Healthy Sports, Diet Guide

Monday, September 6, 2021

Would you like to take a closer look at cortisol, which causes muscle loss after training, makes it difficult for you to lose weight in diet, and is often mentioned about overtraining and growth hormone? Then we start!

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is a steroid hormone and acts on all cells in the body. Cortisol, which is synthesized from the adrenal glands and also known as stress hormone, is released by ACTH (adenocorticotropic hormone) in the body.

The importance of cortisol

Cortisol causes proteins (except liver cells) to break down proteins into amino acids. Amino acids, which are the fragmented form of proteins, pass from tissues to blood. As a result, increased blood amino acid levels activate the pathway of gluconeogenesis, which means glucose production.

As a result, blood sugar rises while tissues lose protein.

Does protein loss always be a nightmare?

The loss of protein caused by cortisol, known as the stress hormone, may not always be a nightmare.

The human body is designed to maintain order and to survive. Cortisol in cases of trauma, blood loss, infection, intense activity and long hunger

It increases the high blood sugar required to meet the required energy by breaking down the fat tissues and proteins. Increases blood pressure. It keeps fluid in the body and reduces the blood vessels.

It also suppresses the immune system by reducing the white blood cells (the white blood cells responsible for the immune system). Even if these effects are necessary for the continuation of life, sports and dieters may be exposed to undesirable effects of cortisol.

Exercise type and cortisol release

The main point of interest for sports and dieters is the relationship between exercise and diet type and cortisol release. You can control your cortisol hormone level with small changes in your training and diet program and control the unwanted effects of cortisol.

High intensity and long-term training stimulates cortisol release. This increase is similar to the release of growth hormone. The most dramatic increases occur during short and high intensity workouts with a resting interval. (Cortisol is the cause of muscle breakdown in endurance sports.)

What is important is whether the increase in cortisol is acute (sudden) or chronic (continuous). Although acute increases are not important for muscle loss and fat formation, chronic cortisol increases can increase appetite and increase body fat and muscle loss.

Cortisol release by hour

Depending on the type of training, cortisol release varies. However, even if no training is performed during the day, cortisol release fluctuates according to biological hours and meals. Furthermore, cortisol reaches its highest level under the influence of biological time between 07.00-09.00 in the morning.

Cortisol levels cannot exceed the upper limit except for disease. The best times for endurance training are in the morning, when the cortisol level is the highest, so that the cortisol level at the upper limit can no longer increase.

Effects of cortisol release

Cortisol leads to muscle (especially fast-contracting type 2) and bone loss, but with testosterone and insulin anabolic (promoting tissue production) effects, it attempts to stop the destruction of cortisol.

Increased cortisol after exercise stimulates the immune system to remodel muscles and bones. In addition to the positive effect of cortisol rising in the short term, long-term cortisol heights cause muscle and bone destruction.


Stress increases cortisol production. Said stress can be psychological or physiological.
Cortisol reaches its peak between 07.00-09.00 in the morning.
The cortisol levels of the excluded animals (socially isolated, asocial) were 50% higher.
The present ulcer may be aggravated by intense training, stress and hunger. This is because cortisol increases gastric acid secretion.
The female hormone estrogen can increase the free amount of cortisol in the blood.
Training under stress (fatigue, hunger, overtraining) may increase cortisol levels and cause muscle loss due to protein destruction.


Carbohydrate and protein taken after training reduces cortisol release. Be sure to consume foods that contain protein and carbohydrates after exercise.
Be sure to sleep for 7 to 9 hours.
Don’t be isolated from society. Spend time with your friends.
Learn to control your stress. Try to do yoga and meditation.
Adjust your rest periods well at intense training. Give yourself time.

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