Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Killing yourself on that elyptical trying to drop a few pounds??? Well you may be stuck because of elevevated cortisol levels!

I took a NASM Sports Performance Training workshop this weekend and the instructor brought up the topic of excess cortisol effects on the body.  Cortisol is a regulator of the immune response.  This is what the body releases under stress...emotional, mental and physical stress.  High cortisol levels result in a catabolic effect on the body's tissue, muscle breakdown.  Basically if you are working out over 15 minutes at a high heart rate you are beginning to produce too much cortisol and instead of your body breaking down fat it is now breaking down lean muscle tissue; what you have been working for!!!  This is where interval training is vital, especially for endurance athletes. 

High levels of cortisol not only lead to chronic muscle break down but also injury, illness, mood swings, body composition, and of course body performance. 

Signs that your workouts are harming and not helping your body:
  • mood swings
  • lack of motivation to train
  • loss of muscle
  • increase in body fat
  • loss of appetite
  • exhaustion and fatigue after every workout
How to avoid the accumulation of your cortisol:

Purchase a heart rate monitor and find your maximum heart rate, your target heart rate and your various workout training zones.  Be sure to recover adequately after a 10-15 minute cardio burst, before beginning your next.  Interval training is great for this.  Also go slow and pay attention to your body,  build up to higher endurance and cardio PATIENT!!! 

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