Is Cortisol bad? Is it only related to stress and gaining weight? In this article we’re going to discuss why athletes and trained soldiers have and need higher cortisol. We’ll also talk about the role of recovery supplements.
So what are recovery supplements and why are they needed for physical and emotional stress? For most people, when you mention the word “cortisol” they think about stress and gaining weight. This is because main stream media often links the two. This leads everyone to believe that cortisol and stress are bad and should be avoided. But is that really true? And…is avoiding stress even possible for someone that actually gets out of bed in the morning?
Stress is not all bad. It’s unmanaged stress that causes all sorts of problems.
What is cortisol and what is it responsible for?
Our body is a biochemical reactor which functions in a pre-determined pattern. Well-coordinated interaction of bodily systems are the foundation for peak performance. Compare this to a well-functioning car engine which at pre-sequenced intervals injects fuel and generates power.
This same thing happens in a human body.
The most important hormones responsible for generating stamina, endurance, and energy are cortisol, testosterone, and insulin.
Cortisol plays a major role for professional athletes and active duty military personnel. It’s cortisol that’s directly responsible for athletic achievement and your physical output. All current studies indicate that cortisol levels have a tendency to rise in response to stress. By default stress is presumed to be an ill-effect of this hormone. In reality cortisol is a shield against the ill-effects of stress on our bodies.
It is virtually impossible to find a successful athlete or member of a special ops unit like the Navy Seals with average levels of cortisol. Their morning median cortisol levels are at least 200% above the median population average.
Like we already said, cortisol is directly responsible for generation of energy (physical output) in the human body. Its peak levels are achieved between 6 am – 12pm with lowest levels recorded during the night. The average median drop of this hormone between morning and night hours is approximately 350%.
A recent European study involving a professional judo team monitored the cortisol levels of test subjects. Tests were conducted every 2 weeks with core testing done one day prior to an important sporting event. The later test indicated that the team members had a 150% increase of cortisol levels in comparison to their daily averages.
Similar test results have been monitored in special ops troops a day before operational deployment.
Why do Athletes and Active-Duty Military Have such High Cortisol Levels?
Here is one explanation. Most individuals involved in sports training use running as part of their fitness regimen. And, many of these people start conditioning in this manner from an early age.
In response to this stimulus adrenal glands have a tendency to ‘chronically’ expand and pump elevated levels of cortisol immediately after the body is exposed to stress factors in well-trained individuals.
The more your body has the capacity to produce elevated levels of cortisol during short periods of time the better your capabilities are for achieving top-notch sports results and increasing your survival rates during combat operations. Cortisol also has properties to elevate pain thresholds and produce unprecedented pain tolerance in individuals.
This is important for members training for Special Ops programs and it’s something our science team had in mind when they formulated the Navy Seal formula. Although cortisol is a main contributing factor to achieving success in sports and combat operations it is very important to control its levels and maintain so-called cortisol ‘rest’ periods. This is where recovery supplements, like BCAA are useful. Many sports and military training tips include the use of dietary supplements and nutritional advice to keep your body at homeostasis. When your body is balanced and trained from its foundation, it can function and respond as you hope it will when you’re out on a mission and performance really matters.
Do you know how important diet and nutritional fortification is to your Military Training Success?
Discover how science can give you the competitive edge…just when you need it most. Are you taking “generic” Dietary Supplements? Or are you fueling your body with the best there is?
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