We all train hard at the gym! Then we follow this up with good eating but sometimes we don’t see the benefits of the training and wonder why? Well in this blog I’m going to look at cortisol and how this natural hormone can stop your physical gains in the gym.

Cortisol is a hormone which is released by adrenal glands when you are under high mental and physical stress. The hormone will do a few things:

  • Stop muscle growing
  • Reduce the protein synthesis
  • Break down muscle to glucose

In our society of fast pace and stress this hormone will be released in most people regularly. With excess cortisol the side effects can be

  • Reduced growth hormone, and testosterone output.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Reduced muscle and increased abdominal fat.
  • Impaired memory and learning.
  • Reduced glucose utilization.
  • Impaired immunity.


So you can see that from the regular Body Attacker to the Weight Lifter cortisol is not good to be released in large amounts as it will cause our progress in the gym to slow down or even stop.

Unfortunately you can’t turn off the production of this hormone as it is an important function in the body to deal with stress but some ways of making sure that you control its production you can do the following:

–          Training! – so actually hitting the gym will reduce this hormone. As muscle mass increases and aerobic function increases the body then can deal with physical stress better. However over training will cause the production to increase, so make sure you limit the time of your sessions but increase the intensity.

–          Stressing less – Relaxing and not stressing about things will make a big difference on the body. As cortisol is a protection hormone it will release with stress.

–          Use glutamine – Glutamine can help as this will provide cortisol a supply of blood glutamine which the cortisol will attack rather than muscle.

–          Sleep – Cortisol is at its lowest when you are asleep so make sure you get a good and long night sleep.

So there are some simple things you can do to keep cortisol under control. However if your are struggling in the gym to see gains in muscle gain or weight loss and you are doing everything right then maybe try some of these techniques.