Just though I'd share this with you: (My own work btw, information that I have gathered from various gym trainers, biology teachers, etc...)!
Cortisol (a catabolic or muscle-destroying hormone) is the enemy of all us muscle builders. Ever been completely fatigued after an hour working out or so, even though your muscles are still capable of lifting? If you have, you have experienced the effects of cortisol first hand. Cortisol is the reason that most trainers recommend that workouts last for an hour or less. Infact, studies have shown that cortisol levels increase and test levels decrease even after 45minutes of heavy lifting (especially if compound movements are being used!).
Cortisol is a catabolic hormone, meaning that it can lead to elevated body fat aswell as muscle breakdown.
WHY DO WE RELEASE CORTISOL:
Cortisol's effects in the short term are actually positive. These include increased strength, increased concentration, increased heart and breathing rate. We secrete cortisol when we get nervous, because some of it's short term effects can be beneficial in various situations (street fights, for example ).
As you get anxious or nervous about exams or a job interview, cortisol is being released. When you are about to ask the hottest chick in your class for her phone number, you obviously start to shake and sweat a little. Guess what, this is another example of cortisol's influence on every day life.
WAHT CAN WE DO ABOUT CORTISOL?
As mentioned in the introduction, cortisol's long-term effects are disasterous for the bodybuilder. So what can we do to limit the levels of cortisol in our bodies?
1. BE CALM. Getting stressed will raise levels dramatically.
2. KEEP WORKOUTS OF REASONABLE LENGTH. i.e. not much more than 1 hour.
3. ANTI-CATABOLIC supplements are available. Some protein shakes and multivitamins say that they have ant-catabolic properties.
One final note: cortisol suppresants are available, and these actually work hormonally to prevent cortisol release and allow someone to train harder (and longer) without the effects of cortisol. These are illegal without prescription to the best of my knowledge so I am in no way suggesting the use of any such product.
Thread: Cortisol and catabolic effects.