At its core, stress is what your body experiences, mentally and/or physically, when faced with adverse/demanding circumstances. Stress is commonly viewed as being a wholly negative form of tension; however, it’s important to note that not all stress is necessarily “bad” (which would be more appropriately called distress).
In fact, some stress is absolutely needed for health, longevity, and everyday activities. In many ways, stress is how you know you’re alive and doing things that you’re passionate about. For example, the adrenaline rush you get after acing an exam is a form of “good” stress (eustress).
What’s particularly interesting about stress is that there is a well-understood physiological basis to it. You may often hear people say that cortisol is “the stress hormone,” which is somewhat correct. However, your body technically produces several stress hormones besides just cortisol, including adrenaline and glucagon.
It’s important to note that cortisol is just one of many glucocorticoids, which are a class of corticosteroids (steroid hormones synthesized by the adrenal glands). Corticosteroids, especially cortisol and cortisone, are strong immunosuppressants. This is why doctors often prescribe cortisone after a serious injury or to treat pain caused by inflammation, since corticosteroids prevent the release of proinflammatory substances in the body.
Moreover, when fasting or periods of energy deprivation, cortisol helps increase blood glucose by promoting gluconeogenesis in the liver. Metabolically speaking, cortisol is a catabolic hormone that helps break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Naturally, this is why many bodybuilders and gym-goers “fear” cortisol, because they think it will eat away all their hard-earned muscle tissue. Chronically elevated cortisol can indeed cause muscle wasting and muscular atrophy, but not all cortisol is inherently “bad” like many people seem to believe. In fact, you need cortisol to lose body fat, as is has permissive actions on lipolysis.
As such, your body needs to maintain cortisol rhythms for optimal muscle building and fat loss (among other physiological roles). But how can you tell if your cortisol rhythms are out of whack?
Read on for some of the most common telltale signs of cortisol dysfunction (dysrhythmia).
In healthy individuals, cortisol is secreted in a diurnal rhythm, with levels peaking in the early morning (circa 7 AM) and reaching their nadir around 2 AM (or about four hours after falling asleep).
When stress becomes chronic, circulating cortisol levels increase and this can start to interfere with your body’s normal cortisol rhythms.
This begs the question, “How can I tell if my cortisol rhythms are out of whack?” Many signs and symptoms may indicate cortisol dysrhythmia, with the following being the most common:
If you fear your cortisol rhythms are in fact out of whack, don’t stress (surely, that won’t make things any better). Here are five actionable and fast-acting tips you can start following right now to help your adrenal function get back on track:
Being “burned out is one of the most dreadful feelings, especially for gym-goers and dedicated bodybuilders. Your driven and motivated side wants to hit the gym, but your body is feeling weak and you’re just generally fatigued.
Your intuition might tell you to just slam more coffee or scoop of pre-workout and push through it, but is that really the best solution?
Many bodybuilders and gym-goers push themselves too hard, too often and don’t take the time for a brief respite, leading to rapid burnout (which is physiologically underpinned by chronic cortisol dysfunction). While it is great to be highly motivated and antsy to crush the iron, forcing yourself to train when burnout is imminent is generally not the best choice.
Reason being is that you’re essentially fighting an uphill battle. Your body is telling you it's exhausted and stressed, so if you keep pushing it, your function and efficiency in and out of the gym will only continue to suffer.
If you’ve reached a point of feeling burned out, you’re better off taking time to rest and recharge your mind and body so you can come back a few days or a week later and hit the gym at 100%. Keep the long-term in mind; short-term rest will help you go the distance.
CortiSOLVE™ will help reduce the side effects of chronic stimulant use or abuse. It can help manage the symptoms of chronic cortisol production from physical, emotional or psychological stress. We all deal with stress; it’s part of life. In small doses, it usually isn’t harmful. But when stress is a chronic and excessive part of your life, it’s one of the most debilitating things you can experience. The last thing your body will care about if you’re chronically stressed is building muscle or losing stubborn body fat.
Make no mistake that stimulants can be helpful for achieving your fitness and physique goals. Caffeine, in particular, is well-known to support weight loss, exercise capacity, energy metabolism and focus. However, chronic use of stimulants without some sort of adrenal support, like phosphatidylserine, is going to wreak havoc on your cortisol rhythms (and drastically increase feelings of fatigue and stimulant-dependency over time).
The vast majority of gym-goers and those who deal with large amounts of daily stress will absolutely benefit from using CortiSOLVE™ daily (especially before hitting the gym and before bed).