T Nation

3 Problems; Cortisol, Genetics, Body Fat

Thibs, a long-time reader and first time poster. I have some questions, I never saw this part of the forum when I looked around and this is what I’m looking for.

  1. Cortisol problems

I saw the previous post, but mine’s much, much worse. I started having grey hair when I was 15, have that “under the chin” fat, low bone density and that “intra-visceral fat”. How do I defeat such things? I’ve tried keto, carb cycling, currently working with a guy and he’s stunned. My diet is to a T on all of those-- my discipline is simply unquestioned, my results though say differently. I’ve tried to limit all stress-related stuff, I use to stress about going to the gym. However, the only area of stress I have now is my body fat but it’s getting better.

What do I do to combat such issues?

  1. Genetics

You say anyone can get lean naturally, thing is I am 169lbs, yet I still have quite a bit of fat and can’t get “leaner”. When I attempt to, I just lose muscle and this is with an approach of dieting with carbs or as ketogenic. My body’s naturally catabolic(ala high cortisol) so I am coming in with some form of a disadvantage.

I also have VERY small hands. For a 5’11 guy, I have yet to see anyone 5’5 or taller with smaller hands. And small wrists, too(measured approx. 6.5 inch wrists)

My goals aren’t complicated. I just want to look good naked, lean and with some muscle.

  1. Body Fat

Could I lose body fat YET not lose any inches or centimeters off the waist?

Reason I ask is because working with the guy I am now, I’ve lost a few centimeters off the waist every week, but this week I didn’t. He was stunned, but when caliper tested their was less stomach adipose tissue than the previous week. Plus, I “feel” leaner as in no bloat, and my shorts just fit better.

If pictures need to be used to gauge a better outlook, I can supply them.

Tried keto and carb cycling but what does your training typically look like.

Carb cycling mine included more hypertrophy related, but nonetheless both worked around 10-13 sets per major body part, 6-9 for minor body parts. Focused on strength and low reps initially(5> reps) and did some accessory work on things like Lateral raises which were more 8-12 rep range.

In ketogenic, mine was an Upper/Lower split based off of strength.

Cardio was low intensity post workout and as I went on I added some morning cardio. Tried doing some HIIT, too while carb cycling.

I have visceral fat so it gets depressing to see the waist stay the same week after week.

Off topic a little but I am 6’3" and have exactly 6.5" wrists. That looks weird.

If you think you have high cortisol, go and get it tested. There is no other way to get a definitive answer.

If you think you have bad genetics, go get a complete hormone profile done.

Go read the wrist size thread and you might be surprised at how normal you are.

[quote]stockzy wrote:
If you think you have high cortisol, go and get it tested. There is no other way to get a definitive answer. [/quote]

I have.

Morning levels of cortisol were 541/635 and 577/635(tested once when 13% body fat 18 months ago, once when 19% body fat 3 months ago). Fatter I am, more cortisol I have, less T.

Tesosterone levels were 577/1000 ng/dl(which is right a bit below average) 18 months ago, and 302/1000 ng/dl 3 months ago. Again, fatter= less T obviously.

Irregardless of my T levels, which I can definitely work on since I believe it’s part mental, too. I always have elevated cortisol levels.

Normal for the below average?

No offense, but reason 19 year olds are on such forums taking such advice, watching their diet, following intense routines, and reading educated articles like these from Thibs, Poliquin, etc is because we are the genetically inferior. If we didn’t have to do these things, it means; 1) we don’t care enough like most of the population or 2) we don’t need to cause genetics surpasses us.

So if I’m “normal” for the genetically inferior-- I am inferior, then.

Nonetheless, 6.5 inch wrists are small, but I guarantee you my hands are smaller than anyone of theirs. I just need a more definite way to measure it. I can measure it from side to side when in fist position, from tip of wrist to tip of middle finger, etc.

The only reason I mention this is because of low bone density, due to elevated cortisol levels.

[quote]leaNbig wrote:

[quote]stockzy wrote:
If you think you have high cortisol, go and get it tested. There is no other way to get a definitive answer. [/quote]

I have.

Morning levels of cortisol were 541/635 and 577/635(tested once when 13% body fat 18 months ago, once when 19% body fat 3 months ago). Fatter I am, more cortisol I have, less T.

Tesosterone levels were 577/1000 ng/dl(which is right a bit below average) 18 months ago, and 302/1000 ng/dl 3 months ago. Again, fatter= less T obviously.

Irregardless of my T levels, which I can definitely work on since I believe it’s part mental, too. I always have elevated cortisol levels.

Normal for the below average?

No offense, but reason 19 year olds are on such forums taking such advice, watching their diet, following intense routines, and reading educated articles like these from Thibs, Poliquin, etc is because we are the genetically inferior. If we didn’t have to do these things, it means; 1) we don’t care enough like most of the population or 2) we don’t need to cause genetics surpasses us.

So if I’m “normal” for the genetically inferior-- I am inferior, then.

Nonetheless, 6.5 inch wrists are small, but I guarantee you my hands are smaller than anyone of theirs. I just need a more definite way to measure it. I can measure it from side to side when in fist position, from tip of wrist to tip of middle finger, etc.

The only reason I mention this is because of low bone density, due to elevated cortisol levels.[/quote]

Hey Debbie Downer, why don’t you quit bitching and go lift some weights? Emo convention is that way —>

You were at 13% BF 18 months ago? 13% is pretty good, it’s not like your livelihood depends on abercrombie modelling, does it? What did you do to get to that level, and how was life at that level?

Cortisol should be high in the morning and low in the evening. That’s how you wake up and go to sleep. If it’s elevated all day or low in the morning and high in the evening that is a problem. You mentioned you only measured morning which tells us it’s normal in the morning. You need to measure it over the whole day.

You keep talking about cortisol castrating your T. This is called pregnenolone steal. Your a stress head so yeah you probably got that going on to some extent.

It looks like your T levels were only total T. This doesn’t tell you much. You need to test everything to understand what is going on. FSH, LH, Total T, Free T, E2, DHEAs, Progesterone, SHBG, CRP, Lipid Profile, Plasma Glucose etc etc

And this is the wrong forum to be asking. Get all the tests done and post in the steroid forum or over 35 forum. They are best suited to these questions

And stop with the hands and wrist thing. My wrists are 6.5 and i’m 92kg and you can see all my abs. Several of the footballers i train are over 100kg with 6.5 inch wrists and they are as strong as an ox.

Keep thinking your weak, have a disadvantage and genetically inferior and guess what. You always will be.

"We are what we think, having become what we thought’ - Buddha

[quote]EasyRhino wrote:
You were at 13% BF 18 months ago? 13% is pretty good, it’s not like your livelihood depends on abercrombie modelling, does it? What did you do to get to that level, and how was life at that level?[/quote]

13% body fat when I was 157lbs, though.

My main thing is I’m never going to compete, so what’s the point of ever bulking up or getting fat? I do this to look good naked. I don’t look good naked. I have some areas I need to address. Rest assured, I’m working my ass off. I just need to understand more, thus my questions.

[quote]stockzy wrote:
Cortisol should be high in the morning and low in the evening. That’s how you wake up and go to sleep. If it’s elevated all day or low in the morning and high in the evening that is a problem. You mentioned you only measured morning which tells us it’s normal in the morning. You need to measure it over the whole day.

You keep talking about cortisol castrating your T. This is called pregnenolone steal. Your a stress head so yeah you probably got that going on to some extent.

It looks like your T levels were only total T. This doesn’t tell you much. You need to test everything to understand what is going on. FSH, LH, Total T, Free T, E2, DHEAs, Progesterone, SHBG, CRP, Lipid Profile, Plasma Glucose etc etc

And this is the wrong forum to be asking. Get all the tests done and post in the steroid forum or over 35 forum. They are best suited to these questions

And stop with the hands and wrist thing. My wrists are 6.5 and i’m 92kg and you can see all my abs. Several of the footballers i train are over 100kg with 6.5 inch wrists and they are as strong as an ox.

Keep thinking your weak, have a disadvantage and genetically inferior and guess what. You always will be.

"We are what we think, having become what we thought’ - Buddha[/quote]

After re-reading my posts, I can easily see why you guys would think I’m here trying to suck the life out of it. I don’t mean to come off that way-- I’m just stating to Thibs and anyone interested in these questions a little bit of a backgruond.

As for the tests, those levels are high because it’s the morning. That you are right, but the range for cortisol decreases by 400nmol/L from the AM to PM. Even those levels in the morning were about 200 away from “average” according to the endo. I only remember the total T levels off hand, but I remember after the appointment I was low where I should be high, and high where I should be low.

I thought about the steroid forum, but I don’t see why the’d be interested. Plus, their main answer would be to get on TRT, no?

Anyways, it’s only been 25 days(albeit that short amount) since I re-assessed my passion for this, I’m working my butt off and I’m trying as hard as possible. My discipline and dedication is there. Reason I ask is because the person I’m working with wants me to do something about(as in TRT or something along those lines), I’m trying to stay away from that.

Thanks, if Thibs has anythign to add that’d be great. anything for cortisol modulation?

dinking alcohol usually lowers the amount an individual cares about things. this may help in 2 ways:

  1. you won’t be as stressed
  2. the people you are presenting your naked body to won’t care as much, provided they are also drinking

also, the wrist measurement and “genetically inferior” label for the tmuscle community is pretty damn incorrect. i for one know that i’m not genetically inferior, but have really gotten into weight training over the past year or two because i enjoy the challenge and enjoy doing things that make me better.

good luck on your quest to look good naked though, maybe reading some eastern philosophy would help you chill out a bit

[quote]get-it-done wrote:
dinking alcohol usually lowers the amount an individual cares about things. this may help in 2 ways:

  1. you won’t be as stressed
  2. the people you are presenting your naked body to won’t care as much, provided they are also drinking

also, the wrist measurement and “genetically inferior” label for the tmuscle community is pretty damn incorrect. i for one know that i’m not genetically inferior, but have really gotten into weight training over the past year or two because i enjoy the challenge and enjoy doing things that make me better.

good luck on your quest to look good naked though, maybe reading some eastern philosophy would help you chill out a bit[/quote]

lol.

I don’t want someone to be drunk for me to feel confident around them naked. I made that comment just to convey a more bread & butter approach, ideally, I just want to walk around confident. And for me, that’s lean. Sub 12% body fat with a relatively solid muscle mass.

I just have to go get it. I’ve worked hard in the gym lately, and I’m going in with a controlled intensity. No stressing it and my strength has SHOT up. I’m talking 20-30lb gain in my bench and overall compound lifts.

Something in the fat loss department stalls though, and that’s due to cortisol. I came in here looking for answers on that.

Have you looked into Poliquin’s cortisol protocal? I wouldn’t keep dieting if I were you, even if you want to just look good naked, skinny with some abs doesn’t look good IMO. No need to get fat.

Have you tried Alpha Male for T? What have you done to correct these issues?

4 things that have helped me:
**I’m naturally high strung, high tested cortisol levels, fitful sleeper, etc.

  1. AUTOREGULATE your training!! CT has talked about this extensively…it works. Your training program is only as effective as your recovery from workout to workout. Obviously, if you suffer from elevated cortisol levels, the last thing you want to do is beat the hell out of your body and CNS day after day.

  2. Phoshpatidyl Serine…(Poliquin brand)…start at 360 mg both post workout and in the evening…increase up to around 400-500 mg post workout and evening over the course of a few weeks

  3. Glycine…start with 5 grams post workout…5 grams with main evening meal…5 grams pre-bed…can increase this up to as much as 20 grams at each of those times. CT recommends a max of 20 grams per serving…start low and see how you feel. He also said not to use glycine if you workout really early in the day. I have to say, this stuff does give you a “calm” feeling after using it in a high enough dose for while

  4. Z-12 and ELITEPREO Mineral supplement pre-bed (about 90 minutes after your last meal of the day…or at least an hour…Z-12 is suppossed to be taken on an empty stomach…ELITEPRO doesn’t matter

Diet
I’ve changed my views 180 degrees on Keto-style nutritional approaches. I’ve done everything under the sun nutritionally, and while ketogenic diets “work”, they’re simply unsustainable, and the fat lost using them, will inevitably back fire once you move away from it. Plus, I feel there’s much high chance of muscle loss eating this way.

***Most importantly, in my opinion, keto-style diets are “stressful” in nature. You spend so much damn time being worried about carb intake, and suffering from low energy levels half the time…that’s stressul in itself. Then, you compound that with the constant thought of “my cortisol/stress levels are abnormal!”, you’re bound to be stressed out all the time.

Carb Cycling is a far more optimal approach, in my opinion. It’s easier both physiologically and psychologically. No need to “fear carbs” as long as you’re implenting them in a strategic fashion and are in a modest (sometimes high, sometimes non) caloric deficit most of the time…not all the time, if fat loss is your goal. I personally save my most grueling workouts for my higher carb/calorie days, which is what a lot of people do. Works well for me.

I hope some of this helps. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. You’ll reach your goals. Don’t listen to negative comments…everyone’s a tough guy online.

my wrists have grown almost an inch since starting weightlifting, and I’m nowhere near strong yet (curious to see how far they’ll go from here)

give your body a reason to change, and the best possible conditions to do so, and force it (this includes a shift in attitude). even if it doesnt come as naturally as it does to some others, you’ll still likely suprise yourself

Glycine, phosphadetylserine, bacopa; all for cortisol control.

BBB

Yeah high cortisol sucks.

If you got the cash try Trans-D Tropin. I used it for a while and it works - Was tested salivary 4 sample male Panel.

I also had T issues. Diet and leaning out more helped. Keto diets aren’t all bad, fats just gotta be high.

However I’d suggest NOT to use a keto diet because steady state cardio tends to raise cortisol. Try a carb cycling with HIIT. You can’t HIIT on a keto it’ll burn muscle.

Some suggestions for cortisol control:

-Water with a pinch of celtic sea salt in the AM prior to food.
-A mushroom extract blend, or Reshi mushroom. (Adaptogen)
-If you stay Keto do a Meat and nut breakfast. Sip hot water with a 1/2 tsp lemon juice, 1/4 tsp honey. (Surprisingly works well)
-Avoid all stimulants (obviously)
-Phosphotidyl Serine 400-800 mg. Once prior to training and once before bed.
-Mg supplement before bed.
-Sex or Jerk off.
-Simple breathing exercises. Try this: Inhale a deep breath into your diaphragm 4 seconds, exhale for 5 seconds. Control it and do it 5-7 times. See how relaxed you are after.

[quote]mch60360 wrote:
Have you looked into Poliquin’s cortisol protocal? I wouldn’t keep dieting if I were you, even if you want to just look good naked, skinny with some abs doesn’t look good IMO. No need to get fat.

Have you tried Alpha Male for T? What have you done to correct these issues?[/quote]

I’ve stopped “dieting”. I can’t afford to sacrifice much body weight, I’m just at the point where I need to build a foundation of strength-- I use to straddle between true strength training and true hypertrophy training. Mainly because I just want to look big, so I want high reps. But then I realized the big guys use heavy weights on moderate reps. I can’t even use heay weights on low reps. So I have to build a base. And at the same time lose body fat.

As for cortisol protocol, I’ve read it. It’s just costly. I’m 19 and pay for everything on my own; food, clothes, transportation, school, etc. I struggle with food as is.

To correct the issues, no I have no tried Alpha Male but I believe it’s just a trib product. Great for libido, but it’s not going to tackle the lack of natural testosterone production. What I have done to try to correct this is go to the best endo’s I can in my area and find the problem. For Cortisol, I use 3g Vit C(500mg pre-meal). And rather than forking up money for supplements do it with appointments with endo’s and a specialized prep/bodybuilding coach. I think learning from a few of these people( I want to work with Tropin nutritition when I can get more money) will provide a lifetime of good advice.

They know how to diet according to hormone manipulation, so if I pay for that once for say a 12 week duration, I can soak up everything I’m being taught.

[quote]synergy93 wrote:
4 things that have helped me:
**I’m naturally high strung, high tested cortisol levels, fitful sleeper, etc.

  1. AUTOREGULATE your training!! CT has talked about this extensively…it works. Your training program is only as effective as your recovery from workout to workout. Obviously, if you suffer from elevated cortisol levels, the last thing you want to do is beat the hell out of your body and CNS day after day. [/quote]

On the first points you make. I am high strung and have high tested cortisol levels, but have ZERO problem getting to sleep. Within 20-30 minutes of getting in bed, I pass out with no interruptions for a quality 8, 9 or 10 hours when I can squeeze that in.

As for Autoregulate. Yes, absolutely. I’ve learned this on my own. I plateau fast and I have some plateau breakers(one thibs mentions in here with using fat gripz or thick grips to enhance a muscular phenemeon when going back to regular barbells). And understanding when you can’t give 100% that day.

However, I re-found my motivation, my passion and my intent to get to my goals so I am on a high. It’s been about 40 days and I have YET to plateau. The guy I’m training with does a good job at preventing them and I do am coming in with good, healthy energy. This is similar to when Girondo says new trainers can train 6 days per week for the first month or so cause they are motivated, but will need to taper off.

For now, I’m running the high. But when I see some struggles to increase weight, reps, or feel burnt out I know what to do.

[quote]2. Phoshpatidyl Serine…(Poliquin brand)…start at 360 mg both post workout and in the evening…increase up to around 400-500 mg post workout and evening over the course of a few weeks

  1. Glycine…start with 5 grams post workout…5 grams with main evening meal…5 grams pre-bed…can increase this up to as much as 20 grams at each of those times. CT recommends a max of 20 grams per serving…start low and see how you feel. He also said not to use glycine if you workout really early in the day. I have to say, this stuff does give you a “calm” feeling after using it in a high enough dose for while

  2. Z-12 and ELITEPREO Mineral supplement pre-bed (about 90 minutes after your last meal of the day…or at least an hour…Z-12 is suppossed to be taken on an empty stomach…ELITEPRO doesn’t matter [/quote]

PS is rather expensive, Glycine I’m not familiar with in price, but I imagine I can find in it a bulk powder at an affordable rate. Z-12 is solid, I use that for 6 weeks, off 2 days, repeat. I get great sleep whenever I’m on it and definitely feel more facial hair growth and a libido. Infact, it’s probably the most underrated supplement to me.

[quote]Diet
I’ve changed my views 180 degrees on Keto-style nutritional approaches. I’ve done everything under the sun nutritionally, and while ketogenic diets “work”, they’re simply unsustainable, and the fat lost using them, will inevitably back fire once you move away from it. Plus, I feel there’s much high chance of muscle loss eating this way.

***Most importantly, in my opinion, keto-style diets are “stressful” in nature. You spend so much damn time being worried about carb intake, and suffering from low energy levels half the time…that’s stressul in itself. Then, you compound that with the constant thought of “my cortisol/stress levels are abnormal!”, you’re bound to be stressed out all the time.

Carb Cycling is a far more optimal approach, in my opinion. It’s easier both physiologically and psychologically. No need to “fear carbs” as long as you’re implenting them in a strategic fashion and are in a modest (sometimes high, sometimes non) caloric deficit most of the time…not all the time, if fat loss is your goal. I personally save my most grueling workouts for my higher carb/calorie days, which is what a lot of people do. Works well for me.

I hope some of this helps. Keep putting one foot in front of the other. You’ll reach your goals. Don’t listen to negative comments…everyone’s a tough guy online.

[/quote]

All good points and all I agree with, I just still need to find that right medium. Thus, me investing in a legitimate bodybuilding nutritionist. I had to think this is that and that is this, so when you start to think you’ll overthink. I thought it’s best I invest in someone with a superior knowledge, have faith in them, not stress about at the expense of not buying supplements. In another reply, my last one, you’ll see the progress I’ve made.