T Nation

Cortisol Effect w/ Body Comp Programs


Hey CT I know lately you have been educating us on the importance of cortisol control. I was wondering do you think the body comp programs that you have written (ALAS, Zombie, etc) are not good choices because of potential impact of cortisol?


I’m not CT obviously but that’s a pretty odd question, asking a trainer if he thinks a program he wrote is not good. Obviously he thinks it’s a good program if he wrote it.

Regarding cortisol control, with any program, it’s up to you to do your best to manage it. That means making sure you have proper pre and post workout nutrition, training with max intensity, are getting enough rest, listening to your body and managing recovery. I’m deep in a contest prep and cortisol control is top priority. Rhodiola is also a great supplement for that, also extra vitamin C can be helpful.


Two words to sum up “controlling” cortisol, your body’s stress response hormone: Eat and Sleep
If you want to grow, heal, and minimize breakdown, get some shut eye and eat right and on time.
Your body’s regulation of the various hormones, such as hGrH, insulin, cortisol, and testosterone ( and a bunch more), are linked in to this. A restful nights sleep and naps are essential. Timing of your meals is simple eat often, and avoid gorging or skipping meals.
Lift hard, but allow for recovery.
Sometimes we try to over complicate.


It depends on your neurological/hormonal profile and tendency to produce cortisol. This is be answered next week when I discuss neurological profiles in my article series. But I will say that many people can use the program and not have problems with cortisol but about 25% will have problems… you can “see” if they have a problem by how they look immediately after the workout. If they look swollen/retain water and feel flat (flat muscles) then yeah, it is likely not a good workout for them