T Nation

Dealing with Cortisol/Stress on a High Volume Approach


Hello coach,

Been in a bit of a rut lately and getting back into the swing of training. I plan on doing the six weeks to superhero routine again as I had great results with it last time and need to drop some excess fat and get my work capacity up to par. With a lot of the new info about low volume and high frequency what are some ways to manage stress, cortisol and inflammation for a routine like this one? Would stuff like stretching, foam rolling, proper nutrition sleep, curcumin and fish oil be all I need or are there other things I could do to manage my cortisol levels. Thank you.


Stretching and foam rolling will do exactly ZERO for cortisol levels (they might even increase it).

If nutrition and sleep were all that was needed to counteract elevated cortisol from training then nobody who lifts seriously have any issue (since all lifters tend to eat enough and get decent sleep)

Curcumin and fish oil are great for inflammation but wont do much for cortisol.

The best thing you can use to lower cortisol are…

  1. high carbs pre-workout (PLAZMA for example). Having carbs in he blood when you train decreases the need to mobilize stored glycogen. And since cortisol is what mobilized glycogen it means less cortisol release

  2. Glycine POST workout (5-10g) and at night can also help

  3. Phosphatidylserine at 800mg post-training lowers cortisol too

  4. Vitmaine C post workout and at night will also have a positive effect



Are high carbs fot you as far as Plazma (just prior and during) and pre workout?

Do you have any ratio for carbs:training volume?

For high frequency/low volume programs and rest/pause methods, how much plazma do you recommend?

Are vitamin C and curcumin fine just after training or is it better wait 2-4 hours?


Carbs pre-workout decrease cortisol release by making glucose readily available when you train. Any carb will do that, PLAZMA is easier to time properly because it is absorbed so fast


Not really since this is also a matter of body size, insulin sensitivity and the type of exercises being performed.


As low as 1 scoop (60g) will work for that type of program


Maybe not 2-4 hours… 30 min should do.


I second Plazma & phosphatidylserine.

Also consider Ashwagandha (Sensoril or KSM-66) and mindfulness meditation.