Performance enhancing protocol: the 3 most effective recovery strategies to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.
The stress hormone cortisol has a catabolic effect on your muscle tissue, meaning it breaks it down and further reduces anabolic hormones like IGF-1 and GH that actually help muscle growth from being released in the body. It also has a knock on effect on your sleep, your metabolism and even your immune system. If you’re trying to improve your athletic performance, it’s essential to keep your cortisol levels as low as you can - we’re going to look at 3 highly effective ways to keep cortisol levels low. Diet Diet is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your cortisol levels low. In a study titled ‘Associations between Sleep, Cortisol Regulation, and Diet: Possible Implications for the Risk of Alzheimer Disease’ researchers studied the links between cortisol and the diet in relation to the risk of Alzheimer Disease. One of the key findings was that diets high in refined sugar, salt, animal proteins and fats with a low intake of fruits and vegetables resulted in disruptions to our natural cortisol releases, heightening the cortisol response. Whereas the mediterranean diet characterized as being predominantly plant-based foods (i.e., vegetables, fruits, olive oil, legumes, whole-grain cereals, nuts, and seeds) and fish and a low intake of processed foods, dairy products, red meat, and vegetable oils resulted in lower levels of cortisol, inflammation and oxidative stress. Interestingly, this study also identified a number of specific dietary interventions that can reduce cortisol levels including: Flax seeds (specifically Linola 989, the strain with the highest content of lignan) Magnesium (500mg p/day) Creatine (5g p/day) Breathing and Meditation In a study entitled ‘The Effect of Diaphragmatic Breathing on Attention, Negative Affect and Stress in Healthy Adults’ researchers took 40 participants and split them into two groups of 20. The first 20 were given intensive training on diaphragmatic breathing techniques and followed an 8 week program while the other did not. They then tested salivary cortisol levels in both groups and the results were remarkable. The group that practiced diaphragmatic breathing had significantly lower cortisol levels than the other group. This can be attributed to a number of factors but namely that by slowing down the breathing process it forces the body in a more calm and relaxed state. There was another very notable result from this study, namely that the group who practiced diaphragmatic breathing saw a significant increase in their ability to concentrate and stay on task vs the group that did not. This demonstrates that the benefits from breathing and meditation goes beyond just a reduction in stress. Talking Stress can be all consuming and comes from every aspect of our lives. If you’re dealing with a lot of stress, one of the best ways to lower your cortisol levels is actually talking to someone about them. Whether that is family, friends or a professional - talking has been proven time and time again to lower feelings of anxiety and induce a more calm and relaxed state of being. Humans have a need for connection, so when we talk it releases oxytocin which dampens down our sympathetic nervous system. In a study published in Physiology and Behavior, researchers found that changes in testosterone after a game of football were directly correlated with how connected the players felt socially to their teammates. Social interaction truly is one of the most important strategies when it comes to reducing our cortisol levels and keeping us performing at our very best.
How Effective are Compression Boots for Endurance Event Recovery?
Compression therapy might improve recovery generally, but does it work for the type of exercise and recovery you want? If that’s endurance event recovery, then the research says yes.
Cold Water Exposure: Recovery Protocol Basics For Performance
Cold water exposure or ice baths, have long been a staple in athletes’ recovery protocols and, more recently, people like Wim Hof have introduced the cold water exposure to the masses.
MyoPro vs Theragun Pro: Which is the Best Massage Gun?
So you’ve decided you want to take your recovery to the next level and get your very own massage gun? Massage guns are premium products, used by professional athletes and fitness fans.
The Static Stretching Protocol that for the rest of your life
Every decade after the age of 30 we lose roughly 10% of the range of motion in our limbs through reduced mobility.
Three Tips to Help You Recover Faster Between Runs
If you’re training for a half marathon or marathon in the next few months then you’re probably starting to ramp up how many times you run a week.
How to Run Properly and Nail Your Form
Are you pushing hard but still wondering why you’re not getting faster or pushing further in your runs? The truth is you might not be nailing your running form.
How to Ease Sore Muscles and Recover After Running
DOMS can be a source of pride in the days after a tough workout or long run, but when you live a busy life it can also rapidly become a hindrance.
What To Do After a Workout
You might think that the moments you’re lifting, stretching and moving are the most important for progress.
How to Use a Massage Gun for the Best Results
The beauty of using a massage gun is its simplicity. But if you’re new to the world of premium recovery or only just considering dipping your toe in, a little extra instruction won’t hurt.
10 Benefits of Using a Muscle Massage Gun
If you’re an athlete or fitness fan who loves to workout then you need a muscle massage gun.
The 10 Best Foods for Muscle Recovery
Your body is a machine. To get the best from it you need to fuel it with the right food. The good news is that if you’re feeling sore and tired and you want to focus on recovery.
5 Common Running Injuries and How to Prevent Them
If you’re running marathons and ultra-marathons then you’re likely no stranger to injury. Although experienced runners (who tend to run longer distances) are actually less prone to injury than novices, it’s during training that you’re at the most risk.
Why You Should be Using Compression Recovery Boots
If you’re an athlete, whether professional or amateur, you deserve recovery products that give as much as you do.
Why Muscle Recovery is More Important Than Training
We can almost see you rolling your eyes. But hear us out. Yes, training is key if you want to get fitter and stronger but none of it is worthwhile if you’re not recovering properly.
Which Massage Gun is For Me?
MyoMaster create best-in-class recovery products including massage guns and compression boots.
Why Strength Training for Runners is Important
For many running is attractive because of its simplicity. It doesn’t require much money or kit and it gets you outside and away from the gym.
Which Compression Boots Are Right For Me?
If you’re looking to up your recovery game then compression boots will be on the top of your wishlist.
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We chat to Saracens player and MyoMaster co-founder about his passion for recovery, devastating injuries and the power of positivity.
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