Performance enhancing protocol: the 3 most effective recovery strategies to reduce the stress hormone cortisol.

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?

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: 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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

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?

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.

Ruth Purbrook: introducing wonderwoman

Ruth Purbrook: introducing wonderwoman

It might surprise you to hear that it wasn’t love at first tri for Ruth Purbrook. The athlete who has gone on to establish herself as one of the rising starts of British triathlon hated her first open water swim, she grins ‘I emerged from the Serpentine in...

Get to know Kyle Sinckler

Get to know Kyle Sinckler

There is no doubt about it, the tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler is a man of spirit. Once he sets his eye on something, there is little anyone can do to stop him. From humble beginnings, he's gone on to represent the British & Irish Lions, England and made...

Get to know Adam Bishop Strongman

Get to know Adam Bishop Strongman

It has to be said, Adam Bishop, is a man of many talents. He started his sporting career in the Saracens rugby academy whilst also competing as a Skeleton Bobsleigh Athlete. Today, he is a qualified strength and conditioner and has been improving the performance of...

The man who carries the weight, meet Adam Bishop

The man who carries the weight, meet Adam Bishop

Three time World Strongest Man competitor and Harlequins Strength and Conditioner Adam ‘Bish’ Bishop talks bicep injuries, the art of juggling and his ultimate dream.

Joe Gray: the man who doesn’t take no for an answer

Joe Gray: the man who doesn’t take no for an answer

We chat to Saracens player and MyoMaster co-founder about his passion for recovery, devastating injuries and the power of positivity.

Ben Pollard: the brains behind the brawn

Ben Pollard: the brains behind the brawn

Affectionately known as ‘Chopper’ by players and coaches at Saracens, he started his career as an intern with New Zealand teams Auckland ITM and Auckland Blues a time he describes as 'incredible'. On his return he quickly started working with Bath Rugby and Cornish...

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