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Some People Believe That The More Time In The Gym, The More Muscle That They Gain.

Couldn’t Be More Wrong.

Working out too much or to long could lead to overtraining.  The body releases Cortisol (a hormone) which increases glucose release from the tissue into the bloodstream.  In turn it generates energy.  Cortisol reduces physical and mental stress and also prevents the release of substances that cause inflammation in the body.

If someone has chronically elevated levels of Cortisol, it can cause muscle loss as well as an increase in body fat, fatigue, degenerate bone, cause joint problems, affect brain and kidney function.  Elevated levels of Cortisol are caused by stress.  Both physical and mental. To much exercise will result in overtraining and will elevate Cortisol levels.  The same goes in dealing with work related stress or even the loss of a loved one.  On the other hand working out in general can reduce mental stress due to a normal release of Cortisol.

I laugh every time someone tells me that they don’t have time to train as much as I do.  They assume that I spend all day in the gym.  My response is, “You don’t have an hour to spend at the gym?”  Honestly, you can get everything that you need out of your workout in 25 or 30 minutes.

Signs of over-training include: fatigue, loss of power, loss of strength, loss of speed.  Some people can train for longer periods of time than others.  Listen to your body.  Train  smart.

Cortisol is needed for normal body functions but with elevated levels could cause problems.  Ways to help reduce this are:

Don’t overtrain.  (Both aerobic and anaerobic training do help control Cortisol levels).                                                                                                                                               Don’t overdo Caffeine (It can spike Cortisol).                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Stay away from low caloric diets (they increase Cortisol).                                                                                                                                                                                                       Eat low Glycemic Carbohydrates (Oatmeal).  Take EFA’s (essential fatty acids), vitamins and minerals (through food – fruits and vegetables).                                                                                                                                      Get enough sleep (7 or 8 hours).  It is needed for recovery.                                                                                                                                                                                             Reduce Stress (Yoga and meditation may help.  So will laughter).                                                                                                                                                                              Consume simple carbohydrates (Fruits, Raw Honey) immediately after a resistance workout.  This will spike insulin levels and may minimize excessive cortisol levels.  

You can also try taking the following:
Green Tea

Remember that it’s not how long you work out but how efficient you are combining both resistance training and cardio training.  Your nutrition is a huge part of transforming your body.  Rest is another important factor.  Train smart.


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