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Question regarding Martial Arts&Cortisol

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  • Question regarding Martial Arts&Cortisol

    I wanted to ask other martial artists how you incorporate the Primal Lifestyle in your training, and more specifically, how to combat Cortisol. I've read about how much the stress hormone hinders building muscle, and see how it could be an issue for martial artists.

    I currently train in a Kickboxing gym, and usually once a week at an MMA one. Attendance is important at the Kickboxing one, but my syllabus class, is on a Tuesday, Sparring is on Wednesday, and Pads are Thursday, which means I'm already training 3 days in a row before MMA on Friday. I try to sub by skipping either a Sparring, or MMA class every other week. The Kickboxing is mostly cardio, but sometimes we're "suprised" by bootcamp circuits. MMA is always taxing, which I like to attend because I've noticed the ground fighting really helps my muscle tone.

    The problem is, all of them are taxing in general, in both a cardio way, and on my muscles. My lungs always feel like they're about to burst after Kickboxing, and I can barely move my arms after rolling. The Cortisol has to be running rampant, and I was wondering if there's any other way to combat it other than getting plenty of rest? I know this way of working out can be at odds with TPB, but sacrificing days will really set me back in the gym. While we're at it, what's everyone's take on supplements like whey protein? Anyone's input would be greatly appreciated. Cheers!

  • #2
    i train kettlebells twice a week and bjj twice a week. but my bjj classes are nowhere as intense as yours sound. my kettlebell work outs are wicked though, so i have started eating more food than i normally do on those days. i try to eat throughout the day, have plenty of fruit, water, and tea in addition to my meals. then after my training i eat a big meal with lots of fat, protein and decent serving of carbs - never bread/pasta but something like sweet potatoes or coconut pancakes. i also drink coconut water post workouts. helps to rehydrate and is yummo. if you're training that hard you may need a higher carb intake so you don't bottom out and start having symptoms of adrenal fatigue and overtraining.
    as far as whey protein, i was using a vanilla type that i could buy for a reasonable price at one of the big box stores like sam's. but it's got some artificial sweetners etc in it so i stopped using it. now i use coconut milk and almond butter or flax seed meal or hemp protein powder - just whatever i happen to have on hand. or you could go old school rocky and use raw eggs
    i will maintain the truth
    i knew naturally as a child
    i won't forfeit my creativity
    to a world that's all laid out for me
    i'll look at everything around me
    and i will vow to bear in mind
    that all of this was just someone's idea
    it could just as well be mine - ani difranco


    • #3
      Thanks for the input Alex. I could actually do with eating more throughout the day. I'm in kind of a bad habit of "getting through the day", and having proper meals afterwards. I'll definitely try some of those protein combinations. The wife already likes to buy Coconut Milk


      • #4
        Hi it's the wife here. I think he's doing too much cardio, and he's already lost quite a lot of weight. What's the solution- more carbs?


        • #5
          I've been making us chilli for dinner this week. Had it with eggs for breakfast and it was amazing. It's nice being a Primal couple, makes shopping easier.


          • #6
            My week looks something like this, starting Tuesday because that's how my mind works:
            Tuesday: 2 hour TKD class in evening, black belt class so it's pretty tough!
            Wednesday: TKD training at home, 90 minutes to two hours
            Thursday: TKD training at home, about an hour, then ninety minute class in the evening
            Friday: TKD at home, then overhead press/deadlift
            Saturday: TKD training at home
            Sunday: Bench/squat
            Monday: rest until Tuesday evening

            I also have an active job. Now that's pretty busy, looking at it, but the only alteration to a 'normal' (ha!) Primal diet that I make is that on Wednesdays and Fridays (after evening training) I normally have to eat a metric ton of food, or I'll be dead most of the day. My body composition is continually improving and I'm making strength gains, so logically the cortisol can't be too bad if that's continuing to happen, right? That's my take on it anyway.

            P.S. Foodwise, I have one cheat meal a week on Friday night (which is actually quite restrained) and I try to keep carbs low, even to the exclusion of bananas. I just eat a lot of everything else!

            edit: I suppose, on further thought, more rest would definitely be more Primal. However, I can't be as good as I want to be if I don't train so much, and right now that's more important. So perhaps it's a question of priorities.
            The Primal Journey of Mr and Mrs Fist


            • #7
              Maybe I missed something here but intensive training helps to reduce the Cortisol you have built up in your body generally from non physical stress but mental stress associated with life or office slaving... i mean working. The fatigue and what builds up in your muscles is lactic acid not Coritsol. I am pretty sure that is the way it works but maybe i am totally wrong or missing something. Someone correct me if I am wrong or totally off in left field.


              • #8
                If your really concerned, get your cortisol levels checked by a doctor. They vary according to time of day remember. You dont want to chew up all your muscle cos your training in a glycogen deficient state all the time and running on cortisol.

                If your not eating much carbs and training heaps of cardio then your body is going to be producing a lot of cortisol to just keep training. One thing will have to change, you either stop training like a carb eater or you start eating carbs. Both of which are conter productive.

                Ive said it before in other threads and will say it again at risk of sounding like a broken record..stop the cardio and eat more fat!
                Last edited by Donk; 09-04-2010, 11:37 PM.


                • #9
                  "Quality" carbs will help....after training I down a good protein shake or coconut milk.

                  Also,a hot bath will get the blood flowing back to those muscles after a workout, to promote healing.

                  Finally...make sure you get quality sleep...that's a key item.
                  Last edited by Phil-SC; 09-05-2010, 04:44 AM.


                  • #10
                    If you need more carbs just add like 50 or 100 more a day on the hard days. That should be all just add or take away till you find your happy mediumand still be within the PB diet


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Donk View Post

                      Ive said it before in other threads and will say it again at risk of sounding like a broken record..stop the cardio and eat more fat!
                      Ignore the vegan raw foodist troll (Donk and Durianrider)

                      Don't let them suck up your time guys. Add them to your ignore list and move along.

                      Add to ignore by clicking on their names in any of their posts. On the profile page, one of the options (along with pm or send email) is IGNORE THIS USER.

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                      • #12
                        I'm not a martial artist, but I am a qigong practitoner and how you breathe will go a long way in inhibiting too much cortisol.
                        If you can learn to belly breathe rather than chest breathe (or holding your breath) during fighting (I know- not easy, but it can be done!), you won't stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system quite as much and you won't crank out as many stress hormones. It will also help with performance- you'll be in the "zone":-)