Nothing will derail your physique more than high levels of cortisol in your bloodstream, which is also known as your stress hormone.
High cortisol levels switch the body's metabolism to fat storage mode and also increases your hunger, the last thing you want when you are trying to lose fat!
In today's article I'm going to give you a few easy tips so you can reduce cortisol levels and speed up your fat loss.
How to reduce cortisol levels is a huge challenge for many people in today's fast paced world. I admit this is one of my biggest enemies as well. Cortisol release is your body's defense mechanism to mental and physical stress, and if your goal is to lose fat, gain muscle and build your dream body, you better understand how to reduce cortisol levels in your body, so let's dive right in.
These are my top 5 tips on how to reduce cortisol levels, so make sure you take notes and implement these into your lifestyle today!
HOW TO REDUCE CORTISOL 1/5 | NO LONG WORKOUTS
When it comes to working out, I want you to think short and intense over long and strenuous. Long cardio sessions that last 30 - 60 minutes and long weight training sessions that last well over an hour are going to skyrocket your cortisol levels.
Sure working out is great for your overall health and fitness, but if you are lifting weights longer than an hour with intensity you are going to see some diminishing returns. Stress kills your gains!
This is why the Balloon Method workouts are short and intense. I know a lot of guys who freak out over their physique close to summer, so they end up spending 2 hours in the gym and doing 1 hour of cardio after their gym workout.
You would think that training like a psychopath would result in burning tons of fat and building muscle, but the high cortisol levels that are likely to come after these sessions really halts your progress. It's like you are torturing yourself and overtraining, just to barely see any benefit at all.
The trugh is you would get way faster results if you simply lifted weights 4-5x per week for an intense 40 - 60 minutes at the max, and threw in 2 short HIIT workouts that can be as quick as 10-15 minutes a session. Its great to train with intensity, but not great for your cortisol levels to run marathons and spend hours working out every single day. Less is more, but always train with intensity!
HOW TO REDUCE CORTISOL 2/5 | LIMIT MARIJUANA
I'm the first one who likes to have a good time and I promise I have a "happy medium" solution for you on this one.
You might be thinking, but Arnold smoked weed after working out and look at him! Well the thing is Arnold was on multiple anabolic steroids which in itself lowers cortisol and sends your muscle protien synthesis to the moon. He also has 1 in a million world class bodybuilding genetics.
Let's rather look at the science of what happens in your body. One of the downsides to marijuana use is that it almost immediately increases circulatory cortisol levels after use. I will admit that I used to love smoking marijuana after an intense weight training workout, but the worst thing that you can do for your recovery and your fat loss/muscle gain is doing a recreational activity that raises your cortisol levels immediately after a workout.
Cortisol will signal to your body to store fat and decrease muscle protein synthesis, the exact opposite thing you want for your body to recover fast.
HOW TO REDUCE CORTISOL 3/5 | THE ANTI CORTISOL DIET
When it comes to your diet, there is a lot you can do to reduce your cortisol levels, and the majority of the heavy lifting comes from eating clean whole foods like fruits, veggies, lean meats, eggs, potatoes, oats, legumes and lots of clean water.
There are a few foods that have been scientifically proven to give you an additonal boost however.
One study showed that dark chocolate reduced cortisol levels in response to stress. Make sure to grab the dark chocolate that is 70% or higher in cacoa and is low in added sugar!
Dehydration increases cortisol and when combined with intense exercise can really skyrocket your cortisol. This is why I recommend that you drink at the minimum 1 gallon of water a day, and in many cases well over 1 gallon if you are training intensely which I recommend you should!
One study also showed that drinking green tea in response to a stressful activity helps to lower cortisol as well, so my suggestion is that if you are stressed out in the afternoon with work, family, etc. you skip the coffee and reach for a cup of green tea (I recommend matcha green tea.)
HOW TO REDUCE CORTISOL 4/5 | YOUR MIND MAKES OR BREAKS FAT LOSS
Cortisol is a stress hormone and that stress can come from the physical side of things like overtraining, running for long periods of time, or just flat out being overworked at a manual labor job.
However, the type of stress taht really derails people nowadays and skyrockets cortisol levels if mental stress. If you are reading this article I want you to start thinking like a Superhuman.
That means there is no longer such a thing as a problem, only an opportunity or challenge to see what you are made of, which should get you excited. The ability to think positive and face adversity without skyrocketing your stress levels and going down the rabbit hole of negative thoughts is probably the single best tip I can give you to lower cortisol. This takes a ton of discipline and practice however and it's something that won't happen overnight.
Each time you start getting in your own head and overthinking all of your "problems" which remember don't exist anymore, i want you to counter that with extreme action and going on offense to remove this obstacle from your life.
I always tell myself "go on offense" to get through any obstacle, and if you are overthinking and in your head you are simply stressing yourself out.
HOW TO REDUCE CORTISOL 5/5 | THE ANTI CORTISOL SUPPLEMENT REGIMEN
Cortisol is going to be the highest in the morning when you wake up, after a hard workout, and at any point when you are mentally stressed out.
Here is my supplement regimen to keep cortisol levels at there lowest throughout the day which helps me burn fat faster and build muscle faster and has helped me reach pretty close to my genetic muscle building potential which is something most people can't say they have done!
Ashwaghanda is probably the most scientifically backed ingredient to reduce cortisol. Based on numerous studies, I suggest you take at least 200 mg daily, on top of 200 mg L-Theanine which is the calming substance in green tea likely responsible for the anti cortisol effects.
Vitamin C is also a great ingredient for lowering cortisol, which is why I take a Vitamin C supplement first thing in the morning when I wake up and also immediately following a workout.
I take Superhuman Armor because its loaded with Vitamin C, and also loaded with testosterone boosting zinc and a blend of innovative ingredients that boost your immune system and help your body defend itself from stress easier.