Cardio Will Not Increase Cortisol

efficient training should never increase cortisol..

How many trainers get this wrong!! CORTISOL!!! loads of articles currently in mags and papers written by "trainers" that are wrong. Cardio Will Not Increase Cortisol.

Lets put this rumor to bed. Now lets look at those who put the most physical stress upon their body and who have the most to lose from ineffective training. Yes elite athletes, the very best of the best.

It's no coincidence that the worlds leading sports performance coaches' and scientists from all sporting disciplines who are responsible for the training regimes of the sporting elite all employ a significant element of both cardio and VO2 Max training for their athletes.

Even “powerful and explosive“ sprinters, strikers, and fighters need to employ longer targeted volume cardio training load to help create the adaptive pathways needed for short spurts of power.

I have always trained with plenty of  volume cardio and It's only had a positive effect on my body...

HIIT is a good example to highlight this. Do you think its possible to continually decrease training volume whilst increasing training intensity? The answer is no. Stepping outside of HIIT training and putting in stamina training will greatly assist with increasing vVO2 (the rate in which we can hold/perform at our fitness capacity max).

This added variable will contribute to sustained high levels of training intensity and when volume is cut back, that’s when you find that extra “yard of pace” …..

Sports coaches will also fine tune cardio training when an athlete needs to increase stamina, endurance and fitness levels or/and decrease targeted body fat. Cardio training is regularly used as a "weight management" tool.

"To a coach, an athlete’s stress hormone levels do not want to be on the rise and weight loss should never be in the expense of losing muscle.

When we burn our own flesh as fuel, we go into a catabolic state, which will lead to a spiritual paralysis".

It’s therefore safe to say that cardio training is not hindering athletes. This is because they have a plan. They train to win. Those who don’t, who just turn up to a cardio workout without any thought or randomly add “30 mins steady state” at the end of their weights session, or train without employing targeted heart rate training or neglect to factor which energy source the body should elect for a session to sync with training intensity, are in most cases simply wasting their time... maybe this causes them to "stress out" and oops my "cortisol just jumped up" lol ...


When I hear cardio causes increased cortisol levels - This highlights inefficient training and a lack of fitness knowledge.

Remember Cortisol is a stress hormone, that can spike even with short workouts , or no workout if you are creating a stressful environment for either mind, body or both. Let's not forget Cortisol naturally increases as we rise from sleep, and a key consideration should be how we monitor insulin with natural increases in cortisol. This hormone can also be manipulated to offer benefit.

Again lets employ some common sense here. The human body does not cope well with sudden stress or trauma , it panics and in a bid for self preservation and survival it releases hormones...."THIS IS THE DANGER" It's not the cardio training volume or necessary the type of training that induces increased "Cortisol" & other catabolic hormone discharges. The focus should be not excluding cardio training but avoiding "sudden, unplanned, non efficient, badly approached training sessions" I personally think increased cortisol is much more about being "stressed over all" .. lets face it if life is good a 60 min cardio session is not going stress you too much!

Again its the "bodybuilders" who most comment that long cardio sessions of 45 mins ++ will lead to an increases in cortisol forcing muscle cannibalism.

Yeah really? Well what about the bodybuilders of the 70s/80s/early90s?? They were known for their 2/3 hour workout sessions & they had plenty of "growing muscle tissue"

Would it not be fair to submit that there is no difference whether you employ high volume cardio sessions, or high volume weight sessions that provided you progressively increase volume with solid nutrition and recovery thus inducing adaption upon the body you will avoid increases in cortisol provided of course that your overall stress management is good? .. What is the body trying to protect itself from if you regularly elect volume stimuli ( weights /cardio) & implement a solid nutritional environment that promotes repair / recovery / growth? It will adapt over time & respond to the progressive stimuli ... thats how we evolve....


In fact cortisol is not the hormone that should be considered when the phrase "cardio over training pops up". Try Norepinephrine, which provides for a more useful marker of "overtraining" which can be experienced with frequent HIIT training as an example.

Norepinephrine is responsible for ensuring body efficiency in our Fight or Run response to a high intensity / stressful situations. The hormone regulates our heart rate, brain oxygen levels to process information clearer & quicker and the release of glucose from our muscles to increase energy for increased performance.

In a study conducted by J.L Barron et al (1985) entitled ‘Hypothalamic dysfunction in over trained athletes’ it was highlighted that many of the symptoms of overtraining "fatigue, increase RHR, increase in body fat etc.. can be attributed to imbalance in neurotransmitters leading to a dysfunction of the neuroendocrine system.

Therefore if one trains ‪#‎smart‬ with Cardio/HIIT allowing for recovery between sessions and implementing varying interval durations and intensity stimuli as an approach for "active recovery", it is possible to safeguard against a dysfunction of the neuroendocrine system rather than dismiss cardio training protocols for a fear or increasing cortisol levels...