Allegeric to Cardio? Cortisol Curse, Episode 47

I’m allergic to cardio.

I’m not being sarcastic.  I honestly believe that something about the cardio is triggering cortisol production.  I’ve been taking a cortisol manager prescription since last November.  The instructions on the bottle say to take one each night before bed – two if under stress.  I’ve been taking two every night this month.

I need to lose 25 pounds of fat in 90 days.  That will get my body fat down to 11% by the end of June.  I will then have about 8 weeks until the show to stabilize and then cut that last little bit.  So, a month ago, I tweaked the diet and I’ve been doing low-intensity, steady-state cardio every afternoon.  And every evening, my body is physically stressed.  I feel it as chest tightness – don’t worry – nothing cardiac is wrong.  My doctor is all over it.  Because I used to have high blood pressure, I’m monitored very closely.  So I know the cause is the cortisol.  It feels like it’s sister, adreniline, but it lasts longer.

When I suspected cortisol last fall, I saw doc and she confirmed it.  I’ve since identified triggers.  I try to avoid them as much as possible – but sadly, a new trigger is one of my students.  Can’t avoid her.  Just need to prepare.  But I get the same physical reaction to cardio as I do to a stressful situation.

I do NOT feel it after I lift, so it’s not just about working out.  After I lift, I feel amazing.  Euphoric, almost.  It’s quite addicting.

So I need to stop doing what I’m doing.  I need to do something else.  Researched it again and I keep coming back to the same solution, even though I don’t really like it.  I’m pretty sure the answer is high intensity interval cardio.  That kind of cardio releases the same kind of hormones as lifting.  I knew that.  It’s just that I wanted to do cardio every day and I can’t do HIIT every day.  It will run me down.  So for a week or so, I’m going to run an experiment.  I’ll do the HIIT every other day and see what happens.

I really have to experiment now with the diet and the cardio to find something that works for me.  It doesn’t matter whether what other people do – it only matters how my body is reacting.  So tomorrow – no cardio.  See how I feel.  HIIT on Wednesday.  It’s all good.  Less time on StairMonster is a good thing.  Wonder if she will miss me?

Just out of curiosity, I looked for a picture of 25 pounds of fat.  Found this one.  It works if you add the top and bottom shelves…

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Filed under Bodybuilding Journal, Workouts

4 responses to “Allegeric to Cardio? Cortisol Curse, Episode 47

  1. That fat looks REVOLTING!

    But on a more serious note, maybe you just need a few days of break. You’re doing a lot of work – sometimes a body needs recovery time too.

    • I have recovery time built in. Until last week, I was only lifting 4 days a week. A break will be scheduled in before the last push to contest in 21 weeks. I have over trained before and know what that feels like. This is different. I’ve been researching cortisol for 6 months. There is a lot of research out there that links cardio to cortisol. I believe now that it’s been a problem for years. Explains the weight gain and the high blood pressure. Had tests done last fall and it’s high.

  2. My best wishes are with you! You’ve come such a long way, and this is just a minor bump. At least you are in tune with your body enough to realize that the cardio is doing what it’s doing and HIIT will definitely beat you up if you do it too frequently. I try to incorporate a “superset” only workout into my routine like 2x a week as I’m allergic to cardio in the sense that I hate it. But when I do workouts like that, I go for light-ish weights and explosive movements (kettlebell swings, goblet squats, close grip bench press real fast high rep, body weight exercises, etc). Don’t know if this would make your situation better or worse? Good luck in figuring it all out!

    • Great minds? I’ve been doing supersets for a few months, but changed up the whole program last week. 3 day split, six days a week lifting. Beginning of the week is heavy – a few supersets. But the end of the week is all giant sets with lighter weights. I already have to change what I said I was going to do and do a cardio today. Tomorrow is hamstrings/glutes – no HIIT happening on that day, even with a few hours to recover.

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