If you’ve been around bodybuilding for a while, you know what cortisol is and that it can blunt or even stop muscle growth. Unfortunately, intense activity, including weight-training workouts, pushes the stress hormone through the roof. You may think your workouts are building muscle, but they could be doing the opposite if you’re training intensely and not taking cortisol-curbing precautions.
Step one is to use a phosphatidylserine supplement. PS is a lipid that has been shown to reduce cortisol by more than 30 percent. Using about 700 milligrams of PS preworkout is good cortisol-buffering insurance.
Step two is to sip a carb-and-amino mixture throughout your workout. Many trainees have had good results with flat Coke—that is, letting it sit so the carbonation has fizzled out. Carbonation can cause stomach upset during a workout.
Other options include Gatorade and the company’s new product, G Series Pro 03 Recover, which contains electrolytes as well as carbs and amino acids, the perfect combination for keeping cortisol low and letting your muscles grow. Recover has 33 grams of carbs and 15 grams of protein, including essential amino acids and electrolytes. Regular Gatorade will work too—just add about a half scoop of vanilla whey protein to the bottle, shake frequently and sip during your workout. Studies show that the carb-and-protein intraworkout mix is especially effective for over-40 athletes.