The time you spend sleeping is also the longest your body goes without nutrition. This potentially catabolic situation is best handled with a slow digesting protein before bed and a high-protein meal in the morning to break this fast.
Cortisol is a catabolic hormone produced in response to stress, including intense exercise, and it can decrease amino acid uptake by muscle tissue. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research offers tips on controlling morning cortisol levels before competition.
Eleven swimmers had their cortisol levels measured upon waking on the day of an actual swim meet, and also on a pre-determined day with no competition scheduled. Although levels weren’t all that different day to day, cortisol tended to increase with feelings of tension and anxiety.
True Strength Moment: If you’re facing the best of the best, it’s only natural that you’ll feel some pressure in the build-up to competition. Athletes who train themselves to effectively control their emotions might also be able to dodge any potential side effects that elevated cortisol might add. Winning isn’t all in your head, but it takes more than muscle to succeed at the elite levels of any sport.