Wednesday 150909

Death by power snatch, 115#(75#)

Minute 1 perform 1 power snatch
Minute 2 perform 2 power snatch
Minute 3 perform 3 power snatch

Once round can’t be finished, rest 2 minutes

Then, every minute on the minute x 5 minutes:
3 Power snatch @ 90% of # used in workout

Post rounds to comments and BTWB

Erin getting after some overhead squats.

Erin getting after some overhead squats.


Are we are going to talk about Cortisol again? Yes. Yes we are. By Courtney “I like hormones, hormones are my favorite” Shepherd and several online articles to be named later

Last week I informed the diligent readers of the CrossFit Verve blog what cortisol is. To recap it’s a hormone secreted by the adrenal gland, most notably in response to stress. That could be long term stress, like with school or a job, or acute stress, such as an argument or a workout. There are consequences to having chronically elevated or chronically low levels of cortisol in our system. Which I would mention but will instead have you click here, referring you to last week’s blog, so as not to fully re-blog myself.

The week before last I mentioned a need to cool down after workouts. I would now like to take information provided from 2 weeks ago plus information from last week, and bring them together in a big symbiotic blog post about how cooling down can reduce cortisol levels and help you get the gains you seek. Say what? Yeah, you heard it here first folks, cooling down helps you get stronger.

Exercise is a great way to manage and balance stress. Working out actually produces a healthy stress response by naturally stressing the body. Cortisol output increases, the heart rate increases, we sweat, and breathe harder. Cooling down after a workout decreases the cortisol response and teaches the body how to adjust it’s cortisol output as necessary, avoiding constant highs and constant lows. Cortisol is not the only hormone involved in the whole cool down/ gains cycle of life. Cortisol and testosterone are closely connected in men and women, although testosterone tends to be associated with men only. When cortisol levels rise, testosterone levels decrease. This a concern for athletes in training because testosterone helps build muscle, and cortisol actually breaks it down.

When the body is stressed and cortisol is produced, the production of testosterone is reduced. Following brief burst of stress, when we return to a normal state, so do our hormone levels, cortisol decreases and testosterone rises. In cases when stress cannot be reduced and cortisol levels remain high with testosterone remaining low, there can be several health effects including decreased sex drive, mood disorders, and the loss of muscle mass and tone.

What does cooling down have to do with any of this? Following a workout, when we allow our bodies to cool down and follow it up with static stretches, we increase the rate of bringing ourselves to a normal, steady state. The quicker we get to our normal state, the quicker our hormone levels normal out as well. Our hormones normalizing means our level of testosterone returns to it’s higher state. This higher level of testosterone is what helps us maintain/ build muscle mass.

I know it’s hard, timing wise, for some of you to get in a nice cool down and stretch session post workout. Sometimes our workouts run to the very end of class and some of you have to get out the door and back to work. My point is that making a habit of putting away our stuff, grabbing our jackets, and running to the car could be at a detriment to our progress. Attempting to take 5-10 minutes to let your heart rate come down, your breathing get back to normal, and your core temperature cool down, while performing some static stretches, can not only keep your muscles and joints healthy, but get you to gainzville sooner.

So post WOD walk it off, shake it out, and do a little stretchy stretchy.

*Info in this post come from:
Balancing Cortisol Levels & Avoiding Adrenal Fatigue
What is the Connection Between Cortisol and Testosterone?


  1. Sean Hansen :

    Courtney, in your post you mention that static stretching helps hormone levels normal out. Does the same apply to foam rolling, or is it just static stretching that creates the benefit?


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