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THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
A Journal on Applied Physiology, Biomechanics, Preventive Medicine,
Sports Medicine and Traumatology, Sports Psychology
Indexed/Abstracted in: Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 1,111
The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2000 June;40(2):139-44
Changes in cortisol and testosterone levels and T/C ratio during an endurance competition and recovery
Lac G., Berthon P.
From the Lab. Perf. Motrice, Aubiere, France
Background. To describe the evolution of cortisol and testosterone levels and testosterone/cortisol (T/C) ratio in long-distance runners during a relay competition and during the three days following the competition.
Methods. Two teams of four relayers (one male, one female) took part into this six-hour relay race. Hormonal control during the race was made possible thanks to saliva sampling during rest periods at each relay. The runners were subelite runners, (VO2max = 67.0 ml·min-1·kg-1 in males and 56.8 ml·min-1·kg-1 in females).
Results. During the race, cortisol levels reached approximately 1.5-fold basal levels. These levels remained high till late evening, (higher than morning values, when normal resting levels are 4 to 6-folds lower). Surprisingly, wakening levels during the following days were lower than resting levels. Testosterone did not vary in females; then, male values only are reported. During the race they decreased gradually and remained low till night. During the following three days, testosterone levels were higher than resting day levels. The T/C ratio amplifies these variations: low during the race till retiring, (currently associated with a catabolic tendency) and reversely high during the following three days (associated with a high anabolic tendency).
Conclusions. As expected, a catabolic tendancy occurs during a long distance run (increase in cortisol level followed by a drop in testosterone level). More surprising is the high anabolic tendancy noted during the recovery period (low cortisol and high testosterone levels).