The Cortisol Connection – Book Review

We established 9to5strength to help the 9am-5pm (or 8am-8pm!) office worker take control of their life for the better.

A big factor that needs addressing is stress and understanding the physical and mental effect cortisol (the stress hormone) has on your health. This will go a long way to shaping how you approach each day, week and month from now on.

My first recommended read is …

The Cortisol Connection by Shawn M Talbot

cortisol connection

PRO TIP: Take notes! When you read a book, use a blank sheet of paper as a bookmark. Write down any interesting facts and information from the book. This condenses a whole book into 3-4 pages of key notes that are important and relevant to you.

My Notes

  • Stress increases cortisol, which reduces testosterone, lowering sex drive and increasing fatigue and body fat.

  • Fat contains an enzyme, HSD, that increases cortisol within the cell to encourage more fat storage.

  • HSD increases with age, explaining “middle age spread”.

  • HSD activity increases 3.4x within fat cells when a person follows a stressful diet (extreme 800kcal), leading to fat gain to pre-diet levels.

  • Testosterone decreases if a weight loss diet is not coupled with exercise.

  • Decrease in testosterone with age means muscle loss and 0.5% fewer calories burned at rest per year from age 20 onward. If you burned 2000kcal at 20, that becomes 1700kcal at 50.

  • Inadequate sleep doesn’t allow cortisol to fully dissipate.

  • To reduce cortisol, cut down on alcohol and caffeine.

  • The caffeine in a cup of coffee increases cortisol by 30% within an hour.

  • Elevated cortisol levels increase the rate at which your body breaks down muscle.

  • Improve cortisol management by establishing a regular bed-time and wake up time.

  • A sleep cycle is 90 minutes so try to plan a set number of cycles (6hrs, 7.5hrs, 9hrs).

  • Avoid intense exercise within three hours of bed time due to increased alertness.

  • Blue light from mobiles & laptops disrupts sleep quality. (download f.lux for laptop –

  • 450% increased risk of obesity from skipping breakfast as metabolic rate lowers without food and you burn 100-200 less calories throughout the day.

  • Research states 20% protein, 50% carbohydrate and 30% fat is the best ratio for weight loss and weight maintenance.

  • For a 1600kcal diet that equates to 80g Protein, 200g Carb and 53g Fat.

  • For a 2000kcal diet that equates to 100g Protein, 250g Carb and 67g Fat.