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Int J Sports Med. 1990 Feb;11(1):41-5.

Testosterone, cortisol, and creatine kinase levels in male distance runners during reduced training.

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Human Performance Laboratory, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306.


The purpose of this study was to examine if reduced training would reestablish normal testosterone, cortisol, and creatine kinase (CK) levels in male distance runners. Ten male runners (mean +/- SE) age 32.0 +/- 2.6 yrs, body fat 9.6 +/- 1.0%, VO2max 61.8 +/- 1.1 ml/kg/min) were monitored during 4 weeks of normal training (baseline training, BT) and 3 weeks of reduced training (RT). During BT running distance averaged 81 +/- 5 km/week, 6 days/week. During RT the runners reduced weekly training volume by 70% of BT to 24 +/- 2 km/week and training frequency to 5 days/week. Weekly resting blood samples were obtained between 0600-0900 hrs after an overnight fast. During BT resting total testosterone levels averaged 5.10 +/- 0.21 ng/ml, which is within the low ranges previously reported in male distance runners. Testosterone levels were not affected by RT (avg of 5.38 +/- 0.31 ng/ml). Cortisol levels were in the high range of normal during BT (23.61 +/- 1.18 ug/dl) and were not altered with RT (avg of 23.14 +/- 1.56 ug/dl). Creatine kinase was elevated (168 +/- 15 U/L) during BT and was significantly reduced (P less than 0.001) at weeks 1-3 of RT (avg of 99 +/- 9 U/L). These results suggest that normally training male runners have low resting total testosterone levels and cortisol levels in the high-normal range. Resting testosterone and cortisol were not responsive to the training reduction. Creatine kinase appears to be sensitive to relative changes in training.

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