Training of elite cyclists: effects on mood state and selected hormonal responses

J Sports Sci. 2004 Nov-Dec;22(11-12):1025-33. doi: 10.1080/02640410410001716751.


The psychobiological status of cyclists over a period of 8 months of training was assessed by measuring the sympatho-adrenal level, the central noradrenergic activity, and the cortisol-testosterone ratio status noninvasively. Alteration of these indices after a large increase in training load lasting 4 days (+ 187%) was also examined. Urinary excretion of methoxyamines (metanephrine, normetanephrine) and 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol sulphate (MHPG-S), and salivary concentrations of cortisol and testosterone, were measured in 12 national cyclists after a non-specific training period and 48 h before 4 days of increased training (T1), after these 4 days (T2) and at the end of 4 months of specific training (T3). Urinary and salivary samples were also collected during a rest period (T0). At each of these times, mood states and ratings of perceived muscle soreness were assessed, and a questionnaire of early clinical symptoms of the overtraining syndrome (Profile of Mood States) was administered. A significant increase in normetanephrine (P < 0.05) and a decrease in the testosterone-cortisol ratio (P < 0.05) were observed at T2, while MHPG-S excretion remained unchanged. Over the same periods, increased training loads did not induce mood disturbances. Eight months of training were associated with significant alterations in metanephrine (P < 0.05) and MHPG-S (P < 0.05). These results suggest a dissociation between the neural and endocrine catecholaminergic components systems. Opposite responses between MHPG-S and Profile of Mood States scores show that further investigations are needed to understand the relationship between central noradrenergic function, which is recognized as a regulatory factor of mood, and psychological tests measuring mood.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Bicycling / psychology*
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Catecholamines / urine*
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Workload / psychology


  • Biomarkers
  • Catecholamines
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones