View Full Version : Debunking the Nueroendicrine Response

Ben Moskowitz
03-12-2008, 08:03 AM
Ok, this might be out there, and I don't have a PhD in biochem yet, but here's my guesses:

The adrenaline pump of getting super psyched for a max effort lift, super stoked about a huge wave to surf, or "seeing blood" while burning through a metcon all come at a price.

I think it is possible to lift heavier weight (slow, grind style) when the flight-or-flight adrenal response kicks in. The old story of a women lifting a car to save her child bears this out. Adrenal kick + muscle tension = max tension, max strength. You feel like you can lift a thousand pounds.

The only problem is that the fight-or-flight response also stokes cortisol and dips growth hormone probably. You introduce a stress on the body (heavy weight) and you get a response.

Recovery (Sleep, food) is necessary to adapt to the stress. Boosting the "good stuff" (GH, Testosterone) while minimizing the "bad stuff" (cortisol, insulin) is where it's at.

Now... what about Weightlifting, the noblest sport of them all?
Peak power output occurs at a "balanced" state, when one is "in the zone." It's like "conscious sleep."
This is why weightlifting and gymnastics are so fundamental to sport. They foster learning to be "in the zone" and how to reach peak power output, in the "short" metabolic pathway.

EDIT: I wikipedia'd it: rowers have the highest sustained power output of any athletes. This is why rowing is so BA (bad a**).
The highest intensity, peak sustained power, is the same experience as being in a fight, taking down a buffalo for food, and doing a CF WOD.

I think I value the short to medium metabolic pathways, but I think swapping aerobic endurance for nice long walks, or rock climbs, is the way to go. From a health/longevity perspective. It's Evolutionary Fitness.

When "in the Zone" or just plain sleeping, GH is max, testorone is max, and insulin, cortisol, and estrogen are minimized.

Estrogen makes you sleepy. Testosterone pumps you up. Plus all the other hormones I don't know about. Yeah....

Ben Moskowitz
03-12-2008, 12:57 PM
More simply:

Two nueroendicrine systems
1) Sympathetic nervous system
2) Parasympathetic nervous system

Parasympathetic = pleasurable activity (food, friends, relaxing, sleeping)
Sympathetic = fight-or-flight (heavy weight, dog jumping at you, etc.)

Work is a stimulus, like lifting a weight. Introduce said stimulus, with adequate recovery (dual factor) you get a response (muscle and strength gain).

Work is best done while tapped into the sympathetic system (really enjoying lifting weights while your doing it, "in the moment").

That's all.

Ben Moskowitz
03-12-2008, 07:24 PM
OK i tested this out at the gym today.

Feeling like you can lift a thousand pounds is bad. It blocks judgement, you aren't as in tune with your body and your technique, and you risk injuring yourself.

The best physical activity occurs when you are centered, regardless of what it is. Learning how to center yourself before stepping up to the bar, during your rest period, and in life in general is what leads to short- and long-term happiness.

The most mental clarity occurs when slightly hungry.
The most happiness occurs when you are centered, or after a nice meal.

Just thought I would update...

Ben Moskowitz
03-13-2008, 07:17 AM
I will further illustrate what I'm thinking with an example or two.

The Cheetah
The cheetah is a lean, mean killing machine. It spends weeks in a state of hunger, on edge. Once it finds prey, it can expend a ton of energy quickly (running 70mph). It feasts on the flesh of it's prey, which gives it enough energy and protein to either preserve or build lean muscle mass.

The sloth
The sloth spends 20 hours a day sleeping. It grazes on leaves while awake, but only enough to satisfy it so it can sleep more. The sloth is lazy, fat, and sluggish.

Neanderthals/Nordic tribesman
Cold and Hungry. Kill Prey. Eat protein and fat. Sleep. Repeat. Grow big and strong.

pygmies of lower latitudes
Warm and sluggish. Eat fruit (glucose). Be happy. Grow fat, lazy, and multiply.

So.....the killer instinct is the sympathetic nervous system. The lazy happiness is the parasympathetic nervous system.

Too much sympathetic = too wired, strung out, ready to kill
Too much parasympathetic = too lazy, fat, and mentally blotted

Ben Moskowitz
03-13-2008, 07:22 AM
So... why is exercise so healthy (with paleo nutrition and whatnot)?

It fosters the killer instinct for success....without having to kill anybody...

Gittit Shwartz
03-13-2008, 01:50 PM
I couldn't say if any of your theories is valid, but I like thinking that way too...

Ben Moskowitz
03-13-2008, 04:43 PM
all I can say is that I appreciate that you like it, it means a lot to me.