Adrenaline Sensitivity and Neurotype

High CT. I just got your digital book, the best workout plan for natural lifters. When my kids got stuck at home for school last year I did OK for about 6 months but eventually struggled to train consistently.

I have taken the online neurotype test twice and gotten results that were hard to interpret. First i was a 3, then a 1A, and I have always suspected from descriptions of neurotypes that I was a 2A “actor”. I have solid muscle, still bench 300, squat and deadlift 400+ at age 50, tend to be over 20% bodyfat. When I have taken trait based psychological tests I tend to get ambiguous results in some regards, for example, I present as an extrovert, will talk for hours in front of groups when I fell that I am an expert, but if it is a new situation I have a tendency to have a panic attack or hyper-sensitivity, hyperventilation etc. I taught for 12 years and was a pretty dynamic speaker and presenter, but I always FELT introverted, never liked parties etc. I think this is similar to how you have described yourself. I’ve also have addictions in the past to alcohol and nicotine but have not used them for many years.

Anyway, I used to think I was caffeine insensitive because I could take very large amounts, but over the last couple of years I have realized that I am actually very sensitive. If I drop caffeine for 2 days, and have just 1 large cup in the morning, I will have trouble sleeping that or relaxing even several hours later. After 3-4 days, I may drink more caffeine and get desensitized but I regain sensitivity again in 1-2 days. I have cut back my caffeine significantly over the last 2 years and actually regained a lost sense of smell, and stopped having sinus inflammation at night.

Anyway, I have trouble with the neutotyping about questions relating to public speaking and risk taking. For example, I am scared to think about doing public speaking because of the panic attack, but if I can speak in a situation where I am in control, I will talk for hours and just keep going, thinking spontaneously and being all very entertaining along the way. Also, I get scared by the idea of riskier activities like skiing, or even doing bounding exercises or sprinting, but I would LIKE to be able to do them competently.

I have a hard time stopping thinking about things at bedtime, it’s kind of addictive so I have to practice clearing my mind.

I get brain fog after I eat my first meal, especially if it is carbs, though a Mag-10 dose doesn’t cause problems. I thought about taking the neurotype test again, but I’m really not sure how to answer questions about activities that are scary, but that I would “like” to be able to do competently. I will say that I don’t take risks physically. Hoping it might be easy to size me up from some of the description. I get depressed really quickly if I take time off from training, and I basically do everything well, or poorly, so if I’m not training right, I won’t be eating right either.

Thanks for any insight.

so, what is your neurotype ? type 3 or 1A or 2A /your bet / ?
thiese 3 is very dissimilar and different types of training and diet

I’d have to guess 2A. I present as an extrovert but I need to be alone. I don’t have to dominate but I don’t want to look bad. I don’t take risks. I tend to score moderately across the board on the neurotype test. Addictive tendencies.

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How is your evaluation goes since then?
I’m really interested in this subject, because I’m 100% the same. Although i’m still struggling with cutting back coffee, but I also have sinus congestion at night. It hinders my sleep. Have you already stopped caffeine altogether since then? How do you feel yourself, how is training going? Are you training like a 2B or neurotype 1? I remember that you mentioned in another thread that you prefer to do neuro work when stressed instead of pump work. I assume I also desentitized my receptors over the last couple of years with a lot of coffee and a lot of trail running on top of that. (maybe it was too much volume and I should stick to shorter but more intense workout, like a 1A or 1B.
Do you still have breakfast even if you feel tired after that? I also have the same problem, maybe thats why I have been always interested in IF and start eating around noon.
If you have time please share your experiences as a 2A :slightly_smiling_face: Thanks in advance.

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Do you only have sinus congestion at night? If so, there might be something in your bedroom (material, substances,diffuser etc.) giving you a small allergic reaction. Hence the congestion. I suggest thyme (tea or herb sprinkled on food). It’s one of the best solutions to resolve congestion of the (nasal) airways.

Having gone through the neurotyping courses multiple times, my analysis would be that mertdawg has a lot more type 3 than 2A characteristics: not a risk taker, tendency to get depressed under chronic stress, needs to be alone more often than the average person to be able to ventilate all the sensory information coming in from the environment/talking to other people on top of your own endless stream of thoughts, ruminating and worrysome tendencies, being able to spreak publicly but only when you’re extremely comfortable talking about the subject and in an environment that you have control over, not handling variety very well (off all kinds, basically everything that deviates too much from your daily routines, especially if it happens on the spot and you don’t have time to prepare yourself or recalibrate the situation), not being able to break down adrenaline well whenever it is released and binds to the receptors (in other words, once you get amped up/stressed/frustrated the anxious feelings tend to linger for a long time).

The type 3 subtypes are 1A and 2B, another confirmation that mertdawg is probably a type 3 with a fast twitch muscle fiber dominance. Hence the good amounts of muscle and urge to do neurologically dominant work.

People who are not efficient at breaking down adrenaline are naturally anxious (meaning low natural levels of serotonin and gaba) and will often have an autonomic nervous system that is sympathetically dominant, meaning you are very sensitive to your surroundings, your own thoughts/convictions and stimuli of different kinds that cause stress. Once you get amped up, the stress response is often more intense than normal and can last for a long time due to low inhibiting neurotransmitter activity (serotonin and gaba).

That’s also the reason why, in my opinion, low volume neurological work might feel better or give better results to an experienced type 3 lifter than higher volume work. The reason being that volume increases the need for energy. Cortisol and adrenaline are responsible for that. The more volume you do, the more cortisol and adrenaline you need to produce. A type 3 already overproduces cortisol and adrenaline, that’s why high volume training actually can make them feel worse instead of better. Now the catch is neurological low volume work only works for a type 3 lifter thats comfortable doing the main lifts with heavy loads. That’s an important detail to remember because sense of control dictates a type 3’s mental state (stressed or not). Mertdawgs numbers are very decent (despite his age) so to me that means he has a lot of experience and can therefore tolerate neurological work better than volume work.

Almost everyone eventually builds up a tolerance towards caffeine due to beta-adrenergic desensitization, meaning you become less sensitive to your own adrenaline. This can contribute to brain fog because dopamine and noradrenaline (both contribute to attention, drive and concentration) get depleted when adrenaline production increases (adrenaline is made from dopamine and noradrenaline). When you drink coffee, beta adrenergic desensitization might actually increase adrenaline production because you’re less sensitive. You can use the insulin analogy here. If you eat a lot of processed sugars often, your insulin receptors become less sensitive to insulin because they get flooded by insulin all the time. The body’s response is one of producing more insulin to be able to stuff all that excess glucose into the muscle when the receptors are less sensitive. It is my belief that the same process happens with adrenergic desensitization. That’s why overtime you need to take more caffeine to experience the same stimulating effects. Your liver also needs to catch and break down all that excess adrenaline which can contribute to toxic overload. When toxins escape the liver and enter the bloodstream inflammatory reactions can occur (like the sinus congestion which is an inflammatory response).

It is normal to have a drop in cognitive performance after eating a meal. More blood needs to go to the digestive system and yes a big portion of carbs increases serotonin production which makes you more relaxed and less driven to do work. However, it is my belief that brain fog has a different cause, depending on the person’s neurological dominances and deficiencies.

For example someone who is very dopamine dominant, usually has high gaba and serotonin activity as well. This is the kind of person that loves a high protein/high fat/low carb breakfast because the lack of carbs increases dopamine and adrenaline production and makes him/her feel more focused, driven, active. His/her nervous system will not easily get overstimulated due to high inhibiting neurotransmitter reserves. IF that person would eat a high carbs breakfast, they would experience brain fog like symptoms or just fall asleep altogether.

If you have a person who is adrenaline dominant and has low inhibiting neurotransmitter reserves, that person will be naturally anxious and cannot tolerate stress well. The brain fog like symptoms this person experiences are not coming from a high carb breakfast but from a drop in dopamine, noradrenaline (and probably acetylcholine as well because it needs to jump in when dopamine, noradrenaline, serotonin and gaba are low) and a chronic overproduction of adrenaline. The inevitable consequence would be a drop in cognitive performance because most of your activating neurotransmitters are depleted and you’re less sensitive to your own adrenaline. There’s basically no way you’ll be able to concentrate or perform properly in this scenario.

That’s why frequent carb meals are actually very important for a person with this neurotransmitter profile because they lower cortisol and adrenaline production, build up serotonin production (which in turn protects gaba) AND the body likes balance between dopamine and serotonin so a higher serotonin production will result in a decreased conversion of dopamine to noradrenaline to adrenaline, bringing back focus and drive.

My apologies for the long rant, I’m not mertdawg. I just thought these insights might interest you to be able to understand the physiology behind adrenaline sensitivity as well as the difference between brain fog for someone who is dopamine dominant and someone who is adrenaline dominant (neurotype differences). Off course there can be more causes for brain fog, I’m not disputing that.

at neurotest taken my results is : type 2B , but im feel most of time as type 3,
with one exception - can’t folow program, im bored easy and like variety /almost every workout / .

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Yeah thank you for the detailed answer.
Actually I have sinus congestion all the time, but when I wake up I experience it way more. As mertdawg wrote earlier, maybe I lost some sense of smell as well over the years.
I guess coffee is the culprit here. I don’t consider myself as a type 3 because I thrive on adrenaline increasing workouts (short rest periods, alternating excersises, etc). Maybe these all together (intense workouts and coffee) have made my receptors desentisized?! I also don’t consider myself introvert, and as far as I know, type 3’s are more introvert. Am I right? Are there exceptions?
As far as planning goes, I always try to control myself with a lot of planning and structure, but 100% percent of the time I fail at following the plan. Once I got a diet plan from a coach, in 2 weeks I felt like he is not giving feedback to me and he didn’t answer my one f…n question, and immediately I lost interest in following his plan. I always had better result in any part of life when I had not been following a plan just went with the flow. Once I have to do the same things over and over again (because of a plan) I get anxious.
But maybe you are right and i am naturally a type 3, and coffee made me type 2?!

Is the motivation behind your need for variation only boredom? Or perhaps frustration/uncertainty because you perceive that a certain exercise or even the way you train is not working for you?

There’s a big difference between the two.

Same like me, although I still consider myself type 2. Maybe not type 2A, but 2B.
As I read previous posts about neurotypes, type 3’s are not really into gym training, but like long distance running and some swissball core training.

I don’t really know, really. Actually I went through a lot of training aspects in my life and I was always obsessed with the one I was actually in it. If I should jog everyday with a heart beat below 140, I would kill myself because of boredom, although this kind of training would be beneficial now, because it would raise parasympathetic mode. And now, as I have experience in a lot of aspects in training, I am not really sure which one to continue. If I go for a long bike ride with friends (over 2 hrs) I am really tired the following days. I don’t enjoy rides with chill mode, but rather I like to do some sprints in it or climb hills. I enjoy these but makes me tired.

No. I mentioned that mertdawg has more characteristics of a type 3, not you.

Have you done the neurotyping test before? If yes, what were your results?

You sound more like a type 2B who gets 2A tendencies when feeling extremely confident and 3 tendencies when feeling insecure and unappreciated by his environment or the people that he/she is trying to please.

2B’s are emotionally driven and all about sensation. For training that means high volume, pump work, short rest intervals, sweating, mind muscle connection → all these things give the 2B lifter measurable feedback that he’s doing things right.

But the 2B’s are also the most empathetic which makes them more emotional and self conscious as well. 2B’s can be dickheads when they feel extremely good off course, but they will always have a sense of regret when they have been mean to someone that did not really do anything wrong or if it just wasn’t that serious. On the other hand, their extreme integrity can make them have very strong opinions and feelings towards subjects or people. If someone did not treat them right, they will block that person out of their lives. Mostly after giving that person a couple of chances to set things right first.

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I think this suits me. Sometimes I can be cocky and arrogant, but I always regret is, I don’t really want to hurt people. I am arrogant when I am super confident in something or i am really proud of myself. Coffee makes me like that most of the time, even though I haven’t reach anything to be proud of :smiley:
If I’m a type 2B as you say, which training methods should I use?
I know 2B are about pump work, but should I go to failure everytime? I am familiar with the article about the 7 levels of exercises on t-nation. Should I pick only exercises from level 5-7 and always go to faliure each set?

Actually what could make me stressed is that I have been training with 1B’s, who were always doing heavy calisthenics (pull ups, front lever, etc), so maybe this is the culprit?

2B characteristic as well. There needs to be an emotional buy in (for motivational purposes, think emotional intensity to be able to perform. I’ll give you an example. I would never be able to squat heavy on “all the single ladies” from beyonce (in fact only Dave Tate can break PR’s on that song) but give me any song from Lamb of God and I’m ready to lift a semi-truck) and again the effort put into the activity needs to be intense enough to give the 2B positive feedback (this could be a sense of wellbeing from having trained hard or having achieved something).


That is you reacting to dopamine and/or excess adrenaline mate. Which one’s most active is dependent on the feedback from your environment and the inner feedback from your own feelings at that specific moment.

I’m not going to sum up every possible method or training protocol you can do. I simply do not have the time. I’m sure you understand that. Just look up all the articles/videos/posts about neurotype 2B and you will have a ton of information on how to match your training to your neurotype and goals. Even better, buy the neurotyping course, it truly is a steal for the price.

Pick exercises from level 4-7 most of the time (less neurologically demanding exercises like db work and machines for compounds plus machines and cables for isolation work). Training to failure is totally dependent on training volume within a session and the type of exercise. Never go to true failure on barbell compound lifts, technical failure is better. You can go to failure on isolation exercises, but at the cost of building up more fatigue. If you like to go to failure all the time, stick to sessions with low volume (6-10 worksets). Otherwise keep 1-2 reps in the tank.

thank you for putting me into the right direction.

may be long time lifting is factor for need of variation , i don’t know
lifting 30+ years . and still learning and exploring

How big is the need for a variety? Do you only need variation in training variables (for example variation in the way you perform the reps, using different rep schemes/methods, rest intervals, training intensity, training volume etc.) or do you feel the need to change almost all of the exercises after a couple weeks?

for the most part the need for variation is : performing reps,sets,rest time, reps tempo and i know
“high volume” is not good for my type , but every so often i do

Okay, just for fun, let’s go over a fictive situation to better gauge your personality:

I’m your trainer and I have been working with you for a while now. You have mastered technique on all the big compound lifts and you feel comfortable pushing the intensity hard on them. You’re used to training at my private gym. Now picture the following scenario’s, imagine them in your head and try to gauge how you feel about them:

  • I ask you to come to my gym as usual but at the very last moment I change my mind and ask you to come to a commercial gym with lots of people where everything is organised in a different way.

  • We’ve planned to do strength skill work during a strength fase with 85% of your 1RM on front squats, an exercise you have mastered and feel good lifting heavy on. BUT at the very last moment I decide we’re going to drop the exercise and do trap bar squats (a squat variation you haven’t done in months) using miller clusters .

  • I’m late giving you the program for the next 3 weeks and the content is completely different than what you are used to. You’re also supposed to train the next 3 weeks on your own because i’m on vacation. I can’t answer your questions and I cannot help you.

Off course I would not be a good trainer if I treated you this way, knowing your personality. But how would each of these scenario’s make you feel? Excited, comfortable, ok, frustrated or anxious?

BTW don’t take this personal, I have no intention to attack you by saying this, I’m simply pointing out what I see. I’ve read some of your comments/questions. There’s a clear pattern forming by which I mean that you seem very interested in every topic that is type 2B/3 based because that’s the result you got and you’re not sure to decide which one it is. When CT or someone with knowledge about the neurotyping system answers a question related to that topic, you come in firing question after question to make sure that you really are a type 2B or a type 3. Even after having answered your question, it seems to me you are still left behind feeling like you have a 1000 more questions to ask to take away all doubts that you might not be a type 2/3.

I’m exaggerating a bit here off course but what I’m trying to tell you is that always wanting to make sure you have all the necessary details and even after having received them, you still are not fully convinced and in need of more confirmation and details is a core quality of a type 3 individual.

You don’t need to take my word for it but chances are pretty you high you can kiss your doubts goodbye and just go with the type 3 profile. I also get the feeling that you are more analytical than emotional and probably hate it when people try to analize you because you know yourself best. But at the same time there’s that need for confirmation that what you think is actually true. This confirmation needs to come from someone who you perceive as a specialist or a professional though. Otherwise you’ll reject it.

That’s also the reason why I think you will not accept my opinion because I do not consider myself a specialist/professional, even though I might come off trying to act that way. Being a type 3 myself, I simply want to help others see and make logical associations to get the knowledge and insights they are looking for.

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It’s a little too late now because I already occupied a lot of space on your thread but I just wanted to note that my response is entirely based on the information (neurotype results and some core characteristics) you gave in your post.

I don’t know all your characteristics and 2A’s are social chameleons so I could be wrong about your type. While some people’s types clearly stand out by their behaviour, others require an in depth conversation to truly determine one’s neurotype. Unless you are asking CT, he can do it in 2 minutes.