T Nation

Improved Strength After Very High Volume NEPA

I’m currently doing a whole body routine usually 1 day on 2 days off.

I trained on Friday then didn’t train again until Wednesday (yesterday), but on Monday & Tuesday did some temporary work in a hotel, cleaning hotel rooms & changing bed sheets!

This was 20,000 steps on the Monday & 23,500 steps on Tuesday! Plus carrying lots of 10kg bunches of linens on & off all day.

I normally do 6,000 - 10,000 steps per day

On Wednesday I was a bit stronger in the gym which was very surprising. I thought I’d be weak from 2 days of fatigue.

What’s happened there? Have I improved my mitochondria from all the NEPA & gained some strength that way?

No, that’s too short for that. It was likely an overactivation of the sympathetic system. Basically you overactivated your nervous system. When you do that, it can last for up to 36h (but normally significantly only for up to 24h). That will. make you stronger. But in the long run it ca lead to a training burnout.

1 Like

Brilliant thanks for the reply, Christian!

what neurotype is most prone to do that ? my bet type 3 .- is all the time

Type 3 is the most vulnerable yes but don’t get too fixated on that. All neurotypes can experience sympathetic overactivation and quite fast too actually. Training is not the only thing that stimulates the nervous system. The main difference lies in the ability of each neurotype to switch back to parasympathetic activation and the amount of pressure each of these types can handle before they get pushed over the edge (aka burnout).

1A, 1B and 2A have more ammo (GABA, serotonin and fast COMT in the case of 1B and 2A) and can thus make the switch faster and maintain stressful activities for longer bouts. But don’t get it twisted. It is not as simple as just having more inhibiting neurotransmitters. Life can get in the way too.

For example a type 1A who does not pay attention to his total amount of stress generated from lifestyle factors other than training, can actually become worse of than a type 3 who’s in a good place mentally and therefore can recover better physically.

The individual differences in neurotransmitter reserves and neurotransmitter activity do come in handy for programming and making sure you don’t overdo it. But in my opinion it’s important to see the bigger picture as well and look at other factors besides training that can casue sympathetic overactivation.

You are very fixed on everything that has to do with neurotype 3, which is not a bad thing at all. I admire your determination to gain as much knowledge as you can and be the best version of yourself.

Be warned though, it is the tendency (and that’s probably why you’re always looking for confirmation on these topics) of type 3’s to try and control every little detail of their lives just too make sure everything’s perfect and the risk of making mistakes is low. This behavior actually causes more harm than good and you would be better off to just cover the basics, add a little sprinkle here and there and then roll with it. You will actually feel much better if you just let things happen sometimes, even if it leads to mistakes.

“A man who does not risk anything, risks everything.”

1 Like

1A and 3 are the most likely to have sympathetic overactivation because they have a slow COMT enzyme, meaning that they break down adrenaline and dopamine slowly., so it lingers in the system a lot longer.

They are also poor methylators which means (among other things) that they don’t clear adrenaline as well.

But as Lou pointed out, every type can have that happen… we are all humans and have the same physiology. Some types are just more likely to have ithan others.

1 Like

thank you

“overactivation of the sympathetic system” for me personally stand for - the need to go in the gym and train everyday , What’s in particular counterproductive for my neurotype and age. i think is something linked with dopamine / reward level.
thank you f

It IS couterproductive, unless the daily volume is super low.

It’s a phenomenon called “stimulus addiction”. Training raises dopamine and adrenaline. Stimulating both can lead to addictive behavior (several drugs that target those receptors, nicotine/dopamine and amphetamines/adrenaline are addictive).

But it can also be behaviorial in that some people become stimulus addicts because they have a strong need to be respected/admired for their physical appearance. Either due to insecurities/low self-esteem or a need to be the alpha. And these people tend to see every day training as more productive to develop the physique they want, which is very rarely. the case.

1 Like

This is exactly what many people need to know, especially the inexperienced, novice lifters.

To whoever is reading this, imprint this little piece of wisdom onto your brain. It is THAT crucial for long term health and succes.

probably as that reason why i feel good to train like 1A /heavy,part reps,low sets / , what is completely different to my neurotype -3 .

Edited completely guys, having read the comments on neurotransmitters above.

I seem to have low neurotransmitters in general because I require antidepressants to not have clinical depression - and I’ve had clinical depression from age 8 (I’m now 44).

I currently take 45mg of mirtazapine which I believe increases serotonin, norepinephrine & dopamine at that high dose.

I definitely still struggle with low dopamine - I’m kind of sluggish & have low motivation unless I’m pursuing dopamine activities.

I find dopaminergic activities addictive - I have to make an effort to stop workouts after a sensible time because they make me feel ‘alive’ & often euphoric.

I used to ride motorbikes for the same reason & after that martial arts really helped me stop feeling dull & ‘grey’

I don’t use drugs including alcohol except for morning caffeine because I recognise this addictive personality.

At the moment I’m trialling a 30 day dopamine fast to try & reduce the need for excess stimulation. This means no video games, no porn, limited sugar. Video games & porn weren’t excessive for me, but what I’ve learned about dopamine tells me porn in particular is highly damaging to the dopamine system.

I decided to do this after learning more about neuroscience from Huberman Lab, in particular the episode on the science of addiction.

Perhaps surprisingly I don’t find the physical jobs enjoyable or euphoric. I find very specific workouts euphoric - weight training that produces lactate like drop sets & 90 second rest periods, cardio at 80-90% max heart rate & boxing training or Muay Thai training.

Strength training at 2RM or 3RM with longer rest periods of 4-5 minutes isn’t enjoyable from a stimulus addiction standpoint… but it’s very effective at giving me results.

Having read Christian’s articles on stimulus addiction versus actually getting results I have started following Christian’s recommendations

1 Like