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Why Type 2 is Low in Norepinefrine, but Type 1 is "Adrenalin Junkie"?


I see how neurotyping can benefit with training an individual, but have you used this approach with individuals on sports teams? For instance, what would your approach be to the player in the slump, the player who is anxious, the player with a slow personal rhythm or to any of the other types who are not playing at their best?

I’m not sure if this should be a new thread; I’m only posting here since you mentioned these in your previous responses.


This also explains the tradition we have of blowing like $30 each at half price apps after tournaments lol


Funny you should ask. This is where I’m going. Understanding which type is more prone to chocking, which is more likely to be a streaky player, which sometimes look lazy but outperforms when it counts. How should you put in leadership role. Etc.




Question 1: Is it possible that type 2s can perform in competitions better when they have a little adrenal burnout, or desensitization from a period of overexposure? I was a good practice guy, and good in the gym, but overstimulated in games. Outside of sports, I even had panic attacks. I would often do better when I had under slept a little because I didn’t get an over response to adrenaline-to the extend that I would under sleep on purpose right before a high stress performance. I had figured that the lack of sleep was giving more cortisol which helped performance, but it also shut down things like “overthinking”.

As a teacher, I originally had trouble with panic attack-like symptoms, but with experience, I shifted down the arousal/performance curve. Obviously, familiarity will reduce arousal.

Also, I used a lot of caffeine and pre-workout stimulants over the years. I seem to have become somewhat desensitized to adrenaline. I know that this is not really a good thing, but it has a couple of benefits. 1) It lowers my anxiety in performance and 2) It keeps my from going TOO intense in the gym which keeps me on a faster recovery track.

Question 2: Why do type 2s get adrenal fatigue if they are adrenaline sensitive? I would think that their adrenals would be hard to fatigue because of their high sensitivity and low need for high adrenaline levels. By adrenal fatigue, do we mean over stressing the adrenals or do we mean desensitization to adrenaline?

I’ll add that when I read Poliquin’s work, I thought I was a “wood” type because he suggests that wood types have to alternate between volume and intensity phases and I tended to benefit from frequent changes. Is a wood type a 1A? I assume that fire type is 1B. Why do you think he felt that wood types needed to alternate volume and intensity? Another observation is that he tended to present the elemental types as a continuum from fire-wood-earth-metal-water. My initial guess was that wood and fire were 1A and 1B, and earth was clearly 2B, so I thought that 2As were some “in-between” type, between the wood/fire and earth (since that is how they should train). Have you considered that 2As might be a hybrid type? From HIS presentation, I assumed that water type was somewhere south of type 3s, or that 3s might be subdivided into metal and water types. What makes 2As water rather than being “in-between” the wood/fire and earth types? Is it their versatility and changeability?

Thanks a lot.


Actually it is possible.

Go back to the inverted U curve that I posted earlier:


When you are on the left of the curve the nervous system in inhibited/low activation. The more you go to the right the more you get activated/amped up and it improves performance. BUT if it goes too far to the right your performance actually decreases because of a higher anxiety. Anxiety is nothing more than the neurons firing too fast/an overactivation of the CNS .

Increase in activation up to an optimal level = thinking faster, making connections more easily, reacting faster, muscles contracting stronger.

Increase in activation beyond the optimal arousal level = overthinking, creating scenarios in your head, overreacting, muscle tightness.

In the later state performance (physical and intellectual) will decrease because you are thinking too much, have self-destructive thoughts, lose your timing (things go to fast in your head) and technique is altered because of the muscle tightness.

Type 2 are the most sensitive to adrenaline. So they can more easily go into that over-activation state. BUT if they suffer from a slight adrenal fatigue they cannot produce as much adrenaline. The upside is that this might allow them to avoid getting into that over-activation state when stress is really high. The downside is that when stress is low it might be harder to feel good and confident.


Type 2Bs and 3s are at the greatest risk of adrenal fatigue.

Type 1A and 1B can have symptoms that are seen as adrenal fatigue but are really dopamine depletion. Both have similar symptoms (lethargy, loss of motivation and drive, being lazy, lack of self-discipline, need to eat crap, etc.). But what happens with the 1A and 1B is that their dopamine get depleted; this happens when they produce too much adrenaline BECAUSE ADRENALINE IS FABRICATED FROM DOPAMINE. So if a Type 1 produces too much adrenaline, too often, they risk depleting their dopamine.

And when that happens they can’t produce adrenaline because they don’t have enough dopamine! So they have the same symptoms as those with adrenal burnout, but their glands are fine. It’s the raw material they don’t have!

2Bs and 3s are at the greatest risk of adrenal burnout because of all the neurotypes they have the highest level of baseline anxiety: they are constantly in sympathetic mode because their low levels of GABA and/or serotonin makes it hard for them to calm the brain down once it gets activated. If they are constantly in sympathetic mode their adrenals are constantly asked to produce adrenaline and cortisol is also always being released.


1A is fire
1B is wood
2A is water
2B is earth
3 is metal

I developed the neurotyping system with a friend of mine who is an international teacher of chinese medecine and studied in Asia under some of the top masters. It’s funny because we both developed a system on our own and when we met we came to most of the same conclusions but from different angles. The Type that needs to alternated between intensification and accumulation is 2A.

This is the problem when you do not use the right “dominant neurotransmitters”. Charles uses the Braverman model which uses Dopamine, Acetylcholine, Serotonine and GABA as dominances. The problem is that any type can have high or low acetylcholine (1A and 2B being less likely) and GABA can also be either high or low in all types (less likely with 1A).

BUT the biggest mistake of the Braverman approach is that not only does it neglect one of the key dominance, but likely the most powerful one: adrenaline! But in the test all symptoms of adrenaline dominance are “blanded in” with the dopamine dominance. I’ve seen several people who were clearly 2A think they were 1A because on the Braverman they tested as dopamine dominance while in reality they were adrenaline dominant.

The three main domiances are dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin and these have been validated by actual neurotransmitter level and sensitivity by Dr. Cloninger and is one of the most widely recognized classification in psychiatry. Acetylcholine and GABA have obvious impacts on your capacities but they are not dominances: they will potentiate or inhibit some of the natural characteristics of your dominance.

I’ve given the neurotyping seminar about 20 times so far. So to more than 500-600 people. And without exception they all easily figure out their type from how I explain these types. Pretty much nobody feels like none really applies or that they are in-betweens. Not only that but they also all figure out which of their clients are which type. I’ve have people laughing, crying and just go crazy in class because they can’t believe how accurate it is. On the other hand when I was using the Braverman or when people use the Braverman a lot have problems figuring out what they are.


Thanks. I understand that 2As need to alternate between accumulation and intensification, but for Charles that was the defining characteristic of a wood type as they lay between fire and earth in his system. Also he thought that wood types were most prone to injury. I believe that the Chinese system has fire-wood-earth-metal-water as running from most yin to most yang so I just wondered how the water type gets stuck in the middle. Do you see it as the most yang or most malleable or passive type? I can see that in some ways such as conflict avoidance, lower competitive drive, also needing to change.


I didn’t use the chinese medicine system to build the neurotyping approach. I used neurotransmitter levels and personality profiles. It’s up to you if you prefer to go with a system based on tradition and beliefs or science :wink:

But of course, using chinese medicine make it sound secretive. And Charles being from the martial arts milieu originally, chinese concepts are kind of his thing (he also teaches the use of pressure points on the acupuncture points to improve strength and mobility). So he went all out on that. Plus, using such a system allows you to answer questions without having to give a complete scientific answer.

Yin and Yang to me likely refers to excitory neurotransmitters (dopamine, adrenaline) and inhibitory neurotransmitters (GABA and serotonin) with Acetylcholine being in between because it can have an impact on both functions. Which is likely why Charles think wood is acetylcholine. But really what you need to understand each type is to know:

  1. How each neurotransmitter affect behavior and body function
  2. How to use someone’s personality traits to evaluate neurotransmitter function
  3. From their neurotransmitter function efficiency you can understand WHY something work and why something might be a problem.

Ask me ANY question (you have already asked a lot, and others too) and I can ALWAYS give you a profound, complete and scientific explanation behind WHY it happens. I don’t give short answers that don’t really give you what you need to understand what is going on.

I love Charles, he is my mentor and the person who had the most impact on my life. But for me if someone aks the question: “Why does a fire (or 1A) type prefers heavy lifting and can recover fast for neural workouts and prefer to take long rest intervals?”

What answer would you prefer/thrust more: “Because he has more yin”


“He prefers to lift heavier because heavy lifting leads to a higher neurological activation due to to an higher dopamine release and since Type 1A is dopamine sensitive, he has the greatest response to dopamine which is the pleasure neurotransmitter, so heavy lifting gives him more satisfaction. He can recover well from heavy lifting because of his high level of serotonin which can quickly inhibit/calm the nervous system after the intense effort. As a result the CNS doesn’t stay over-activated for long which decrease the energy drain on the nervous system and also minimize cortisol production (doesn’t stay in sympathetic mode for long). Finally, they instinctively prefer to train at a slower pace to minimize adrenaline release. Since adrenaline is produced from dopamine, and because Type 1A have LOW dopamine (due to their high sensitivity to it) if they produce too much adrenaline (which happens when you train faster) they risk depleting their dopamine level which can make them crash.”

I really don’t want the conversation to go this way. Charles has his system based on his beliefs I have my system based on my beliefs. Look at the information provided by both, or even talk to people who have been to both classes and make your opinion from the information.


Indeed. Felt excellent in training, but in games I had anxiety, and wouldn’t almost speak to stay focused. Same in the gym, when I have to do PRs or maxes I feel pressure. But when I’m just “well let’s try this weight” I don’t even if it’s the heaviest I’ve lifted


That’s what I thought, and why I didn’t bring up his elemental system months ago. Thanks.

Lastly, if I am a 2A but have gotten desensitized to adrenaline over the years, not to the point of depression, but more of being in control and self contained in training, where do I go from there? Should I cut back on caffeine and try to resenitize? Does it make me a different type? And let’s say a type 2A or 2B literally became adrenaline resistant, perhaps permanently, where do they shift? You’ve said that stress tends to push you from 2A to 2B, and some 2Bs to perform like 3s. So lets just say that a 2A or 2B develops adrenal insufficiency or adrenal desensitization, does that move them into being a type 1, just not a very good one?


That is actually why Westside worked for me as a 2A, because I could max out, but because each max effort exercise was different, I didn’t worry about where my top set was going to end up, and on speed day, I knew that I was not going to miss any reps, just push as hard as possible. Its why I always said that ME training was not a way to increase stress, it was a way to reduce training stress because you use something that you are not proficient enough in to stress yourself 100%.

And its why “heavy duty” burned me out, because I had to hit a rep max every time.

Not asking for justification here, but Charles recommended HIT for metal types because he said that they had a low tolerance and recovery ability from volume or heavy training.


Yep, 100% like me


I recall that the arousal-performance curve gets shifted to the left for more technically demanding activities, and shifted to the right for less technically demanding ones. Does this tend to lead type 2s to gravitate to powerlifting (2A) and bodybuilding (2B) versus sports that are more compex?


Not 100% correct.

It is true that they have recovery issues. But that is because they are constantly in an activated state (mild anxiety). That’s why they always ask questions (they need to be reassured), are detail oriented, are more introverted, and routine-based. The unknown creates more anxiety.

Now, they are anxious why? Because they lack serotonin and/or GABA which makes it very hard for them to calm down the nervous system when activated. So they stay in sympathetic mode which leads to an overproduction of cortisol.

So it is true that they don’t recover as fast.

Heavy work is especially hard for them neurologically because since their “default setting” is being anxious… which means that their CNS is always activated (neurons firing fast) so when they do heavy lifting it will bring their CNS to a very high level of activation which might very well decrease performance (see the inverted U curve again). But more importantly, their low level of serotonin and/or GABA makes it really hard for them to inhibit their CNS after the session… so they keep fatiguing the CNS for hours after the workout has ended. This is, of course, bad for recovery.

They can actaully do well on a high amount of “non stressful volume” because they are built for endurance (neurologically, I’ll explain why in a future post, and physiologically since they have more slow twitch fibers). In fact increasing volume by doing a high number of gradually heavier warm-up sets (up to 6) can make them recover faster from their work sets. Why? Because it decreases their anxiety! Each set makes them feel more in control and comfortable and when they are up to their work sets the performance is better, the risk on injuries lower (stress increases tightness in the flexor muscles) and the recovery cost is lower.

So while they should not do a high amount of “work sets” the 1 set to failure wont work well for them. They need plenty of warm-up sets, around 3 work sets but few exercises in a workout, 3-4. They also need a lower training frequency to facilitate recovery and maintain a more stable hormonal status.

Going to failure is actually bad for a type 3 because hitting failure or the reps preceding it makes them feel like they are losing control and that they might get injured, which will raise anxiety, which is the root of their problems.


Well, I think that gravitating toward powerlifting comes from a need to get the nervous system amped up to feel good. 2Bs, because they have less GABA and/or serotonin than 2As won’t be attracted to pure performance sports as much because the high intensity stuff (including powerlifting) takes it’s toll on them and makes them feel bad for a few days because their nervous system is not as efficient at bringing itself back down after an intense effort. It’s for the same reason that 2Bs are the most prone to chocking under pressure.

Type 2A will be better in activities (or sport positions) where the motor skill requirement is lower compared to the 1Bs who are those with the best motor skills. 2As can have a high level of skill, especially of they have a high level of acetylcholine, BUT they have a harder time to perform when the stakes are high. They will often dominate the 1Bs and 1As in practice but their ass get kicked in competition.

2As also tend to be “streaky”. For example in hockey they will score something like 5 goals and get 4 assists in a 4 games span then not get a single point for 10 games. In baseball a player will hit for .415 with 8 HR and 16 RBI in 10 games then will go 2 for 35.

That’s because they have a low baseline level of self-esteem and rely on the perception others have of them to feel confident. So if they have a good game, they read the positive body language of their teammates and feel good about themselves and they have more confidence and play better… BUT when that happens they start to put more pressure on themselves, increasing their activation/arousal to the bad side. Then they have a bad game and their confidence is shot.


Is this real thing? https://www.t-nation.com/supplements/tip-adrenal-fatigue-is-bs

I know you didn´t use exact words “adrenal fatigue”, so are you talking about same thing, or something different?


I don’t believe in adrenal fatigue (fatigue of the adrenal glands). I did before I knew better. But what actually happens is that the adrenal receptors become desensitized when they are getting stimulated too much/too frequently.

When you adrenal receptors are desensitized, they don’t respect much to your adrenaline (or product that bind to the adrenergic receptors like clenbuterol and ephedrine) which will lead to lack of energyu, lethargy, low confidence and motivation and an increase in cortisol levels.

See, your adrenal receptors are like the NOS is a car: they are meant to be activated for a short but powerfull “boost”. If they are constantly “turned on” it stresses the body out and the body responds by desensitizing them.

This is often seen in bodybuilders who use clenbuterol to lose fat: it is well know that after 10-14 days it doesn’t do much because it desensitized the receptors. The same can happen when you constantly produce too much adrenaline.


What would you suggest for someone who struggles with figuring out their own type? I’ve read, and re-read, all of your T-nation articles on the subject and most of the articles regarding the subject on your site. To be honest, I still have a few (video) pods left to watch. If anything, I’d say my uncertainty as to which neurotype I am has grown somewhat rather than decreased.