T Nation

Your Latest Article on Neurotyping

Hi Coach CT, I hope you and the others are well??

I just read your article: https://www.t-nation.com/training/nonstop-natural-gains-the-neuro-typing-system and I must say that it makes a lot of sense and I look forward to follow up articles…

Of course, the first questions have already popped up :slight_smile: what happens if you see yourself in all three types?

Could it mean that your transmitter types are “fluid”? I see myself oscillating between all three at any given time, dependent upon stress levels (Cortisol I assume)…

Or am I getting ahead of myself / you and you will be addressing this in your follow up articles?

BTW, I am almost complete testing 3 rep MTW for your “look like a bodybuilder, move like an athlete” template and I must admit that I am pleasantly surprised at the poundages that I have posted, being untrained…

Anyway, I look forward to your answers and follow up articles, keep them coming please, I for one appreciate them.




Neurotyping? Really?
This reminds me of those articles in the back of women’s magazines, like “What your favorite flower says about you!” or maybe "If you are an Aquarius you should train like this."
The characteristics you write about are applicable to nearly all people at some time in their lives.

This isn’t scientific. It’s silly.

I am really excited that CT is expanding into this topic, and I also remember Jim Wendler hinting at the fact that psychology and the motivation derived from it play much higher role in succesful training than is usually thought of.

While I am sceptical of applied psychology like this, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this is just silly. I am not familiar with the TCI test, but I know for example that the Big 5 -personality theory is well supported by empirical evidence. I’ve been getting familiar with Big 5 recently and the more I try to gear my everyday activities towards my personality traits (without forgetting slow expansion), the better I feel and perform in everything.

So the question would be, why wouldn’t personality types affect the usefulness of the training program? I see no reason why a highly extroverted and open person would work as hard with the same program that a highly neurotic and conscientious person excels at.

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Love the new article. Obviously you are supposed to judge what type you are by how you feel THE MAJORITY of the time. However, I definitely have strong traits of type 1 and 3 and was wondering how you go about judging this. Thansks

philhalsey: Did you read the article? Because your reference to being an Aquarius suggests that perhaps you didn’t. Astrology is not a science at all. Neuroscience, however, is very real and brain chemicals very much play a role in personality. I know for a fact that I have low serotonin levels and guess what my favorite workout template is? It’s 5/3/1. It’s also why I really liked competing in Masters Olympic lifting (I don’t anymore because of a back injury). It was just two lifts with similar techniques. Nothing unpredictable about the snatch and C&J. And the part about not wanting to learn new lifts is also accurate. I thought about competing in powerlifting, but I’ve always used the high bar squat. I played around with the low-bar squat, but didn’t like it and it hurt my shoulders. I said screw it. If I do compete in PL I’ll just used the high bar squat - it’s what I know, it’s what I’m comfortable with, and I’m willing to give up the few additional pounds you get from the low-bar position so I can use the technique I know.

I can’t remember if it’s the Cloninger Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) or a different one CT has mentioned, but you can find a pretty comprehensive questionnaire online (for free) to give you a general idea (score) to get a better idea of which of the three you are.

You should be able to find it with a google search.

Philhalsley: Better to remain silent and to be thought a fool than speak and remove all doubt.

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The bit about the novelty seekers having low dopamine yet being extroverts / good in social situations makes zero sense to me… an interesting article though.

Hello Coach,
I enjoyed this article and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. I was not able to find a version of the TCI test, would it be similar to the Braverman Personality test? It lines up dominance in Dopamine, Acetylcholine, GABA and Serotonin as well as deficiencies in the same. Does this sound like a similar approach? I am particularly interested in the diet component as I have had a difficult time with lowering my carbs and maintaining energy and focus.
Thank you.

Interesting article! I’ve got a little of all three like most folks. But if I’m honest, I’m very much a Type 3. There are few things I like better than A Plan.

That said, the one contact sport Type 3s like me do appreciate is Brazilian jiu-jitsu - especially in the gi. But, yes, you won’t find me rock climbing one month and base jumping the next!

PB_Andy, I think the idea is that extroverts with low dopamine levels are motivated to seek out social situations (or situations where they can be in a leading role: see 10 aspects of the Big 5), since those situations give them the dopamine kick everyone is looking for.

I.e. everyone wants dopamine, the question is where to get it. An introvert will not get a dopamine response from a large party, they’ll just get tired.

Yes really… there is actually a lot of validity regarding the personality profiles and neurotransmitter levels. And training, diet and supplementation can have an impact on neurotransmitter levels. It’s not something I came up with in a week… years of experience, then research to explain what I empirically found.

But I understand that not everybody will be open to that. Every time you talk about psychology a lot of people close themselves. And that’s fine, I want to teach as many people as I can but not everybody will be receptive


VERY rarely is anybody a “pure type”… I tested (I have a test) and questioned over a hundred people in the past few months and I’ve seen 4 “pure” people. But most people have a pretty clear dominance. And I’ve tested 3 people who were equally distributed, so it happens.

From my experience (talking to these people after having conducted the tests) the cause can be…

  1. They REALLY are a balanced neurological type
  2. They were in the military (which essentially reprogram your mindset and when you get out the conditioned behavior and your natural behavior can “fight”)
  3. Something crashed one of their neurotransmitters (evidenced by someone’s mindset/behaviour changing drastically over time)
  4. The person did a lot of work on him/herself to change the way they are… in this case they did NOT change their neuro balance, but rather learned to act and react differently to certain situations

The other articles will show the subtypes which will make things clearer.


It’s that neurological balance/levels influence how you see a certain task… how a certain task makes you feel… for example certain people prefer a fairly repetitive job with fixed hours while others just can’t force themselves to do that and prefer a type of work where the tasks to perform change often and where the work schedule is variable.

It’s the same with training. It’s 20 years of coaching here… some people prefer to stick to the same exercises over and over and feel really comfortable with that while others need to change their program every 2-3 weeks. If you force yourself to do a program you don’t like or bores you, you wont be as motivated at least not in the long run.

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Well I do use a questionnaire … here is the thing: not everybody is 100% objective with themselves. I would personally say that I’m a novelty seeker while in reality I am a reward dependant. I am actually creating my own test and it will be freely accessible.

But normally, while people can have elements of two types, there is pretty much always a dominant one. We must also understand what is our natural response from our conditioned/learned response. Sometimes we get a strong reaction but we act differently because we think it’s a better response.

The neuro profile is about your natural reaction, not your learned behavior or what you think is right


I will talk about GABA and acertylcholine in the upcoming parts.

The Braverman CAN be used. BUT it is actually 100% incorrect in two regards. But if you understand where it’s incorrect it can actually be useful.

With the Braverman, if you are “dopamine dominant” (high dopamine score) the Braverman would say that you have HIGH dopamine, whereas in reality you have LOW dopamine but are hypersensitive to it.

Same with serotonine… a high serotonine score on the Braverman = low serotonine.

The GABA and Acetylcholine scores are correct.

But the Braverman doesn’t test for noradrenaline, which is the cornerstone of the type 2 personality.

I will have my own test available soon


Dude it’s simple… the baseline dopamine level is low BUT the receptors are hypersensitive. Asa result when you increase dopamine (through behavior that favors it) then you hyperrespond AND become addicted to hit and start to behave in a way to get the dopamine increase.

It’s actually been measured (they had people do the personality test and measured neurotransmitter levels)

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BJJ is super technical and requires a lot of time to master the skills… it actually attracts to type 3 (who are technique geeks) for that reason.


Thanks for your response. Here are my concerns:

  1.    People are more complex than being reduced to a “personality type”.  These are non-specific generalizations and are fluid.
  2.   People are more complex than their neurotransmitter levels.
  3.   No research is cited that correlates neurotransmitter levels to what diet people prefer, what sports they like, or how they lift.  Even if there were correlations, correlation is not causation.

I applaud your efforts to teach people. It all seems to boil down to:

  1.   Lift heavy and often.
  2.   Rest as needed.
  3.   Eat right.
  4.   Keep it interesting.

Thanks for being a coach to many lifters.