along the lines of androgens and intensity. When I think intensity, I think epinephrine, adrenaline. And since you have a background in catecholamines and testosterone, last time I was here at the UFC performance Institute. We had a brief conversation, and I want to make sure I got the details, right? That in the short term, and a big increase in stress hormone can lead to an increase in testosterone like a like a Parachute jump, but so stress can promote the release of testosterone that was news to me. We always hear about stress suppressing, testosterone stress suppressing, the immune system, all these terrible things but in the short term you're saying it can actually increase the release of testosterone. So I have that right? And correct. Okay, and so then the second question is does my cognitive interpretation of the stressor. A difference. In other words, if I voluntarily jump out of a plane with a parachute, does it have a different effect on my testosterone than if you shove me out of the plane against my will, what? Presumably with a parachute, right to.
I mean, so this was what all my PhD work was looking at was the you know, that the pre the exposure to a stressor and the pre arousal of how your body essentially prepares for that stress or and then how it manages it throughout the Exposure to the stress and it was actually motivated from parachute jumpers. There was an older study looking at parachute jumpers into into into combat and you know, they were studying, you know, the court has all the stress response and the epinephrine response of these parachute jumpers. So we got us thinking about hold on, you know, there's certain workouts that you do that are just the daunting, you know, it's like okay. It's squat squat Saturday or whatever. It may be. Oh my gosh. This is going to be a is going to destroy me
right? Where I have to talk to this person. I don't want to talk. Do or you know what, right? I mean something or PhD dissertation exam or something,
even public speaking or whatever. Maybe now, you know, we used an exercise. We use the resistance training protocol that these athletes knew what was going to be very very challenging. It's going to be, there's going to have some anxiety to doing it. Then you are going to be some physical distress from doing it. And therefore, you know, them their mindset of how they were going to approach that was already set. So what we saw prior it, 15 minutes prior. Prior to the start of the next exposure to the workout that the epinephrine, the noradrenaline. The adrenaline was already starting to prepare the body sympathetically to go into what it knew was going to be a very, very challenging workout. So that brings you back to, you know, exercise preparation competition for certain preparation, preparation for some competition. Excuse me, you know, pre workout, routines, the use of music, you know, all these different things that we know can now You know, anecdotally in the gym, we put into place. But the data that I presented showed that it was the first of its kind to show that this link between, you know, epinephrine and norepinephrine release and arousal and then consequent performance. So Force output throughout the throughout the workout was intimately, linked. So what's
it? What was the takeaway there? Should, is it beneficial for people to get a little stressed about the upcoming impending event? Whether or not it's a lift in the gym or whether or not it's talking. To somebody that you might be intimidated to talk to or an exam. What is the stress good for performance? Or is it harmful?
Yeah, nothing. That's a great question. And I think I can only talk to, you know, physical exertion, which is what we were. We were we were exploring and I don't want to try on the toes of the psychologist with Flow State and these types of things because clearly,
I think you're in the the position of scientific strike on this one. I think you have the leverage. I mean, I mean most, you know, I have a lot of friends in that Community as I'll just say, As a buffer to your the answer, you're about to give that. There's there's very little science around flow and there's very little Neuroscience related to most psychological States. Anyway, so I think we've got a lot of degrees of freedom here. Alright.
Yeah breathing. Yeah. Thank you for that. Yeah, I'll
take it out. I'll be anything. You like credit Duncan anything. You dislike. Send the email to send the mean comments to me. Yeah,
I think from from my day to certainly the greater at arousal, the higher the performance was from a, from a physical. Asian perspective. And I think that was the Intriguing part of some of my findings with the definitely a bio can individual biokinetics to some of these hormonal kind of releases in as much as those guys that had the highest, you know, a generic response in terms of epinephrine release norepinephrine release also sustained Force output through for a longer period of the workout than those that didn't. So the the individuals that adds a lower stimulus of the sympathetic arousal. Let's say certainly didn't perform as well throughout the workout. Now. The Intriguing thing then becomes is okay. And I think this this really segues into what we're doing here. And that with combat athletes with mixed martial artists, you know that there's a philosophy, there's a paradigm now, from a self in terms of the exposure, repeat exposure, you know, the the more you do that challenging workout. Do you get the same psychological stimulus? Do you still get the same stress response and and the assumption is unlikely, you know you Mandate, you become accustomed to the stressor. Your body will therefore adapt and that's the classic overload principle, right? And you then need to take the stress of down a different route. But I think when you look at, you know, the the athletes that we work with here, it's a fist fight at the end of the day, let's there's nothing more stressful than that, but I think just the exposure to the rigors of training to understand the bad positions. The bad situations to know that they can get out of certain situations that have certain, you know submission. Also, whatever it may be. I think that really ties in with some of my PhD work in terms of what these guys do to approach. What is you know, really challenging sporting arena in mixed martial arts? Yeah.
It's definitely the extreme of what's possible in terms of asking does stress favor or hinder performance? Because? Yeah, like you said the end of the day, it's someone trying to hurt you as much as they possibly can within the bounds of the rules and you're trying to do the same. So that's, you know, I find that your thesis. Thesis work, fascinating. We're you never to be at the UFC performance Institute. Luckily. They made the right choice and brought you here, but we're you have never to come here. I was still fascinated by this because over and over. We hear that stress is bad. Stress is bad, stress is bad, but everything I read from the scientific literature is that stress and epinephrine in particular is coupled to the testosterone response to Performance and to adaptation provided. It doesn't go on too long. So unless I'm saying something that violates that, I mean, that's your work. So it's a really important and beautiful work and I refer to it often. So I'm just glad that I think we could, you know, bolt that down because I think the people need to know this that that discomfort is beneficial.
Pre-Workout Stress Boosts Physical Performance Via Epinephrine & Testosterone Release
Dr. Duncan French: How to Exercise for Strength Gains & Hormone Optimization | Episode 45