How Your Brain Can Make or Break Your Performance

Neuroscience isn’t an exciting term, but it can be one of the most important factors in how well our muscles perform. We talk about this fascinating connection between mind and body with Dr. Scott Frey.

girl sitting on track looking disappointed

It’s no secret that when it comes to sports performance, what happens between the ears is just as important—if not more—than what happens with our muscles. Sports psychology typically focuses on ways athletes can improve their mindset to help improve performance, but in this week’s show we take it one step further and look at factors that impact our brain in creating that mindset and perception.  

Welcome to the world of neuroscience, which, until recently, hasn’t had a great deal of crossover with the world of sports performance. Our guest on this show is Dr. Scott Frey, a neuroscientist looking to better understand sports performance by looking at the inner workings of our grey matter.  

Coaches and athletes used to believe that strength, fatigue, and performance were confined to our muscles. Researchers like Dr. Timothy Noakes have challenged that thought and shown evidence that our brains are integral to concepts like performance and fatigue.  

Instead of focusing on conditions in the local working muscle, such as glucose availability or oxygen delivery, our brain can modify our pace and performance based on our pain perception, the length of the effort, the environmental conditions, and other factors.  

We discuss all of this—and more—with Dr. Frey, a keen athlete himself who consults on sports performance and neuroscience through his company, Neurocognitive Consultants.  

Joining Dr. Frey is Rach McBride, a pro triathlete with some interesting anecdotes on this topic. We also hear from coach-physiologist Adam St. Pierre who talks about using uncertainty and deception as tools in training.  

So, get ready to change your perception and let’s make you fast! 

For the full list of references used in this episode, click here.

Episode Transcript

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