Here is a video from Khan Academy providing a brief overview of the endocrine (i.e. hormonal) system of the body.  The video reviews very briefly the glands which make up the system and provides one or two example hormones per gland to showcase aspects of this sytem.  This video is for everyone interested and especially those invested in seeking and obtaining peak performance from their body and brain.

The takeaway…

If you are an athlete or coach, then after watching the above video I hope you appreciate that there is more to training/racing than simply following a workout plan or writing out a workout plan (in the case of a coach) to pursuing performance potential.

How so?  Because if you think “digging deep” as in ‘no pain, no gain’, go all-out, push hard, and harder, and then harder still, etc… is without consequence then the last thing you should be is a coach or DIY athlete. ‘Digging deep’ does not develop your musculo-skeletal system instead it is ‘training’ to manipulate your neural-endocrine systems to fuel a higher level of performance. Training via ‘turbo-charging’ yourself is not healthy training, its a short cut to fake performance fueled by your evolutionary emergency response system (flight-fight-freeze reflex/survival system). Use your survival system as a go-to for performance and as Sanders has experienced… its damaging to your overall well-being and health: physical, mental & emotional.

How so?  When you “dig deep” you turn on your survival systems, your glands turn their attention to fueling a higher level of performance (i.e. fueled on adrenaline and numbed by endorphins) doing their part to help you ‘survive’. Problem is… your glands cannot simultaneously focus on all normal body functions at the same time and as a result a percentage of normal body system functions are idled. Rinse & repeat the process enough times by making “digging deep” your go-to for performance (vs training to develop musculo-skeletal & technical efficiency) and eventually your glands will start to fail to function properly (e.g. fail to produce enough hormones or neurotransmitters). At first, your performance will start to falter, second your health will start to falter. Push it too hard for too long and that’s when ‘mysterious’ medical issues start to arise eventually morphing into disease processes that require medical attention.

If your understanding of training and competing lacks any appreciation for the endocrine system and what is its role, then you should not be coaching, and if you are a DIY athlete I would challenge you on your belief that you ‘know enough’ in order to be coaching yourself. By the way, simply ‘knowing’ of the endocrine system is not enough, nor is ‘knowing’ just about the endocrine system because it is merely one of numerous systems in the human body, hence only one component of peak performance. If you don’t understand how all the body systems work and work together and when and why and how, then as a DIY athlete you are likely inflicting damage upon yourself, and in the case of coaches you are likely inflicting damage and teaching your athletes to damage themselves.

To Sanders and any athlete and coach who hopes that a new hydration/nutrition strategy will counter self inflicted abuse of glands…  good luck with that.