Discover Your Brain’s Sweet Spot
and Hit Your Maximum Performance
This is me in my sweet spot hitting my maximum performance. I’m rested, my focus is intense, my body is trained and strong and I’m confident on my first wave of the day on a morning like this. A picture is worth a thousand words or perhaps a million highly charged dendrites firing all neurons.
Can you relate?
I personally can recall there were times during the early on in the pandemic when I couldn’t remember what day it was, I threw away my mail in the garbage and my thinking was just so flat, slow and off. (Brain fog)
Are you feeling like a blob melting into the couch when you know you should be working out, putting time on the water or training? Consistently under-performing during surf heat, race or event, or even at work? (Lack of stimulation/boredom)
You’re stressed out to the max and you can’t remember the simplest things, you’re snapping at your husband, barking at your dog, or yelling at the TV. (Over stimulation)
Are you wondering what is going on? “Make it stop.” Yes, I hear you. I can help you master and hit your maximum performance for all areas of your life.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar or maybe a little similar? These are just some examples of when your brain is definitely not in its sweet spot. At times, you may or may not notice that this could actually mean your brain is not chemically in it’s perfect balance or in the “just right” state, or as research has scientifically labeled as the Goldilocks (discovered by Dr. Amy Arnsten Yale University).
As a coach and trainer I often hear stories and comments like the examples above. Other scenarios of feeling stale or flat in one’s current training routine are also common. I explore my client’s training program and check in on past performances, goals and look at the physical parts that need tweaking.
Your Secret Weapon In Sport & Life: Neuroscience
When we look more closely at what is happening from a Neuroscience perspective, we start to uncover some fascinating patterns. While working with my clients I use Neuroscience based methods that helps determine through a series of questions and exercises, whether the brain is getting enough of the chemicals that help stabilize the brain’s sweet spot.
Just below the surface at the center of your forehead is considered THE executive command center. This is known as the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC). You may have heard of it. This region of the brain is there to help you regulate too much stress and/or lack of what is considered good stress.
To keep things simple, it’s where your brain helps you:
- determine the difference between good or bad
- regulate your body to be on alert, focus intensely, prepare of action
- manage conflicting thoughts
- assist to define achieving goals
- formulate future plans
- suppress urges that could result drastically in bad outcomes
- be more aware of what you’re currently doing relating to future predictions
- understands what is real instead of imagined or from past memory
In this region there are two very important neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine whose primary role is to keep your Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) in a perfect state of balance. Highly established research performed by Dr. Amy Arnsten , as mentioned earlier; discovered that when these two very sensitive neurotransmitters are not in balance, we can experience a huge drop in how we behave, perform and function.
Function of Dopamine Neurotransmitter: Your body makes it in the brain and the nervous system uses it as a messenger between neurons to reward you and is based on the prediction of a motivational response. It’s reactive to how you control your movements and how you respond with emotions. It’s the “feel good” of pleasure that is enough to raise the dopamine levels and reinforces certain repetitive reward driven behaviors. Deeper on this topic it’s also related to happiness and elevated moods when met with the hormone of serotonin. (for another article)
Example: This is why “planning” to accomplish a certain athletic event can be super exciting and drive one’s motivation through the roof. The brain releases lots of dopamine in anticipation of the actual event. Think of your Prefrontal Cortex
high-fiving your brain and rewarding it.
Function of Norepinephrine Neurotransmitter: Sometimes referred to as noradrenaline, this chemical release is also in the brain preparing the body for action, movement and acting along with the hormone adrenaline, and many others. At rest there is less being norepinephrine produced in your body and when you’re awake, it increases a lot more. Especially when there is added stress, or if you sense you are in danger. In contrast, when there is too much norepinephrine produced this can increase anxiety by elevating your heart rate.
Example: If you’re experiencing a very stressful event in your life, you may also have moments of panic, high anxiety and the overall feeling just maxed out, this could be the result of too much norepinephrine as well as other hormones pulsing throughout your body. On the other hand, if you’re feeling low energy, unable to focus, concentrate, this could be the result of too little norepinephrine.
WHEN YOUR BRAIN IS NOT IN IT’S SWEET-SPOT
What it may feel like when you’re Over Stimulated – Too Much Stress /Under Stimulated Not enough of “good stress” in your sport and life:
Signs and cues:
- You don’t look forward to training or your ocean passions
- Deeply tired, continued exhaustion, perhaps from over-training and/or sleep deprivation
- Plateauing in your training and performances
- Judgmental towards others, lack of empathy
- Recovery takes way too long
- Emotionally, one may experience depression, sadness
- Lack of confidence, clarity of goals, lack of even caring about it
- Foggy thinking seeps in, quality of focus is diminished
- Lack of energy, your times are slow and getting slower
- You may be getting injured more due to lack of awareness of sloppy training
What the Brain Needs and Craves
Consistent, balanced amounts of good stress and stimulation are necessary for the Prefrontal Cortex to experience optimum functioning to maintain your personal sweet spot. Let me explain further.
When Your Brain Is In It’s Just Right Place or Sweet Spot
Here are examples of when the brain chemicals are in balance and when your sweet spot is in the “just right” place of the brain can help you hit your maximum performance.
- You are clear in your training goals AND paths of execution
- You are alert and responding to the sensory stimulus created within
and outside your body
- You are able to delay gratification
- You have good memory
- You make precise decisions
- Your balanced, super-charged brain is firing, all systems go, and your body is in flow
- You’re hitting MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE
As a result of my chemicals being in balance in my prefrontal cortex in the above photo, I was able to fire all systems and get incredible height and clear this log for the shot. Not a huge goal for some, bur for someone who broke both legs at the same time in 2009, I was pretty stoked.
Achieving High-Level Effectiveness, Getting Your Brain Into the Maximum Performance Place
By introducing and adding this one of many neuroscience coaching approaches of exploring someone’s sweet spot of their brain, I am helping people and athletes discover a whole new world about themselves. Together we can create new neural pathways to help you reach your personal maximum performance faster and with more clarity.
While I have unique models and methods that I use when working with my clients, here are just a few simple ways in which you can elevate your brain to reach maximum performance while operating in your sweet spot.
- Being consciously aware and observing when you are under stressed and/or over-stressed
- Get your sleep in check. Sleep is known to literally scrub your brain and get rid of the gunk
- Reset when necessary, change the scenery or activity to get a new perspective
- Raise the bar on your own personal challenge or goals
- Contact me to help you re-frame all of your possibilities and reexamine, sharpen your talents and gifts
The Take Away and a Free Maximum Performance Opportunity For You
So the take away is that your new “awareness” of the prefrontal cortex and the importance of certain brain chemicals response to stress, good or bad, is everything. You can continue the same behaviors and practices that are getting you the same results OR, you can make a shift to a more effective way of living and performing in your sport. You can choose, you have the impact on the outcome you desire.
Together, let’s learn how we can maximize or talk about your performance and why perhaps you’re not hitting your sweet spot. The proof is in the neuroscience and it’s so fascinating and very valuable. CLICK HERE TO CONTACT ME or see what others are saying : what my clients are discovering
After all, #themindwinsfirst
Suzie Cooney, CNTC, CPT
Advanced Neuro-Transformational Coach, Certified Personal Trainer
Suzie Trains Maui, LLC
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