Saturday, July 30, 2011

Acoustic Gear: The Right Music at the Right Time Can Double your Endorphin and Growth Hormone Levels, Increase Norepinephrine By +50% Over Baseline and Make You Feel Like the King of the Gym...

Image 1: Attention reading SuppVersity
posts and following respective advice may
have desirable ergogenic (side-)effects ;-)
Does your life rock? No? Did your last gym session suck? Yes? Well, maybe you just don't inject the right gear into your auricle (ear). We all know that listening to music can profoundly influence the way we feel. In the course of the last 20 years scientists from all around the world have been investigating how these musically triggered emotional changes relate to hormonal, neurocrine and even immunological changes and mechanisms and have found, time and again, that music "provides the simplest solution" for symptoms such as pain and hyperactivity, in the treatment of which, "[t]oday, an emphasis has been placed on pharmacological substances" (Gangrade. 2011).

Even the idea to substitute your stimulant-loaden preworkout supplement with a full dose of techno music is thus not as outrageous as it may occur to you, at first sight. Particularly in view of the cardiac effects (heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cf. figure 1) of a single inter-auricular injection of 30 minutes of 1000 beats per minutes soundtracks from Cyber Trip, Techno Shock & Techno Magnetiko at a peak sound intensity of 70 dB 16 healthy 18- to 19-year-old received in a 1998 study by Gerra et al. (Gerra. 1998) would easily outperform the Jacked3Ds, SuperPumps and NoXPlode's from your local GNC.
Figure 1: Effect of 30 minutes of techno and classical music on heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (data adapted from Gerra. 1998)
Have I gotten your attention, no? Well, what if I told you that the same techno beats also doubled the beta-endorphine and growth hormone concentrations of the subjects and increased your favorite 'lift-and-pump-catecholamine' noripenephrine by a whopping 50% (cf. figure 2)?
Figure 2: Relative (to baseline) neurotransmitter, catecholamine and hormone response to 30 minutes of techo vs. 30 minutes of classical music (data adapted from Gerra. 1998)
I see, now you're listening. A pros pos listening, did I mention that a hefty dose of H.W. Wenze or Ravi Shankar could possibly return the training-induced elevations of cortisol and noradrenaline back to baseline (Gangrade. 2011) and thus improve / accelerate regeneration. If you are a Japanese women, a proper way to further augment exercise recuperation would be to listen to some Japanese children's folk songs sung in English by Susan Osborn in order to ramp up your testosterone by ~20%, if you are a man, you would probably be better off with Ozzy or another Osborn, as the Japanese children's folk songs decreased the testosterone levels of male subjects in a 2003 study by Fukui & Yamashita (Fukui. 2003) by at least >12%!

As far as the immediate effects on exercise performance are concerned, it is interesting to note that Brownley, et al. (Brownley. 1995) in a 1995 study found that trained and untrained athletes react very differently to music with different tempos. In their conclusion the authors claim that
[c]ollectively these  results  suggest  listening  to  fast,  upbeat  music  during  exercise  may  be  beneficial for  untrained  runners  but  counterproductive  for  trained  runners.
If you feel beat up and don't want to go to the gym today, I suggest you you immediately get your daily dose of intra-auricular Tiger eyes by clicking on the YouTube video above;-)
While this statement is in line with the subjective exertion the subjects reported after about half an hour on the treadmill, it is slightly incorrect, if you judge the athletic performance by the time to exhaustion, which was maximal, in both groups, under the 'fast music' condition (fast  music  included  contemporary  pop,  rock,  and  movie  sound track  selections  standardized  within  a  tempo range  of  154-162  beats/min).

And although scientists still argue whether the emotional changes trigger the endocrine responses or vice versa, I would suggest you get your iPod ready, select your favorite catecholaminergic techno songs for your workout and download a handful of the anti-catabolic Classics to consume them with your post-workout protein shake ;-)