Physical fatigue is in the brain as much as in the body
There's no substitute for self-belief, no matter what magic potion you take. Sports Psychology and the idea of 'mind over muscle' have grown over the 21st century, leading to new ideas about how our brain manages the body's resources and how our motivation can sway this. According to the current dominant theory, our muscles tire when they run out of glycogen. When paired with a build-up of lactic acid makes it difficult for the heart to pump enough fuel and oxygen around the body, with other factors such as dehydration and temperature also playing a role. In short, no matter how much they want it, if athletes push themselves too hard, they should hit a wall. However, findings over the last two decades suggest that it cannot be so simple. Science writer David Robson discusses the latest research that challenges the conventional view, including why performance-enhancing placebos work and why understanding the power of mind-over-muscle could make us reconsider some of our core beliefs about our fitness.