Thibarmy Question & Answer No 9

Christian Thibaudeau

Co-founder of Thibarmy, Trainer

Articles, Muscle gain, Strength and performance

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Thibarmy Question & Answer No 9

Thibarmy Question & Answer No 9


Hi Christian,

In topic tittle i use stress life because i have 2 kids and i can’t have good sleep. I also have my own company.

3 months ago i measure neurotransmitters testing of urine test and show me low dopamine and serotonin level. So i include 5- htp and tyrosine on daily basic. I feel little improvement.

I constantly train 3-4 times per week, bodybuilding style of training with 4-5 meal per day: 250g P, 150 g C and 100g F. In some post you mention you like lower protein itake around 1g per LBS, so for mean 200g per day.

What kind of training, diet and supplements you advice based on my life style and neurot. profile. I know is hard to give direct answer but if you could give me any ideal in which way looking for.





– Low dopamine people need MORE protein so 250 or even 300 is fine, 200 will be too low for you.

– Most of your day should be low carbs, but you will have to increase your fats to at least 150g mostly from morning to evening.

– On your last meal of the day, you should have about 100g of carbs (to boost serotonin).

– You should “refeed” after 3 days of dieting. So diet at a deficit for 3 days, refeed for one day, diet for 3 days, refeed for one day. The refeed should simply be your normal diet BUT adding about 25g of carbs from fruits at each meal.

– Do NOT take carbs pre-workout, you can take them post-workout (50g or so).


– Tyrosine (you are already using it)

– Rhodiola in the morning (it helps fight stress and also increases dopamine)

– Pre-workout go with protein and MCT oil (one tablespoon)

– I recommend 600-800mg of phosphatidylserine and 5-10g of glycine post-workout

– Do NOT take BCAAs (they compete with dopamine for transporters)

– Do NOT take acetylcholine boosters as acetylcholine can interfere with dopamine. Avoid alpha-GPC and CDP choline.

– 5-HTP is fine, of course take it in the evening

– Avoid adrenergic-based stimulants (ephedrine, synephrine, yohimbine, etc.) as they force your body to overproduce norepinephrine which crashes dopamine levels.  The chain of production of norepinephrine is: Phenylalanine —) Tyrosine —) L-Dopa —) Dopamine —) Norepinephrine —) Epinephrine…. so the more norepi/epi you need to produce, the more you deplete dopamine.

So, overproducing norepi/epi because of stimulants will take your dopamine levels even lower.


– Include some training variation every 2 weeks or so. Doesn’t have to be complete changes, could be changing 1-2 exercises or using different training methods

– 5 days a week is fine but the hardest workout of the week (likely legs) needs to be followed by an easier workout (maybe arms or some explosive work)

– NOT INCLUDING WARMING UP, I would stick to workouts lasting 60-75 minutes MAX (so about 70-85 minutes including warm-up)

– Use short rest intervals and pair exercises (either supersets or alternating agonist/antagonist exercises)

– Keep reps low on the big lifts (for muscle-building I would stay in the 4-6 range) and moderate for the assistance / isolation work (8-10 reps)

– At the risk of doing too much, be really careful with volume. Training will increase dopamine so it makes you feel good since you have low dopamine levels. BUT you will CRASH your dopamine if you do too much volume.  This will make you feel like crap the next day which will negatively affect your other workouts and will spike cortisol

– I suggest non-linear reps schemes (for example 7/5/3/7/5/3 or 8/6/4/8/6/4, of 3/6/3/6/3/6 for the big lifts and something like 10/8/6/10/8/6 or 12/10/8/6 or 10/8/6/15 for isolation work)

– Do a proper activation before training. I HIGHLY recommend Dr. Rusin’s 6-phase dynamic warm-up : … with special emphasis on phase 6 (jumps/throws)

NOTE: Those who have used the Braverman assessment might find my training recommendations odd because they would fit the “dopamine dominant” profile of the Braverman assessment. I stopped using the Braverman because while the concept is good, it is also incorrect. It evaluates that people with a “dopamine dominance” act the way they do because of a high dopamine level. In fact, it’s the opposite. They act like they do because they have LOW dopamine. BUT they are sensitive to it. As a result, their brain NEEDS to increase dopamine and that is why they are naturally attracted to activities that increase dopamine levels. That’s also why they can easily do too much: they become addicted to the dopamine spike.  So the training that fits their psychological profile is the one that will increase dopamine without crashing it afterwards.

– CT