Central Fatigue : Reduced Performance When The Going Gets Tough

We’ve all been there when we’re exercising and all seems to be going OK, until at least your hydrogen ions accumulate in the muscle causing you to flag suddenly. This low feeling can lead to energy depletion and increased perceived exertion i.e. the exercise feels harder than it actually is! During exercise your body sends signals back to your brain known as afferent signals, these arise from your muscle, joints, lungs, skin and core temperature, giving your brain an idea of how you’re getting on. When you start to feel depleted these signals are interpreted as unpleasant leading to a conscious or subconscious inhibition of motor output.

The term for this phenomenon is ‘central fatigue’ and it is usually the first factor that causes athletes to drop out. An educated athlete might adjust their levels of exertion so that fatigue levels are tolerable and within acceptable limits. If you go out too fast and hit your body hard, your muscle etc will feedback to your brain ordering it to ease off a little. It’s important to be sensible when you train, but you’ve got to push your boundaries too, but more often than not it’s the athlete who switches the chatter going on in his head and powers on through!


Tipton, K. (2011). Practical limitations of ingesting large amounts of carbohydrate during exercise. Retrieved 26th June, 2014, from discount supplements      

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
Post a Comment

Please wait...