Summary text: Almost a century ago, A. Mosso wrote the first concept on the relationship of fatigue and its link with muscle, establishing that fatigue was practically an emotion and that it was part of a complex regulation in which it had the function of protecting the human body from pain or physiological damage. This idea was superseded by the English physiologist and Nobel Prize in Medicine, Archibald Vivian Hill, who believed that fatigue was the result of biochemical changes in the muscular extremities, establishing the concept of peripheral fatigue, in which the central nervous system could not make any contribution or control. This beautiful article explains how the brain (known as the central governor), modulates performance and fatigue resulting in a series of complex physiological phenomena that modulate the performance response. This model conceptualizes that the brain is the center of regulation in motor recruitment and therefore in the final activation of the muscles giving a greater or lesser performance. The factors that can affect this greater or lesser performance are not exclusive to biological factors (metabolic, energetic, hydration states, hyperthermia, etc.), but include emotional states, mental fatigue, sleep state, level of motivation, level of recovery from previous sessions, degree of self-belief, psychological abilities, or states of refrigeration prior to a competition are factors that can modulate sports performance, being a complex system in which the factors mentioned interact with each other to give an “illusory” sensation and subjective perception of fatigue modulated by the brain giving a final performance in each athlete.
Of note: It is known that fatigue is a complex phenomenon modulated and interpreted by the governor centers. However, we must not underestimate any peripheral conditioning as aspects of food or sports hydration, as all factors are of great importance and relevance in high performance sports. Nowadays we observe how competitions are increasingly won by a narrower margin, so it is vital that the coach or physiologist is able to see which aspect of fatigue will be the most important to minimize the “illusory” interpretation of fatigue by the central governor and therefore the decrease in performance.