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The strength of the placebo effect in sports

The strength of the placebo effect in sports

“Sports is very hard work.” This is by no means our opinion and the words said by many people who are looking for an excuse not to exercise. Many people start to sweat at the thought of training, and the words “I am not suitable for these classes, they are advanced”, “I can’t do this, I am in bad shape” are the answer to many people who have been persuaded to take a new, unknown type of training . Could a mere negative attitude towards training cause us to dislike this activity? On the other hand, will self-confidence make the new physical activity less stressful? As it turns out, yes.

Does the thought of fatigue exhaust you?

Psychologist Hendrik Muthes of the Faculty of Sports Sciences at the University of Freiburg and his team found that our expectations have a significant impact on how exhausting a given training unit is for us. Scientists concluded that feeling self-confidence affects fatigue during exercise. Furthermore, the study indicates that the use of products advertised as training aids may have beneficial effects due to the belief that they have a positive effect on the body.

Proper preparation for training

78 men and women between the ages of 18 and 32 participated in the study. Study participants were asked to ride a stationary bike fitted with a potentiometer for 30 minutes. Previously, they were asked to say their opinion of themselves as athletes. Then they were asked to wear a compression shirt from a well-known manufacturer of sports equipment. During the exercises, they were asked every five minutes about the level of inconvenience they had experienced. It should be noted that immediately before the exercises, the participants were divided into different groups in which they showed one of the many short films. Some people watched films emphasizing the positive health effects of cycling, and other participants watched films that lowered their expectations of the benefits of the sport. There was also the topic of T-shirts that were mentioned earlier in the movies. Some movies praised the T-shirts as a useful tool for cyclists, while others said that testers sweat compared to others.


As expected, the results of the study showed prophetic effects. The training unit was less stressful for people who started training with a positive behavior. This effect also increased with self-reflection (reported at the beginning of the study) as a good athlete. However, positive mood films did not help participants who considered themselves non-athletic. These people found the training to be very daunting. The researchers also found that believing in the effectiveness of the compression shirt was beneficial for those who did not initially judge themselves as outstanding athletes. In contrast, the ascribed strength of the jersey or its lack of it did not affect the self-proclaimed athletes.

Self-confidence + a good shirt = success

These results are further evidence that the placebo effect works! They are underestimated and, as you can see, they are very effective in sports. Believing in your strength translates to fatigue, and this directly affects your athletic results. If you don’t feel confident in the gym, or you know someone whose lack of self-confidence prevents you from fighting for better figure and health, consider branded leggings or a cool T-shirt. You will love yourself and others in such an outfit, you will exercise better and the effects will be more noticeable than in a baggy tracksuit or a loose-fitting shirt. And new high-tech shoes will definitely cut you a few seconds, thanks to which you will make new tubes of life, which of course I hope 🙂 Remember, however, that the placebo effect in the case of supplementation is burdened with high risks and health consequences. Use only those supplements that have been tested and found to be safe.


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