The ‘Happy Hormone’ & Its Effect on Your Client

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Written by Kim Leggett (Clean Health Online Master Coach)

When you feel happy, relaxed and confident- the neurotransmitter SEROTONIN is responsible!

Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feelings of well-being and happiness. This hormone impacts your entire body. It enables brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate with each other. 

Serotonin also helps with:

  • Sleeping
  • Eating
  • Digestion

Having the perfect balance of serotonin is important for clients, as having either too low or too high levels can have detrimental effects.

Low levels of serotonin are linked to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Low self-esteem

Excessive amounts of serotonin can cause:

  • Nervousness
  • Shyness
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism
  • Lack of motivation

When it comes to effectively coaching a client, knowing your client’s personality type can help you communicate with them more effectively and can help direct what type of training and nutrition plan will be best suited to them.

The Braverman Nature Assessment developed by Dr Eric Braverman is one such personality profiling assessment which has had much success over the years. It determines your dominant neurotransmitter system, which influences your personality traits and temperament. This reflects how you are most of the time based on your innate brain chemistry.

Braverman Personality Type Assessment

Typically, each person will have one dominant neurotransmitter system.

We cover neurotransmitters and how they influence human behaviour in more detail in our Advanced Program Design online course. Click here to learn more!

Clients who are serotonin dominant tend to be fun & outgoing and usually prefer playing sports or participating in group classes. This will mean if you are coaching an individual who is serotonin dominant, you are going to have to try to keep workouts fun, flexible and exciting as they won’t do well being confined to a set program. 

The Braverman assessment also helps identify deficiencies in the neurotransmitters of an individual. A deficiency can be either genetic in nature or it can be due to a person’s lifestyle.

For example, if you have a client that presents with a deficiency in serotonin or GABA, you need to monitor their training volume carefully because they are likely on the verge of burn out.

You can also manipulate and optimize a client’s serotonin levels through their nutrition!

Carbs help trigger the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps calm and relax the nervous system. For people who deal with constantly high stress, and for whom serotonin production is an issue, adding even a small number of carbs can help them manage their stress better. This is especially true post workout when cortisol levels are elevated.

For some clients who are low on carbohydrates, managing stress may be a challenge. Carbs can also be used as a tool to help clients who have trouble falling asleep feel more relaxed at nighttime. Night-time carbs help us fall asleep by lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin, which converts to our primary sleep hormone melatonin. So, this is a good idea to help clients who find themselves too wired to fall asleep at night integrate some carbs in their diet at night.

Understanding how serotonin levels affect your client can help you put together a more tailored nutrition and training plan that can help reap better results! 


  1. Braverman ER. (2005). The Edge Effect: Achieve Total Health and Longevity with the Balanced Brain Advantage. Sterling Publishing Co Inc.
  2. CHFI. (2020). Performance Nutrition Coach Level 1. Clean Health Fitness Institute. Ianev, S. (2020). Effective Coaching for different types of clients. Clean Health Fitness Institute.

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