Whether you're into boxing, running, cycling, martial arts, soccer, basketball, tennis, or rugby, you need endurance to excel. Nootropics for endurance may help athletes across all sports to start stronger and finish stronger by enhancing focus, attention, intensity and more.
How Can Nootropics Improve Endurance?
Endurance sports requires you get the most out of your physical ability. But in order to push your body to its limits, you need to have a strong mind. In the endurance sports world, mental fortitude separates winners from losers.
That's where brain-boosting nootropics come in.
By enhancing the following cognitive functions that drive endurance, the best nootropics can help athletes to transcend fatigue and go the extra mile:
Focus and Concentration
Endurance activities require intense focus and concentration. For instance, a marathon runner seeking to complete 26.2 miles must block out mental distractions which hinder performance. The marathon runner must master attentional focus in order to succeed.
In 1998, Stevenson and Biddle classified attentional focus as external and internal. Both kinds of attentional focus have task-relevant and task-irrelevant sub-categories. The latter sub-category refers to outward and inward distractions which can compromise performance.
Here are some focus category and sub-category examples in the context of long-distance running:
- External task-relevant: strategy, water stations, route, weather, etc.
- External task-irrelevant: environment, spectators, scenery, etc.
- Internal task-relevant: thirst, fatigue, breathing, muscular discomfort, sweating, etc.
- External task-irrelevant: daydreams, religion, philosophy, etc.
For its part, the May 2017 issue of the Journal of Human Sport and Exercise recommends endurance athletes vary their attentional focus strategies:
Exercisers should be encouraged to adopt a variety of attentional focus types during exercise. However, it should be recognised that strategies may be associated with higher or lower levels of perceived exertion and psychological states such as satisfaction and enjoyment.<2>
The key takeaway: if an endurance athlete can exert himself physically and mentally, enjoy his sport to the fullest, and minimize external and internal distractions, he can succeed. Key nootropic ingredients can help him excel in the mental aspect.
Energy and Stamina
Endurance activities require great amounts of physical and mental energy and stamina. The aerobic system supplies energy to the body while it's in a state of exertion. Without this energy store, the body cannot sustain high-intensity endurance activity. In fact, per the January 1, 2008 issue of The Journal of Psychology:
"Elite athletic performance involves integration of muscular, cardiovascular, and neurological factors that function cooperatively to efficiently transfer the energy from aerobic and anaerobic ATP turnover into velocity and power."
For instance, a basketball player has to maintain peak mental energy and stamina. Basketball is an endurance sport which requires a combination of muscular endurance, power, and mental energy during a full 48-minute game. Meditating and taking key nootropics can help basketball players stay at the top of their mental game.
Motivation and Intensity
Endurance athletes also experience mental burnout. Researchers interviewed three cross-country skiers in January 2007. The study (which the International Journal of Sports Psychology published) revealed several factors for the skiers' burnout:
Excessive levels of motivation to succeed, rapid increases in performance at an early age, a perceived need to please others, and feelings of pressure and entrapment with restricted control were important contributing factors in the development of burnout. Our cases show links between training, overreaching, the overtraining syndrome, and burnout.<4>
Furthermore, the study says, "In our cases it was not as much the training load as the lack of recovery viewed as an important antecedent of burnout."
It's clear several physiological and psychological factors contribute to an endurance athlete's burnout. These individuals - especially professional athletes - can crash and burn mentally if they don't manage their situation accordingly. Including a reputable nootropic in their supplement stack should help increase their motivation and intensity.
Regular, moderate endurance exercise helps a person keep stress levels in check and ward off many health issues.<5> When an individual combines this with healthy eating habits and enough sleep (ideally eight hours nightly), he should get optimal results.
Unfortunately, taking things to the extreme is never a good idea. This includes exercise. Intense bouts of physical activity may result in high stress levels. Endurance athletes must cope with two stress-related issues which may take a serious toll on their health:
- Cortisol: This is the dreaded stress hormone from the adrenal gland. High cortisol levels can result in serious health issues.<6>
- Oxidative stress: This occurs when free radicals outnumber antioxidant levels in the body. Oxidative stress also has detrimental effects on the body.<7>
Endurance athletes can ward these off with nootropics rich in adaptogens and antioxidants. The reason: they help offset the detrimental effects of chronic stress and free radicals.
Exercise to Improve Mental Health
A study which researchers published in The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov) in 2006 reveals the importance of endurance or aerobic exercise on mental health:
Aerobic exercises, including jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing, have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression. These improvements in mood are proposed to be caused by exercise-induced increase in blood circulation to the brain and by an influence on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and, thus, on the physiologic reactivity to stress.
This physiologic influence is probably meditated by the communication of the HPA axis with several regions of the brain, including the limbic system, which controls motivation and mood; the amygdala, which generates fear in response to stress; and the hippocampus, which plays an important part in memory formation as well as in mood and motivation.<8>
If you're experiencing anxiety or any mental issue, performing endurance exercise regularly can help you. Choose a physical activity which you enjoy to help you improve not only your physical and mental health, but your overall well-being as well.
Mind Lab Pro® Nootropics for Endurance
Long used by athletes, Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb that boosts mind-body performance.
Endurance athletes experience high cortisol and oxidative stress levels because of their rigorous training demands. When they supplement with Rhodiola rosea, they are taking a natural herb that has been shown to help blunt stress responses and neutralize oxidative stress-generating free radicals.
To support this, the July 31, 2015 issue of Frontiers in Nutrition (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov) says, "Polyphenols in Rhodiola rosea may decrease the risk of acquiring virus infections following rigorous exercise by inhibiting oxidative stress."<9>
A highly regarded performance enhancer, Rhodiola rosea is often used to help maintain mental clarity and physical strength under stressful, high-pressure conditions -- a perfect combination for any endurance athlete.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT)
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine is an acetylated form of l-tyrosine, an amino acid which helps enhance mood, cognitive function, and physical performance.
NALT helps sustain an endurance athlete's cognitive alertness during times of stress. The neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine help an individual sustain mood and focus.
When an endurance athlete's stress levels increase, his dopamine and norepinephrine levels decrease. NALT helps negate the detrimental effects of stress on cognitive performance. As a result, an endurance athlete increases his or her focus, intensity, and productivity levels.
In addition, NALT may help athletes to push themselves harder during training and competition. The key here is NALT's ability to increase mental performance, alertness, and exercise tolerance.<11>
Citicoline (Cytidine 5'-diphosphocholine or CDP-choline) is a natural water-soluble compound which plays a key role in choline production. Choline acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (a brain chemical which is instrumental in learning, memory, and neuromuscular function).
Citicoline's ability to increase acetylcholine levels helps endurance athletes improve muscular performance. Plus, citicoline helps increase an athlete's mental endurance mainly to its key role in ATP energy production (it helps produce cytidine, a molecule and precursor to the nucleotide uridine which helps regulate ATP levels).<12>
L-theanine is an amino acid and natural ingredient of green tea. It helps regulate brain wave activity for improved mood and mental clarity.
Because l-theanine helps increase brain wave activity, it helps an individual make the transition to a state of wakeful relaxation<13>. As such, l-theanine is perfect for activities such as studying and researching.
In addition, l-theanine regulates the inhibitory neurotransmitters GABA, dopamine, and serotonin. Plus, it inhibits l-glutamate (a non-essential amino acid and excitatory neurotransmitter which may increase stress levels, agitation, and brain degeneration). The end result: a relaxed state without the unwanted drowsiness and sleepiness.
Endurance athletes such as rugby players may feel pensive and anxious before a match. When they supplement with l-theanine, they will feel a sense of mental calmness so they can produce at a higher level. L-theanine also helps offset the stimulatory effects of caffeine, a substance which many endurance athletes take.<14>
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid and cell membrane constituent. These membranes perform several vital neurological functions:
- Synthesize neurotransmitters
- Send and receive electrical impulses
- Regulate brain cells' nutrient and oxygen absorption
- Block toxins from entering brain cells
- Facilitate immune system communication
For the active endurance athlete, PS helps increase brain energy levels and enhance cognitive function before exercise. According to the October 21, 2011 issue of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (via NCBI.NLM.NIH.gov):,
"PS supplementation significantly increased cognitive function prior to exercise" which "could benefit athletes and non-athletes alike."<15>
On that note, if an endurance athlete such as a swimmer or skater needs a mental wake-up call before competition, phosphatidylserine is a great alternative.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract
Maritime Pine Bark is a natural nitric oxide (NO) booster. As it increases blood levels of NO, it relaxes the endothelial tissues that line blood vessels. As a result, Maritime Pine Bark Extract functions as a circulation booster.
In Mind Lab Pro®, Maritime Pine Bark Extract's circulation-boosting support helps to promote robust blood flow to the brain, which in turn helps energize mental performance. Maritime Pine Bark Extract is also great as a sports nutrient because it encourages blood flow to the muscles.
By supporting both cerebral circulation and muscle circulation, Maritime Pine Bark Extract functions as a 2X endurance enhancer that is ideal for enhancing performance across all athletic activities.
Supporting intensity, energy, focus, attention, motivation and more, Mind Lab Pro®️ supplies some of the best nootropics for endurance.
Endurance athletes need to stay mentally sharp so they can perform at peak levels consistently. Nootropics can help these individuals boost their cognitive function for better long-term results.
The world's first Universal Nootropic™, Mind Lab Pro®️ nootropics may help with various aspects of endurance, making it a strong choice for mental and physical performance.
Whether you're a recreational or professional endurance athlete, Mind Lab Pro®️ presents a safe, natural and legal way to boost your mind-body performance.
Ultimate Endurance Stack: Mind Lab Pro®️ + Performance Lab SPORT® Pre
Mind Lab Pro® optimizes the brain for endurance. Performance Lab® SPORT Pre primes the body for for endurance.
Performance Lab® SPORT Pre-Workout supplies creatine, cordyceps, l-citrulline, l-glutamine, l-carnosine, Himalayan pink salt, and maritime pine bark extract.
These ingredients provide a range of benefits. They energize muscle, buffer the lactic acid that precedes muscle failure, maintain muscle hydration and more.
Together, Mind Lab Pro® + Performance Lab® SPORT Pre form a powerful broad-spectrum stack for superior athletic endurance in both body and mind.
- Morici, Guiseppe et al. Endurance Training: Is it Bad for You? Breathe (Sheff). 2016 Jun; 12(2):140-147.
- Emad, Miriam et al. Attentional Focus Strategies Used By Regular Exercisers and Their Relationship With Perceived Exertion, Enjoyment, and Satisfaction. J Hum Sport Exer. 2017 May; 12(1):106-118.
- Joyner, Michael J. and Coyle, Edward F. Endurance Exercise Performance: The Physiology of Champions. J Physiol. 2008 Jan 1; 586 (Pt 1): 35-44.
- Gustafsson, Henrik et al. The Process of Burnout: A Multiple Case Study of Three Elite Endurance Athletes. Int J Sport Psychol. 2007 Jan; 38:388-416.
- Huang, Chun-Jung et al. Cardiovascular Reactivity, Stress, and Physical Activity. Front Physiol. 2013;4:314.
- Maglione-Garves, Christine A. et al. Cortisol Connection: Tips on Managing Stress and Weight. UNM.edu.
- Hybertson, Brooks M. et al. Oxidative Stress in Health and Disease: The Therapeutic Potential of Nrf2 Activation. Mol Aspects Med. 2011 Aug-Dec; 32(4-6):234-246.
- Sharma, Ashish M.D. et al. Exercise for Mental Health. Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2006; 8(2): 106.
- Ahmed, Maryam et al. Rhodiola rosea Exerts Antiviral Activity in Athletes Following a Competitive Marathon Race. Front Nutr. 2015 Jul 31; 2:24.
- Mandrola, John M.D. A Cautionary Note to My Endurance Athlete Brethren. 29 Mar 2010. DrJohnM.org.
- Avraham, Y. et al. Tyrosine Improves Appetite, Cognition, and Exercise Tolerance in Activity Anorexia. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Dec; 33(12): 2104-2110.
- Silveri, M.M. et al. Citicoline Enhances Frontal Lobe Bioenergetics as Measured by Phosphorus Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. NMR Biomed. 2008 Nov; 21(10):1066-1075.
- Nobre, A.C. et al. L-Theanine, A Natural Constituent in Tea, and Its Effect on Mental State. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr; 17 Suppl 1: 167-168.
- Caffeine: How Much is Too Much? 8 Mar 2017. MayoClinic.org.
- Parker, A.G. et al. The Effects of IQPLUS Focus on Cognitive Function, Mood, and Endocrine Response Before and Following Acute Exercise. J Int Soc Sport Nutr. 2011 Oct 21;8:16.
- Smith, David and Refsum, Helga. Homocysteine, B Vitamins, and Cognitive Impairment. Annu Rev Nutr. 2016 July; 36(1):211-239.