Struggling to get that squat PR? Feeling too tired to hit the gym after a long day at work? Physical performance plateauing?
You may be overdue a cognitive boost!
Nootropics are usually taken to enhance cognitive performance, though athletes, bodybuilders and other gym-goers can also gain advantages from these cognitive-boosting benefits from a physical and mental performance standpoint.
When defining a good training session, we must consider our focus, energy, motivation, and stress resistance. These factors make up the four pillars of a successful session and peak physical performance.
So, considering nootropics can help optimize these four pillars, taking them pre-workout may have a bigger impact on your physical performance than you may think.
Pre-workouts aren’t all about creatine, caffeine, and beta-alanine. While these ingredients are highly effective for improving athletic performance, the importance of our mental and cognitive performance during a training session is often overlooked.
This article explores some of the best nootropics for pre-workout, what they do, how they work, and the best nootropic pre-workout on the market!
What Are Nootropics and What Do They Do?
Nootropics, or “smart drugs”, are substances which enhance cognition and promote good brain health. They have multiple applications in your daily life, such as helping us to work, train, and study more efficiently and effectively.
Nootropics are specifically designed to work on the brain and can deliver many benefits, such as sharper attention and focus, better mental clarity, and increased mental energy.
This is the reason nootropics are so popular among students, working professionals, gamers, and athletes. Boosting mental performance means that you can work harder for longer and complete more tasks without getting distracted or mentally fatigued.
An example of a substance which can have a somewhat immediate effect on your attention, focus, and energy is caffeine. The main outcome everyone is seeking upon the consumption of their morning coffee is increased attention, alertness, and energy.
The same can be said for the use of nootropics, though on a much larger, more effective scale.
Nootropics don’t just offer immediate effects on cognition, but some nootropic ingredients also offer neuroprotective benefits, stimulating neurons in the brain and increasing the production of key brain chemicals.
What’s even more impressive about nootropics is that there are minimal side effects associated with supplementation, provided usage guidelines are followed. So, you can really get the most out of the brain-boosting benefits with no other sensations or setbacks.
Nootropics for Pre-Workout
You’re probably wondering how nootropics can work as a pre-workout. Well, we’re all familiar with the boost we get from regular pre-workout supplements - mostly an increase in energy and enhanced muscle growth and recovery.
Though, nootropics work a little differently. While they can still provide a physical energy boost, they mostly work on the brain first.
The brain-boosting results from nootropics can enable you to work faster, train harder, and get more done during your session.
Some of the key benefits of taking nootropics pre-workout include:
- Activate and protect neurons
- Help to move more blood and oxygen to the brain
- Increase the production of neurotransmitters and enzymes
- Improve neuro-plasticity and reduce inflammation
- Strengthen the connections between synapses
But, how does this translate to improved training performance?
- Increase focus, clarity, and motivation to train
- Improve cognition, understanding, and learning, improving your ability to learn
- Reduce the rate at which you feel mental fatigue
- Decrease damage from inflammation
- Improve reaction time and mental sharpness
- Heighten mood
- Boost creativity and work output
So, you can probably see how this may benefit your workouts. Think about attempting a new squat PR, or trying to breakdown complex movements such as the snatch, or trying to stay focused and motivated throughout a gruelling session.
Let’s explore some of the top nootropics for pre-workout!
Top 7 Nootropics for Pre-Workout
A natural herbal nootropic that can help focus and stress resistance. L-theanine helps to increase the activity of certain brainwaves, which is associated with wakeful relaxation and enhanced creativity.
It may also sharpen attention, alertness, and focus, while helping to reduce the jittery effects of caffeine - which is commonly taken before a workout!
Commonly taken as N-acetyl-L-tyrosine, this amino acid compound is responsible for synthesizing the neurotransmitters involved in memory, mood, and mental processing. This includes dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.
L-tyrosine may help optimize mental performance under high stress, fatigue, and sleep deprivation. This could particularly interest athletes who are due to compete.
These essential vitamins contribute to overall brain health and energy-yielding metabolism (converting food into much needed energy!).
They have also been shown to promote mood balance, mental energy, information storage, and long-term brain health.
Citicoline helps to energize brain cells and promotes the production of phosphatidylcholine (PC), a major phospholipid found in the brain cell membranes.
This may help improve focus and energy, particularly during strength-focused training sessions.
5) Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola rosea is an herbal adaptogen known to help reduce mental and physical reactions to stress. Not only are adaptogens extremely useful as pre-workouts, but this particular adaptogen can also help sustain acetylcholine, which stimulates the muscles for performance.
Rhodiola rosea also helps to optimize dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, promoting mood and motivation.
6) Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa monnieri contains active bacosides which are categorized as antioxidants, helping to enhance other brain antioxidants, such as glutathione.
This not only has a brain-protective effect but also helps to promote certain brain chemicals associated with focused thinking, clear memory, and a healthy mood.
This adaptogenic herb is a “no-brainer” when it comes to helping you stay focused and energized throughout a stressful training session!
While caffeine is not strictly considered a nootropic, it is still a stimulant that is worthy of a special mention in this list.
Not only is caffeine a remarkable substance to consume pre-workout to boost physical performance, but it can also work synergistically with some nootropics.
When properly formulated, it can provide a more productive, sustainable cognitive benefit, improving alertness and focus, and fully preparing you for a tough workout.
The Best Stacking Strategy for Peak Physical Performance
Mind Lab Pro is the best nootropic supplement on the market, combining some of the most effective nootropic ingredients that can help all aspects of brainpower across all walks of life.
While Mind Lab Pro is an effective cognitive-enhancing pre-workout on its own, it would provide bigger and better advantages when combined with a high-quality pre-workout supplement.
Pre Lab Pro is the next-gen pre-workout formula which helps you unleash your peak performance potential. This all-round ergogenic and stimulant can help improve your strength, speed, stamina, and recovery, thus accelerating your fitness journey.
Looking to take your training to the next level? Consider this stacking strategy!