If you’re a member of the fitness community, you’ve probably heard of pre-workout supplements. Perhaps you even use them yourself.
But what you might not know is that there are a number of nootropics that make excellent pre-workout supplements.
Nootropics are becoming more and more popular in fitness and bodybuilding communities in the U.S., and around the world. And for good reason: They work.
Think about what pre-workout supplements are supposed to do: Increase energy, focus, and motivation. These are some of the same things that nootropics do.
But nootropics do much more, and with less side-effects. Most pre-workout supplements are filled with stimulants that keep your heart rate and blood pressure elevated long after you finish your workout.
There are several nootropics that provide the same increase in motivation, energy, and focus, without the side-effects and inevitable crash hours later.
Let’s explore what pre-workout supplements are, exactly. Then we’ll look at what the best pre-workout nootropics are.
What is a Pre-Workout Supplement?
Pre-workout supplements, often just called “pre-workouts,” are supplements taken before physical exercise to improve one or more aspects of performance. This can include an increase in motivation, focus, energy, strength, and endurance.
There are hundreds of different pre-workouts on the market. A quick Amazon.com search for “preworkout” turns up over 3,000 results.
Most of them contain a number of different ingredients, in what is called a “proprietary blend.” This is a legal loophole that supplement companies use to avoid telling you exactly what’s in their product. Many of them list the ingredients, but not how much of each are in it.
Just about all pre-workouts contain at least one stimulant, ingredients that cause vasodilation, some B vitamins, and other ingredients. The most common stimulant found in pre-workouts is caffeine.
Pre-workout supplements are extremely popular in the fitness and bodybuilding world. They can be found in gym locker rooms all around the country.
Though most pre-workouts are used without any issues, there are couple downsides. The first downside is that they often leave you overstimulated, long after you finish your workout.
Another downside is that you don’t really know what you’re putting in your body. Granted, a lot of people don’t seem to care. But if you are regular reader of this website, then you’re probably the type that likes to know what’s in the products they use.
Lastly, most pre-workout supplements are very expensive. These products generally sell for anywhere from $30 to $70. That’s a lot of money to be paying for caffeine and a few vitamins.
A lot of people like to make their own pre-workout blends, by buying the ingredients separately. This saves a ton of money, and you don’t end up putting useless (or potentially harmful) substances in your body.
And a lot of people are including certain nootropics in their homemade pre-workouts. Now let’s look at what nootropics are being used as pre-workouts, and why.
Best Pre-Workout Nootropics
Nootropics are used to improve memory and learning, increase motivation and focus, reduce anxiety, and boost mood. These are all things that will lead to a better workout. Let’s look at the top 3 nootropics that will help you get a better workout.
This is one of the most powerful nootropics available today. It is often sold as a safer alternative to the prescription medication Adderall.
Phenylpiracetam continues to grow in popularity as a nootropic and as a pre-workout. It’s effective and side-effects are very rare.
It’s so effective that it’s actually a banned substance in professional sports. Phenylpiracetam is on the banned substances list published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
- Increased Focus
- Increased Motivation
- Improved Mood
- Increased Alertness
- Improved Physical Performance
Taking 100-300 milligrams (mg) of phenylpiracetam 30-60 minutes before exercise can help you get a better workout. It can be taken alone, or as part of supplement stack.
For more information about phenylpiracetam, read this.
Caffeine is usually the main ingredient found in expensive pre-workout blends. It’s no secret that caffeine can increase alertness, focus, and physical performance.
And taking caffeine with l-theanine can have added benefits. L-theanine is an amino acid that is commonly found in green tea. You’ve probably heard about the benefits of drinking green tea. A lot of those benefits come from this amino acid.
Taking caffeine and l-theanine together creates a sense of relaxed focus. You get all the stimulating effects of the caffeine, while the l-theanine helps to keep you relaxed.
- Increased Focus
- Promotes a Calm, Focused Mindset
- Increased Wakefulness, With No Jitters
- Reduced Anxiety
- Improved Mood
Taking 100-200 mg of caffeine and 150-250 mg of l-theanine 30 minutes before a workout can improve your performance. To learn more about this combo, read this.
This is an acetylated form of the amino acid, l-carnitine. It has a number of positive mental and physical effects. ALCAR is an important part of many people’s pre-workout stack.
ALCAR is used to improve athletic and cognitive performance. And there is some research to suggest that it also helps to burn fat.
It should come as no surprise that ALCAR is popular in bodybuilding communities. In addition to its potential ability to burn fat, there is some evidence to suggest it may also help to build muscle by increasing androgen receptors in the body. It has also been shown to decrease muscle soreness.
- Improved Concentration
- Reduced Rate of Perceived Exertion
- Decreased Muscle Soreness
- Increased Attention
- Reduced Muscle Damage
- Reduced Fatigue
Taking 500-1000 mg of ALCAR 30-60 minutes before exercise can potentially have all these benefits. To learn more about acetyl l-carnitine, read this.
Nootropics are being used more and more as preworkout supplements. Professional athletes and recreational fitness enthusiasts alike are reaping their many benefits. They provide all the benefits of expensive pre-workout blends, at a fraction of the price, and without the jitters and eventual crash.
The 3 that we listed can be effective by themselves. However, they are often taken together as part of a nootropic stack.
While these are 3 of the most effective, they aren’t the only nootropics that are being used for their performance enhancing properties. We’ve heard of people using aniracetam, Noopept, Alpha-GPC, CDP-Choline, sulbutiamine, and other nootropics as pre-workouts.
Everyone responds differently to each nootropic. If the first one or two you try don’t work, don’t get discouraged. Eventually you’ll find the right nootropic, or nootropic stack that works best for you.