Keep a “cool head” while working on your “hot body” with natural brain-and-body-boosting nootropics
Bodybuilders might look like dumb apes, and, well, truth be told… there are bodybuilders in the amateur circuits that are basically dumb apes.
But, at the least, these dumb apes can still appreciate the immense values of hitting the gym with a sharp mind and intensely focused mentality.
After all, nothing derails a good workout quicker than a lack of focus and an easily distracted mindset.
Mindset is Extremely Important in Bodybuilding
Under conditions of low mental energy and high stress, the brain isn’t all that jazzed about undergoing a grueling, challenging workout.
No, the fatigued, stressed-out brain wants easy comforts and maybe a bag of salty, fat-drenched chips.
Herein lies the underlying truth to the phrase “mind over matter”: a strong mind dominates the comfort-seeking cravings of a weak body.
And so, as even the dumbest of apes know, it’s important to get your mind right before tackling the body.
And one of the best ways to bolster a workout-ready mindset is to take nootropics.
In case you're wondering, nootropics are a class of natural cognitive enhancers that benefit the mind-body connection by first benefiting the mind.
When taking nootropics for bodybuilding, what you’ll find is that the relationship between the mind and body is a two-way street...
...not only does improving your mindpower benefit your athletic performance but improving your bodily fitness in turn supports a healthier state of mind.
Modern nootropics are like performance-enhancing mind-to-body-to-mind boomerangs!
The Best All-in-One Stack of Nootropics for Bodybuilding:
Performance Lab® Caffeine+
Performance Lab® Caffeine+ is the ultimate Caffeine 2.0 pill for a crash-free boost on exercise performance and mental alertness.
Pairing caffeine with nootropic amino acids and B-vitamins, Performance Lab® Caffeine+ works by:
- Linking mind and muscle for greater exercise intensity – Caffeine+ combats stress and fatigue with catecholaminergic L-tyrosine and B-vitamins.
- Enhancing exercise energy without any follow-up crash – the combination of L-theanine and L-tyrosine balances out caffeine’s jittery side effects.
- Boosting mental composure and sharpening focus – by strengthening your multi-tasking capacity and attentional performance, Caffeine Plus' natural nootropics help you keep a cool, level head during athletic competition.
Taken with other stim-free nootropics and pre-workout stacks, Performance Lab® Caffeine+ is the ideal caffeine add-on for you to boost your bodybuilding performance on an as-needed basis.
To read the full list, jump to the Top 5 Nootropic Supplements for Bodybuilding list below.
Or continue reading to learn how nootropics may improve your mind-body connection for a greater boost on your bodybuilding performance.
The Beginner’s Guide on Nootropics for Bodybuilding
Typically, the types of supplements associated with bodybuilding primarily focus on physical performance enhancement.
These workout-related supplements fall under the following general categories:
- Pre-Workout: supplements taken prior to exercise to quickly enhance muscular energy, endurance, strength, stamina, and circulation.
- Intra-Workout: supplements taken during exercise to replenish energy reserves—e.g., carbohydrates for glycogen replenishment—and prolong exercise performance.
- Post-Workout: supplements taken after exercise to kickstart anabolic muscle growth, repair, and recovery, and to combat exercise-related oxidative stress.
- Maintenance: supplements taken on off-days to help optimize lean muscle growth and reduce muscle soreness.
Because bodybuilders are primarily building body (as their title aptly suggests), little thought is put into the mental factors that go into bodybuilding, such as motivation, intensity, focus, concentration, energy, endurance, stress management, and even cognitive relaxation during recovery.
Much of bodybuilding success relies on mental strength and willpower and many other measures of brainpower that can be boosted by taking nootropics.
This extends far beyond simply taking caffeine immediately prior to exercise for a performance boost.
As a diverse collection of brain boosters, different nootropics may be taken to strengthen various aspects of your mind-body connection—from the brain itself to the neuromuscular junction that literally connects mind (neural tissue) to body (muscular tissue).
However, when taken altogether, the Best Stack of Nootropics for Bodybuilding may significantly improve your overall brainpower for more intense workouts and more relaxed post-workout recovery.
How Nootropics Can Boost Your Bodybuilding Performance
For long-lasting boosts on athletic health and fitness, stimulants fail to make the cut. The brain and body are both far too complex for such temporary “quick fix” boosts on mental performance.
Natural nootropics, on the other hand, can more sustainably improve your bodybuilding results by targeting the following areas of fitness-related brainpower:
Motivation and Intensity
Motivation is a finnicky thing. Even the most dedicated athletes and bodybuilders struggle to stay motivated on a day-to-day basis, given the high intensity requirements of a consistently good workout regimen.
While it might be possible to just “show up” in many other areas of your life—e.g., putting in a minimal effort at your day job, yet still get paid your full hourly wage—bodybuilding doesn’t allow you to just simply “show up” at the gym.
If that were the case, we’d all be incredibly sexy.
But the truth is many of us are far from sexy, because the motivation to work out (and, consequently, exercise intensity) drastically wavers due to:
- Catecholamine Status: dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine—these catecholamine neurotransmitters play a key role in stimulating alertness and mental arousal, and so when catecholamine status is impaired, exercise intensity suffers.
- Energy Levels: whether due to sleep deprivation or malnutrition (or, typically, both), operating on low energy levels is one of the best ways to sap your motivation dry.
As such, nootropics that increase catecholamine activity and energy levels may significantly improve a bodybuilder’s motivation to ramp up their workout intensity.
Examples of Nootropics for Motivation and Intensity:
- Caffeine: especially when paired with L-theanine (see below), caffeine is an effective ergogenic for boosting exercise intensity, including objective measures of maximal muscle strength and power.
- L-Tyrosine: as a precursor amino acid required to synthesize catecholamines, L-tyrosine may help enhance cognition and exercise capacity under conditions of catecholamine depletion.
- B-Vitamin Complex: involved in the catecholamine conversion processes, B-vitamins (namely B6) may assist with catecholamine status, while also potentially increasing the mobilization of free fatty acids for exercise energy fuel.
Focus and Concentration
In team sport and bodybuilding, focus and concentration are key to getting the most results out of your efforts, rather than wasting them on momentum-killing distractions. Whereas team sport places a burden on the team player’s multi-tasking cognitive capacity, bodybuilders must keep their attention 100% focused on each rep and set, avoiding conversations and mental drift to keep their circulation up.
Much of this has to do with maintaining the “muscle pump”—i.e., muscular blood flow.
Ever notice how the most talkative members at the gym don’t seem to be making much progress on their gains, despite the many hours they spend per day supposedly “working out”? This level of distraction, of slowing down the heart rate and blood flow between each set, is not only bad for challenging one’s muscle endurance but is also ineffective for burning fat.
Yet, if you feel you’re too easily distracted, taking focus-sharpening nootropics may help get you “in the zone” and out of the gym quicker after having a more intense, timely efficient workout. Interestingly, too, you’ll find that your abilities to stay focused will improve with more exercise, as physical exercise seems to also improve attentional performance via exercise-related mental arousal.
Examples of Nootropics for Focus and Concentration:
- Citicoline (CDP Choline): one part cytidine, another part choline, citicoline is a powerhouse nootropic that benefits cholinergic cognition (memory, learning, neuromuscular function, etc.) while also improving concentration and sustained attention.
- L-Theanine: especially when paired with caffeine, this green tea-sourced amino acid improves cognitive performance and attention while sustaining calm, composed thinking.
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract: in addition to reducing oxidative stress and boosting nitric oxide (N.O.) for better “muscle pumps,” maritime pine bark extract significantly improves long-term attention performance.
Energy and Endurance
Though an effective strategy for quickening fat loss, fasted training (exercising on an empty stomach) can do some damage on your energy and endurance levels.
For one, having a ready supply of food energy fuel, namely carbohydrates (glucose), is key to sustaining high-intensity and/or long endurance exercise.
Secondly, brainpower and (especially) willpower suffer under fasting conditions, due to the well-documented link between glucose and self-control.[10,11] And as any bodybuilder knows, self-control (i.e., willpower) is key ingredient to any successful, long-term fitness regimen.
Maximizing lean muscle growth and fat loss while still sustaining high enough energy levels to fuel high-intensity exercise is difficult to balance. However, with alternative brain energy fuel sources, such medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), and natural cellular energy boosters, you may better increase your energy and endurance levels under metabolic conditions conduce to lean muscle growth.
Examples of Nootropics for Energy and Endurance:
- Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT): medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is a must-have for bodybuilders seeking a non-glucose energy source that simultaneously fuels brainpower and mitochondrial energy output for enhanced exercise endurance.
- Creatine: an organic compound used to produce cellular ATP energy, creatine is a popular pre-workout energy booster that boosts cognitive performance, exercise endurance, and strength.[13,14]
- L-Citrulline: as a nitric oxide (N.O.) booster, L-citrulline enhances delivery of oxygen and nutrients to neural and muscle tissue, while also promoting aerobic energy production for improved endurance.
While physiological stress is an important factor of exercise, excess stress may severely impact your fitness and health. No doubt, when you’re feeling stressed out, exercise is one of the best ways to “release some steam,” so to speak, and let out all the pent-up energy fueling your stress and anxiety.
Yet, exercise combined with a high-stress work environment may throw the brain and body into “excess stress” territory, which may have a negative effect on your cognition and metabolism.
For bodybuilders, the two types of stress that nootropics may help mitigate to improve performance and anabolic muscle growth are:
- Cortisol: though critically important to exercise performance, excessive activity of stress hormone glucocorticoids (such as cortisol) associated with chronic stress may detrimentally impact bodybuilding health and fitness.
- Oxidative Stress: overtraining may contribute to an overproduction of harmful free radicals (oxidative stress) that damage muscle tissue and catabolize proteins, in addition to many other negative health consequences.
Respectively, nootropic adaptogens, a class of supplements that help regulate the body’s stress response system, and nootropic antioxidants may help combat excess stress hormone activity and oxidative stress, resulting in clearer, calmer cognition and a more anabolic muscle metabolism.
Examples of Nootropics for Stress Management:
- L-Tyrosine: perhaps the ultimate stress relief nootropic, L-tyrosine may significantly improve cognitive performance under conditions of excess stress and fatigue.
- Phosphatidylserine: involved in the formation and integrity of the cell membrane bilayer, PS is a phospholipid nootropic that may help combat exercise-induced stress and the physiological deterioration associated with overtraining.
- L-Glutathione: viewed as the “master antioxidant,” L-glutathione is a natural compound produced by the body to combat oxidative stress that, when supplemented, may significantly improve lipid (fat) metabolism and muscle acidification to reduce muscle fatigue during exercise.
Rest and Recovery
One of the biggest mistakes avid bodybuilders make when it comes to building body is not getting enough post-exercise rest and recovery, namely in the form of sleep.
In fact, both bodybuilders and non-athletes alike are failing to get enough sleep to such a widespread degree that epidemiologists are referring to “insufficient sleep” as a legitimate global public health crisis.
However, with that in mind, the relationship between exercise and sleep is mutual:
- Poor sleep encourages daily inactivity.
- Daily inactivity promotes poor sleep quality.
In a sense, a good night’s rest has to be earned by a hard day’s work—i.e., by not skipping out on leg day. But this is easier said than done when caught in a fatigue-inactivity loop, which is why taking sleep promoting nootropics at night may help you not only feel well-rested enough for an excellent workout during the daytime but also maximize your anabolic growth and repair processes overnight for an all-around boost on your bodybuilding health and performance.
Examples of Nootropics for Rest and Recovery:
- Montmorency Tart Cherry: supplying joint-soothing antioxidants and natural sleep-supportive melatonin, Montmorency tart cherries are an excellent rest and recovery option for bone-tired, muscle-torn bodybuilder to get better sleep.
- L-Tryptophan: in addition to improving mood and sleep quality, L-tryptophan’s effects on the serotonergic system may also decrease fatigue perception during certain combinations of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
- Magnesium: compounding our suboptimal magnesium intake in the diet, exercise also promotes magnesium depletion via the loss of minerals through sweating, making supplementation of magnesium, a mineral associated with cognitive composure and sleep quality, a must for bodybuilders.
Top 5 Nootropic Supplements for Bodybuilding
Adding nootropics to your workout supplement stack may significantly improve your bodybuilding result. However, the idea is to stack the best nootropics for bodybuilding that not only enhance your exercise performance but also improve each other’s effects for a greater brain-boosting synergy when combined.
To supercharge your bodybuilding brainpower and anabolic muscle gains, take the following Performance Lab® supplement stack alone (or altogether for a super-duper-charge on your performance):
#1) Performance Lab® Caffeine+
The smart, cleaner caffeine pill, Performance Lab® Caffeine+ is more a Caffeine 2.0 pill.
That's thanks to this formula’s innovative combination of modestly dosed stimulation and nootropic amino acids (L-theanine + L-tyrosine) and B-vitamins.
With this unique dual-stack formula designed for cleaner, calmer stimulation, you may quickly ramp up your beastmode brainpower without totally losing your mind.
- NutriGenesis® Caffeine Balance B-Complex
- Riboflavin+ (Vitamin B2), 500 mcg
- Vitamin B6+, 750 mcg
- Folate+ (Vitamin B9), 167 mcg DFE
- Vitamin B12+, 2 mcg
- Natural Caffeine (from Coffea robusta seeds), 50 mg
- Suntheanine® L-Theanine, 100 mg
- Ajipure® L-Tyrosine, 250 mg
Nootropic, Athletic, and Thermogenic—Performance Lab® Caffeine+ targets several key aspects of bodybuilding performance for a fast-acting boost on brainpower and exercise-fueling energy expenditure (i.e., fat loss).
Performance Lab® Caffeine Plus' formula design takes a two-stack approach to boosting caffeinated brainpower and exercise performance without the brain-draining jitters and crash typically associated with caffeine:
Stack #1: Performance-Tuned Stimulation
The popular nootropic combination of caffeine + L-theanine is really the only way for nootropic nerds to achieve true cognition enhancement with caffeine, thanks to the anxiolytic “performance-tuning” benefits of L-theanine when paired with caffeine.
By smoothing the jittery edge off stimulants, L-theanine sustains the energy and focus benefits of caffeine while minimizing the stimulant’s performance-impairing side effects.
Stack #2: Caffeine Balance and Recovery
Though a reliable pre-workout performance booster, caffeine often leaves the brain feeling a bit mushy and burnt-out later in the day, resulting in poor post-exercise cognitive performance.
This is due to caffeine’s depletion of catecholamines and B-vitamins, which Performance Lab® Caffeine+ replenishes with bio-advanced Ajipure® L-Tyrosine and NutriGenesis® B-Complex, providing a smoother, crash-free caffeinated experience.
#2) Performance Lab® Mind
The best stim-free cognitive enhancer for daily support on brainpower, brain health, and burnout resistance, Performance Lab® Mind may be stacked with Performance Lab® Caffeine+ or taken alone to drastically boost your natural brain energy levels, as well as more long-term cognitive measures of focus, attention, memory, speed, motivation, clarity, and more.
- Cognizin® Citicoline, 250 mg
- Sharp-PS® Green, 100 mg
- Ajipure® L-Tyrosine, 250 mg
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract, 75 mg
The only nootropic stack that enhances brainpower while helping your brain recover from intense mental exertion, Performance Lab® Mind is great for both pre-workout and post-workout cognitive performance.
Taken in the morning for daily motivation, Performance Lab® Mind also helps the mind bounce back from yesterday’s stressful brain-drain of key neurotransmitters and brain energy compounds.
This “bounce forward” approach to brain health has an accumulative effect that, as opposed to other stimulatory cognitive enhancers, actually improves cognition with consistent use.
For bodybuilders, the benefits of these stim-free cognitive enhancers manifest in having a clearer head while exercise.
Think: calm, stress-free composure, the type of mental clarity required to keep your mind focused and your intensity levels up for a fluff-free workout sesh.
Especially when your exercise routine begins to take a toll on your mind, you’ll be happy to have Performance Lab® Mind on hand to protect against the usual brain-drain associated with high-intensity workouts (along with life’s many other inevitable stressors).
#3) Performance Lab® MCT
Cutting fat is key to maintaining a lean, mean body composition.
And, yet, the brain is critically dependent upon beneficial fats, such as medium-chain triglycerides (MCT).
As a clean, pure MCT oil supplement sourced from 100% organic coconuts, Performance Lab® MCT is one of the best nootropic supplements for exercise-related brainpower, especially for intermittent fasting and exercisers training on an empty stomach to expedite fat loss.
- C8/C10 MCT Oil from 100% Organic Coconuts, 12.2 g
- C8 – Caprylic Acid, 7.1 g
- C10 – Capric Acid, 5.1 g
Providing the two best MCTs, caprylic acid (C8) and capric acid (C10), Performance Lab® MCT is the ultimate performance fuel for brainpower and metabolic function.
Sourced from 100% organic, non-GMO coconuts, extracted with hexane-free technology, and distilled 3X for enhanced potency, Performance Lab® MCT removes unsavory, ineffective MCTs (C6 and C12) and long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), leaving us with the two best MCTs for immediate performance enhancement:
C8 – Caprylic Acid: the most keto-active of the MCTs, C8 is the most popular MCT for promoting ketogenesis (the use of stored fat as energy fuel) and fueling brainpower under conditions of glucose restriction.
C10 – Capric Acid: an underappreciated MCT, C10 is often removed from MCT oil supplements, despite this MCT’s remarkable benefits on brain mitochondria biogenesis and ATP energy production.
The combination of fast-acting ketone brain fuel and mitochondrial energy enhancement makes Performance Lab® MCT’s C8 + C10 stack a powerful source of pre-workout bodybuilding energy and brainpower enhancement.
#4) Performance Lab® SPORT Pre
Free of artificial sweeteners, additives, and stimulants, Performance Lab® SPORT Pre primes exercise performance without derailing cognition or gut health, as is typical with today’s synthetic-loaded PWO formulas.
For the smarter, cleaner bodybuilder, this is a smarter, cleaner pre-workout stack.
- Sodium (from Himalayan Pink Salt), 140 mg
- NutriGenesis® Iron+, 2.5 mg
- Setria® Performance Blend, 2200 mg
- L-Citrulline (Kyowa Quality®)
- L-Glutathione (Setria®)
- Creapure® pH10, 1250 mg
- CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine, 800 mg
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract, 100 mg
- Himalayan Pink Salt, 350 mg
Using an innovative beast-mode-in-a-bottle formula design, Performance Lab® SPORT Pre encapsulates its natural, pre-workout ingredients in additive-free NutriCaps® capsules.
The two most common problem with pre-workout supplements:
(1) too much caffeine, and
(2) too many artificial additives and sweeteners, which, let’s face it, any artificial additives is too many.
Though effective for performance enhancement on paper, an excess of caffeine paired with zero-calorie, sugar-free additives poses potential metabolic and gut health risks that may negatively impact your long-term fitness health—and possibly your mental health via the gut-brain axis.
By stacking the most powerful, natural ergogenic aids for peak muscle performance, anabolic muscle growth, and energy enhancement, Performance Lab® SPORT Pre acutely promotes fitness in service of long-term bodybuilding health.
SPORT Pre is a clean, capsule PWO you can safely take on a daily, long-term basis.
#5) Performance Lab® Sleep
Powered by natural, cherry-sourced melatonin and fused with joint-soothing fruit antioxidants, Performance Lab® Sleep is the best sleep supplement for overnight muscle repair, anabolic growth, and cognitive recovery.
By using all-natural ingredients, Sleep works great without overstaying its welcome in the morning.
- CherryPURE® Montmorency Tart Cherry Extract, 500 mg
- TryptoPure® L-Tryptophan, 250 mg
- Magnesium+ (as Magnesium Bisglycinate, Magnesium Taurate, NutriGenesis® Magnesium), 100 mg
Superior to cheap, synthetic melatonin supplements, Performance Lab® Sleep encourages natural sleep and recovery with natural melatonin, pure L-tryptophan, and easy-to-absorb magnesium.
When you need to get better sleep, you take melatonin. This is—and has been—an effective sleep boosting strategy for both athletes and non-athletes alike.
However, the problem(s) with many melatonin supplements:
- Synthetic melatonin tends to unpredictably vary in potency.
- Common melatonin doses tend to overdo it, resulting in next-morning grogginess and the occasional headache.
What’s the point of getting better sleep, if you’re only going to wake up to a headache and a cloudy mind?
Whereas many sleep aid stacks supply an overdose of synthetic melatonin, Performance Lab® Sleep supplies a minimally effective dose of natural melatonin, which is to say just enough of the good stuff to help you fall asleep.
Not to mention that bodybuilders receive the added recovery and repair advantages of Performance Lab® Sleep’s CherryPURE®’s anthocyanin antioxidant content, which may help further reduce muscle and joint soreness for a livelier workout session tomorrow.
What benefits the brain also benefits the body—and vice versa.
Typically, many of the supplements and substances classified as “nootropic” tend to also directly benefit your physical health and performance.
As such, it’d be a huge mistake for bodybuilders to strictly focus on supplements strictly designed for the body.
And what makes the Performance Lab® line of supplements the best isn’t only the “mix-and-match” diversity of fitness and health supplements but also each formula’s dedication to ingredient quality and safety.
Inside and out, Performance Lab® supplements use only clean, all-natural, well-researched ingredients, additives, and manufacturing practices that are safe for both brain and body health.
All Performance Lab® supplements are vegan-friendly, eco-friendly, non-GMO, additive-free, gluten-free, soy-free, and all-around safe for daily, long-term use.
The point of taking nootropics for bodybuilding is “connection,” namely the connection between mind and body.
And so, by connecting you to the best nootropics and ergogenic aids without any artificial additive barriers or gut-damaging synthetics, Performance Lab® offers the most effective and healthiest cognitive enhancers for a more long-term, sustainable fitness boost.
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