The Science of Superior Performance: How the Best Pre Workout Nootropics Boost Strength, Stamina & Strategy

  • By Patrick Dougherty
  • 17 minute read
The Science of Superior Performance: How the Best Pre Workout Nootropics Boost Strength, Stamina & Strategy

In the dynamic world of athletic performance, achieving excellence requires more than just physical endurance and strength.

The brain plays a major role in your ability to ramp up physical intensity, maintain focus, and strategize in games. This is where the best pre workout nootropics step into the spotlight.

Often referred to as "smart drugs" or cognitive enhancers, nootropics are supplements that help to improve cognitive functions, including memory, focus, creativity, and mood.

While nootropics are traditionally associated with academic and professional settings, they are increasingly found in the gym, too. Athletes are now using nootropics to unleash the cognitive power that uplifts physical performance to new heights.

In this article, we will discuss the science behind the best pre workout supplements that can help you achieve peak athletic performance.

First we'll cover nootropic effects that help gym performance and tap "mind over matter" to unleash your personal best. After that, we'll list nootropic ingredients and explore their benefits in the gym. Finally, we will reveal today's top supplements that deliver the best nootropics for athletic performance in body and mind.

Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Quick Summary: The top nootropic pre-workout is Pre Lab Pro®. It supplies nootropics discussed in this article plus sport-tuned essential vitamins and minerals for athletes. It all adds up to smooth energy, focus and peak performance, with no crashing -- all in a convenient powder that mixes into a delicious berry-flavored drink. More details on Pre Lab Pro® at the end of this article. We also mention the following supplements that are effective as pre-workout nootropics:

  • Mind Lab Pro®: Clinically proven universal nootropic, the ultimate all-round brain booster
  • Performance Lab® Caffeine 2: Healthy, balanced and performance-tuned "smart caffeine"
  • Performance Lab® Mind: Streamlined cognitive enhancer plus brain health and recovery
  • Performance Lab® MCT: Fast fuel for brain energy, brain health and overall performance

What is Mind Over Matter?

"Mind over matter" encapsulates the profound concept of harnessing mental strength to transcend physical limits. It is particularly relevant to exercise.

By fostering a strong mind-muscle connection, athletes tap inner determination to push through fatigue, discomfort and self-doubt. They override physical sensations.

The mind can become a driving force that enables athletes to maintain form, intensity, and endurance - even when their bodies are exhausted.

Athletes have used visualizations, positive affirmations and mental preparation for centuries in order to activate "mind over matter" performance.

Now, nootropics are emerging as the latest and greatest tool for unlocking extraordinary athletic achievements via the brain.

How Can Nootropics Benefit Athletes?

Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Nootropics are supplements that help the brain in many ways. Some specific cognitive functions that are particularly important for athletics and may be improved by nootropic supplements include:

  • Focus & concentration: Helps "one more rep" in the gym and strategic performance in sports
  • Clarity & calm: Lack of emotional control leads to erratic performance and poor decision-making
  • Motivation & drive: Some days it can be hard to drag yourself to the gym; nootropics can help
  • Intensity: Classic mind-over-matter support; includes stimulating and energizing nootropics
  • Mood: A fun, happy mood during exercise is great for maintaining a consistent, effective routine
  • Memory: Critically important for competitive sports preparation, execution and ultimate victory
  • Sleep: By gently encouraging deep sleep, nootropics can help with muscle growth and recovery

Next let's get into the nootropic compounds found in today's brain supplements that can help to deliver these many benefits.

Best Nootropic Pre Workout Supplement Ingredients

Caffeine (low-to-moderate dose)

Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

A ubiquitous psychoactive compound, caffeine is a mainstay of daily routines for billions worldwide.

We all know caffeine's impact on the mind: alertness, focus, energy and intensity. But beyond its mind-sharpening effects, caffeine is also one of greatest athletic performance enhancers known to science.

The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition position statement asserts a few key points to keep in mind when considering caffeine's benefits as a nootropic athletic performance enhancer:(1)

  1. Caffeine boosts athletic performance in low-to-moderate doses (3-6 mg/kg bodyweight);
  2. Taking higher doses (9+ mg/kg) of caffeine does not produce greater exercise benefits;
  3. Caffeine is more effective for exercise in the anhydrous (powdered) form, rather than coffee;
  4. Enhances alertness during extended exercise to exhaustion and in sleep-deprived exercise;
  5. Clinically shown to improve endurance exercise and is highly effective for time-trial exercise;
  6. Benefits high-intensity exercise, including team sports with intermittent exertion and rest

Overall, caffeine's potent stimulating effects and nootropic brain benefits have positioned it as a valuable tool for athletes seeking enhanced performance, energy, and alertness in their endeavors.

But the exciting twist is that caffeine works even better as a performance enhancer when paired with our next nootropic for working out: L-Theanine.


Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

L-Theanine, an amino acid nootropic naturally found in green tea leaves, is increasingly recognized as a valuable supplement for athletes seeking to enhance their performance.

While it may not provide the same direct physical boosts as caffeine, L-Theanine offers unique advantages that can complement an athlete's training and competition regimen, working to:

  • Boost alpha brainwaves. Promotes a state of relaxed alertness and heightened creativity; great for concentration in the gym and quick, clear decisions during competitions.(2)
  • Relax without drowsiness. Great for athletes looking to manage pre-competition nerves or achieve a state of focused calm composure during intense training sessions.(3)
  • Improve sleep quality. Sleep plays a crucial role in an athlete's recovery. L-Theanine helps athletes get the restorative rest they need to build muscle and perform at their best.(4)

Even though L-Theanine may not directly impact physical strength or endurance like some sports nutrition supplements, its support for relaxation, sleep and cognition can have a big impact on athletic performance.

Specifically, by inducing a tranquil mental state without inducing drowsiness, L-Theanine keeps athletes cool-headed. With heightened concentration and reduced anxiety, athletes can channel their energy more effectively during workouts and during competitive games and matches.

Did you know? Scientific research shows that L-Theanine helps caffeine to work better. Specifically, L-Theanine helps to blunt the jittery, agitated side effects of caffeine, instead replacing them with a sense of calm - yet stimulated - composure.(5)


Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

L-Citrulline is a classic sports nutrient with nootropic potential that forms a potent combination for athletic enhancement. Here's how it works.

As L-Citrulline converts to arginine within the body, it triggers the production of nitric oxide (NO): a vasodilator that relaxes blood vessels and improves circulation.(6)

Increased blood flow not only nourishes muscles but also extends to the brain - flooding both body and mind with energizing oxygen and performance-enhancing nutrients.

  • Enhanced circulation to the muscles funnels in energizing oxygen while clearing away failure-inducing lactic acid build up;
  • Enhanced circulation to the brain can lead to heightened focus, concentration, and mental clarity during workouts;
  • L-Citrulline's potential to reduce ammonia levels, a byproduct of exercise that can lead to fatigue and brain fog, adds yet another athletic performance advantage.

L-Citrulline's fusion of improved blood flow, reduced ammonia-related fatigue, and heightened mental clarity bolsters athletes' physical and mental capacities, ultimately enhancing overall athleticism.

Did you know? When L-Citrulline is combined with antioxidant L-Glutathione, it produces a longer, stronger Nitric Oxide (NOx) surge for improving strength, power, endurance, speed and athletic performance. Setria® Performance Blend is a clinically backed sport supplement ingredient that combines L-Citrulline and L-Glutathione. It is found in our top-rated nootropic pre-workout supplement.


Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Beetroot provides an exhilarating rush of natural energy by enhancing blood flow throughout the body - including to the brain and muscles.

Through dietary nitrate conversion, beetroot raises nitric oxide (NOx) production, producing similar effects to L-Citrulline.(7)

In fact, the combination of beetroot and L-Citrulline provides 2X circulation support that may unleash a big blood flow boost for peak performance.

For athletes engaged in intense workouts, beetroot's circulation boost to the brain can translate into improved focus, heightened mental clarity, sharper concentration, mental readiness and optimized decision-making during training sessions.

Meanwhile, its surge in muscular blood flow is an effect that's long been used by athletes to energize performance, improve strength and extend endurance.

Beetroot's intricate interplay between nitric oxide elevation, enhanced brain blood flow, and heightened cognitive functions empowers athletes to achieve new levels of performance, ultimately translating to a more productive fitness journey.


Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Working out can generate a tremendous amount of stress in both body and mind.

Because it is one of the best pre workout supplements for stress, L-Tyrosine is positioned as both a brain-boosting nootropic and performance-enhancing ergogenic - perfect for athletes.

As a nootropic pre workout ingredient L-Tyrosine plays a key role in shaping cognitive functions that directly impact exercise performance and intensity. It does this by targeting brain chemistry.

Specifically, L-Tyrosine serves as a precursor for performance-driven brain chemicals dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, which are closely tied to motivation, focus, and arousal.

Here's the problem: Intense exercise, stress and caffeine can rapidly "burn through" the body's stores of L-Tyrosine, as well as depleting all Tyrosine-related brain chemicals.

So the harder and more frequently you work out, the less brain chemicals you have available to maintain peak performance. Low brain chemical levels have been linked to diminished athletic performance, poor focus, mood issues, crashes and fatigue.

When an athlete consumes L-Tyrosine, on the other hand, these brain chemicals are supported, leading to improved mental alertness, enhanced mood, and increased drive to excel during workouts.

Research shows that L-Tyrosine enhances cognition under challenging conditions that would otherwise limit performance, including:(8)

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Overworking
  • Mental fatigue
  • Cold exposure
  • Multitasking
  • Loud noise exposure

Just imagine how taking this nootropic pre workout might help you perform in a loud and distracting gym, after a long and stressful workday.

Supporting the intricate interplay between heightened brain chemicals levels, enhanced focus, and increased exercise drive, L-Tyrosine can empower athletes to crush it under any stressful scenario.


Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Phosphatidylserine (PS) is phospholipid compound found in cell membranes that presents a unique avenue for boosting athletic performance via the brain.

PS is an all-round brain supplement but is most famously known as the best science-backed nootropic for memory.

Researchers have reported that PS may improve:(9)

  • Short-term memory formation
  • Long-term memory consolidation
  • Memory creation and retrieval
  • Learning-related memory

All of these memory functions can play a big role in victory if you're participating in sports that demand quick recall, good decisions and strategic thinking.

Further in the context of sports, PS has been shown to help with stress reduction and mood stability. By regulating the body's response to stress hormones like cortisol, it supports a balanced mental state - so you can stay composed and resilient during training and competition.

PS is also a clinically studied sport performance-enhancer.

PS's clinically-backed benefits for a specific sport - golf - highlights its potential as a nootropic ergogenic. In the study, researchers reported subjects taking PS tended to experience lower stress levels and significant improvement on good drives during tee-off, which might result in better golf scores.(10)


Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Citicoline is one of the greatest brain-boosters, if not the greatest -- with a lot of potential as a nootropic pre workout supplement.

It is renowned for its cognitive-enhancing effects, backed by human randomized controlled trials; as well as its versatile benefits for brain health and cognitive function.

Citicoline is a valuable asset, particularly as a nootropic pre workout for athletes, due to its big-time benefits for:

  • Brain Support: Citicoline raises neural-building block phosphatidylcholine, supports brain chemicals required for motivation and athletic performance, like acetylcholine, dopamine, and norepinephrine. It has also been shown to enhance brain energy levels.(11)
  • Nootropic Effects: Citicoline has been linked to benefits in memory and recall, focus and attention, and all-round cognitive function. These effects can significantly impact training, strategy, and mental resilience during competition.

With a unique ability to bolster mental energy and clarity, citicoline's impact goes beyond its role in brain health. As a nootropic pre workout supplement, it gives athletes a pathway to perform better across both mental and physical capabilities.

Maritime Pine Bark Extract

Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Maritime Pine Bark Extract, a natural compound derived from the bark of the maritime pine tree, emerges as a fascinating nootropic pre workout ingredient.

It is a rich source of proanthocyanidins, which are potent antioxidants that have been linked to improved blood circulation and oxygen delivery to the brain and the muscles.(12)

This circulation boost to the brain enhances cognitive functions that are vital for good exercise performance, including focus, memory, and mental clarity; as well as nourishing hard-working muscles with sports nutrients and oxygen.

In addition to its potential as a performance-enhancer in pre workout supplements, the extract's strong antioxidant effects extend to reducing oxidative stress and soothing inflammation -- benefits that may help athletes to protect muscle, ease muscle soreness and support healthy recovery post-workout.

Medium Chain Triglycerides

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Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs), a unique type of fatty acids, hold the potential to significantly enhance athletic performance by offering a dual advantage for both physical and cognitive functions.

Taken as a nootropic pre workout, MCT oil is rapidly metabolized by the body into ketones that provide a quick and efficient energy source for both muscles and the brain.

Researchers suggest MCT ketones may improve athletic performance by increasing the number of powerhouse mitochondria in cells and optimizing their energy production.(13)

MCTs' direct impact on energy supports heightened physical performance and endurance during workouts. Additionally, MCT benefits cross the blood-brain barrier for immediate brain energy support that fosters improved cognitive functions such as focus, mental clarity, and alertness.

The symbiotic relationship between energy and cognitive clarity underscores MCTs' potential to help with athletic achievement. This is a nootropic pre workout for any fitness enthusiast to consider, especially if you follow any kind of keto lifestyle or fasted training practices.

Rhodiola Rosea

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Rhodiola Rosea is a potent adaptogen: an herb that strengthens stress resistance, enhances mind-body performance and promotes clean and controlled energy.

In its mother country of Russia, Rhodiola rosea has a long history of research and lore supporting its use as an ergogenic. Soviet research has linked Rhodiola supplementation to remarkable improvements on muscle development and function amongst athletes.

One report on biathletes (combination of cross-country skiers and rifle target shooters) showed increases in shooting accuracy, indicating that Rhodiola's adaptogenic properties may enhance athletic focus and performance. Additionally, Rhodiola has been used by Russian Olympic athletes and even cosmonauts as a safe and natural performance enhancer.

  • In a scientific review of the herb, researchers reported that in the context of athletics, rhodiola has the potential to "reduce oxidative stress, muscle pain and injury, improve skeletal muscle damage and muscle recovery during training, as well as improve athletic explosive power."(14)

As a nootropic pre-workout supplement, Rhodiola Rosea is one of the best herbs you can take for dealing with sports-related stress, boosting athletic performance, and thinking like a winner.

Rhodiola responds to stress with a combination of physical benefits (strength, stamina, resistance to fatigue) with nootropic benefits (focus, alertness, mental energy).

Ultimately, Rhodiola Rosea empowers athletes to navigate challenges with heightened mental acumen and physical prowess - making it a valuable nootropic pre workout for any performance driven competitor.

Top Dietary Supplements with Pre-Workout Nootropic Ingredients

Now that we've covered some of the best individual nootropic nutrients to take before exercise, let's give a shoutout to today's top products that deliver them. Each of the following supplements is a high-quality choice you can rely on. Well-formulated, clean, third-party tested and ready to supercharge your performance. Let's get to it!

Best Nootropic Pre-Workout Formula for Athletes: Pre Lab Pro®

Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Pre Lab Pro® is the best nootropic pre workout supplement on the market today. It is a fast-acting powder supplement that mixes into a delicious berry-flavored pre-workout drink.

It is called the "world's smartest pre-workout nutrition" because it's nootropics-enhanced for smooth energy, focus and peak performance, with no crashing during or after your workout.

Pre Lab Pro® supplies several of the nootropics in this article, including Red Beetroot Powder, Citrulline (in Setria® Performance Blend), Natural Caffeine, L-Theanine, and L-Tyrosine.

Result: Pre Lab Pro® Maximizes mental performance for peak athletic intensity without overstimulation. Of all the nootropic pre workout supplements, it is by far the best you can take for an overall athletic boost to endurance, strength, power, stamina, speed and more.

Buy Performance Lab® Pre Lab Pro® Now

Performance Lab®, the company that makes Pre Lab Pro®, makes several more nootropic supplements that enhance performance when taken pre workout. They include:

Mind Lab Pro®: A "Universal Nootropic" for Exercise and More

Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Mind Lab Pro® (MLP®) V4.0 is a nootropic stack designed to boost all types of brainpower in all types of people, including athletes. It is a world-leading nootropic supplement, backed by two double-blind, placebo-controlled human trials showing it helps brainpower.(15,16)

MLP®'s 11 nootropics include a few discussed in this article: Citicoline, Phosphatidylserine, L-Theanine, L-Tyrosine and Rhodiola rosea.

While Pre Lab Pro® is sport nutrients enhanced with nootropics, MLP® is a straight-up nootropic powerhouse that can be used for sports, including as a powerful nootropic pre workout stack.

Buy Performance Lab® MLP® Now

Performance Lab® Mind: Cognitive Intensity formula for Training

Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Mind is the main brain-booster of the Performance Lab® line. It is designed as a stim-free nootropic for high-powered cognition.

A streamlined version of MLP®, Mind features higher doses and advanced nutrient forms. Its formulation is more targeted for performance under stress, making it an ideal supplement to take before high-intensity workout sessions.

Mind supplies four nootropic pre workout ingredients covered in this article: Citicoline, Phosphatidylserine (PS), L-Tyrosine and maritime pine bark extract.

Mind is intriguing for athletes because it supports "cognitive recovery," helping people to bounce back faster after mental exertion. In this way, it complements physical recovery supplements for post-workout muscle repair with mental recovery after intense concentration and drive during workouts.

Buy Performance Lab® Mind Now

Performance Lab® Caffeine 2: Performance-Tuned Stimulation

Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Caffeine 2 presents an ultramodern new take on the typical "caffeine pill" - delivering greater mental (and athletic!) performance benefits in a clean format that is healthy for daily use.

This pre-workout caffeine supplement supplies 3 nootropics from this article -- Natural Caffeine, L-Theanine and L-Tyrosine -- along with NutriGenesis® B-Complex vitamins.

The Caffeine 2 L-Theanine boosts caffeine's benefits while reducing jitters. Its L-Tyrosine + NutriGenesis® B-Complex provide nootropic effects while restoring caffeine-depleted brain chemicals for healthy balance.

What you ultimately get is sport-tuned stimulation: Surging energy, mental clarity, and greater overall workout intensity without any agitation, crashes and other overstimulation effects.

Buy Performance Lab® Caffeine 2 Now

Performance Lab® MCT Energy Oil: Ultimate Performance Fuel for Training

Performance Lab® - _How_the_Best_Pre_Workout_Nootropics_Boost_Strength_Stamina_Strategy

Performance Lab® MCT Energy Oil is fast brain fuel. Its C8/C10 medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) are rapidly absorbed and broken down into ketones, which fuel production of cell energy.

Performance Lab® MCT Energy Oil is a high-quality brand: super clean, made from 100% organic coconuts and sport-tuned with high-performance C8/C10 MCTs, only.

This is an important advantage. Other MCT oils may use C6 and C12 MCTs, too... even though they are more associated with gastric distress that can interrupt your workout and limit your performance.

You can add MCT to coffee, soups, salads, shakes and smoothies, or simply take it straight. Take it to get a clean boost of mind-body vitality you can feel fast while you are working out.

Buy Performance Lab® MCT Energy Oil Now


The merge of brainpower and physical prowess holds immense promise, offering a more holistic approach to achieving peak athletic performance.

By targeting brain chemistry, energy, circulation cognitive processing and more, nootropics have the potential to amplify mental clarity, increase motivation, and sharpen focus. And, when used the right way, nootropics can create the best possible conditions for athletes to maximize their performance (and results) in the gym or on the field.

As science delves deeper into the synergies between nootropics and sports, we unravel our true potential to redefine the boundaries of human performance and athletic achievement.

Scientific references