Smashing Through Plateaus With Help from Nootropics
What is a Nootropic? How can they benefit you?
As a professional athlete, I’m always looking for natural ways to get the most out of my workouts. Whether it's for faster recovery, less inflammation or stronger muscles, I’m always looking to get the most out of each day.
Many athletes fail to look at cognitive improvements along with their physical improvements. This is a big hole in a lot of fighters game. Your average person probably doesn’t even know you can optimize cognitive abilities.
Even if you don’t have an interest in getting everything you can out of your body, you should want to get more out of your mind.
One way of doing this is with the help of Nootropics. The Nootropics I will be discussing in this blog are of the natural variety. Non-synthetic and over the counter substances.
Nootropics are supplements that are used to improve cognitive functions like memory, processing speed, focus and learning. They can increase overall mental performance. They can improve overall brain health. They can sometimes reduce anxiety and improve mood. Some studies show both short and long term benefits with the use of certain Nootropics.
It is important to remember that these substances react differently for each individual and just because something works for me doesn’t mean it will work for everybody. There are a lot of nootropics out there for you to try.
I’m merely telling you about the experiences I’ve had. You will ultimately have to decide on the ones that work best for you. You should also make sure to check with your doc to make sure they are safe for you to try.
One of the first nootropics I tried was Alpha Brain from Onnit. I had heard nothing but good things about it. It is talked about regularly on Joe Rogans Podcast. They had many conversations about the benefits taking it brought them. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a good experience with Alpha Brain.
It wasn’t necessarily a bad experience either. I just didn’t notice anything when I took it. I never got the vivid dreams or increased cognitive awareness. Not exactly what I’m looking for in $100 a bottle. This is just one of those things I mentioned before. Not everything will work on everybody.
My next experiment with Nootropics went much better. And for a cheaper price. The next Nootropic I tried was N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NALT). NALT helps with neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.
An increase in dopamine can lead to better concentration, organization, and productivity. Some other possible benefits are improved memory and cognition under acute stress.
I could tell a difference in productivity and concentration from the first time I took NALT. This was a big help during my morning routine. I’m not normally a morning person but I’ve had to suck it up and change my schedule.
I’ve had to get my stuff done and then start getting the kids ready for school. Being more productive and having a more functional memory help to make sure the kids get everything they need to be packed for school. It also helped in dealing with stressful situations.
I was recommended this Nootropic by my certified sports injury specialist, William Vandry, to help me deal with stress. The body has a harder time healing itself if it is stressed out by other factors. I needed all the energy my body could spare so my neck could heal. I wrote about the supplements I took for my neck in my last blog post.
I had a lot going on while training for my fight with Paul Daley. The normal stress of training for a fight got doubled with worry about keeping my neck healthy and selling my home.
I felt much less stressed then I would have been normally and that helped me focus on training and spending quality time with my kids.
The next Nootropic I tried was first used in Chinese medicine. Ginkgo Biloba was used for cognitive enhancement. Ginkgo has been used as a mental health supplement for a few decades here in the west.
After about a week of taking these, I notice an increase in my memory. Things seem to come to mind faster. With prolonged use, it is thought to help with keeping cognitive abilities later in life.
The last two Nootropics I took were by far the ones I could feel the most. Within 30 minutes of taking either one, I could feel my brain kick in. I wanted to see if having a clearer mind and an elevated mood would benefit me during training.
I have tried other supplements and pre-workouts before and I haven’t liked any of them. A couple have even made me sick.
To test them out I took one pill before my lifting workout and then on another day took one pill before Mixed Martial Arts training. I did this for each formula. I wanted to make sure that I spaced out when I used them so I could really pay attention to if they affected my training and how.
The first formula I tried was the Gorilla Mind Rush. The Rush has caffeine in it so it gives you a little extra kick. I love taking this before any training. Its better than any pre-workout I’ve ever had. Plus there is no crash.
Using it helps keep me motivated through the whole workout. This allows me to push hard every day. It taps me into a flow state and I’m able to smash through my workouts at a relentless pace.
When I’m sparring or grappling I feel very in the moment and focused on whatever it is I’m doing. No distractions. This lets me see multiple techniques at once while seeing 3 moves ahead.
With the other formula, Gorilla Mind Smooth, I noticed similar benefits to what I experienced with the Mind Rush. The Smooth doesn’t have any caffeine in it. Since it doesn’t have any caffeine it won't give you jitters. I didn’t get jitters from the Rush but some people may be sensitive to caffeine.
The Mind Smooth has a very uplifting effect on your mood. I wasn’t as intense as I was while taking the Mind Rush. Instead, it puts me in an upbeat mindset. I like taking these in the afternoon after most of my hard workouts are done. I still had a lot of the same benefits that the Mind Rush gave me. Better concentration and focus but much less intense.
If you are the kind of person that likes to be chill and take your time these are for you. They are still great to train with. More focus and easily slip into a flow state. I can usually still feel the effects of the Mind Smooth when I do my night time cardio. It helps me test my limits.
I still only take one pill at a time when I take these. The bottles recommend 3-6. I would start at one and work your way up. I’m a big fan of using both Gorilla Mind Smooth and Rush during my training. I prefer The Mind Rush on most days because it helps me train with the intensity that I like.
Follow these affiliate Links if you want to try any of these for yourself.
Gorilla Mind Rush/Smooth