Originally from Clonakilty, Colin Murphy is a fitness professional, workout specialist, founder of the fitness website properlybuilt.com, certified personal trainer, author and blogger. He is an Ironman, sub 3-hour marathon runner, occasional CrossFitter and all-round fitness fanatic
We’re all looking for that edge. The one little thing that will make us one per cent better. For years, fitness and nutrition companies have focused on getting us physically ready for exercise. They brainwashed us into thinking we needed high sugar drinks before and after our sessions to keep our energy up.
What happened was people gained weight, didn’t make any progress, and subsequently threw in the fitness towel before they truly got started. The wrong message coming at them over and over again finally destroyed their desire and hope.
Now things are beginning to change. Instead of primarily focusing on being physically ready, what if we looked at being mentally ready first? From my own experience, when I miss a training session it’s rarely because I’m physically exhausted. Mentally I’m just not up for it. This is where nootropics are beginning to step in.
The term “Nootropics”, was coined in 1972 by Doctor Corneliu Giurgea, when he was looking to find a cure for motion sickness. He used the Greek combination of ‘nous’ meaning mind, and ‘tropo’ meaning to bend or change, to invent this new word. Giurgea gave a list of five criteria that a substance had to meet if it was to be called a nootropic.
The substance had to: 1. Enhance memory. 2 Help brain function. 3. Protect the brain. 4. Increase the efficacy of neuronal firing. 5. Be non-toxic
Nootropics is a term for a class of chemicals, some naturally occurring, and some man-made, that give cognitive benefits to the human brain. They basically make your brain a little sharper and can enhance memory, creativity, and motivation in healthy individuals.
An example of a naturally occurring nootropic is L-theanine , which is found in black and green tea and supports brain clarity. Interestingly, when this is mixed with caffeine, it neutralises the ‘crash’, and works together to provide the boost in clarity, focus, and energy, that caffeine naturally provides. Kimera Koffee has L-theanine and is an example of this. You get the caffeine boost but avoid the usual crash.
This can have huge benefits for athletes and gym goers, that can go through periods of low motivation and mental fog. It isn’t however, a substitute for getting enough sleep, eating properly, and training responsibly. It can be used when you need it, like during early morning sessions, or after a mentally taxing work day.
I have had a lot of success drinking a coffee/nootropic mix as a pre-workout (Kimera Koffee has a blend of four nootropics: L-theanine, Taurine, Alpha GPC, and DMAE). Your blood sugar levels do not get messed about, and you feel ready for your session.
Depending on what else is going on in my body, I can feel revved up and super focused, or calm and mentally strong. Either one will have me at a place where I am in an optimal state to get the best out of myself.
So, instead of always worrying about whether or not your body will be able for your training session, focus on your mind. If you get that right, then everything else falls into place. If you’re concentrated, and excited about the work that lies ahead, a slightly tired body has no chance of stopping you!