Nootropics…winning the mental game

Posted on: 15th May, 2017

Category: Sport & Fitness

Contributor: West Cork People

Originally from Clonakilty, Colin Murphy is a fitness professional, workout specialist, founder of the fitness website, 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!

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Wave to Mary! 65-year-old Mary Nolan Hickey is running around the entire coast of the Island of Ireland to raise funds & awareness for the RNLI and is currently running the roads of West Cork.

Mary is the only woman to have completed every single Dublin Marathon (all 38 of them). She’s also completed the grueling Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert, known as the ‘toughest foot race on earth’.

To mark her 50th year involved in Athletics Mary is taking on her biggest challenge yet (even though she thought she’d already done that when completing the Dublin Marathon when she was over six months pregnant!) She wants to raise as much money as possible for the RNLI.

Mary started her epic journey in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, on New Year’s Day. She aims to cover up to 5000 kilometers, using coastal routes, over the next five months. She hopes to get back in time to get her first pension payment in June when she turns 66.

Mary will stop off at as many RNLI stations as possible, on her once in a lifetime adventure. As far as she knows no other woman has ever taken on this challenge.

Speaking about her journey Mary said:

“I wanted to prove that age not a barrier. Coming from a coastal town I have a deep affinity with our local RNLI station & volunteers and have huge admiration for the brave men and women who risk their lives to save lives at sea”.

Mary, who’s depending on the goodwill of communities along her route for accommodation, has been astounded by the response so far. “The support has been overwhelming,” she said. “I have met the most amazing and encouraging people along the way”.

To see more about Mary’s adventures, and to pinpoint her location today, check out her Facebook page - rnlilapofthemap2018.
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20th March, 2018  ·  


This Saturday the 10th March, will see some magically curious activity as local Bandon national schools compete in a Wizarding Harry Potter Quiz. The prize will be the beautiful Bandon Banshee Perpetual Cup.

As any Harry Potter enthusiast knows, Bandon has the unique honour of having a character named after the town. The Bandon Banshee, was referred to as the nemesis of Gilderoy Lockhart in the Chamber of Secrets. The book grossed €60 million in sales and was the 7th highest earning film of all time.

Locals, looking to enhance the town for young people, saw the quiz as an ideal way promote the connection. The universally absorbing book series brings young readers on a huge adventure of magic, adversity and triumph. It is also an exploration of loyalty and friendship, good and evil – so it is not only popular way to engage young people, it is a hugely positive connection.

Zoe Tennyson, one of the organisers said they were delighted with the response from schools who ran a qualifying quiz as part of World Book Day. On Saturday Bandon Town Hall will be transformed into Hogwarts Great Hall, with proceeds going Bandon Playground Group, and to cover costs of the event.

Bandon Books will be rewarding the winning team with vouchers to each of the five members. The Bandon Banshee, or Bean-sidhe na Bandaan Perpetual Cup will be hotly contested – but which school will the Banshee go to??

If you have any questions please call Marguerite McQuaid on 087 900 9494
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8th March, 2018  ·  

Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition 23 February 2018

The inaugural Ballineen Foróige Young Engineers Exhibition will take place in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen this Friday 23rd February. As part of Engineers Week 2018, leaders and members of Ballineen Foróige Club have organised an exhibition which will showcase a diverse and exciting range of engineering projects that have been undertaken by members of the club over the last few weeks, with the aid of leaders and a number of local engineers.

With the aid of local pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, along with the support of STEAM Education, a UCC based company focused on promoting science, technology, engineering, arts, and maths subjects in primary schools, Ballineen Foróige has been engaging members and leaders in all things engineering over the last six weeks. From researching, designing, and prototyping a project based on local problems, to participating in various workshops on coding and careers in engineering, Ballineen Foróige have been extremely busy in preparation for the exhibition this coming Friday night.

On the night itself, Michael Loftus, Head of Engineering at CIT, Fintan Goold, Manager at Eli Lilly and All-Ireland Cork winning Footballer, along with Geraldine Coughlan of GCA Architects & Designers, a local business, will act as judges on the night, evaluating the different engineering projects and offering some advice to the members of the club. Also in attendance will be the CEO of Foróige Seán Campbell, along with a number of local councillors, TD’s and Senators.

Leading the team of Ballineen Foróige leaders organising the event, is Rebecca Dwyer, a bioprocess engineer at Eli Lilly. Rebecca recently became a leader in the club and says that Ballineen Foróige Young Engineer Exhibition 2018 “promises to be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience for all involved and we look forward to welcoming parents, relatives, friends and members of the public to the exhibition and film screening on the evening of Friday 23rd February.” Overall, there are twelve projects entered in the exhibition. One project, led by Cian Kennefick and Charlie Nolan, members of the starting out club, examines the possibility of installing speed ramps on the road near local primary school. Fourteen-year-old Charlie says he got involved in the project as it was something to do and it gets you thinking. Cian says the most exciting part of the project was the building of the prototypes.

Both Cian and Charlie, along with thirty other members of the club will display their projects this coming Friday 23 February in Gort Mhuire Hall in Ballineen. Doors open at 8pm and the event runs until 10pm. All are welcome to attend, and admission is free. Catering, including tea and coffee, will be provided on the night.
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20th February, 2018  ·  

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Main course

17th February, 2018  ·  

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