Laurence Lee

June 28, 2022 in Supplements

Traditionally, people took one supplement for every benefit they wanted. I remember when creatine first hit the market, and at the time, it was just for bulking. Everyone took supplement A for cutting, supplement B for bulking, and supplement C for drive and focus.

But with the increases in science and the understanding of how the whole body is integrated, many people are seeing the benefits of a Nootropic in the gym–or even seeing the benefits of a “workout” supplement in their cognitive function.

I’ll go through the top reasons you may want to take a Nootropic or a Pre-Workout and declare a winner in every category. For loose-ends, check out the FAQ at the end.

Benefit: Energy

Combatting fatigue has many strategies. We all know sleep, hydration, and diet are key. But when we need a little help, a supplement can go a long way.

The two most common ingredients in Nootropics and Pre-Workout products to help with energy are Vitamin B complexes and Caffeine.

In both cases, the idea is to stimulate the neurons in your brain, increase blood flow, and ramp up your metabolism. 

For giving you raw energy, we’re going to give the nod to Pre-Workout supplements. Mostly this comes from the inclusion of nitric acid assisting ingredients in pre-workout supplements that can literally get the blood pumping to more areas of the body.

Benefit: Focus

Caffeine has also been used in many Nootropics for helping with focus. In fact, the stimulant effect of Nootropics have led some people to use them for assistance with ADHD-like symptoms

While Pre-Workout products sometimes contain caffeine, they often do not have the specific ingredients for channeling the stimulant effect into actual focus.

For instance, the ingredient Bacopa Monnieri in many nootropics has been shown to improve mental functions, while I saw no such results for focus in Pre-Workout ingredients.

For Focus, I’m giving the win to Nootropics - Check out our list with the Best Nootropics for Focus here.

Benefit: Drive

This might sound the same as “energy” to some readers, but stay with me.

Have you ever had the jitters from too much coffee? That’s the difference between raw energy and the drive to do something. 

When we have a lot of energy, but no drive, we end up sitting still and tapping our toes really fast.

When we have drive, though, we have the spark to get up, get something done, start or finish a project, get to the gym, or finally organize that one drawer in the kitchen.

The lack of drive gets diagnosed by a number of names, like depression and ADHD. Well, I found one study that points to Phenylethylamine as a possible ingredient to address both issues.

Phenylethylamine is an organic compound found naturally in the body, and in a number of popular Nootropics. For this reason, I’ll give the win to Nootropics that have this ingredient or others like it for addressing drive.

In the End…

Not only has Nootropics taken two out of three categories I looked at, I also found a wider variety of ingredients and benefits among Nootropics. Pre-Workout supplements tend to rely on a “Caffeine +One” approach–one stimulant ingredient plus one other ingredient, usually a vitamin, amino acid, or nitric acid enhancer.

Nootropics, on the other hand, tend to have a variety of well-researched ingredients for assisting with focus, drive, and yes, energy, as well as a number of other benefits. Because pre-workout supplements only have the one real function, if you had to pick between them or Nootropics, I’d take the latter.

Not only do Nootropics have a wide range of uses, but among them is the energy that pre-workout products provide.


Can I Take a Pre-workout and a Nootropic?

Yes, typically speaking. As for the products I review and recommend, I only cover products that are safe and generally well-tolerated with other supplements.

How Much More Energy Do Pre-Workouts Offer?

Energy is hard to quantify for different people. Some folks take pre-workout supplements and it’s as if they’re shot from a cannon straight to the gym. For others, the benefit is no more than a cup of coffee. For yet other users, they need the focus and drive benefits to feel the energy, at all.

Can I Use Nootropics as Pre-Workout Supplements?

Check the label and usage of your favorite Nootropics, but most of them recommend taking them first thing in the day. If that happens to be right when you workout, great. Otherwise, it’s probably best not to delay the other benefits of your nootropic until later when you workout.

About the author 

Laurence Lee

Lee is a neuroscientist who has dedicated his career to understanding the inner workings of the brain. He has seen firsthand the power of these supplements in improving cognitive function and believes that more people should be aware of their benefits. In his articles, Lee shares his extensive knowledge on the subject and provides unbiased reviews of different products.

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