Nootropics in Pre-Workout? Let’s Clear Up The Confusion

Nootropics in Pre-Workout? Let’s Clear Up The Confusion

In the past decade, the term “nootropic” has become more and more popular. Part of it is because of an increase in the research on ingredients that can support cognition, focus, and working memory. Another part of it is marketing.

In this article, we’re going to break down what nootropics are and what role they have in pre-workout supplementation, if any.

The marketing in the supplement space can be challenging to navigate. In this article, we’ll help you understand what to look for in any product that’s marketed as a pre-workout, a nootropic, or both. This way, you can make the best decision based on your needs and goals.

What Is a Nootropic?

Nootropics are a class of supplements and supplement ingredients that aim to improve your mental functions and performance. This can include, working memory, focus, attention, and motivation. When nootropics first rose in popularity, they were mostly in a niche category of supplements designed to support productivity, studying, and gaming. (Infamously, many elite chess players have experimented with nootropics.)

Today, these "nootropic" ingredients are increasingly being added to pre-workout formulas to support sharper mental focus while training.

A Nootropic is Not A Classic Pre-Workout

Unlike traditional pre-workouts that aim to boost physical energy and endurance, nootropics focus on cognition and mental performance. That's why our line of nootropics, Kaged Mindset, is designed for productivity and studying.

Can You Take a Nootropic Pre-Workout?

With that said, can you take a nootropic like Kaged Mindset pre-workout? Yes, you can, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

First, do not combine a nootropic supplement with a pre-workout supplement.

That's because there's often overlap in ingredients. For example, one scoop of Kaged Mindset has 600mg of Alpha-GPC, a classic nootropic ingredient that supports focus.* Our most advanced pre-workout, Pre-Workout Elite, contains 300mg of Alpha-GPC.

We don't advise combining these before a workout.

Second, a pre-workout will often be better for working out.

Effective pre-workout supplements are designed to support your endurance, stamina, strength, and power. This is what we designed the Kaged pre-workout line for.

With that said, if you just want the focus (and energy, if you choose a caffeine version), and don't want the pumps or power, then Kaged Mindset is safe to take before your workout.

If Something is Advertised as a "Nootropic Pre-Workout," Check The Ingredients

In the supplement industry, making claims about products requires substantial backing with scientific literature. For example, when we state that our pre-workouts enhance muscle pumps, we ensure that claim is supported by ample scientific research.

However, the term “nootropic” doesn’t carry the same weight in terms of backing up claims about cognitive benefits like improved focus or working memory. As a result, you’ll often see the word used loosely to describe a wide range of supplements and pre-workouts.

It's important to note that just because a product isn’t labeled as a “nootropic pre-workout” doesn’t mean it can’t enhance focus. Conversely, a product marketed as a nootropic may still support your training even if it doesn't specifically target physical performance. Therefore, always check the ingredients and look for evidence-backed components to ensure the product meets your specific needs.

The solution is to look at the ingredients and their doses.

Ingredients to Look For In Pre-Workouts for Sharper Mental Focus

AlphaSize® Alpha-GPC

AlphaSize® Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline, commonly called simply “alpha-GPC,” can enhance your energy and focus. It works as a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. AlphaSize® is a pure, patented form that's standardized to contain 50% choline. This way, you know you're getting an effective, consistent dose.


L-Tyrosine, especially when combined with caffeine, can help your mental focus. It stimulates the neurotransmitters associated with motivation and our “fight or flight” response.

However, the dose matters a lot. In Pre-Workout Elite, we used a science-backed dose of 2500mg, which is on the high end. Our classic Pre-Workout contains 1850mg of tyrosine. Which is to say a few hundred milligrams probably won't do much. Dose matters.

Huperzine A

Huperzine A inhibits an enzyme that degrades the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, so it can help keep acetylcholine, and therefore focus levels, up. It can help you mentally stay dialed in during long workouts and work sessions. Look for a Huperzine A extract with a standardized dose of 1%, to make sure you get an effective form.

Are Nootropics Caffeinated?

Nootropics can come with and without caffeine. Caffeine itself does not make something a nootropic, although it will support energy.

Kaged Mindset comes in a stimulant-free version and a caffeinated version, as does Pre-Workout Elite (see the Stim-Free version here.) You can support sharper mental focus, without the caffeine.

One common argument for taking a nootropic pre-workout is that it can help you reduce your caffeine intake. Many pre-workouts indeed have lots of caffeine. However, a simpler solution may just be to take a stimulant-free pre-workout.

Start With Your Goals, Then Decide

If your main goal is to perform the absolute best in the gym, then look for a pre with "nootropic-like ingredients, such as Pre-Workout Elite.

If you just want great workouts and better results, you many not need an exhaustive amount of cognition-supporting ingredients. Check our Kaged Pre-Workout or our lower-caffeine pre, Pre-Workout Sport.

If you're looking to improve your productivity, creativity, or supporting your studying efforts, then look for a nootropic with science-backed ingredients.

Kaged Mindset is exactly that. We have stim-free and caffeinated versions, and they come in orange mango and strawberry lemonade flavors. All of them are tested for banned substances.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Join our Inner Circle

Unlock Exclusive Content and Connect with a Community Committed to Health and Wellness

Third-Party Tested

Banned Substance Free

Clean Ingredients

Non-GMO, Gluten-Free

Designed For Athletes

Trusted by 14,000+ Worldwide