If you're reading this article, chances are pretty good that you're one of the rare elite individuals that strives to be better each and every day in all you do. Perhaps you've gained inspiration and motivation watching athletes master their sport, learning about their training habits and inherent genetic traits that often make them seem "ultra-human" to us mere mortals. You may have gone to school with or had a teammate or training partner that possessed these traits that motivated you to step up your game and find your "zone."
Examining Legends in the Zone
For years, every sport has had a few legendary icons in their respective eras, executing mind-blowing physical feats that defy human physiology and logic. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Ed Coan, Serena Williams, and Arnold Schwarzenegger are examples of athletes that seem to have the ability to "get in the zone", to rise above, and to dominate on game day. These athletes always appear to have an edge on the competition, both physically and mentally. Well, these traits that were once inherently gifted may now be amplified as a result of modern chemistry.
Understanding the Importance of Mind-Muscle Connection
Top sports psychologists believe that most of the world's best athletes possess an extraordinary ability to focus, while creating an unbreakable mind-muscle connection that allows them to challenge and surpass human limits. In brief, the mind-muscle connection starts in the brain, triggering the central nervous system (CNS, our internal "wiring") to then "activate" the connection between muscles and nerves. What I've observed over the last decade and find most interesting is the sudden overall depth and consistency of talent in all sports. Records are being obliterated by athletes from all disciplines including golf, track and field, powerlifting, and endurance sports.
Nootropics: The Secret to Success?
Some may attribute this to the advancements to nutrition, training, and drugs — and I agree with this to a certain extent. However, even with all of the anabolic agents, growth hormones, stimulants, protein powders, and amino acids, you still need to have the mindset, drive, desire, and ability to consistently stay energized and focused on your short-term and long-term athletic goals. I believe one of the biggest factors in seeing so many people dominating with machine-like efficiency in all areas these days is the advancement in the area of performance nutritional brain chemistry. This is often referred to as the science of "nootropics", meaning drugs, nutraceuticals, or nutrients to support cognition, memory, learning, reaction time, and motor skills. Today almost every athlete takes some pre-training concoction or energy formula to improve focus, energy, and alertness for both training and competition. Unfortunately, very few of these formulas have effective dosages of research-proven nootropics, delivering only high amounts of caffeine.
Going Beyond Adderall
When someone mentions "brain stimulants" the first drug that usually comes to mind these days is the drug by the brand name Adderall, which is highly prescribed by physicians to patients diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Adderall is basically an inexpensive, low-grade amphetamine comprised of two drugs: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. This will give energy and focus but does not elicit the magic that the right combinations of pure pharmaceutical grade nootropics do. Amphetamine-like drugs can also be very degenerative to brain function and reduce cognitive performance over time — not something we want to mess with if we want to keep the body's control center operating flawlessly in a controlled fashion!
Most nootropic ingredients that work well individually actually work best synergistically, when combined with other nootropic ingredients in precise dosages. Make no mistake, coming up with the right nootropic cocktail featuring proven ingredients for athletes like A-GPC and theacrine takes time, often years, to dial in the perfect ingredients and dosages to create a formula to propel the mind and body like no other. What's best about elite-level nootropic formulations is that they work better over time, whereas conventional stimulant-like drugs like Adderall or pure caffeine tablets actually decrease in effectiveness after prolonged continuous use. We all should opt for safer, more effective ingredients that work better with continued use.
Alpha-GPC: "The Mind-Muscle Nutrient"
So what are some of these magical ingredients you may ask? For starters, Alpha-GPC (Alpha Glyceryl Phosphorylcholine or A-GPC) is one clinically-tested ingredient that has extensive data to support a wide variety of research-proven structure-function claims. In fact, A-GPC is considered one of the most effective brain nutrients in the world and is used widely in clinical settings involving memory and athletic performance.
Often referred to as the "mind-muscle nutrient", A-GPC has interesting utility in sports formulations where it acts to optimize muscular power output, sharpen agility, and delay mental fatigue3. This is due to its action involving motor unit activation of muscle fibers and subsequent intense muscle contraction. A-GPC works its magic by promoting the formation of acetylcholine (AC), a vital neurotransmitter compound involved in all key brain functions and mental sharpness. A-GPC helps speed cellular communication through neuromuscular optimization, providing enhanced muscular power output and agility for active and athletic individuals looking to improve their ability to get in the zone! Effective dosages range from 150 milligrams to 600 milligrams per day, and most reputable nootropic formulas will deliver a hefty dose of A-GPC to potentiate other brain nutrients in the respective formulas.
Enter Teacrine for Improved Focus, Concentration, and Energy
Imagine a naturally derived ingredient that can deliver focus, concentration, and energy to help you break through performance plateaus, keep you in control with a smooth lift and no crash, and can potentiate the effects of caffeine in a very positive way1. Well, one such ingredient derived naturally from green tea has been discovered, and it's called TeaCrine. TeaCrine is a patent-pending compound containing pure theacrine, which can be found in natural sources such as the camellia assamica var. kucha tealeaf, coffee, and certain exotic fruits. A "nature identical compound", TeaCrine delivers energy, mental clarity, and improved motivation and mood2. It does not increase heart rate or blood pressure and is not classified as a stimulant.
TeaCrine has a multi-prolonged effect that is ideal for athletes, driven professionals, gamers, and anyone striving for peak performance. Based on preclinical and human clinical research, TeaCrine facilitates a wide range of healthy functions in energy, focus, mood, and motivation. Independent researchers tested theacrine in vivo to measure the effects of the compound on locomotion and to determine its mechanism of action. Results, which were printed in an open source journal, proved positive for increased locomotion. TeaCrine researchers then followed up these studies with two human clinical pilots that demonstrated TeaCrine's effectiveness at increasing energy levels and combating fatigue.
TeaCrine's multi-faceted effect and benefits comes from the reactions between two neural pathways the dopaminergic and adenosinergic pathways. By affecting these major pathways and supporting other neurotransmitters, TeaCrine increased energy without irritability and enables competitive athletes, students, and working professionals to enhance their physical and mental performance in the classroom, boardroom, gym, and athletic field.
Tying It All Together: Designing Your Nootropic Stack
If you're one of those human lab rats that likes to assemble your own chemical concoctions, that's totally cool, just be prepared to spend months if not years of trial and error to dial in the right formula that's best for you. Since most people don't have the time nor desire to experience the learning curve and instead want results now, we may have a solution for you. Another Ohio based company called UltraHuman has taken the guesswork out of nootropic and human performance science by developing TAO, a revolutionary nootropic masterpiece in the field of brain performance science featuring A-GPC, TeaCrine, and a host of other proven ingredients.
Many industry experts believe TAO to be the world's most comprehensive and powerful nootropic formula ever created, and a must-use supplement for anyone looking to get in the zone and elevate their mind-body performance to the next level. TAO is so concentrated that only one time-released tablet per day is needed for most, and very well may be the first and last nootropic you'll ever need.
- He Hui, Ma Dejian, Crone, et al. Assessment of the Drug–Drug Interaction Potential Between Theacrine and Caffeine in Humans. Journal of Caffeine Research. (2017)
- Kuhman, Joyner, Bloomer. Cognitive Performance and Mood Following Ingestion of a Theacrine-Containing Dietary Supplement, Caffeine, or Placebo by Young Men and Women. Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute. (2015)
- Bellar, LeBlanc, Campbell. The Effect of 6 Days of Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine on Isometric Strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. (2015)
A native of Cleveland, Ohio Joe Pavlik currently resides in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where since 2005 has served as the CEO & Founder of The Flexus Group, a world-leading consulting firm in the dietary supplement, health and beauty industry, and since 2017 has served as Director and CEO for Rejuvel Bio-Sciences Inc., a NASA Technology Transfer Partner. He also serves the local community of Fort Lauderdale and Broward County as Chief Health Officer for Life Sports Fitness, America's Heroic 501c(3) Non-Profit dedicated to helping children and families in the community become healthier and happier through education in sports, fitness and the arts.