Engineering a(n) (Ergogenic) Nootropic Stack

Nootropics are cognitive enhancers, boosting brainpower and mental abilities, while ergogenic variants focus on elevating physical performance, creating a powerful combo for unleashing your potential.

I’ve got my core habits dialed down now (sleep, exercise, nutrition) and have some good routines in place to actually start converging upon a diet that suits my goal of clocking in stable, moderately high levels of physical and mental performance throughout the day.

I’m in a phase now where minor tweaks and changes won’t be held back by poor staple habits.

Although numerous reliable recommendations on the ideal stack exist, I’m more attracted to conducting fairly controlled experiments - for every human is different in many unidentifiable ways.


This isn’t going to be medical advice nor is backed by solid, fairly conducted scientifically rigorous research. It’s all anecdotal and I’m going to be logging my perspectives on any stuff that I incorporate in my routines.

The Story so Far …

I’ve quit caffeine multiple times in the past 5 years only to hop back on when life gets a little too demanding. This time, I’ve been off caffeine for around a month and am used to the new stable non-jittery days.

I’d also experimented with L-theanine + caffeine in the past (ratio of 200 mg : 100 mg) but I found this to be a non-sustainable way due to a caffeine tolerance buildup over time. Plus I’d read Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep” some time ago and those memories were enough of an incentive to give up caffeine completely.

I do also cover my bases with a multivitamin and fish-oil and have found them to be effective.

I’d also tried an ayurvedic mix of ashwagandha and shilajit with some supplementary ingredients and found that to work pretty well.

And, you may not care about creatine this way, but it’s also touted to be a nootropic. And it’s cheap, and extremely well researched, and therefore a no-brainer.

Although not a nootropic, it’s worth mentioning that I do get my choline requirements catered to from 6 whole eggs a day.

I made sure I introduced these independently in a staggered way to avoid confounding influences. Now that I’ve dabbled fairly to form a judgment on what suits me, I’m hopping on a regular routine for at least a month with a new major experimentation control with a few minor optimizations.

The Current Routine

  • 500mg L-tyrosine, 5 gms of creatine at 5:30 AM pre-workout
  • a 15 min shirtless walk sunbathing sunlight at around 8:00 AM
    • Gotta get that Vitamin D and synchronize my circadian-rhythm like the noble Dr. Huberman would want us to…
  • multivitamin and fish oil post a large breakfast at 9:00 AM
  • final meal’s final bite at 1:30 pm -> on a 6:18 intermittent fasting routine
  • 500 mg ashwagandha and 200 mg L-theanine at night before sleep (around 10:00 pm)
    • I do have a 10 mg melatonin shot reserved for days I wish to reset my cycles or hibernate like a bear over the weekends.
  • with that being said, the best ever nootropic in my experience, is hydrating well - I target around 5 liters a day.

The Major Control

As you may have noticed, I’m testing out L-Tyrosine (a precursor to dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine) this cycle instead of a morning coffee (totally gonna avoid this) + L-theanine stack and will be blogging about my experience with the same upon the next iteration.

The Minor Controls

I might work on the ingestion timings a little and how much cardio I do (the runner’s high is a real thing). What I do before sleep also affects my rest - I’m going to cycle between reading a specific science, philosophy, mathematics, physics, linguistics, listening to a slow non-exciting podcast or just a non-exerting post warm-shower night walk, calling a friend or listening to music.

The PreCondition

Although, I’m consuming the building blocks for any physical and mental exertion I put myself through, I need to set myself up for a good overnight rest and rejuvenation phase by pushing myself harder and harder each day, in a sustainable manner. This calls for an admirable target as follows:

  • resistance training 6 days a week + cardiovascular training 3 days (excluding regular walks)
  • at least 5 hours of deep work a day
  • 3-4 hours of shallow administrative and organizational work a day
  • a couple hours of intellectual stimulation (reading and writing does it for me).

The PostCondition

I hope I feel I’ve earned my rest at the end of each day.