Ok everyone, before we start this article I need to ask a couple things. First and foremost, I ask that you have an open mind about the topics discussed. As the world continues to turn, perceptions continually change and allow for new views on old ideologies. What was once thought about negatively, can be seen positively. It is my goal to help push people forward. Doing this requires you to have an open mind and see how we may apply things differently in the future.
Second, as it stands right now, the chemical components discussed in this article are illegal. Neither I nor The MAPS Institute condones purchasing or seeking to purchase illegal compounds. As America continues to decriminalize these compounds (which has happened in Portland, Denver, and New York), people can utilize substances such as these for a positive effect and not be viewed in a negative light.
Finally, I am talking about Psilocyban and LSD (yes, LSD aka Acid aka California sunshine) in this article. These are chemical compounds that, if taken in high enough dose, will have a hallucinagenic effect. In this article, I am discussing the possible advantages of taking a smaller dosage that does not produce hallucinations.
So I again ask that you have an open mind to seeing the benefits of these before reading further. Thanks!
Have you ever gone into a gym or started a workout with no ego?
By that, I mean that you didn’t go into it with a goal of a set number of lifts you wanted to do or a certain amount of weight you wanted to push and, instead, just accepted that whatever happened, happened?
It’s something that rarely happens for anyone — from normal people to strength professionals. But if you did, you would have likely found yourself to be:
- Stress free
- Thinking clearly
It is because this is so rare, however, that things like supplements were invented.
Think about pre-workout routines. We don’t have the motivation to go to the gym so here is a powder to get your nitric oxide pumping so you can bust a sweat and boost your focus. We have a pill for this or a powder for that.
But what if there was another — better — way to achieve this outcome?
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) and Psylocibin are two psycho-active components of hallucinogenic drugs. These two come from different sources but have similar effects. LSD was first made in 1938 from a fungus that grows on rye and grain. It has stimulating, pleasurable, and mind-altering effects that can also lead to visual and auditory hallucinations. LSD is measured in micrograms and is considered a schedule 1 substance.
Psylocibins are chemical compounds found in mushrooms. This compound is structured similarly to LSD and can cause a similar trip. Psylocibin has been used in Native American rituals for many years for their members to experience a quest or spiritual journey.
Psylocibin does not last as long as LSD but also provides similar auditory and visual hallucinations.
These two chemicals have been used recreationally for many years, but are now being heavily researched for treating various conditions including PTSD, depression, addictions, and more.
One of the outcomes of this research is the advent of so-called microdosing, and it may have significant benefits during workouts.
The Benefits of Microdosing
Microdosing is the process of taking a minimal or small amount of one of these psychedelic compounds, such that it does not have a hallucinogenic effect. The actual dosage is unique to each person and their different tolerances but typically range between one third and one tenth of a gram.
Some people are using microdosing to induce a flow state of creativity, increase focus, and extend cognitive functioning.
For similar reasons, some are also experimenting with microdosing during workouts. In fact, research shows that the body tends to function better during workouts when a microdose is present in the system because of the mindful effects that are produced from psilociban (medicalnewstoday.com, 2020).
It is believed that this effect is because microdosing helps to decrease the stress of daily life, improve mood, increase cognition and focus, reduce the rating of perceived exertion, and because it aids in ego dissolution. Ego dissolution is the “complete loss of subjective self-identity,” which is a criticial aspect for researchers when looking at psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and psychosis (Nour et al., 2016)
As a result, those microdosing report an increase in motivation due to the higher cognitive function and are able to push more weight, run longer and faster, and not have their inner voice telling them to stop.
How the Benefits of Microdosing May Impact Your Workout
Let’s be honest, we’ve all skipped leg day (because those days tend to be the hardest), found an excuse to end a workout early, or stopped a rep or two short of what we knew we could do if we pushed it.
The reason is almost always because of our inner voice, which can be our own worst enemy. But what if we could silence it to get the maximum benefit from our workout?
That’s the promised benefits of microdosing.
The benefits of exercising are profound for reducing stress, increasing body function, and improving the metabolic profile — and now we can pair those benefits with achieving the maximum gains from exercise. The dopamine rush effects the nucleus accumbens much greater and the rating of perceived exertion, or RPE, is much less. Another reason for the decrease in RPE is that psilociban is chemically structured close to seratonin, elevating mood and causing less anxiety (Grob et al., 2011).
Furthermore, some studies indicate that psychedelics may even be anti-inflammatory and a neuroprotectant, which can be very useful for elite athletes.
Microdosing has the potential to boosts your workout experience, using a natural compound that is grown and not processed. This fact means that it does not cause an inflammatory response.
Pairing increased performance with improved cognition and mood allows you to maximize every rep of the exercise, boosting all the benefits of your workout — all from a natural compound.
While the use of these compounds remain slightly controversial, I highly encourage you to visit maps.org (editor’s note: no relation to The MAPS Institute) for up-to-date, evidence-based information on these two, and how they are being studied and used as effective treatments.
Image credits: Karsten Winegeart.