Nootropics are more popular than ever, and with some promising research and the consumer’s desire to gain a mental boost, more companies are formulating their own brain enhancement supplements. And this goes beyond the big supplement brands you might be used to seeing on retail store shelves. Increasingly, we’re seeing new, and sometimes innovative, nootropic stacks from small, boutique, or very specialized companies. One of those is Driven Performance Labs (formerly called Dynamic Nutrition), a coaching, nutrition, and supplements company targeted toward CrossFit enthusiasts and weightlifters.
Driven Performance Labs offers nutritional coaching as one of their main products, but they also produce several supplements. One of those is Max Capacity, a supplement targeted as a pre-workout but one containing many popular and potent nootropic ingredients. We tested Driven Performance Labs’ Max Capacity as both a workout enhancer and brain supplement. Read below to see what our testers thought about the nootropic newcomer.
Note: Driven Performance Labs lists all ingredients amounts and dosages, no “proprietary” blends, which is generally a good tool in determining whether a nootropic supplement is right for you.
AlphaSize Alpha GPC, 500mg
This is one of the most bioavailable and high-quality forms of choline used in nootropics. In the brain, choline is used to make acetylcholine, an important neurotransmitter involved in many cognitive processes. Alpha GPC is a form of choline that can most easily cross the blood/brain barrier, and it’s around 40% choline by mass. Alpha GPC seems to be the preferred, though more expensive, cholinergic for newer and/or high-quality nootropic manufacturers.
Cordyceps Extract (40% Polysaccharides), 500mg, Cordyceps Extract (4% Cordycepic Acid), 500mg
The cordyceps mushroom is an adaptogen that has been used in Chinese and Tibetan medicine as a treatment for numerous ailments, though its exact effects on the body still need to be determined through extensive clinical research. There’s also some early but promising clinical research indicating cordyceps extract has significant anti-fatigue properties.
While exact extract percentages and potencies vary across blends and manufacturers, the amount of cordyceps extract in Max Capacity comes out to a full gram. Shroom TECH Sport by Onnit, which shares this and several other ingredients with Max Capacity, though they’re ultimately different blends, contains 1.5 grams of cordyceps extracts.
Rhodiola Rosea Extract (3% Rosavins, 1% Salidroside), 500mg
A noted adaptogen with few (if any) noted side effects, rhodiola is an herbal extract shown to boost physical and mental endurance while reducing the perceived symptoms of stress. Rhodiola fights fatigue, and there’s some anecdotal evidence it boost the effects of stimulants like coffee. Generally, a very large amount of rhodiola (over 600 mg) does not seem to boost the ingredient’s effects and may actually reduce them; with rhodiola, less may in fact be more for some users, and some clinical studies have seen effectiveness at doses under 100mg. The amount of Rhodiola in one serving of Max Capacity is right around the upper end of what our testers have tried and liked.
There’s some research suggesting a synergistic effect when combining rhodiola and cordyceps extracts, as we noted in our review of Onnit’s Shroom TECH Sport (there are definite similarities between that supplement and Max Capacity). Rhodiola is also a headlining ingredient in stimulant-free stacks like RISE by Nootrobox (a BrainWiz favorite for its transparency and straightforward formulation).
Eleutherococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng), 300mg
An adaptogen with possible immunity-positive and anti-stress capabilities, Eleutherococcus senticosus is much more commonly known as Siberian ginseng. Early (we want to stress that this is far from proven, though studies suggest it’s promising) research indicates it may be ergogenic, meaning it can boost exercise performance and aerobic capacity. This is the bottom range of what we’ve generally seen with Siberian ginseng dosage in supplements.
Other ingredients: Gelatin
Encapsulated preWO supplement designed to enhance mental focus and energy system capacity. Take 1 serving [3 capsules] 30 minutes prior to training. Enhances training focus. Improves lactate threshold. Helps reduce workout fatigue.
What Our Testers Say
“I’ve had similar feelings with some of these supposedly ”˜pre-workout’ nootropic stacks. They may get some people hyped up and ready for exercise, but they, including Max Capacity, actually help me stay calm and focused. I tried this before a run and didn’t notice anything different on my physical performance, but I do like it as a delivery system for choline + adaptogens, which is a combo I take in some form probably 3 out of 5 business days a week.”
“Definitely felt some anti-fatigue properties here, pretty close to what I felt with Shroom TECH Sport. If I had to identify a difference, I’d say Max Capacity helped me feel a little more clear-headed; I’m guessing that may have to do with the fairly high dosage of choline.”
“I thought I’d see a big physical performance from Max Capacity, and when I took it before workouts, I did tend to have good training sessions. But I think the lack of caffeine accounts for not getting the pronounced OOMPH! I was expecting. However, I did feel slightly more clear-headed and focused when taking this supplement. If I took it before working out, I’d probably want to pair it with a caffeine source. But on its own, I thought it was a fairly effective stack at combating brain fog.”
“Like a lot of other supplements with cordyceps, I had to experiment to see when this one worked best for me. I settled on post-lunch and with coffee, though taking it in the morning with breakfast wasn’t bad; I just succumb to an afternoon slump really easily and welcome supplements that help me through that. I did take this with dinner on one occasion and felt a little too restless before bed.”
- The biggest effect our testers felt from Max Capacity was a sense of mental clarity and reduced brain fog. Those are certainly appreciated before a workout, but overall we enjoyed taking this supplement in the morning with breakfast and coffee.
- The serving size is relatively large with this style of capsule, so we recommend taking with food or a full glass of water.
- Pairs well with coffee or other caffeine sources.
- Contains a fairly high dosage of Alpha GPC, so may not pair well with other choline-containing nootropics (basically, doubling up could be too much, which in some people may cause headaches).
- Avoid taking at night; may inhibit sleep when taken right before bed.
Max Capacity may be marketed as a pre-workout supplement for weightlifters, CrossFitters, and elite athletes, but we noticed its effects most when taken as a normal nootropic stack. We enjoy the transparency of the dosages as well as the ingredient profile, and all inclusions seem within the realm of generally effective dosages. Basically, we saw Max Capacity as an adaptogen-rich supplement that didn’t feel it needed to be overly complicated.
Most of our testers reported enhanced mental clarity and reduced brain fog, as well as mental endurance throughout the day. While there’s some overlap on ingredients with other cordyceps/adaptogenic blends, Max Capacity brought something new to our nootropic experience. It could be an effective, stimulant-free stack for enhanced focus, especially if you respond well to cordyceps and rhodiola supplementation.
Interested in Max Capacity? Find out how to get 20% off on our Driven Performance Labs coupons page.