by Tony Gjokaj May 03, 2021 6 min read

When I was studying in college, I committed to various activities that allowed me to retain more information, improve focus, and ultimately make things easier for me.

Some of the more notable differences consisted of exercise and supplementing with nootropics.

So in this post, we are going to go over 7 ways to transform your mental fitness so that you perform your best - regardless of what you do.

Let's dive in!

Ways to Transform Your Mental Fitness

Whether it's for studying, work, health, exercise, and more, cognitive performance is of utmost importance to all of us.

The following are some practical ways to improve our mental fitness.

I. Exercise Frequently.

Exercising is one of the best ways we can improve our mental or cognitive performance. Exercise has been shown to improve mental health through means of reducing anxiety, depression, and more.

In addition, exercise has been shown to improve cognitive power in the additional ways:

  • Exercise can improve energy and focus throughout your day, 
  • Exercise may help reduce insomnia and improve sleep.
  • Exercise can reduce the risk of cognitive dysfunction disorders like Alzheimer's.

What I would propose to optimize your fitness for cognitive performance is the following:

  • Find a style of exercise you prefer and commit to it. Whether it is weight training or cardiovascular exercise, commit to it. For best benefits, do both.
  • Exercise about 2.5-5 hours every week. You don't need to commit to hours of training for cognitive improvements. 15-30 minutes per day is a great way to start.

II. Improve Your Sleep.

Sleep can play a huge role in our mental fitness, as there is an inverse relationship when it comes to sleep and depression: with symptoms of depression, it is difficult to sleep, and sleep-deprivation has been shown to cause depression. In addition, poor sleep can impair alertness and concentration.

We need to consider sleep a restorative process. It takes out the waste our brains have accumulated, helps us recover, and helps us perform our best.

Here are some strategies we would recommend if you find difficulty getting a good night's rest:

  • Have a consistent time you fall asleep. A consistent sleep schedule improves quality of sleep.
  • Don't go to sleep with the phone in your hand. Your room should be utilized for a few things... one of them is not looking at memes or watching TV! This makes it easier to fall asleep!
  • Utilize exercise. As we mentioned in the previous point, exercise improves sleep quality.
  • Shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep daily. According to one study, an accumulation of six hours of sleep over 14 consecutive days led to impairments of focus, concentration, and more.

III. Eat More Whole Foods.

Improving your nutrition through means of consuming less processed foods and more whole foods can not only improve your body composition, but your brainpower and focus as well!

For practical strategies around nutrition, I have listed some recommendations we should take to optimize our nutrition for cognitive performance.

Consume Fruits and Vegetables. 

There is a strong correlation between poor diets and mental health. For example, not having enough Iron in your body makes you more prone to depression and anxiety.

To get a proper nutrient intake, you should eat a diverse palate of fruits and vegetables per day. This can be easily achieved by eating about 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

Here is what we mean by serving sizes:

  • 1 serving of leafy veggies (spinach, kale) = 1 cup
  • 1 serving of stalky veggies (broccoli, asparagus) = 1/2 cup
  • 1 serving of fruits (bananas, apples, mangos) = 1 cup

In doing so, you not only get a great amount of vitamins & minerals, but you also get a good amount of fiber in your diet.

Get Your Protein.

Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps us rebuild muscles, hair, skin, and brain neurotransmitters.

According to one study, protein has a large impact on cognitive performance because of its neurotransmitter production. As most neurotransmitters are amino acids, protein consumption produces neurotransmitters like dopamine.

What we recommend in getting the right amount of protein is the following: 

  • Consume about 0.8-1g per pound of bodyweight in protein. This is around 20-30% of total calories in protein. For a 185lb individual, consuming 148g of protein (~592 total calories in protein) is a decent protein intake. 
  • Eat protein with every meal. One 4oz chicken (or similar lean proteins) typically has around 25g of protein. Spreading your lean protein throughout the day allows you to accomplish your protein intake goals.

For more on protein, you can read our article here.

Eat Your Monounsaturated Fats.

According to Harvard Medical School, a survey of 6000 found that the individuals who consumed more monounsaturated fats (olive oil, nuts, and avocados) performed best on cognitive performance tests.

Monounsaturated fats are fats that can aid to lower your LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels. To add to that, a recent study found that high levels of monounsaturated fat consumption are correlated to greater levels of intelligence.

This means that we should focus on including more monounsaturated fats in our diet. 

Here are some recommendations in monounsaturated fat consumption:

  • 20-30% of total calories should come from fats. This is a general ballpark for overall health and cognitive performance. Depending on your personal preferences, you could consume more!
  • Replace your processed snacks with nuts. Having a snack of nuts like salted almonds and peanuts is an easier replacement than a cookie or a chocolate bar. Obviously, it's not the same in regards to taste... but they still taste very good!
  • Replace some saturated fats with monounsaturated ones. Simple replacements like replacing butter with olive oil can help with overall monounsaturated consumption.
  • Replicate a diet similar to a Mediterranean-styled one. According to one study, a Mediterranean-styled diet can help reduce depressive symptoms in older adults over time.

IV. Accomplish Goals Everyday.

Research has shown that individuals who committed to most ambitious goals led to higher performance levels. This is due to the fact that there is a correlation to goal-setting and the part of our brain that elicits emotion. 

Another studyshowed that high-performance individuals reach their goals because they are emotionally-attached to them. The more emotionally-invested the individual was to their goals, the more you will perceive the obstacles you encounter to be less difficult than they appear.

So strive towards accomplishing big goals every day.

We recommend starting off with the following:

  • Have an overarching goal to work towards. What is it you desire out of life? Work towards it. Break it down into achievable processes which lead to daily actions.
  • Strive to accomplish three actions or small goals daily. 1% steps every day can lead to you being 100% better after 100 days.
  • Get out of your comfort zone. this allows you to build more resilience, discipline, and more.

V. Learn Everyday.

A 2013 study found that learning new skills helps aid in cognitive function as we age. As such, we should pursue knowledge in some form every day. For example, reading can facilitate cognitive improvements based on knowledge.

When it comes to pursuing knowledge daily, we recommend the following:

  • Read a book for 10-15 minutes a day. Non-fiction personal development books can improve your ideas and perspectives dramatically.
  • Listen to a long-form piece of content like youtube or podcasts. Listening to experts in various fields of interest can help improve our mindset and energy levels.

VI. Focus On Creative Exercises.

According to a Michigan State University study, childhood participation in arts and crafts led to more creativity and innovation as these children reached adulthood. This makes sense, as taking more risky endeavors can lead more creative opportunities.

Here are some recommendations to improve your mental fitness:

  • Play an instrument. Playing an instrument can improve sensory information through practice.
  • Write. Writing can lead to improvements in memory preservation.
  • Create content on social media. Creativity comes thinking outside the box on social media. The ROI of thinking creatively for social media content could pay in dividends - not just in a creative way, but in a monetary way.

VII. Supplement with Nootropics.

Nootropics are brain boosters that help improve mental performance, notably from memory, concentration, and more.

Believe it or not, many nootropics are found in various foods we consume, but in small amounts.

Supplementing with more potent amounts of nootropics, like N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine have been shown to aid in stress-induced memory and attention deficits.

Our Nootropic Energy Elixir, Impulse, is my go-to nootropic that I have been using pretty much everyday for the last two years.

There are only a few ingredients in Impulse, but each ingredient is efficaciously-dosed to provide you the cognitive focus necessary to grind through work, exercise, studying, and more.

You can get yours by clicking here, or the banner below.

Transform Your Mental Fitness

To conclude, here is a simple breakdown, the TLDR of this post:

  1. Exercise frequently. Working out 2.5-5 hours per week can improve cognitive power dramatically.
  2. Improve your sleep. Sleeping 7-8 hours daily will improve (or reinforce) your cognitive performance.
  3. Eat more whole foods. Consuming lean protein, fruits, vegetables, and nutritious fats can improve various factors of cognition.
  4. Accomplish goals everyday. Working towards an overarching goal provides us higher performance levels.
  5. Learn everyday. Pursue a path of learning everyday to improve cognitive power or knowledge.
  6. Focus on creative exercises. Improve creativity through playing instruments, creating content, and more.
  7. Supplement with Nootropics. Supplementing with nootropics like Impulse can help improve cognitive power for when you need it.

As you can see, many of these strategies can be implemented by simply adding or reinforcing current lifestyle habits. Organizing your life around multiple habits allows you to create a routine that automates your health & fitness - physically and mentally.

With that being said, I want to personally thank you for taking the time to read this post!

If you have any questions, comments, or insights, feel free to email us at support@reforgedperformance.com or follow us on Instagram!

Until next time, Reforged Legion!

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.



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