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A Story of Doping in eSports: And Proven Tips to Optimize Your Performance (legally!)

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UPDATE: I have created an instructional page for nootropics (Cognitive Enhancing Supplements) for esport. Check it out here to optimize your game WITHOUT the use of illegal stimulants!

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“I witnessed doping a lot. It was lying around, like aspirin. The most common was Ritalin. The first time we took it was at Dreamhack.”

“We were fully aware that we had no chance ever at beating the international competition. If we go there, and do nothing about it, we would drop first round. One of our player said, ‘I got this stuff, Piracetam.’”

In this article I share a true story from a professional Counter-Strike player, let’s call him “Mike,” about doping in eSport. How far down the rabbit hole do we go? Read his experience, and learn about the types of compounds called “smart-drugs” or cognitive enhancers. Almost all of which are banned in traditional sport, and many of which are illegal to use recreationally.

At the end I also share how YOU can enhance your performance, legally, using cutting edge research to maximize your play. I share the best practices learned from my experiences as a sport psych trainer, my years a high-level professional coach and athlete, and my personal experiments in elite performance.

What drives our sense of fairness in sport, as fans? As athletes?

Doping has long been a problem in traditional sports. Lance Armstrong went through nearly seven years of extensive cover-up of his steroid and blood modification in order to win a record number of Tour de France races. His high-profile case has combined with issues now faced in football, which has cross-national leagues, to force sporting organizations to come together across national and sporting boundaries to try to solve the issue. The World Anti-Doping Agency is an example of how far the movement has progressed.

At the heart of doping is fairness. Athletes on the line look around and wonder, “Who is using? Who has an unfair advantage?” And it doesn’t stop with just the athletes. In 2014 a minor blogger broke one of the most major doping stories of 2014.

Rita Jeptoo got her first taste of victory in 2006, when she won the Boston Marathon with the smallest margin of victory in history, only 10 seconds. It was an exciting finish for what looked like a budding new champion. Emerging in 2004, Rita had taken her first victory in Sweden and gone on to a three-year string of victories.

But after a time the running got more competitive. Rita could not top the podium anymore. In fact she fell off the podium completely. By 2013 all of her effort had amounted to nothing, and in her desperation she turned to performance enhancing drugs.

“We knew that it wasn’t legal, but we also knew they would do no test. Since it was our only source of income, getting good results at these LAN tournaments was pretty important.”

“He went to his doctor and said he had trouble concentrating for a long period of time in school, kinda making up a drama. I never took any sort of pills before in my life. When I took them the first time, the level of concentration I was able to pull off. It was amazing.”

Rita won. She won again. All her training and effort finally had its outlet. But it was short-lived. In 2014 she tested positive in a drug test, and the way her story broke reveals to us in eSports how doping might affect those who play, and those who watch the game.

The story was broken by a small running blog, RunBlogRun by Larry Eder. Although his sources checked out, he still put his business on the line to publish the article. When asked why he had taken the risk, Larry replied, “If I buy a pair of $150 running shoes from Nike, part of that money goes to sports marketing… She’s getting paid for sports marketing, so she’s not only stealing from me. She’s stealing from Nike, she’s stealing money from the entire running community.

Larry published his post moments before another payment to Rita for her win was to be handed over.

Doping in sport is essentially seen as cheating. Unfair advantage runs deeply in our psychology as athletes, and as fans. Those of us who want to strive and who want to watch champions, we believe that effort should be rewarded, and that the most beautiful sight is one who has striven hard is justly rewarded for their efforts.

It is with this history that doping, as a concept, is making its way into eSports. But the road is marred with confusing complications.

“Shortly after we set up, we went to the bathroom together. It was kind of like, this illegal feeling. The adrenaline pump when you drink alcohol for the first time when you’re 14.”

“The first round we played against a French team. On paper we had no chance of beating them. We went 16 and 1. We only gave up 1 round.”

Trouble on the Horizon: Academic Doping

Cognitive enhancement is the term for using drugs to increase mental endurance or agility. With the advent of Adderall and other ADHD drugs, and new term was coined for chemicals, nutrients, food, and also drugs that seem to have the ability to improve human cognition. Nootropics.

Students and test-takers were among the first to widely abuse stimulating drugs. There are few environments as stressful as Ivy League entrance exams and undergraduate life.

Stephen, a student at Yale, described his preparation over a meal before his planned study time, “I kind of need to carb up early, because I don’t always remember to eat again.” Five hours after popping the orange pill in his mouth, he is still zoned into his computer working on a midterm essay, and barely pausing to think as he types.

The same impression we have in the sporting community toward drugs for performance enhancement exists in academic doping. ”If I give it to you, you will be very focused,” Dr. Ralph I. Lopez, a Manhattan pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics at Weill Cornell Medical Center, says. ”The difference is, if I give it to kids who really need it, it levels the playing field.” Dr. Lopez, in a New York Times interview, compared what students are doing nowadays to what Mark McGuire did when doping on pro-hormones for steroids before their banning in baseball.

Of course athletes are afraid of getting caught, and more liable to consider the aspect of fairplay. In academic doping, however, estimates put the number of abusers between 35% and 60% of higher education students in the United States.

The solutions to the academic doping problem are difficult to see. After all, even if schools were crazy enough to institute urine screening for all their tests, the students could still simply dope during studying and drastically improve their preparation.

Some scientists have called for a shift in the perception of doping for mental enhancement. They point out that the newer wave of drugs provide improvements for memory, executive function, and alertness even for healthy adults, and that when managed there are little to no side effects. Perhaps society is ready to recognize the next step in human ingenuity, or perhaps these drugs can join things like coffee, tea, herbs, and protein powder as “acceptable” forms of extra enhancement.

Regardless of how academic doping progresses, the context of sport and eSport is entirely different.

“We combined it with lots of caffeine and we played for two days straight without dropping. We went to sleep after two days. We woke up and played a team that was way out of our league.”

“That was the first time, and as you can imagine, that wasn’t the last time. Because it helped the first time, you’re going to do it again.”

dreamhack-100 by Andrew Bell

The elephant in the room at Dreamhack and the LCS: eSports doping

Cognitive enhancement in sport is considered unfair and cheating because it is against the rules. Humans have a fundamental appreciation of fair-play, and seeing somebody have an advantage that wasn’t earned through effort, well that just ticks us off. Just as much as pissed of Larry, the running fan; enough that he was willing to risk his entire business just to expose one cheater.

So what are the challenges we face in order to make eSport a level playing field? Well first of all, there is currently no testing for live performances. In fact, currently there are not even any rules against doping. Athletes are not screened for any of the performance enhancing drugs on WADA’s list.

“The second time we did it was with Propranolol. That was the first time I doubted it was healthy for me. Your pupils were really big when you took them. That was as close to a ‘drug’ as I ever took in my life.”

Luckily, due to the way that most tournaments are starting to take place live, this is an easy problem to solve. Organizers can institute common rules used in traditional sport by copy-pasting. There are lots of companies that provide screening services for traditional sport, and it will be very easy for companies like Riot and Valve to contract them for urine screening.

Alpha BRAIN For Gaming

The harder job is how to ensure integrity throughout a training period leading up to such a tournament or league. In a system like the LCS, players will be playing in several high-stakes matches every week. They will also be training for the entire season, and cognitive enhancement drugs work fantastic during preparation time. They are not even needed in the live competition if an athlete can squeeze 6 hours of super intense training several times a week.

“When we did a boot camp for 6 days straight and we took it every day before we started to practice for 10, 11 hours. However long we wanted to. My heart was just racing, like bump-bump-bump all the time. And usually a beta blocker, like, stops that. But this time it was vice-versa for me. I kind of started to doubt the benefits from this. You know?”

“We talked to other people and they said, ‘yeah we take stuff when we do boot camps just to keep us awake and to focus on the practice.’”

How can a company or eSports league handle the complexity of athlete screening in their training environments? Unfortunately the solution is even more complex than at first glance due to the way drugs decay in the body.

2014 (Day 193 - July 12th): Now THIS is how you package a "stimulant" drink...

In order to explain the problem, you need to understand the type of drugs we are dealing with. Cognitive enhancement drugs come in a couple of broad categories:

  • Nutritional supplements — These nootropics are becoming increasingly more studied and understood. Examples include ginseng, garlic, omega-3 fatty acids, etc. Although they don’t often have immediate effects on the brain, they do have an important part to play in optimizing performance. They have the least amount of risk (usually health benefits!!), in addition to benefits on other systems in the body, such as the immune system, well-being, memory, neuroprotective effects against Parkinson’s and Alzheimers, and improved mood. Additionally, and most importantly, these are not illegal nor usually considered doping in sports.
  • Stimulants —These are the big-hitters for cognitive function. Chemicals like amphetamines (Adderall), wakefulness agents called eugeroics, xanthines like caffeine, and even nicotine. Using most of these without a perscription is a crime, and using them in sport is considering doping according to WADA. However, unlike steroids, which leave a lasting mark in the body, these chemicals decay and can only be screened for when they are being used.
  • Racetams — Named for all sharing a similar nucleus, Racetams are not well understood. Originally they were semi-effective compounds that, through some unknown mechanism, made the brain fire in crazy ways. They seem to mess with nervous system receptor or neurotransmitters. Since they started off as over-the-counter aids, most of these are considered legal, over-the-counter supplements. However, through refinement some of the newer racetams have effects nearly as strong as Adderall, so strong that they have been banned by WADA as performance enhancers.
  • Miscellaneous — Drugs such as beta-blockers and various others which have side effects that benefit performance. Beta-blockers help keep your pulse down and prevent stage fright, but are much more dangerous than things like Racetams and stimulants.

Because racetams are not illegal, and stimulants are readily accessible, it is easy for teams to adopt and use these chemicals for training. Additionally, because they decay rapidly and do not leave a lot of testable markers, they would have to be screened by randomized testing during training sessions, most likely at the athlete’s house. Similar to the way professional cyclers are tested.

“As far as I know Ritalin is a big thing now. It started back then and it only went further. There’s no way people are not using.”

If eSport companies and leagues want to attack doping in their sport, they will have to approach it from many different angles. Education, screening, and rules regarding violations. In my opinion, education is the most overlooked part of doping control. A comprehensive education campaign would be targeted at coaches, pro players, and fans. It should include information clearing up the benefits of different drugs, while laying out the risks to health and career development. Coaches and team management are the most crucial people to target with strong professional development, since they will be the people who facilitate or hamper a doping culture on the team.

Another key part of education is helping pro and amateur players optimize their performance without taking drugs. The main motivation for doping is because people want to win. They want all their training and effort to pay off. They want to ensure that they can perform at their peak when it really counts.

“I think it’s a really big thing. I curious if my team takes such things, because I know that they take something.”

Stimulants provide a surefire, prepackaged way to do that quickly. However, athletes can also take pride in maximizing their performance through legal and acceptable means. The only problem is that it’s hard to sort through all the conflicting information and choose the best practices. It’s a lot easier to just pop a pill.

How to maximize your performance: Legal doping

The core elements of maximizing performance involve: adequate activity, nutrition, sleep, and managing the use of legal nutritional supplements.
Sleeping fennec fox

Sleep

For performance purposes, sleep is crucial to longevity of focus. The typical person has a limit to the amount of focus they can achieve in a single day before needing to “recharge” with sleep. Something less than 6 hours at 100%. Sleep quality can be measured by how long the autonomic nervous system is active. By contrast, daytime stress activates the sympathetic nervous system, which means the brain is engaged and ready with all hormones firing. It is only through this resting with the autonomic nervous system active that your “focus” is recharged.

  • Don’t drink before bed — Studies show it keeps the sympathetic nervous system turned on. Net rest = 0. Net mental recharging = 0.
  • Sleep is cumulative — If you normally have good sleep, don’t worry about missing 1-2 nights before a big performance. If your normally have bad sleep, it doesn’t matter if you get really good sleep the night before your match, you’ll probably be groggy and tired.
  • Routines are key — You waste potential sleep time as your brain “calm down” from the sympathetic nervous system to the autonomic one. Research shows that going to bed at the exact same time every night, you can “calm down” in just thirty minutes.
  • Don’t drink caffeine or exercise vigorously 1 hour prior to sleep — Studies shows that it doesn’t matter if you fall asleep. Your brain will still be active. (NOTE: It’s still better to go to bed, even if you did exercise or drink. Don’t stay awake just because you think sleeping is a waste. More sleep is always better than less sleep.)
  • Use technology to track sleep quality — Be aware of what is going on and can experiment properly. Some tools only take movement triggers, which is decent. The best ones will measure heart-rate variability (NOT heart rate beats-per-minute, but variability). Those are the tools that can give you exact information. One of the forefront companies in the world for this technology is FirstBeat http://www.firstbeat.com/
How to adjust time zones

As an athlete, you have a duty to properly understand time-zone adjustment and how it affects performance. Do not rely on random advice from businessmen and family members. Here are the scientific basics:

  1. More sleep is better than less sleep (see Sleep is Cumulative above). NEVER stay up ahead of time to try to adjust your time zone correctly. Always default to sleeping MORE to adjust your time zone.
  2. Use melatonin supplements like Melatonin 5 from Onnit to regulate your hormones.
  3. Don’t stress out too much. Research shows it takes approximately 2 weeks for the body to chemically adjust to a new time zone (without supplementation). The only way to accelerate this process is by sleeping more. However, you will never adjust in 2 days. It just won’t happen. So accept it and accept that you have to perform anyway. Ensure that you have good sleep in the month leading up to the event, and then just take the two-days of bad rest as part of the trial.
  4. Use caffeine and vitamin C in order to stay alert during performance. Ensure your blood-glucose remains steady by eating small energy snacks often.

 

Supplements on supermarket shelf

Nutrition and supplementation

Alpha BRAIN For Gaming

You are what you eat. Modern genetic research has revealed that our diets express our genetic code and help decide in what way our bodies are structured at the cellular level. Some of that you cannot impact, since it occurs in the womb and depends on what our mothers ate. But for somebody who wants to optimize performance, deciding what you eat is important.

  • Do not over-eat sugar — It damages the brain. It has negative effects on focus, concentration, memory, and learning.
  • Use supplements, but cycle them — The body likes to be efficient. For example, if you take Vitamin D supplements, the body will stop making Vitamin D. If you take a hormone replacement, the body goes “Great! Let’s free up some resources!” and reduces production. Use supplements to boost key training periods, and cycle off them to let the body reset its feedback loops.
  • Model your diet after mixed-martial artists — These elite performers have all the weight-control elements of boxers, but since MMA recently came onto the scene they do not have as many bad habits. Using modern science the field has mastered the art of 100% efficient eating. Two key principles stolen from my favorite athlete are to base your diet on leafy greens and to eat meat that was naturally-fed (grass for beef and grubs for chickens).
  • My recommended key supplements — {This information has been updated. See below.}

VISIT MY UPDATED PAGE ON SUPPLEMENTATION IN ESPORT TO MAXIMIZE COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE ENHANCEMENT WITH LEGAL NOOTROPICS

Learn More about Nootropics

Cognitive Performance Enhancement through nutrition

 

Free Treadmill - St. Paul

Exercise or Physical Activity

Lots of people only think of exercise when I suggest moving the body around. But the brain doesn’t care if you are in the gym or walking to the store to get milk. If you can’t be disciplined to exercise, then physical activity is all you need to be body and mind healthy. Just build it into your day so you can’t avoid it. For example, I have a standing desk and I make sure when I want a snack or something I walk to the store to get it. That’s all the body needs to stay non-sedentary and promote health and cognitive enhancement.

  • 3x sessions of 10-minutes per day — As far as health is concerned, it’s the same as 1×30-minute session, but it’s easier to manage.
  • Low intensity physical activity — For brain and cellular health, you don’t need vigorous exercise. You just need to move. Walking, standing, and dancing are fine.
  • Don’t sit more than an hour — It doesn’t matter how much you exercise if you go sit for 6 hours straight afterwards. Research shows that after 55 minutes of sitting genetic damage starts occurring. The human body is not designed to be still. It falls apart. Stand or move every hour, no matter what!
  • Morning activity is crucial — For maximum learning, engage the brain routinely every morning with a walk or activity. Reap the cognitive benefits for the next 8-12 hours.

 

coffee

Optimizing a live competition

Preparing for a normal day of training is fine. But how do you take it up a notch to make sure you can show up when it counts?

Coffee (with taurine and theanine supplementation) versus Energy drinks

Energy drinks are the preferred caffeine source for eSport athletes. However, they are far from the best. Drinking an energy drink to optimize performance is like shooting yourself in the foot to get out of the military. Sure, it works, kind of. But at what cost?

  1. Energy drinks have sugar — Sugar spikes glucose in the blood. It causes insulin production to increase and thus cause fatigue due to low blood sugar shortly after. (Requiring another energy drink. These companies aren’t stupid, people. They know EXACTLY what they are doing.)
  2. Energy drinks have sugar — Does this look familiar? Sugar forms free radicals in the brain and reduces neurons ability to communicate with each other. It affects everything from memory and focus to mood and strategic decision-making.
  3. Energy drinks have no additional health benefits — Coffee, on the other-hand, has a myriad of health benefits. Coffee drinkers have lower rates of diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, depression, and cancer! They have healthier livers, better moods, and live longer than non-coffee drinkers. There are over 200 chemicals in coffee beans, and scientists are just beginning to understand how this super-food functions.

Coffee is a super-food, and taurine is a cognitive enhancer and has a myriad of health benefits.

Most energy drinks do contain taurine and caffeine. However, they don’t have any other benefits. Here’s a list of Redbull’s ingredients:

  • caffeine
  • taurine
  • B-vitamins
  • sugar (Unless you buy the sugar-free variety, in which case it has carcinogenic sweeteners.)
By the way, you don’t have to stop with normal coffee.

You can improve coffee from a health standpoint with supplements. However, the taste becomes… questionable 😉

Sweetness: Add Stevia if you need your coffee sweet to drink it. DO NOT use sugar or artificial sweeteners.

Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids: Add 15-13 grams of butter from grass-fed cows. Butter is a better option than cream, as it doesn’t contain casein proteins, and it has much more fat. Unfortunately butter from grain-fed cows is missing Omega-3 and Omega-6 lipid molecules (fat). If you can not find grass-fed cow butter than it’s better to use a fish-oil supplement. These fats are important for neruon-myelin health , and crucial for elite performance.

Medium-chain triglycerides: Add 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (another lipid molecule, fat) that have been demonstrated in studies to convert into ketones (see below) in the bloodstream. The result is some ketosis in the brain, improved brain functioning, cognitive enhancement, and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease!

Here’s a quick intro-course on the brain. Our neurons are powered on 1 thing. Blood glucose. Fat molecules are too large to fit through the blood-brain barrier. However, our brain didn’t want to rely on only glucose to survive (remember if the brain shuts off, we die). After all, we can only store a limited amount of glucose in our livers! So the brain is configured to burn ketones for fuel if we ever end up starving for days at a time and run out of glucose. Ketosis is both a beneficial and dangerous state for the body to be in. There are benefits to ketosis, and huge, huge damage to the body if ketones go out of control. You will probably never enter ketosis in your life, but feel free to read up on it if you are interested. For authoritative information try interviews or writings by Dr. Peter Attia or visit the Reddit Keto community.

Water and the Myth of the Camel Hump

Hydration as a concept is majorly misunderstood.

During World War II the US military basically had free rein to pursue any and all avenues for victory. One interesting result of that era was a very unethical set of tests on dehydration conducted with soldiers in the Nevada Desert. Teams were dressed up in combat gear and sent out to perform various tasks, with different groups given varying amounts of water.

The results of these studies have withstood all future research findings. However, they have also at times been greatly exaggerated or completely ignored by advice-givers, coaches, and even other scientists.

As a result, most recommendations about when to drink, how much to drink, and WHY to drink are based on bad myths, bad assumptions, and bad best-practices.

As an athlete focused on performance, you have to take matters into your own hands. Educate yourself on how hydration affects your performance. First let me cover some basics about hydration.
219/365 - Mattel MONSTER HIGH Series: Lagoona Blue Hydration Station

Hydration 101 – WATER CAN KILL YOU!

In January of 2007, two radio hosts ran a little contest to give away a Nintendo Wii. It was supposed to be harmless. “Hold your Wee for a Wii.”

Instead it turned into an “ignorance kills” situation. Shortly after the contest began, experts began calling in to warn them, “Those people that are drinking all that water can get sick and possibly die.”

The disc jockeys laughed it off. “Can you get water poisoning and, like, die?” “Not with water.” “Your body is 98 percent water. Why can’t you take in as much water as you want?” “Maybe we should have research this before,” …

Yes indeed. “She said to one of our supervisors that she was on her way home and her head was hurting real bad. She was crying.” That was the last anyone heard from Jennifer Strange, a new mother of an 11-month old who was participating in the contest to win a Wii for her family.

Despite nurses calling in to warn the show, and the radio station being aware of the health risk before-hand, nothing was done to stop the contest. A jury has since awarded a $16.5 million lawsuit against the corporation, hoping to prevent such occurrences in the future.

Like a camel, but not like you think

The human body is designed, as a camel is, to function in a constant state of minor dehydration. It is impossible to over-hydrate the body. If you drink too much water, the body will protect itself by leaving the water in the gut, undigested. In the cases where the body is forced to take the water into the blood stream, death occurs via water intoxication.

Camels, contrary to popular belief, do not store extra water inside their humps. Just like humans, camels drink when they are thirsty, and stop drinking near 100% hydration when the water-electrolyte balance of the body is perfect. Humans, however, begin to suffer organ failure at levels near 15% dehydration. A camel can tolerate dehydration in their body close to 30%; that is their desert-running secret.

Hydration 201 – The Brain’s Safety Triggers

Let’s start with the fundamental findings of our desert research:

  1. Even when given free access to fluids, the soldiers drank less than they were losing, and only their bodies only corrected after they finished the task and ate food.
  2. Fatigue (mental) increased as dehydration increased. Future studies have confirmed that fatigue progresses from approximately 3% to 7%, and then at 7-10% activity ceases.
  3. At around 7% when activity ceased, the soldiers were able to immediately resume activity if they drank a little bit and rested. This happened before the water would have been properly digested. Thus it was revealed that this fatigue and the ceasing of activity was a mental protection, and once the brain knew that water was on the way it allowed activity to continue.
  4. Actual bodily damage and organ failure began at around 15% to 20% dehydration.

So what can we learn from this?

First of all, studies have since confirmed that water ingestion during periods of adrenaline controlled activity (such as competition) is not 100% digested. So even if you try to drink more water, you will only digest what your body wants to, and the rest will remain in your gut. Only afterwards when you enter a resting state will your digestion return to normal.

My recommendation is that you should probably not drink at all during games, and that immediately after a match you should consume a very small energy drink or energy bar and a couple sips of an electrolyte drink (like Gatorade).

Keep in mind that although you do use water, you won’t be sweating, and so the only water your body loses will be  through urination. Everything that goes in has to come out… Balance your intake around not interrupting your concentration with bladder control!

Secondly, the fatigue and disorientation from dehydration are primarily mental. Which means that simply reassuring the brain you have access to water is suitable. There’s no need to guzzle a water bottle when you are feeling light-headed. Simply take a sip of water.

Thirdly, the body knows what it needs. Drink when you are thirsty, ensure that you DO NOT drink when you are not thirsty.

Keep in mind that food provides water and hydration as well. In fact, it is one of the primary ways that humans get their H2O. Additionally, one of the by-products of the energy production cycle in the cell (the Krebs cycle) is H20. So you are literally creating water as you break down glucose. This is one of the facts that has made it difficult for scientists to properly study hydration and dehydration in elite sport over the past half-a-century.
west-end.non-disabled.vegetarian.2011-july-13.1200p

What do you do if you are sick on the day of a tournament?

Vitamin C and Zinc are the biggest boosters for the immune system and the brain’s performance. Here is my exact recommendation, adapted from a Reddit.com response I gave last week:

  • Take a multi-vitamin — An immune system boosting multi-vitamin such as Bion3 or Bion restore. The key ingredients to check for are pro-biotic bifidobacterium and lactobacilli and zinc.
  • Make sure you get vitamin C.
  • Use a decongestant — Leading up to the match use a non-drowsy sinus medication to ensure no pressure headaches develop. Colds cause the sinuses to swell, leading to pressure and pain, hampering the ability to concentrate and inducing a runny nose. The best decongestant to take is a nasal spray. Sudafed is not ideal as it can cause over excitation. Avoid antihistamines as they cause drowsiness.
  • Take an acetaminophen (paracetamol) or other painkiller such as aspirin before the match. BE CAREFUL THERE IS NO ACETAMINOPHEN IN THE DECONGESTANT OR YOU WILL OVERDOSE.
  • Drink coffee with a taurine supplement of 500-1000mg.
  • AVOID SUGAR INTAKE!
  • Make sure that your blood glucose remains on even keel during the matches with small carbohydrate + fat snacking, such as crackers + cheese or an energy-gell or an energy-bar.

Get an infographic with the core optimization tips presented in this article. Use it as a handy reference when you play!

MindGamesGG - Optimize Thumb

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I would love to hear your story about doping in eSports. If you want to share, please contact me at my email address, weldontgreen@gmail.com. I promise complete anonymity.

If you have any other questions or experiences you wish to share please visit the comments below.

Weldon-Green3Weldon is a qualified sport psychologist, and has also coached swimming professionally, training several national ranked, special- and para- olympic athletes. Currently he works in Finland and provides mental skills training for several eSports teams. For more, visit his about page and read his story.

Photo attribution: drug redux by Phoenix Dark-Knight

References:

(2008). Towards responsible use of cognitive-enhancing drugs by the health, Nature, 456, 702–705.

Lore of Running by Timothy Noakes

How a fringe running blog broke the Chicago Marathon doping story by Lauren Larson.

(2009). Caffeine and taurine enhance endurance performance, International Journal of Sports Medicine, 30(7), 485–488.

(2013). Energy drink ingredients. Contribution of caffeine and taurine to performance outcomes, Appetite, 64(1), 1–4.