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Physically Thrive With These Supplements

At the age of 47, I’m always looking for that extra something to give me an edge in my workouts to improve my results, alleviate or mitigate joint and ligament pain, improve my recovery, and prevent injuries. In recent years, I’ve found a few tricks to help me build strength while avoiding injury. For instance, I now make sure to warm up prior to lifting.  Other aspects that have paid dividends include paying attention to my body, lifting to failure during as many sets as possible, and drinking plenty of water. But what I want to discuss today is supplementation.

For the past year, I’ve embraced consuming protein, often low cholesterol, whey isolate, within 30 minutes of completing my workout. That alone has paid huge dividends. While my weight has remained the same, my waist has lost an inch or two and my strength has significantly improved. Honestly, I haven’t pushed this much weight since my 20’s.

So, what else can be done to further supplement our bodies and improve results while reducing our chances for injury? Here are some recommendations from a recent YouTube Video that was put out by Gravity Transformation. In this video, Max Posternak shares several supplements that are worth consideration. Consequently, if you are not familiar with Gravity Transformation, I highly recommend you subscribe to the company’s YouTube Channel for its great content on overall health improvement, strength training, and fat loss. And I say that as someone with no affiliation to the channel.

Let’s talk about the supplements. I will break them down below, but if you want to take a pause and go watch the video and then come back here for the links to buy them, I understand. In the video, the supplements are mentioned in the following order: magnesium citrate (0:37), L- carnitine (2:18), creatine (2:59), Ashwagandha (4:29), casein (5:55), and Fish oil (10:47). For each of these supplements, I will offer the recommended serving and best time to consume. Most of these are Post-Workout, meaning the time period roughly 30 minutes to an hour following your workout. For instance, I usually finish my garage workout and then head into the kitchen and breakout the blender. If I wanted to take a shower first, that would be okay. Otherwise, I indicate a time period following Post-Workout or something like when you consume your next meal.

Magnesium Citrate (200-400 MG, Post-Workout). This is one of those supplements that most Americans don’t get enough of. The deficit seems to be worse for athletes because magnesium is something you lose through sweat and urine, and if you are drinking water and pushing yourself in the gym–like you are supposed to–magnesium is literally pouring out of your body. One study cited in Gravity Transformation’s video stated that athletes who undergo strenuous activity may need as much as 10-20% more magnesium than their sedentary counterparts. However, magnesium is needed for muscle repair, which is something strength training athletes require frequently. When you consume Magnesium Citrate for best results? Post workout is the answer. Doing so helps improve muscle recovery, and it has been shown to suppress the sympathetic nervous system, which can relieve stress. Other variants of magnesium supplements include Magnesium Chloride, Magnesium Lactate, Magnesium Gluconate, and Magnesium Aspartate, but you may want to avoid Magnesium Oxide due to poor absorption and stomachache complaints. As a cautionary aside, Magnesium Citrate can also contribute to abdominal pains and diarrhea as it is also known as a powerful laxative. Make sure you are at home before you enjoy that Post-Workout supplement.

L-carnitine L-Tartrate (2,000 MG or 2 Grams, Post-Workout). Research has shown that this supplement can help reduce muscle damage and soreness while enhancing muscle repair. By improving blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscle tissue, L-carnitine serves to alleviate muscle injury and cellular damage, reduce free radical formation, and help reduce muscle soreness. Maybe I should have been supplementing this stuff before all those chest strains started getting the better of me. No worries, I’m better now and moving forward. According to, “L-carnitine L-tartrate increases fatty acid oxidation and reduces purine catabolism and free radical formation, which may prevent exercise fatigue, muscle weakness, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, and hyperlipoproteinemia.” Still, it is not without possible side effects and some you watch include upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, muscle pain/weakness, swelling of hands/lower legs/feet, tingling skin, or body odor (“fishy” smell).

Creatine Monohydrate (5 Grams, Post-Workout). Undoubtedly, you’ve already heard of creatine. Chances are you have already supplemented with it. Creatine is well known for its strength and muscle mass enhancing benefits. It also helps reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and soreness, which is something I can appreciate after a leg day. Creatine helps your muscles during recovery, and since recovery is when your muscles grow, its best to take Creatine after your workouts. I’ll be honest here. Before watching the Gravity Transformation video, I thought pre-workout was where you consumed your Creatine. It is hard to argue with research though, and studies have shown that creatine supplementation post workout was superior (yes, they said superior) to consuming creatine immediately before strength training. While five grams per day is recommended initially, the amount can be dropped to three grams after three to four weeks to maintain your muscles saturation levels. Check out the video for other loading options. Finally, when it comes to Creatine options, Creatine Monohydrate is the most well researched with the results of that research indicating it is the most effective. As far as safety is concerned, according to WebMD, “Doses up to 10 grams daily for up to 5 years have been safely used. Side effects might include dehydration, upset stomach, and muscle cramps.”

Ashwagandha (600 MG, Post-Workout). Okay. I have never heard of this stuff before watching the Gravity Transformation video. Apparently, it is a great supplement for our Sympathetic Nervous System (aka our “Fight or Flight” nervous system), which stimulates our heart rate, adrenalin, and cortisol levels. These can often get revved up after a workout, and that isn’t good for recovery. Instead, we are looking to activate our Parasympathetic Nervous System (aka our “Rest and Digest” nervous system). Some studies have shown this supplement to reduce cortisol levels by as much as 28% while also reducing anxiety and mental stress. Like our other mentioned supplements, Ashwagandha has also been shown to help reduce exercise induced muscle damage and reduce recovery time. According to WebMD, Ashwagandha contains chemicals that might help calm the brain, reduce swelling, lower blood pressure, and alter the immune system. Another benefit found in a 2019 study in the Heart Mind Journal, researchers found that Ashwagandha (50 and 100 mg/kg) treatment for 21 days significantly attenuated PTSD-induced decrease in the corticosterone levels in a dose-dependent manner. Of course, when it comes to side effects, like many other supplements, you need to watch for nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea.

Casein or Whey (20-40 Grams, Post-Workout). We all need protein to repair and grow muscle. Protein also helps curve hunger and accelerate fat loss. Studies have also shown it is best to consume protein within 30 minutes to an hour following your workout. This timing even benefits athletes who already consume enough protein throughout the day since it helps to maintain a positive protein turnover rate following workouts. This turnover rate equates to ensuring your protein synthesis exceeds protein breakdown within your muscles. Casein represents a great supplement for providing the protein you need. Whey protein is another alternative if you tend to train on an empty stomach, which is often the case for me, due to its fast absorption. Taste and consistency may be better with Whey Isolate protein as well. Like I mentioned earlier, I’m pushing as much weight in my high 40’s as I ever did in my prime 20’s. However, if you are already consuming protein prior to your workout, Casein has been shown to be the better choice. Apparently, Casein does a better job of slowing down muscle protein breakdown, even if it has a clumpy texture, lack luster taste, and higher cost when compared to Whey.  Consumption of Casein or Whey should be part of your total protein consumption for the day, which is roughly 0.7–1 gram per pound (1.6–2.2 grams per kg) of lean mass–not total body weight.

Fish Oil (1-2 Grams, Post-Workout Meal). An excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Fish Oil has been shown to improve muscle growth, performance, and lean body mass. It also helps reduce chronic inflammation and cortisol while increasing testosterone and improving processes for protein storage (including protein synthesis) or oxidation. Additionally, Omega-3’s have been shown to increase fat oxidation rates and metabolism. If you are already eating at least 500 grams of fish per week, you are probably getting enough Omega-3’s. However, if you aren’t, supplementing with 1-2 grams of combined DHA and EPA in the form of fish oil during your Post-Workout meal could help. Combining it with fats like avocado during your meal has been shown to increase its potency. According to WebMD, fish oil side effects include heartburn, loose stools, and nosebleeds, but taking fish oil supplements with meals can reduce these issues. Also, pay attention to your intake, more than three (3) grams daily might increase the chance of bleeding.

If you watch the video, you will notice that I left off discussing Tart Cherry Powder. In the video, even Max indicates the jury is out on this supplement, and when I looked up the side effects, they included excessive hunger, nervousness, and memory loss among others. Hence, I decided to leave it off my list. I doubt I will try it anytime soon. But, if you have some great results from it, let me know in the reviews section.  Additionally, if you have PTSD and are supplementing with Ashwagandha, let me know how it’s working for you.

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