Maximizing Training Potential


Vitamins and Supplements 


Someone’s way of living; the things that a person usually does.


At Primal Strength and Conditioning our general philosophy on nutrition can be boiled down to three words:


Without a doubt, this is where EVERYONE should start!

What exactly does it mean to just “eat real food”?

I think its safe to assume that by now most people know that the first step is to eliminate fast food, fried foods, packaged/processed foods, sugary desserts, sodas, tobacco, excessive alcohol (I would say ALL alcohol, but that freaks some people out ;)).

What many people don’t know are the dangers of hidden sugars, sugar alcohols, artificial sweeteners, corn and corn syrup, toxic vegetable oils, energy drinks, drinking your calories, illegal and over the counter medications…

I do not believe in fad diets or diets that have a name or a title. I have tried them ALL over my 52+ years. 

Most of them work for a period of time, but are not sustainable and most are not healthy. 

What we should all be aiming for is a healthy sustainable lifestyle (not “diet”) that promotes wellness, fights disease, strengthens the immune system and builds muscle.

Of what does real food consist? 

The founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, pretty much nailed it on the head: “eat meats, vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar”.

*This can be dialed in and personalized to help you meet your specific aesthetic, fitness and health goals.

The simplicity of this way of eating blends optimum performance and health. 

Do Consume:

Meat, fowl, fish, seafood, eggs, vegetables (the more colorful the better), herbs and spices as well as animal fats, olives & olive oil, avocados, and coconut (meat, oil, flour).


Eating enough protein is vital for optimal health, as this along with proper sleep is how our bodies create new cells and tissues. 

Protein is particularly important for maintenance of a healthy body weight.

A high protein intake boosts our metabolic rate (calorie burn) while making us feel full. 

Protein can also reduce cravings and the desire to snack late at night.

We should consume at least 1 gram of protein per lb. of lean body mass.

 The way to maximize muscle growth, recovery, hormonal control and ideal body composition is to provide the body with adequate protein.

HGH and testosterone are potent muscle growth promoters. 

Whey Protein is a fast acting protein and a good supplement when trying to achieve 1 gram of protein per lb. of lean body mass.

Supplementing with a high quality hydrolyzed whey protein isolate is a great way to get in that extra protein. 

Post workout meals should contain proteins and carbohydrates and in order to take advantage of growth and recovery potential, recovery meals should be consumed within 1 hour of working out.

*I personally am lactose intolerant and rarely consume any dairy products. 

I will consume only the highest quality hydrolyzed whey protein isolate which has had the casein and lactose removed. 

Individuals with autoimmune disease should avoid dairy products of any kind. 

For those without autoimmune diseases, dairy from grass-fed animals may be permissible, with raw dairy being ideal. 

If using butter, avoid ALL artificial or “diet” butters or butter substitutes. 

The only butter product that I suggest using is grass fed Kerrygold Pure Irish Butter.  

You may choose to experiment with milk, but eliminate it if it is found to be problematic.

All proteins are composed of amino acids.

There are 20 relevant amino acids; 

11 are nonessential and 9 are essential; 

of those 9, 

3 are branched chain amino acids. (BCAAs) – leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

Protein and amino acids are used to augment muscle size and recovery by increasing rates of muscle protein synthesis. 

MPS is the process by which new muscle proteins are formed and a muscle grows or repairs at the molecular level. 


Fish is a great source of high-quality protein and healthy fat. 

This is particularly true of fatty fish, such as salmon, which is loaded with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids and various other nutrients 

People who eat fish regularly have a lower risk for several conditions, including heart disease, dementia, and inflammatory bowel disease. 


Despite the constant controversy over eggs and health, 

it has been proven to be a myth that eggs are bad for you because of their cholesterol content. 

Studies show that they have minimal effect on blood cholesterol in the majority of people, and they’re a great source of protein and nutrients.

Studies also show that egg consumption has no association with risk of heart disease. 


EVOO is one of the healthiest oils you can use. It’s loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and powerful antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory properties.

Evidence has shown that people who consume EVOO have a lower risk for dying from heart attacks and strokes.


There is a wide variety of natural herbs and spices and they are more available and easy to find these days than ever before. 

Herbs and spices provide robust flavor and offer numerous health benefits. 

Ginger and turmeric both have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which may help improve your overall health. 

Due to their amazing health benefits, we should aim to include a wide variety of herbs and spices in our diet.


Nuts, seeds, and fruit.

When consuming nuts and nut butters choose macadamias, almonds and hazelnuts. 

Avoid cashews, peanuts and peanut butter. 

Consume fruits that have a high metabolic fructose content very sparingly. 

Berries are the best options. 



Avoid all varieties of wheat, barley, rye, corn (maize), white, wild and brown rice and legumes.

Grain-like substances or pseudocereals. 

Pseudocereals are the seeds of broad leaf plants whereas grains are the seeds of grasses.

Processed foods:

Processed foods are foods containing ingredients that are significantly modified from their original form. 

They often contain additives like added sugar, highly refined oil, salt, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors.

Examples include:

  • snack cakes
  • fast food
  • frozen meals
  • canned foods
  • chips

Processed foods taste good and are easily overeaten, and activate reward-related regions in the brain, 

which can lead to excess calorie consumption and weight gain. 

Diets high in processed food can contribute to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses. 

In addition to low quality inflammatory ingredients like artificial trans fats and added sugar, refined grains are usually low in fiber, protein, and micronutrients.

Therefore, providing mostly empty calories.

Added sugars:

Added sugar is extremely prevalent in modern food and drinks. 

A high intake of sugar is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. 

We should aim to keep sugar intake to 20 grams or less per day for optimal health. 

Refined carbs:

Not all carbs are created equal.

Refined carbs have been highly processed to remove their fiber.

They are low in nutrients and known to harm our health when eaten in excess.

 Most processed foods are made from refined carbs, like processed corn, white flour, and added sugars.

A diet high in refined carbs is linked to overeating, weight gain, and chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

Artificial trans fats:

Artificial trans fats are harmful, man-made fats that are strongly linked to inflammation and heart disease.

A performance based nutritional approach is critical for success in the gym and for long-term health. 

Making progress with any training program starts with proper nutrition. 

The key to gaining muscle, increased strength, and overall health come from paying attention to what you put in your body. 

The problem most people have is that the popular nutritional culture in this country is far from ideal. 

We have been lied to about health and nutrition by our government and the medical and pharmaceutical industry (purposely not pluralized) our entire lives and that has been scientifically proven over and over again. 

This is a path to obesity and illness. 

Recovery and muscle gains cannot happen with poor nutrition.

The American Dietetics Association recommends a high-carb, low fat, grain-based diet.

This is a pro-inflammatory diet, counterproductive for muscle growth, recovery and performance and leads to excess body fat.

Grains and dairy cause stomach problems for most people and play havoc on your body’s chemistry. 

Removing gluten improves digestion and improves recovery.


Diets are generally ineffective and rarely work well long term.

In fact, past dieting is one of the strongest predictors for future weight gain.

This is because overly restrictive diets actually lower your metabolic rate, or the amount of calories you burn, making it more difficult to lose weight.

At the same time, they also cause alterations to your hunger and satiety hormones, which make you hungrier and may cause strong food cravings for foods high in fat, calories, and sugar.

All of this is a recipe for rebound weight gain, or “yoyo” dieting.

Instead of dieting, try adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Focus on nourishing your body instead of depriving it.

Weight loss should follow as you transition to whole, nutritious foods — which are naturally more filling while containing fewer calories than processed foods.


The only way to know exactly how many calories we eat is to weigh and or measure our food and use a nutrition tracker. 

Estimating portion sizes and calorie intake is unreliable.

Tracking makes it easy to manage macro and micro-nutrient intake. 

Evidence suggests that people who track their food intake tend to be more successful at achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

I can help you determine what is right for your body, your goals and your needs and help you learn how to eat in a way that is sustainable for life, develop a healthy relationship with food, provide you with shopping lists, how to stock your kitchen and pantry and even provide you with up to 4 months worth of recipes for 3 beautiful, colorful and delicious real whole food meals per day. 



Excessive belly fat known as visceral fat, is a uniquely harmful type of fat distribution that is linked to an increased risk of cardiometabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Our waist-to-hip ratio may be a much stronger marker of health than our weight.

Cutting carbs, eating more protein and fiber, and reducing stress (which can reduce cortisol, a stress hormone that triggers abdominal fat deposition) are all ways to help get rid of belly fat. 


Drink more water.

It’s easy to confuse thirst for hunger. 

Confusing these two can lead to eating more calories than the body needs, causing weight gain. 

If you feel hungry when you probably shouldn’t, try drinking some water first. 

If you still feel hungry, then grab a healthy snack.

Getting enough water every day is extremely important for your overall health. 

We can easily become dehydrated if we do not consume enough water. 

Dehydration can cause low energy, headaches, unclear thinking, changes in mood, the body to become overheated, constipation, urinary tract infections and kidney stones. 

Drinking enough water can help with managing body weight and reducing calorie intake when substituted for drinks with calories, such as sweet tea, soda, sugary coffee drinks, juices, energy and sports drinks.

Water helps your body:

  • Keep a normal temperature.
  • Lubricate and cushion joints.
  • Protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues.
  • Get rid of wastes through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.

Your body needs more water when you are:

  • In hot climates.
  • More physically active.
  • Running a fever.
  • Having diarrhea or vomiting

Most of our fluid intake needs to come from plain water. 

Coffee, tea, soda, milk, sports drinks, energy drinks and powders added to water do not count! 

We can get some of our fluids through eating fruits and vegetables with a high water content, but since we need to limit the amount of fruits that we eat, we can not depend on that as the main source of water consumption. 

Sugary drinks contribute to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity! 

Tips to Drink More Water

  • Carry a water bottle or bottles with you everywhere you go.
  • Buy a water jug that is marked with ounces or times of the day and make sure to drink to the appropriate line by that time each day.
  • Freeze some water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
  • Pack a small cooler with the appropriate amount of water bottles to carry with you to work, school or when traveling. 
  • PSA: you can carry frozen water bottles on an airplane. TSA will not make you throw them out if they are frozen. 
  • Always choose water over sugary drinks.
  • Order water when eating out. You’ll save money and reduce calories.
  • Make a habit to only drink water with your meals.
  • You can add a wedge of fresh lime or lemon to your water if you don’t like the taste of water. Just be careful not to over do it as the citrus acid is not good for your teeth. Drink through a straw. 


If you are thirsty, there is a great chance that you are already dehydrated. 

The amount of water that each person should drink daily differs from person to person. 

The government recommended 8 x 8 ounce glasses is VERY low. 

That is only 4) 16oz water bottles. 

A more accurate amount would be to aim for 8 x 16oz water bottles or 1 gallon of water every day. 

Some people may need as much as 1 ounce per pound of body weight. 

1 gallon is equal to 128 ounces. 

Aim for clear urine.


Sadly, getting insufficient sleep is a badge of honour in our society, yet has detrimental effects on our overall health, wellness, fitness, performance and productivity.

Sleep is essential to every process in the body, affecting our physical and mental functioning the next day, our ability to fight disease and develop immunity and our metabolism and chronic disease risk.

The most significant factor for your brain and central nervous system to function to its potential is that it is rested. 

Research has shown that sleep is a clear predictor of overall performance and productivity. 

Insufficient sleep and/or poor sleep quality can cause issues which affect physical and academic performance, cognitive function, recovery from training and injury and your mental and cardiometabolic health. 

Chronic poor sleep quality is associated with anxiety and depression. 

Studies have shown that consuming alcohol hinders sleep quality and causes interrupted sleep.

Screen use right before bed can also impact sleep quality. 

Blue light emitted from electronic devises can affect the secretion of melatonin, the hormone that helps signal to the body that it is time for sleep. 

Watching scary movies or stress inducing content can also negatively affect your sleep.

Avoid bright lights before sleep

Bright lights containing blue light wavelengths may disrupt your production of the sleep hormone melatonin. 

Wear blue light blocking glasses especially if you use a computer or other digital screen for long periods of time and avoid digital screens for an hour before going to bed.

This can help your body better produce melatonin naturally as evening progresses, helping you sleep better.

People who do not get enough sleep can have a higher risk of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity and stroke.

Studies have also shown that not getting enough quality sleep can lead to:

  • Higher levels of the hormones that control hunger
  • Decreased ability to respond to insulin
  • Increased consumption of fatty, sweet and salty foods
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Metabolic syndrome                                                                                                                                 

All of which contribute to being over weight or obese.

Sleep is needed to conduct the basic functions of life no matter what your role or occupation, so clearly it is important to get adequate sleep. 

The benefits include:

  • reduced injury rates
  • improved reaction times
  • extended careers
  • fewer mental errors and
  • better accuracy


Life can be very stressful, but in order to live a healthy life we must learn to manage stress and anxiety. 

There will always be stress, but the key to good health is being able to deal with the pressure and ensure that it doesn’t adversely affect our overall health. 

It is vital to monitor our stress levels and to become aware of the tell-tale signs in order to take action before it becomes a problem. 

Being aware of stress and its source allows us the opportunity to deal with the issues and ensure that we maintain optimal health. 

When not managed well, stress can play havoc with our mental health and ability to perform in everyday life.

Signs of stress:

  • Mood swings/irritability
  • Tension and headaches
  • Feeling helpless
  • Loss of appetite or binge eating unhealthy foods
  • Fear about our health and future
  • Lack of focus/inability to concentrate
  • Substance abuse as a coping strategy
  • Reduced energy levels
  • Difficulty sleeping 

Stress boosts hunger and causes weight gain. 

Most people overeat when feeling a lot of pressure. 

This happens due to the fight-or-flight response/ survival mode. 

Our bodies think we’ve used calories to deal with our stress, although we haven’t. 

As a result, our body thinks we need to replenish those calories, although we don’t.

Cortisol (stress hormone) rises during stressful times. 

This can turn overeating into a habit. 

Because an increased level of cortisol causes higher insulin levels, our blood sugar drops and we crave sugary, fatty foods.

Instead of choosing healthy foods we choose sugar and carbs which have a temporary calming effect. 

That’s why they’re called “comfort foods”.

It is also scientifically proven that increased cortisol levels slow the body’s metabolism, especially in women. 

If we are stressed we burn fewer calories at rest and during exercise.

More stress = more cortisol = higher appetite for sugary/fatty foods = weight gain 

Being overweight can lead to other, more serious problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke

Eat healthy, exercise, and do things that you enjoy!

Exercise, prayer and/or meditation and mindful breathing are known to help reduce stress.


Vitamin D

“The sunshine vitamin”

Due to modern technology and today’s lifestyles, most people do not get enough vitamin D.

Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D can help to optimize your health by improving bone strength, reducing symptoms of depression, strengthening your immune system, and lowering your risk for cancer.

If you are someone who spends most of your time indoors or does not spend a lot of time in the sun, your vitamin D levels may be low.

Other reasons for low vitamin D levels can include:

Lactose intolerance, dairy allergies, IBS, other conditions causing malabsorption, darker skin, vegetarian and vegan diets.

Inadequate vitamin D levels can cause rickets, weak bones and osteoporosis.

I would recommend asking your GP to order blood work tests to check your vitamin D levels.

If your levels are low you will want to take a vitamin D supplement.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, and may reduce inflammation, platelet aggregation, risk of heart disease, cancer and immuno deficiency.

Vitamin E deficiency is rare, even in those with low vitamin E intake, and occurs mostly in those with other digestive diseases as a result of malabsorption.

Vitamin E deficiency symptoms include peripheral neuropathy, skeletal, myopathy, and compromised immune function.

Supplementing with vitamin E in extremely high doses, has been observed to cause excessive bleeding.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is often suggested to be supplemented with vitamin D and calcium for bone health.

Vitamin D helps deposit calcium in bones and vitamin K helps increase bone protein, content, and improve strength, which also decreases risk of fracture.

Vitamin K may help direct calcium deposition to bones instead of the vasculature, potentially decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease.

Vitamin K deficiencies are very rare and tend to only occur in infants, or those with malabsorption disorders.

Low vitamin K status only becomes clinically relevant when it is low enough to reduce blood clotting times, and leads to excessive bleeding.

Vitamin K is not known to produce toxicities, but it does have negative interactions with warfarin and other anticoagulant drugs, which can cause dangerous, excessive, bleeding.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is also commonly supplemented as beta carotene. 

Carotene is the red-orange pigment found in vegetables and fruits that is converted to vitamin A in the body.

Vitamins A, E, D, and K are all fat soluble vitamins, therefore, should be taken with a meal containing fat.

Vitamin C

The active form of vitamin C, is L-ascorbic acid.

Vitamin C is required for collagen synthesis, protein, metabolism, and the regeneration of glutathione, the body’s primary antioxidant.

Vitamin C intake has shown about a 50% reduction in the incidence of common cold, as well as shorter duration and reduced severity.

One of vitamin C‘s primary roles is in collagen formation.

B complex vitamins

The B complex vitamins are vitamin B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin; also known as vitamin H), B9 (folate) and B12 (cobalamin).

The B complex vitamins are involved in macronutrient metabolism.

Biotin is often supplemented for hair, skin, and nail health.

Folate is involved in gene expression and is very important as a prenatal vitamin.

B12 is vital for red blood cell production.

Thiamine deficiency is most notable for producing beriberi, a condition that results in peripheral neuropathy and impaired motor function that is quickly reversed with thiamine treatment.

Riboflavin deficiency can occur in athletes and pregnant mothers, who are also vegetarian, or vegan, both of whom have increased need coupled with the potential for inadequate consumption.

Deficiency symptoms often show as endocrine (hormone) disruptions, which could also cause excess weight retention.

Vitamin B6 deficiency can occur when there is another disease such as kidney disease or alcoholism.

B6 deficiency produces anemia, dermatitis, and immune disruption.

B12 deficiency can result in anemia, and may also produce fatigue and neurological disruptions, like numbness, confusion, and poor memory.

B12 deficiency is more common in vegetarian and older adults, who have decreased intake and ability to absorb B12.


There are 16 essential minerals:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Phosphorus
  • Iodine
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Copper
  • Manganese
  • Chromium
  • Molybdenum 
  • Chloride
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Sulfur
  • Fluoride

The first 14 minerals listed are required on nutrition fact labels, and on supplement facts if claims are made about that ingredient. 

The two remaining minerals, sulfur and fluoride are unlikely to appear on a supplement facts label.


The macro minerals are calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, chloride, and sulfur. 

Macro minerals are needed in large quantities, but are not typically used as supplements unless included in trace amounts within a multivitamin.

*Calcium plays a key role in muscle contraction.

*Magnesium supplements are used to promote physical, relaxation, including reduced muscle tension and vascular tension and improved aerobic exercise capacity. 

When magnesium levels are low, muscle cramps and involuntary contractions may occur, thus magnesium may prevent or reduce muscle cramping. 

Other deficiency symptoms include fatigue, vomiting, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite, numbness, and tingling.

* Sodium, potassium and chloride are not typically supplemented for health purposes, although potassium may sometimes be supplemented to make up for insufficient intake. 

Endurance and team sport athletes most often supplement these electrolytes to replace the electrolytes lost in sweat, as either sodium chloride and potassium chloride. 

The adequate amount to ingest depends on how much a person sweats and how salty their sweat is. 

People with salty sweat can be visually identified by allowing sweat to dry on dark clothes before washing.

Salty sweat on clothes will form a white ring around the edge of the sweat when dry. 

The white ring is sodium.

Trace minerals:

The trace minerals are iron, manganese, iodine, zinc, copper, selenium, cobalt, chromium, molybdenum, and fluoride. 

Of these, iron, zinc, iodine and chromium, are the most likely to be found in supplements.

The proper use of dietary supplements, particularly multivitamin and mineral formulas, has been shown to help fill common and widespread nutrient gaps.

Omega- 3 Supplements

Omega-3 fats are one of the more thoroughly researched, dietary supplements available. 

Often supplemented as fish oil, omega three supplements may be important for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, reduction of inflammatory status, and neurological development. 

Omega-3 supplements are a type of unsaturated fatty acid with a unique physical structure. 

There are three types of omega-3: EPA, DHA, and ALA.

EPA & DHA are known as the fish oils and ALA is a plant source of omega-3 that converts to EPA and then to DHA. 

The fish oils have the greatest biological relevance, as they are biologically active forms, and only about 5 to 15% of ALA converts to EPA.


Many clients’ fitness goals center on building muscle size or strength. 

Protein and amino acids certainly help facilitate this goal, and creatine is another supplement with substantial evidence for adding mass, strength, and fatigue resistance. 

Creatine supplementation is a simple way for individuals to maximize their training potential. 

For those clients willing to push their physical limits, Creatine helps them perform additional repetitions, increasing their training volume and therefore, their stimulus for adaptation. 

Creatine is a naturally produced compound made from three amino acids: 

methionine, arginine, and glycine. 

It is produced by the liver and kidneys, but it is primarily stored in skeletal muscle where it is able to exert its primary function. 

Creatine works like a backup to ATP; it carries extra phosphagen, as a Creatine phosphate, which it uses to rephosphorylate ADP to ATP, allowing muscle fibers to continue strong contractions during approximately the first 15 seconds of exercise. 

After beginning to use Creatine, clients may notice these effects manifest as greater exercise tolerance;

for example, they are able to perform more repetitions at the same weight for a given exercise. 

Creatine monohydrate is the most common and likely most effective form of Creatine available as a dietary supplement. 

Research on creatine supports use of 5g per day, but those with greater than average muscle mass may require more, up to 10g per day.

Creatine does not need to be loaded, 

but it will begin working sooner if it is loaded, 

because it will take less time for muscles to become fully saturated. 

A common loading strategy is to supplement with 20g of creatine per day for 5 to 7 days, 

followed by a maintenance dose of 5g. 

Creatine does not need to be cycled.

It was once believed that chronic creatine supplementation would compromise endogenous production,

but that has since been disproven. 

Creatine may be supplemented by those who want to gain muscle or weight in general, strength, power output and tolerance for bouts of acute high intensity exercise. 

While endurance athletes are often reluctant to use creatine for fear of weight gain, 

Creatine supplementation has been shown to be effective for improving oxygen consumption and glycogen resynthesis with minor effects on endurance. 

Those wishing to experience some benefits of creatine without significant weight gain may supplement with 2 to 3g per day instead of 5g.

It is important to highlight that the immediate weight gain from creatine can be attributed to water weight. 

Creatine does not rapidly cause weight gain in any other body tissue compartment, despite beneficial effects on muscle tissue overtime.

No studies on healthy individuals have found increased kidney stress from Creatine supplementation, 

and for those with kidney issues, 

doses of up to 3g per day have been observed as safe for short term supplementation.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

CoQ10 is an antioxidant that our bodies produce naturally. 

Our cells use CoQ10 for growth and maintenance. 

CoQ10 plays an important role in our metabolism. 

Large organs like the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver require large stores of the nutrient to function. 

Levels of CoQ10 in our bodies decrease as we age. 

CoQ10 levels have been found to be lower in people with certain conditions, such as heart disease, and in those who take cholesterol lowering drugs called statins. 

CoQ10 is found in meat, fish and nuts. 

The amount of CoQ10 found in these dietary sources, however, isn’t enough to significantly increase CoQ10 levels in our bodies. 

CoQ10 is available as a dietary supplement. 

CoQ10 might help prevent or treat certain heart conditions as well as migraine headaches.

CoQ10 has been shown to improve symptoms of congestive heart failure, might help reduce blood pressure and research suggests that CoQ10 may help reduce low density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol levels in people with diabetes, lowering their risk of heart disease. 

Some research also suggests that CoQ10 might help ease the muscle weakness and pain sometimes associated with taking statins.

Because CoQ10 is involved in energy production, it’s believed that this supplement might improve physical performance. 

Oxidative stress can affect muscle function and thus exercise performance. 

Abnormal mitochondrial function can reduce muscle energy, making it hard for muscles to contract efficiently and sustain exercise. 

CoQ10 can help exercise performance by decreasing oxidative stress in the cells and improving mitochondrial function. 

People supplementing with 1,200mg of CoQ10 per day for 60 days showed decreased oxidative stress. 

CoQ10 can help increase power during exercise and reduce fatigue, both of which can improve exercise performance. 

CoQ10 plays a critical role in the protection of DNA and cell survival, both of which are strongly linked to cancer prevention and recurrence. 

CoQ10 lives in the mitochondria of our cells. 

Mitochondria are the main energy generators of brain cells. 

The compound aids in energy creation and transport. 

It is involved in making ATP, which is involved in energy transfer in cells. 

Mitochondrial function decreases with age. 

Mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to the death of brain cells and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. 

The brain is very susceptible to oxidative damage due to its high fatty acid content and its high demand for oxygen. 

This oxidative damage enhances the production of harmful compounds that could affect memory, cognition and physical functions. 

CoQ10 may reduce these harmful compounds, possibly slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. 

CoQ10 can also reduce oxidative damage and inflammation that results in diseases of the lungs. 

When applied directly to the skin, CoQ10 can reduce sun damage and increase antioxidant protection. Supplementing with CoQ10 may also help reduce the risk of skin cancer.  

CoQ10 is a fat soluble compound, therefore its absorption is slow and limited. 

The body can absorb CoQ10 three times faster when taken with food. 

CoQ10 is considered safe, with few side effects. 

However, be sure to take this supplement under your doctor’s supervision.


Caffeine is present in many products, such as coffee, tea, energy, drinks, pre-workout supplements, energy shots… 

Of all the dietary supplements, 

caffeine is the one most likely already being used by clients. 

Most people will use it to combat tiredness and maintain their expected levels of daily functioning. 

For some, that may mean using caffeine as part of their exercise routine. 

Caffeine is the world’s most popular supplement. 

Stimulants, including caffeine, increase physiological and metabolic activity. 

Caffeine is primarily used for energy and endurance and to increase metabolic rate. 

Caffeine increases wakefulness, attention, and focus by chemically blocking receptors that create the sense of feeling tired. 

It also causes an adrenal release, which increases metabolic rate and subsequently leads to more energy (ATP) being metabolized. 

The adrenaline release is also responsible for improving pain tolerance and mobilizing body fat stores. 

It is hypothesized that the ergogenic effects of caffeine can be attributed to its improvement in pain tolerance rather than its mobilization of fatty acids. 

Regardless of mechanism, 

caffeine is well supported for improving endurance performance, 

with some of the more favorable observations reporting improvements of 5 to 9%. 

Due to increasing metabolic rate, fatty acid mobilization, and satiety, caffeine is potentially beneficial for weight loss. 

However, this may only be the case when caffeine is combined with other ingredients, such as green tea polyphenols or ephedra, as individuals become tolerant of caffeine. 

Caffeine is not well supported for improving strength performance. 

Caffeine in dietary supplements is often found as caffeine anhydrous, which is nearly 100% caffeine. 

Optimal caffeine dosing is 1.4 – 2.7 mg/lb of body weight provided about 1 hour prior to exercise. 

Doses greater than 2.7mg/lb increase the potential for an adverse and impairing effect. 

About 85 to 90% of individuals respond favorably to caffeine supplementation. 

Caffeine use is common, and in regard to fitness, it is commonly used as a pre-workout supplement or fat burning supplement. 

Caffeine may have unwanted side effects in doses greater than 400 mg, or less in caffeine-naïve individuals and those with a predisposition to adverse effects of caffeine, and it becomes lethal near 10g. 

Common side effects include restlessness, insomnia, increased heart rate, nervousness, anxiety, and gastrointestinal distress.


Probiotic supplements encourage the proliferation and maintenance of the natural microorganisms that inhabit the human gut.

This is a commonly underappreciated element of general health, and consequently, athletic performance. 

Probiotics come in a multitude of forms, from pills to powders, or can be ingested as part of fermented foods, if preferred.


Glutamine is an amino acid often used in large quantities and often added to branched chain amino acid supplements. 

Research has suggested it can increase growth hormone levels, improve protein synthesis, and improve immune system function.

Like creatine and BCAAs, individuals seem to respond to glutamine supplementation very differently, some feeling significant improvement in recovery from training and others experiencing no noticeable benefit.

Glutamine should be purchased in bulk powder form as beneficial doses will be multiple grams.

Generally, it should simply be added to the post-workout protein drink.

Glucosamine/ Chondroitin / MSM

Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM have all been demonstrated widely to improve connective tissue repair and joint health, and are most commonly taken in combination with each other. 

This is a wise nutritional addition to a weightlifting program. 


During intense training in the summer months, individuals can lose considerable amounts of water, along with which will come electrolytes – sodium, potassium, and chloride. 

Electrolyte replacement drinks or powders can be purchased, typically combined with sugar. 

To make an effective electrolyte solution without sugar, add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of potassium chloride (sold commonly as a salt substitute) to each liter of water.


Smoking, harmful use of drugs, and alcohol abuse can all cause a very serious negative impact on our health. 

It is impossible to achieve a healthy and fit body when abusing these substances.


Testosterone is a powerful hormone found in both men and women. 

It has the ability to influence or control libido, sperm production, fertility, vaginal and menstrual health, breast health, red blood cell production, muscle mass and strength, bone health and osteoporosis, body weight, energy levels, concentration, mental health, self esteem, mood, behaviors such as aggression and competitiveness and facial and body hair growth. 

Women’s bodies make about 1/10th to 1/20th of the amount of testosterone as men’s bodies. 

Testosterone production increases during puberty and begins to slow down around age 30 steadily declining with age.

Chronic health conditions and stress can reduce testosterone production. 

Although both men and women’s bodies produce less testosterone as they age, it continues to play a vital role in maintaining overall health.

According to the American Urological Association, testosterone levels of at least 300 nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL) and as high as 1,200 ng/dL (decreasing with age) are considered normal for a man over age 18. 

Testosterone levels may decline about 1 percent per year after age 30. 

A man with a testosterone level below 300 ng/dL should be diagnosed with low testosterone.

For women ages 19 and up, normal testosterone levels range from 15 to 70 ng/dL.

Because testosterone is made primarily in the ovaries of women, levels will decline after menopause, which usually begins between ages 45 and 55.

Testosterone levels lower than 300 ng/dL in men and 15 ng/dL in women may lead to problems in any of the areas previously mentioned.

Testosterone levels vary throughout the day, usually peaking early in the morning.

Beware of too much of the following foods and herbs as they are known to reduce testosterone levels:

  • flaxseed
  • green tea
  • licorice root
  • mint
  • nuts
  • saw palmetto
  • soy
  • vegetable oil
  • white peony

Other underlying factors that could cause low testosterone levels include:

  • Reaction to certain medications
  • Thyroid Gland disorders 
  • Depression 
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Opioid use 
  • Cancer
  • Hypogonadism, a condition where the sex glands produce little or no hormones
  • Early or delayed puberty
  • Chronic illness, such as diabetes or kidney disease
  • Obesity 
  • Chemotherapy or radiation 
  • Genetic birth conditions 

Signs and symptoms of low testosterone:

  • Changes in sleep patterns 
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Lack of motivation 
  • Reduction in muscle mass and strength
  • Decreased bone density 
  • Large breast in men 
  • Depression 

Testosterone levels that are higher than the normal range may be caused by:

  • Polycyclic ovarian syndrome 
  • Congenital adrenal hyperplasia 
  • Testicular or adrenal tumors

There are many possible side effects of testosterone therapy in men and women, however there are multiple natural over the counter testosterone boosters which have nominal side effects.

Over the counter testosterone boosters:

OTC testosterone boosters are natural supplements, not medications prescribed by a healthcare professional.

These boosters commonly feature ingredients such as:

  • Zinc
  • Fenugreek
  • Vitamin B6
  • Tribulus terrestrisch 
  • Magnesium
  • Boron 
  • Diindolylmethane (DIM)

Supplements containing the above ingredients are considered safe to use.

However, it’s always a good idea to discuss supplements with your doctor before taking them.

Side effects of testosterone boosters:

OTC testosterone supplements often claim to be all natural, but they could still cause some side effects.

The specific side effects you might experience will depend on the type of booster and how much you take:

  • Zinc may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
  • Fenugreek might cause nausea and diarrhea.
  • Vitamin B6 can cause nausea and heartburn if you take too much. Consistently taking too much vitamin B6 can also cause you to have difficulty controlling body movement.
  • Tribulus terrestris could lead to stomach cramps and reflux.
  • Magnesium is generally safe, but excessive amounts can lead to low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, and muscle weakness.
  • Boron, in excessive amounts, can lead to headaches, kidney problems, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • DIM can cause gas and headaches.

*It’s essential to ask your doctor before taking supplements if you currently take any medications or have existing health conditions.*

Ways to increase testosterone naturally:

If testosterone supplements are not right for you, you can increase your testosterone levels naturally by:

  • Exercising regularly: 3-5 days per week of high intensity resistance training and muscle building compound weightlifting movements that work multiple muscle groups are the best way to promote testosterone production. 
  • Get outside a minimum of 30 minutes per day to get Vitamin D from the sunshine.
  • Include enough fat and protein in your diet: A low fat diet may lower testosterone levels, so include healthy fats such as avocado, avocado oil, unsweetened coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil, olives and olive oil, nuts, nut butter (except cashews, peanuts and peanut butter) and fatty fish, as well as high quality protein from meats, poultry and egg.
  • Get enough sleep: a lack of quality sleep is linked to lower testosterone levels. Get at least 7- 8 hours of quality sleep every night for optimal health as well as increased testosterone.
  • Look for healthy ways to manage your stress levels: eliminate or learn to better cope with stress so it has less of an impact on your overall well-being.


The content provided on this website is not intended to be medical advice. 

It is intended for informational purposes only. 

It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 

Always seek the advice of your physician. 

Never ignore professional medical advice, and seeking treatment, because of something you have read on this website. 

Some dietary recommendations are healthy for the majority of people, but potentially dangerous to others. 

You are responsible for your own health and safety at all times.

Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his or her sole responsibility. 

Stacey Warnock Jenkins/Primal Strength and Conditioning is not responsible for any errors, omissions, or typos in the text on this website.

I have provided a lot of helpful healthy suggestions that can help you improve your health, but it’s best to put just one or two into practice at a time so you know what is working for you and what might not be and so that you do not get overwhelmed. 

As these healthy actions become habits, you can gradually add more into your routine.