Life Extension Magazine®

Michael Ray Garvin who tells his supplement recommendation

Michael Ray Garvin

Former NFL player Michael Ray Garvin is a dedicated power-trainer who has been a supplement-user since the age of 14. In his books, The World’s Most Jacked Athlete and Jacked Athlete Supplement Manual, trainer, author, and speaker Garvin describes his essential supplements for athletic health.

Scientifically reviewed by Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: Jon Van Zile.

Michael Ray Garvin earned his nickname—the “World’s Most Jacked Athlete”—in 4.2 blazing seconds during the 2009 NFL draft, when he ran the fastest 40-yard dash in the country and a photo of him running the race went viral.

The picture showed a world-class athlete in peak condition as he covered almost 10 yards a second. This was no fluke: a driven athlete, Garvin was already a two-sport all-American athlete in football and track, and during his high school years at Don Bosco was ranked the fourth best football player in the state.

Later that year, Garvin would be signed by the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, where he averaged 30 yards on four kickoff returns in his first preseason game. Unfortunately, Garvin tore his meniscus that season and required surgery. He was released by the Cardinals and signed that same year by the Detroit Lions, where he played with the practice squad, then played with the Canadian Football League.

Throughout his professional career, Garvin wasn’t only known for his explosive speed. That famous picture—the one of him leaning forward, heavy veins in his chest and forehead snaking under his skin like cables, his eight-pack abs etched in sharp relief—continued to spread across the Internet. Fitness companies and trainers used it to promote themselves, and everywhere people wanted to know: “How can I get results like those? Do I have to take steroids?”

No, says Garvin emphatically. In fact, Garvin has never taken any type of illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

Today, Garvin has reinvented himself as a trainer, author, speaker, and unwavering advocate for natural health. A dedicated supplement user since he was 14 years old, Garvin has written two books: World’s Most Jacked Athlete, and 2016’s follow-up, Jacked Athlete Supplement Manual. In his books, Garvin details his own sports history and shares the training and supplements secrets that made it possible for him to build and maintain an incredible physique.

Smashing the Stereotypes

Michael Ray Garvin  

A dedicated student of health and supplementation, Garvin is eager to share his knowledge with the rest of the world. According to Garvin, the key to success as an athlete and supplement user is to remain disciplined, but stay flexible.

“All supplements have some type of benefit, but it depends on how different people metabolize them,” he said. “One of the first laws of training is the law of individual differences. Some people may not receive a benefit from a supplement and have to take more, while others may need to take less. Start small and work your way up.”

One thing that isn’t required, however, is illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

“I never felt any pressure at all to use them, even in professional football,” Garvin said. “I always did my studying and knew I could be great naturally. There was no need to take illegal, performance-enhancing drugs.”

At the same time, Garvin questioned where some of the substances came from—especially not-natural-to-the-body testosterone used in steroids. As he learned more, and found out how the synthetic hormone and steroid industry actually operates, he became even more convinced to stick with natural supplementation.

Learning, he says, is crucial. Garvin relies on Life Extension® to help provide legitimate, deeply researched information as he creates the supplement stacks and programs he recommends.

Protect Your Brain!

Garvin stresses that his supplement manual isn’t only for professional or even hardcore athletes. In fact, weekend warriors and occasional gym rats can also benefit from intelligent supplementation with products that are designed to enhance muscle mass, improve heart function and blood sugar sensitivity, and increase cellular energy.

He also has worked hard to develop a protocol to reduce the damage caused by concussions. In recent years, the NFL has come under significant pressure to reduce the number of concussions players suffer. According to an investigation by the PBS documentary series Frontline, over the last two seasons alone, more than 300 players have suffered some type of traumatic brain injury on the field. Emerging data is showing that these players are at significantly increased risk for memory and cognition problems later in life, as well as increased rates of depression and suicide.

The problem isn’t limited to the NFL. A 2016 study published by FAIR Health found that the rate of concussion diagnosis for people under the age of 22 increased by a staggering 500% between 2010 and 2014, with the highest numbers coming during high school football season.

According to Garvin, the key to mitigating concussion damage is to provide the brain with rapid support to help increase cellular energy in the damaged brain tissue and speed healing.

“Concussion trauma triggers progressive degeneration of the brain tissue, including the build-up of an abnormal protein called tau,” he said. “Very high levels of abnormal tau protein in the brain can cause slower recovery after a concussion. In order to decrease brain degeneration and tissue damage, we need to trigger neurogenesis, or the growth of new brain cells.”

This can be accomplished by taking supplements immediately after a head injury that increase levels of nerve growth factor and neurotrophic growth factor, with a particular focus on velvet deer antler, alpha GPC, lion’s mane mushrooms, and L-tyrosine and glutamine.

“I suffered the worst concussion of my career while playing in the Canadian Football League,” he said. “I had a serious headache and stumbled toward the sidelines. After about three minutes, I became more coherent and aware of my surroundings, partly because I took a supplement that contained an amino acid complex right after my concussion. I supplemented with deer antler after the game. I recovered quickly from my brain injury and have not had any symptoms.”

Garvin recommends that any athletes who engage in sports that increase the risk of concussion should keep these supplements readily available during game time.

The Essential Supplements

Whey protein isolate  

While the concussion supplements are for special use, the heart of Garvin’s program is the group of supplements he calls the “essentials.” This custom program is designed to support athletes before, during and after training or games. He recommends rotating supplements and finding what works best for you. These essential supplements include:

• Whey protein isolate. Whey protein really forms the foundation of a solid training program, Garvin says. It provides a lean form of protein, plus nonessential amino acids and branched chain amino acids. These are important not only in creating and maintaining muscle mass but also in helping synthesize neurotransmitters, joint support, and post-workout recovery. The best whey proteins, according to Garvin, come from cows that were raised on grass-fed diets without hormones or antibiotics. The product should be free of sweeteners and artificial ingredients. Garvin recommends between 30 and 50 grams of whey protein a day for active athletes, taken within 30 minutes of exercises, but “never before.”

• Creatine. Garvin says he’s been taking creatine since he was 15 years old, starting with a creatine monohydrate and later switching to effervescent creatine because “it’s more bioavailable and less harsh.” Creatine, he says, is a great way to build explosive power during exercise or activity because it increases cellular energy. He recommends that athletes take 5 grams of creatine a day on an empty stomach.

• Green Superfood Complex. The supplement called “the most important supplement for athletes” is a powerful blend of antioxidants and detoxifying ingredients that would benefit anybody. Garvin recommends superfood complexes with wheat-grass juice powder, alfalfa juice, spirulina and chlorella algae, spinach, probiotics, milk thistle, turmeric, and other ingredients. Together, these help maintain a healthy pH level, remove toxins and lactic acid build-up, and promote immunity and better health.

• Glutamine. Garvin recommends the amino acid glutamine to help prevent muscle breakdown, to boost the immune system, and for its powerful free radical scavenging properties. “Glutamine is essential for muscle recovery and wound healing,” he said. “Glutamine has helped me in so many different ways. There have been days where I was nauseated and took glutamine to ease my stomach. It has helped me before, during, and after my intense workouts.”

Essential Supplements  

Garvin also recommends that male athletes do everything they can to naturally boost testosterone. He says this is possible by taking supplements that have been proven to boost testosterone levels, as well as monitoring your DHEA levels and supplementing with additional DHEA if necessary.

“I have at one point taken three different natural testosterone boosters at the same time, because each one contained certain ingredients,” he said. “If you try to take each one by itself, I believe it would be a waste of time.”

Finally, Garvin says it’s crucial to read as much as you can about supplements and find credible information.

“I’ve learned a lot from Life Extension®,” he said. “It’s unbiased information and tells people what they need to know about how to use supplements.”

World’s Most Jacked Athlete  

For more information or to follow Michael Ray Garvin on Twitter, go to:

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To purchase a copy of World’s Most Jacked Athlete, visit