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The Rise of Dan Garner


It was 2016, and UFC champ Michael Bisping had not too long ago posted a photograph of a hen burrito to his Instagram, together with the caption:

“…by order of my nutritionist Dan Garner….”

This was simply the newest shoutout from the world of MMA, the place an growing variety of fighters have been saying that Garner’s lab-based diet protocols may velocity restoration, unlock energy, and assist them win.

Not everybody was impressed.

‘In all probability one other man who doesn’t know what he’s doing,’ thought Andy Galpin, PhD, professor of kinesiology at Cal State Fullerton and sport efficiency coach identified for his work with boxers and blended martial artists.

A skeptical particular person by nature, Dr. Galpin figured Garner was a pseudo professional who cherry picked findings from tiny, poorly-designed research and introduced them to athletes as “ground-breaking efficiency enhancers your physician gained’t inform you about.”

To verify his hunch, he checked out Garner’s bio.

Certain sufficient, there was no point out of a PhD, MD, or perhaps a grasp’s diploma.

‘Yup,’ Dr. Galpin concluded, ‘wackadoodle.’

Issues modified when Dr. Galpin listened to considered one of Garner’s podcasts.

Quickly Dr. Galpin was enjoying The Garner Report for college students within the graduate degree programs he taught at Cal State Fullerton. Then he was messaging Garner, “Dude, why aren’t we working collectively?” Finally Dr. Galpin introduced Garner onto his staff at CSUF as an advisor.

As we speak Garner’s roster contains superbowl champs, Olympic medalists, PGA stars, hall-of-famers, the mega rich, and Hollywood celebs, equivalent to actor and comic Bryan Callen, who credit Garner with curing his psoriasis.

Photograph of nutrition coach Dan Garner sitting at a desk in front of a laptop computer.

Dan Garner is a energy and diet coach for athletes in 13 completely different sports activities, together with superbowl champs, Olympic medalists, PGA stars, hall-of-famers, and Hollywood celebs.

So how did a man with no superior levels earn recognition as one of many go-to diet and energy coaches for professional athletes, celebs, and the rich?

And what are you able to study from him?

On this story, you’ll uncover…

▶ how Garner leveraged social media to draw high-profile purchasers

▶ the precept he makes use of to catapult athletes to the following degree

▶ how he overcame instructional gaps (and how one can, too, particularly for those who lack superior levels)

However first, a caveat:

Although you’ll hear from just a few purchasers who agreed to speak about their experiences with Garner, don’t anticipate plenty of identify dropping. On this enterprise, privateness is necessary to many consumers and, as Garner notes, his job is to serve his purchasers, not the opposite means round.

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That is Garner’s origin story

The common cruise ship hosts extra individuals than Dan Garner’s hometown.

Lambeth, Ontario’s two largest points of interest embrace corn and the hockey enviornment the place Garner realized to skate and, ultimately, compete.

He found bodybuilding at age 14 when his father lugged house a dinky weight lifting set and assembled it within the storage. Although he poured his consideration into health websites and magazines, in class, he did the naked minimal, incomes 50s and 60s—simply sufficient to go.

“I had no thought what I needed in life,” Garner says. “I used to be misplaced.”

Upon commencement, Garner landed a job as a machinist at a manufacturing unit that made airplane components. There he labored in an enormous hangar, surrounded by the scents of chemical substances in addition to a whole lot of sad coworkers.

As he operated a machine that sliced by steel, Garner secretly learn health and diet articles, periodically glancing on the reflections in a chunk of damaged glass to see if his supervisor was developing from behind.

“I used to be a reasonably depressing dude,” he says. “The tip of the day couldn’t come quickly sufficient.”

Changing into “Bodybuilding Dan”

His coworkers observed his physique, lit-from-within vitality degree, and the hen and avocado he packed for lunch. Quickly they have been asking questions.

“What ought to I eat for breakfast?”

“What ought to I eat after a exercise?”

“How do I lose fats?”

Garner grew to become the machine store’s unofficial private coach.

“Being valued… that was new for me,” says Garner. “They have been so receptive and grateful. That helped me acquire extra confidence and function.”

When the machine store laid off half its workforce, Garner acquired the prospect to construct a profession he loved.

In 2010, he acquired accepted to Mohawk Faculty, roughly an hour’s drive away.

Throughout his commute, he listened to well being and health lectures he’d burned onto CDs. After class he visited his professors to talk about muscle progress, and did further studying to deepen his understanding. Within the evenings, he studied for and earned a number of sports activities diet and energy coaching certifications.

He not solely acquired the most effective grades of his life, he additionally grew to become a sought-after mentor for different college students, who referred to him as, “Bodybuilding Dan.”

He graduated with a bachelor’s diploma in well being, wellness, and health.

His first job put up commencement: private coaching at a Gold’s Gymnasium.

To draw purchasers, Garner frequently posted content material to social media, in addition to constructed and maintained a hockey coaching web site known as hockeytraining.com. For this website, he wrote weekly articles and filmed YouTube movies about diet, mindset, and health.

Again then, simply two individuals hit the “like” button: His mother and his spouse.

“It was a grind,” he says.

Because the months handed, Garner collected greater than 20 certifications, together with each Precision Diet Stage 1 Diet Coach and Stage 2 Well being Coach in addition to one from Useful Medication College, which, he says, taught him easy methods to use lab work to know people on a mobile degree.

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The e-mail he’d been ready for

Over time, Garner’s shopper checklist, on-line following, and earnings grew.

Nonetheless, after a number of years, one thing was lacking.

He needed to teach professional athletes.

What Garner didn’t know: a efficiency coach for dozens of execs— together with members of the NHL, NFL, UFC, and CFL—was studying his content material.

His identify was Scot Prohaska.

Sooner or later, in Garner’s inbox, there was an sudden electronic mail.

Prohaska wrote: “Hey man, would you be serious about working with a goalie for the Anaheim Geese?”

Garner sat again in his chair, his palms in opposition to his cranium.

In fact he was !

From one professional athlete to dozens

By hockey requirements, at 15 p.c physique fats, the goalie was a hefty man. But after 12 months with Garner, the goalie’s physique fats was down to eight p.c and his sport had dramatically improved—a lot in order that the Toronto Maple Leafs provided the goalie a $25 million contract over 5 years.

Quickly after, Prohaska invited Garner to fly to California to assist coach NFL and NHL athletes through the 2015 low season. The referrals got here in from throughout after that.

It’s been seven years since Garner broke into the professionals.

He’s traveled the world, educated dozens of elite athletes, and taught seminars.

He now works from a house workplace in London, Ontario.

He solely takes on a small variety of purchasers. Individuals pay hundreds for a session.

Earlier than Studying On, Know This

You’re about to find out how Garner makes use of lab work to uncover hidden stressors. Because of this, you may marvel: “If Garner makes use of lab work and PN is that includes Garner, is it okay for me to make use of lab work, too?”

Not except you might have further coaching or credentials that provide the abilities and authorized skills to take action. A diet teaching certification alone isn’t sufficient.

(BTW, as we talked about within the story, along with his diet teaching certification, Garner has earned many others, together with one in purposeful medication. It’s this certification in purposeful medication that, he says, offers him the experience to order and perceive lab work.)

For those who’re ever not sure about scope of observe, we encourage you to use this worksheet in addition to overview our code of ethics.

What Garner learns from poop (sure, poop)

For those who discuss to Garner, his purchasers, or the specialists who refer individuals to him, you’ll ultimately hear tales.

Individual A suffered from a power downside that different professionals hadn’t been capable of resolve.

Garner was their Hail Mary. Their final shot. Their “I don’t know what else to do.”

Upon Garner’s request, Individual A tracked their meals consumption, crammed out a number of questionnaires, and trotted off to their closest lab to deposit the requisite quantity of blood, hair, urine, and stool.

Garner loaded the lab outcomes and different information right into a software program program.

Then, for hours, he’d stare at color-coded charts and graphs displaying Individual A’s sleep, weight loss plan, physique comp, hydration standing, micronutrient standing, emotional stressors, inflammatory markers, intestine micro organism ranges, and hormonal profile, amongst many different variables.

He observed elevations within the stress hormone cortisol, bilirubin (a waste product), and magnesium and questioned how these associated to the dips within the hormone melatonin and elastase-1 (a pancreatic enzyme) he was additionally seeing. After hours of plotting, considering, and scribbling, every thing got here into focus..

Individual A then obtained an in depth report coupled with an hour-long video from Garner that defined what was happening and why a particular protocol—a combination of dietary supplements and customized diet—would assist.

Individual A adopted Garner’s recommendation. Their downside cleared up.

Graphical depiction that shows color-coded bars for visible and hidden stressors. Visible stressors include sleep, diet, hydration, body composition, physical, emotional, psychological, and X-factor. HIdden stressors include gut health, micronutrient status, immune function, inflammation, cellular health, hormone profile, toxic load, C02 tolerance, and X-factor.

Sections from a report that Garner created for one shopper. BTW: “X-Issue” is a catch-all for seen or hidden stressors that don’t match into the opposite classes.

What the doubters are saying

These Hail Mary tales can sound like fodder for made-for-TV guru land.

That’s partly as a result of the emphasis on lab testing is rooted in purposeful medication, a comparatively new area that has attracted its share of critics.

Began within the early Nineties by Jeffrey Bland, PhD, purposeful medication emphasizes customized dietary and life-style modifications that focus on “the foundation trigger” of somebody’s well being points.

A number of years in the past, the Cleveland Clinic elevated the sphere when it opened a Heart for Useful Medication, and launched a handful of research to check the tactic’s effectiveness.

Nonetheless, the occupation’s picture has been marred by a number of physicians who misplaced their medical licenses for prescribing dubius remedies and misdiagnosing their sufferers.

On prime of that, business watchdogs have closely criticized purposeful medication practitioners for prescribing “reams of ineffective exams.” The phrase “quackery” will get tossed round, too.

And but, one wonders:

If purposeful medication’s lab-based method helps purchasers really feel higher—and doesn’t hurt them—does the criticism actually matter?

Be just like the owl

The skepticism about purposeful medication can poke at Garner’s imposter syndrome. It additionally stirs up remorse over not incomes a PhD.

That stated, he sees purposeful medication as no completely different from different professions.

In any given area, he says, you’ll discover superstars and quacks, pearls of knowledge and slices of baloney.

(Instance: Conventional medication docs as soon as swore by bloodletting.)

Garner presents the analogy of an owl, which is able to swallow a whole animal entire. A number of hours later, the owl regurgitates the bones and different substances that it may’t digest.

“That’s the way in which I’ve approached my profession,” Garner says. “Each skilled sector has one thing to say. It’s as much as me to curate it, preserve the great, and take away the unhealthy.”

A self-taught professional

Whether or not you purchase into the purposeful medication method or not, it’s arduous to argue with Garner’s grasp of physiology.

That’s what attracted Dr. Galpin to Garner within the first place.

“He’s utterly obsessive about the sphere and virtually nothing else—far more than I’m,” Dr. Galpin says. “His grasp of the analysis literature and high-detail physiology, regardless of him having no superior levels, would problem lots of people with doctorates.”

Pushed by a relentless curiosity to study, Garner spends as much as two hours a day studying medical analysis. That every day homework permits him to rattle off examine references and describe complicated organic processes with enviable ease.

For those who take heed to him reply dwell viewers questions, you’ll perceive why one YouTube commenter referred to Garner as “a strolling encyclopedia”—in addition to why Olympic bronze medalist Chris Knierim describes him as “hella good.”

“Simply from listening to him, you may inform he is aware of what he’s speaking about,” says Knierim, who not too long ago posted a sequence of photographs to Instagram to indicate how his physique reworked with Garner’s steering.

“He’s legit. He’s seen and executed what he’s speaking about,” Knierim says. “He’s not simply regurgitating stuff another person stated.”

Along with his every day immersion into the Nationwide Library of Medication, Garner additionally leans into what he’s realized from the questionnaires, meals logs, and the greater than 1,000 labs he’s analyzed.

“I deal with proof from expertise with equal worth as I do from Pubmed,” says Garner. “I’ve acquired metrics of every shopper over time, so I can see what labored and what didn’t,” he says. (Get our information on easy methods to learn scientific research.)

How to read scientific studies: A free guide.

Why athletes belief him

There’s one thing about Garner that makes individuals suppose, “I would like what he’s having.”

Like many trainers and coaches, he’s match.

However what actually units him aside: His gusto.

It’s virtually as if the easy act of being awake fills him with pleasure.

This high-energy vibe is partly what helps athletes put their belief in him—as a result of he clearly takes his personal recommendation.

In fact, referrals from different athletes in addition to shout-outs on the Joe Rogan Expertise don’t harm.

MMA fighter “Sugar” Sean O’Malley sought Garner’s experience in 2019, after listening to Bryan Callen telling Rogan that Garner helped clear up his psoriasis.

At the moment, “I knew I may’ve felt higher,” O’Malley says.

He’d by no means undergone lab evaluation earlier than—and hoped Garner may give him an edge.

After learning O’Malley’s lab outcomes, Garner designed a meal plan tailor-made to O’Malley’s distinctive wants, together with a complement protocol for intestine well being and stress restoration.

Inside two weeks, O’Malley messaged Garner: “I really feel like a machine!”

“I may kill a exercise and my physique recovered a lot quicker,” O’Malley says.

O’Malley went on to win his subsequent UFC match by knocking out his opponent within the first spherical. He’s labored with Garner ever since.

Lauren Murphy, presently ranked #4 within the UFC’s flyweight division, additionally observed a dramatic change in vitality, sleep, and restoration after working with Garner.

“Fortunate” Lauren Murphy

“I may maintain the next tempo for an extended period of time and I used to be much less sore afterwards,” she says. “I may practice more durable. My temper was higher. I may sleep higher. While you’re making an attempt to achieve a proportion of enchancment, issues like which can be large offers.”

Introducing the Principle of Constraint

A diet or well being teaching certification doesn’t provide the {qualifications} to order and analyze lab work. Except you’ve undergone further coaching, creating meal plans to deal with a situation can be out of scope.

That stated, there’s so much you may nonetheless study from Garner.

To pinpoint issues and 0 in on options, Garner makes use of one thing known as the speculation of constraint.

Developed by Israeli physicist Eliyahu Goldratt, it goes like this:

Each course of is restricted by a constraint, generally additionally known as a bottleneck or weakest hyperlink.

Eradicating the constraint presents the best and quickest path ahead.

Graphical depiction of a bottleneck. The graphic shows a tube with a narrower section in the middle of it. An arrow points to the narrower section with the text: "An improvement here yields the biggest result."

The idea is commonly utilized in enterprise settings, as a solution to improve manufacturing output or productiveness.

“I take a look at physiology by this lens,” says Garner. “That’s how I’ve made a reputation for myself. It’s not a precise macro rely that I’m utilizing. It’s not a precise calorie rely or hydration or complement protocol. Sure, I’ve these issues in place. However none of my athletes can attain their potential with out eradicating their weakest hyperlink.”

The issue behind the issue

Typically, in accordance with Garner, that weak hyperlink is a stressor—equivalent to a meals sensitivity or a light deficiency—that’s taxing the immune system, making it more durable for somebody to get well. Blood work and different labs permit Garner to seek out these weak organic hyperlinks with precision, however common people can do one thing related, albeit so much much less excessive tech: Search for limiting elements.

Ask your self: What’s working in opposition to you (or your shopper)? What weak hyperlinks are stopping you or your shopper from transferring ahead?

Let’s say you’re working with somebody who desires to train, however feels too drained to do it.

What’s the issue behind that downside? In different phrases, what’s the foundation reason behind “too drained”?

To seek out the reply, you’ll need to begin with a superb preliminary evaluation that asks purchasers about their life-style, well being limitations, mindset, and bodily operate and capability. (Get the consumption kind we use with purchasers right here at PN.)

Get a free client intake form.

Perhaps, within the consumption, you discover that your shopper is a vegetarian who’s been recognized with a GI concern.

Nice, now you’ll need to dig into that, performing some analysis to raised perceive how each elements may have an effect on your shopper’s well being. Maybe you uncover that their GI situation may intrude with nutrient absorption, particularly of B nutritional vitamins. There’s a clue.

And perhaps, throughout your conversations, you glean that relationship issues are maintaining your shopper up at night time. Might lack of sleep be siphoning off the vitality wanted for exercises? And inflicting them to eat extra?

Now you’ve acquired a path to research.

Greetings matter

For those who get caught, Garner suggests altering the way you greet purchasers at first of your periods.

For those who ask, “How are you?” your purchasers will more than likely reply, “okay” or “effective”—even when they really feel fairly crummy.

As a substitute, Garner begins conversations with this query: “Hey, what’s the story?”

The open-ended query nudges purchasers to supply what’s actually on their thoughts. Says Garner, “Their reply to that query usually leads proper to the constraint.”

When the cat will get in the way in which

In lots of instances, the limiting issue has to do with not sleeping, not recovering, or not managing stress.

“Typically the issue is true in your face,” says Garner, who presents the story of a fatigued shopper who, Garner observed from an consumption questionnaire, was sleeping in the identical mattress together with his cat.

After getting the cat to sleep some place else, the shopper’s sleep improved, leading to extra vitality for train and meal prep.

“All I did was take away a cat. Typically it’s actually that easy,” says Garner.

It’s possible you’ll marvel: How have you learnt for those who’ve zeroed in on the true limitation?

Garner suggests utilizing vitality as a gauge. “In case your physiology is responding nicely to this system, your vitality goes to go up,” says Garner. “That’s how you already know you’re heading in the right direction.” (Get our worksheet to assist establish your (or your shopper’s) liming elements.)

Use this worksheet to identify limiting factors.

You gained’t at all times get it proper

Even with every thing he’s realized, Garner admits he makes errors.

That’s as a result of human biology is the alternative of straightforward.

“I’m not proper one hundred pc of the time, however I’m at all times studying,” he says.

Right here’s the factor: Even for those who’re mistaken a few shopper’s final downside, they’ll probably nonetheless make progress. That’s as a result of most individuals profit from the identical repertoire of behavioral modifications: extra veggies, protein, stress administration, and sleep.

“If I don’t nail it, I’ll nonetheless get you from a two to a 5,” he says.

“But when I nail it I’ll get you from a two to a ten.”

For Garner, a ten means somebody has excessive vitality, a wholesome intercourse drive, and the wherewithall to pour their consideration and energy into reaching their targets. They’re, as he places it, “vibrating at a unique depth.”

“That’s what individuals come to me seeking. That’s the place I personally need to be—and that’s what I do. I take them from good to nice.”


For those who’re a coach, otherwise you need to be…

You possibly can assist individuals construct diet and life-style habits that enhance their bodily and psychological well being, bolster their immunity, assist them higher handle stress, and get sustainable outcomes. We’ll present you ways.

For those who’d wish to study extra, think about the PN Stage 1 Diet Teaching Certification.



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