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The Rise of Dan Garner


It was 2016, and UFC champ Michael Bisping had just lately 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 most recent shoutout from the world of MMA, the place an rising variety of fighters had been saying that Garner’s lab-based diet protocols might 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 recognized for his work with boxers and blended martial artists.

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

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

Positive 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 certainly 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 group at CSUF as an advisor.

Right this moment Garner’s roster consists of superbowl champs, Olympic medalists, PGA stars, hall-of-famers, the mega rich, and Hollywood celebs, resembling 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 power 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 power 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 shoppers

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

▶ how he overcame instructional gaps (and how one can, too, particularly in case you lack superior levels)

However first, a caveat:

Although you’ll hear from a couple of shoppers who agreed to speak about their experiences with Garner, don’t anticipate plenty of identify dropping. On this enterprise, privateness is vital to many purchasers and, as Garner notes, his job is to serve his shoppers, not the opposite approach 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 greatest sights embrace corn and the hockey enviornment the place Garner discovered to skate and, finally, 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 move.

“I had no thought what I wished 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 a large hangar, surrounded by the scents of chemical substances in addition to a whole bunch of sad coworkers.

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

“I used to be a fairly 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 had been asking questions.

“What ought to I eat for breakfast?”

“What ought to I eat after a exercise?”

“How do I lose fats?”

Garner turned the machine store’s unofficial private coach.

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

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

In 2010, he obtained 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 speak about muscle progress, and did additional studying to deepen his understanding. Within the evenings, he studied for and earned a number of sports activities diet and power coaching certifications.

He not solely obtained one of the best grades of his life, he additionally turned 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 submit commencement: private coaching at a Gold’s Gymnasium.

To draw shoppers, Garner usually 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 Purposeful Medication College, which, he says, taught him learn how to use lab work to grasp 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 wished to teach professional athletes.

What Garner didn’t know: a efficiency coach for dozens of professionals— 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 surprising e-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.

After all he was !

From one professional athlete to dozens

By hockey requirements, at 15 % physique fats, the goalie was a hefty man. But after 12 months with Garner, the goalie’s physique fats was down to eight % and his sport had dramatically improved—a lot in order that the Toronto Maple Leafs supplied 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 throughout 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 shoppers. Folks 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. In consequence, you would possibly 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 until you’ve gotten extra coaching or credentials that provide the expertise and authorized talents to take action. A diet teaching certification alone is just not sufficient.

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

For those who’re ever uncertain about scope of follow, we encourage you to use this worksheet in addition to assessment our code of ethics.

What Garner learns from poop (sure, poop)

For those who discuss to Garner, his shoppers, or the consultants who refer individuals to him, you’ll finally hear tales.

Particular person A suffered from a persistent downside that different professionals hadn’t been in a position to clear up.

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

Upon Garner’s request, Particular person 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 data right into a software program program.

Then, for hours, he’d stare at color-coded charts and graphs displaying Particular person 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, pondering, and scribbling, all the pieces got here into focus..

Particular person A then acquired an intensive report coupled with an hour-long video from Garner that defined what was occurring and why a particular protocol—a mix of dietary supplements and personalised diet—would assist.

Particular person 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 practical medication, a comparatively new discipline that has attracted its share of critics.

Began within the early Nineties by Jeffrey Bland, PhD, practical medication emphasizes personalised dietary and way of life adjustments that focus on “the foundation trigger” of somebody’s well being points.

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

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

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

And but, one wonders:

If practical medication’s lab-based strategy helps shoppers really feel higher—and doesn’t hurt them—does the criticism actually matter?

Be just like the owl

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

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

In any given discipline, 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 gives the analogy of an owl, which can swallow a whole animal complete. A number of hours later, the owl regurgitates the bones and different substances that it could’t digest.

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

A self-taught knowledgeable

Whether or not you purchase into the practical medication strategy or not, it’s onerous to argue with Garner’s grasp of physiology.

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

“He’s fully obsessive about the sector 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 each 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 stay 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 just lately posted a collection of photographs to Instagram to point out 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 each day immersion into the Nationwide Library of Medication, Garner additionally leans into what he’s discovered 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 obtained metrics of every shopper over time, so I can see what labored and what didn’t,” he says. (Get our information on learn how 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 assume, “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 straightforward 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.

After all, 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 might’ve felt higher,” O’Malley says.

He’d by no means undergone lab evaluation earlier than—and hoped Garner might 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 might kill a exercise and my physique recovered a lot sooner,” 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, at present 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 might maintain a better tempo for an extended period of time and I used to be much less sore afterwards,” she says. “I might prepare more durable. My temper was higher. I might sleep higher. While you’re making an attempt to realize a share of enchancment, issues like which are massive offers.”

Introducing the Concept of Constraint

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

That stated, there’s loads 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 proscribed by a constraint, generally additionally known as a bottleneck or weakest hyperlink.

Eradicating the constraint gives 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 usually utilized in enterprise settings, as a method to improve manufacturing output or productiveness.

“I have a look at physiology by way of 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

Usually, in keeping with Garner, that weak hyperlink is a stressor—resembling a meals sensitivity or a light deficiency—that’s taxing the immune system, making it more durable for somebody to get better. Blood work and different labs enable Garner to search out these weak organic hyperlinks with precision, however common people can do one thing related, albeit loads 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 wish to begin with a very good preliminary evaluation that asks shoppers about their way of life, well being limitations, mindset, and bodily perform and capability. (Get the consumption type we use with shoppers 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 challenge.

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

And possibly, throughout your conversations, you glean that relationship issues are preserving 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 obtained a path to analyze.

Greetings matter

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

For those who ask, “How are you?” your shoppers will most certainly reply, “okay” or “positive”—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 shoppers to supply what’s actually on their thoughts. Says Garner, “Their reply to that query typically leads proper to the constraint.”

When the cat will get in the best way

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

“Usually the issue is correct in your face,” says Garner, who gives 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 elsewhere, 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 straightforward,” says Garner.

Chances are you’ll marvel: How are you aware in case you’ve zeroed in on the true limitation?

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

Use this worksheet to identify limiting factors.

You gained’t all the time get it proper

Even with all the pieces he’s discovered, 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 all the time studying,” he says.

Right here’s the factor: Even in case you’re improper a couple of 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 adjustments: 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 special depth.”

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


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

You possibly can assist individuals construct diet and way of life 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 prefer to study extra, think about the PN Stage 1 Diet Teaching Certification.



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