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 growing quantity of fighters have been saying that Garner’s lab-based diet protocols may pace restoration, unlock energy, and assist them win.

Not everybody was impressed.

‘Probably another guy 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 combined martial artists.

A skeptical particular person by nature, Dr. Galpin figured Garner was a pseudo skilled who cherry picked findings from tiny, poorly-designed research and offered them to athletes as “ground-breaking performance enhancers your doctor won’t tell you about.”

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

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

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

Things modified when Dr. Galpin listened to 1 of Garner’s podcasts.

Soon Dr. Galpin was taking part in The Garner Report for college kids within the graduate degree programs he taught at Cal State Fullerton. Then he was messaging Garner, “Dude, why aren’t we working together?” Eventually Dr. Galpin introduced Garner onto his crew at CSUF as an advisor.

Today Garner’s roster consists of superbowl champs, Olympic medalists, PGA stars, hall-of-famers, the mega rich, and Hollywood celebs, reminiscent of actor and comic Bryan Callen, who credit Garner with curing his psoriasis.

Dan Garner is a power and diet coach for athletes in 13 totally 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 the go-to diet and power coaches for professional athletes, celebs, and the rich?

And what are you able to study from him?

In 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 subsequent degree

▶ how he overcame instructional gaps (and how one can, too, particularly if you happen to lack superior levels)

But first, a caveat:

Though you’ll hear from a couple of purchasers who agreed to speak about their experiences with Garner, don’t count on heaps of identify dropping. In this enterprise, privateness is essential to many purchasers and, as Garner notes, his job is to serve his purchasers, not the opposite approach round.

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This 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 embody corn and the hockey area the place Garner realized to skate and, ultimately, compete.

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

“I had no idea what I wanted in life,” Garner says. “I was lost.”

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

As he operated a machine that sliced by 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 was a pretty miserable dude,” he says. “The end of the day couldn’t come soon enough.”

Becoming “Bodybuilding Dan”

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

“What should I eat for breakfast?”

“What should I eat after a workout?”

“How do I lose fat?”

Garner turned the machine store’s unofficial private coach.

“Being valued… that was new for me,” says Garner. “They were so receptive and thankful. That helped me gain more confidence and purpose.”

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 College, roughly an hour’s drive away.

During 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 development, and did additional studying to deepen his understanding. In the evenings, he studied for and earned a number of sports activities diet and power coaching certifications.

He not solely acquired the most effective 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 publish commencement: private coaching at a Gold’s Gym.

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

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

“It was a grind,” he says.

As the months handed, Garner collected greater than 20 certifications, together with Precision Nutrition Level 1 and Level 2 in addition to one from Functional Medicine University, which, he says, taught him the best way to use lab work to know people on a mobile degree.

The electronic mail he’d been ready for

Over time, Garner’s consumer listing, on-line following, and revenue grew.

Still, 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.

One day, in Garner’s inbox, there was an surprising electronic mail.

Prohaska wrote: “Hey man, would you be interested in working with a goalie for the Anaheim Ducks?”

Garner sat again in his chair, his palms towards his cranium.

Of course he was !

From one professional athlete to dozens

By hockey requirements, at 15 % physique fats, the goalie was a hefty man. Yet 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 provided the goalie a $25 million contract over 5 years.

Soon after, Prohaska invited Garner to fly to California to assist coach NFL and NHL athletes in the course of 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, skilled dozens of elite athletes, and taught seminars.

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

He solely takes on a small quantity of purchasers. People pay 1000’s for a session.

What Garner learns from poop (sure, poop)

If you speak to Garner, his purchasers, or the specialists who refer individuals to him, you’ll ultimately hear tales.

Person A suffered from a persistent drawback that different professionals hadn’t been capable of remedy.

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

Upon Garner’s request, Person A tracked their meals consumption, stuffed 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 Person A’s sleep, food 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 puzzled 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, every thing got here into focus..

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

Person A adopted Garner’s recommendation. Their drawback 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 consumer. BTW: “X-Factor” 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.

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

Several years in the past, the Cleveland Clinic elevated the sphere when it opened a Center for Functional Medicine, and launched a handful of research to check the strategy’s effectiveness.

Still, the occupation’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, business watchdogs have closely criticized purposeful medication practitioners for prescribing “reams of useless tests.” The phrase “quackery” will get tossed round, too.

And but, one wonders:

If purposeful medication’s lab-based strategy 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 totally different from different professions.

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

(Example: Traditional medication docs as soon as swore by bloodletting.)

Garner provides the analogy of an owl, which can swallow a whole animal entire. Several hours later, the owl regurgitates the bones and different substances that it could actually’t digest.

“That’s the way I’ve approached my career,” Garner says. “Every professional sector has something to say. It’s up to me to curate it, keep the good, and remove the bad.”

A self-taught skilled

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

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

“He’s completely obsessed with the field and almost nothing else—way more than I am,” Dr. Galpin says. “His grasp of the research literature and high-detail physiology, despite him having no advanced degrees, would challenge a lot of people with doctorates.”

Driven 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 research references and describe advanced organic processes with enviable ease.

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

Screenshot of a series of comments. They read: “Awesome episode. Coach Garner always shares great information.” “Mind blown! Dan is a walking encyclopedia!” “Dan Garner, man, epid addition to the podcast!! Thank you for getting him on!!” “Dan is the Man. Glad y’all teamed up with him. Next level shit!”

Comments from a podcast the place Garner was a visitor.

“Just from listening to him, you can tell he knows what he’s talking about,” says Knierim, who just lately posted a sequence of images to Instagram to point out how his physique remodeled with Garner’s steering.

“He’s legit. He’s seen and done what he’s talking about,” Knierim says. “He’s not just regurgitating stuff someone else said.”

In addition to his each day immersion into the National Library of Medicine, Garner additionally leans into what he’s realized from the questionnaires, meals logs, and the greater than 1,000 labs he’s analyzed.

“I treat evidence from experience with equal value as I do from Pubmed,” says Garner. “I’ve got metrics of each client over time, so I can see what worked and what didn’t,” he says.

Why athletes belief him

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

Like many trainers and coaches, he’s match.

But what actually units him aside: His gusto.

It’s nearly 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.

Of course, referrals from different athletes in addition to shout-outs on the Joe Rogan Experience don’t damage.

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 that point, “I knew I could’ve felt better,” O’Malley says.

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

After finding out 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.

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

“I could kill a workout and my body recovered so much faster,” 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.

“Lucky” Lauren Murphy

“I could sustain a higher pace for a longer amount of time and I was less sore afterwards,” she says. “I could train harder. My mood was better. I could sleep better. When you’re trying to gain a percentage of improvement, things like that are big deals.”

Introducing the Theory of Constraint

A diet or well being teaching certification doesn’t provide the {qualifications} to order and analyze lab work. Unless 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 possibly can nonetheless study from Garner.

To pinpoint issues and 0 in on options, Garner makes use of one thing referred to as the idea of constraint.

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

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

Removing the constraint provides 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 approach to improve manufacturing output or productiveness.

“I look at physiology through this lens,” says Garner. “That’s how I’ve made a name for myself. It’s not an exact macro count that I’m using. It’s not an exact calorie count or hydration or supplement protocol. Yes, I have those things in place. But none of my athletes can reach their potential without removing their weakest link.”

The drawback behind the issue

Often, in keeping with Garner, that weak hyperlink is a stressor—reminiscent of a meals sensitivity or a gentle deficiency—that’s taxing the immune system, making it tougher 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 so much much less excessive tech: Look for limiting elements.

Ask your self: What’s working towards you (or your consumer)? What weak hyperlinks are stopping you or your consumer from shifting ahead?

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

What’s the issue behind that drawback? In different phrases, what’s the foundation trigger of “too tired”?

To discover the reply, you’ll need to begin with an excellent preliminary evaluation that asks purchasers about their life-style, well being limitations, mindset, and bodily operate and capability.

Maybe, within the consumption, you discover that your consumer is a vegetarian who’s been recognized with a GI problem.

Great, now you’ll need to dig into that, performing some analysis to higher perceive how each elements would possibly have an effect on your consumer’s well being. Perhaps you uncover that their GI situation interferes with nutrient absorption, particularly of B nutritional vitamins. There’s a clue.

And possibly, throughout your conversations, you glean that relationship issues are maintaining your consumer up at evening. Could 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

If you get caught, Garner suggests altering the way you greet purchasers initially of your periods.

If you ask, “How are you?” your purchasers will probably reply, “okay” or “fine”—even when they really feel fairly crummy.

Instead, 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 answer to that question often leads right to the constraint.”

When the cat will get in the way in which

In many circumstances, the limiting issue has to do with not sleeping, not recovering, or not managing stress.

“Often the problem is right in your face,” says Garner, who provides the story of a fatigued consumer 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 consumer’s sleep improved, leading to extra vitality for train and meal prep.

“All I did was remove a cat. Sometimes it’s really that simple,” says Garner.

You might marvel: How are you aware if you happen to’ve zeroed in on the true limitation?

Garner suggests utilizing vitality as a gauge. “If your physiology is responding well to the program, your energy is going to go up,” says Garner. “That’s how you know you’re on the right track.”

You received’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 easy.

“I’m not right 100 percent of the time, but I’m always learning,” he says.

Here’s the factor: Even if you happen to’re fallacious a few consumer’s final drawback, they’ll doubtless 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 still get you from a two to a five,” he says.

“But if 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 objectives. They’re, as he places it, “vibrating at a different intensity.”

“That’s what people come to me in search of. That’s where I personally want to be—and that’s what I do. I take them from good to great.”


If you’re a coach, otherwise you need to be…

You 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.

If you’d wish to study extra, contemplate the PN Level 1 Nutrition Coaching Certification.

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