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This week I share with you what could possibly be the best episode of the Wolf’s Den yet with coach, Dan Garner. Dan is the nutritionist to some very big names in show business and professional athletes including UFC female champion, Ronda Rousey and Michael Bisping.
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Transcript From Dan Garner on the Wolf’s Den with Mark Ottobre Video
(This transcription may contain errors)
Hey hey folks, welcome to the show that entertains and educates. My name’s Mark Ottobre and welcome to the Wolf Stand. Today’s guest is Dan Garner. Nutritionist and functional medicine expert, Dan works with an array of athletes who are super high performance, from UFC fighters, baseballers, athletes at a super high level. Let’s give Dan a huge round of applause and welcome him to the show.
Thanks Dan for coming on.
Thank you man.
Excellent. So what we did is we asked a couple of the trainers, a couple of clients to bring in some supplements which they all have and we’ve got an allocated thrower here who’s gonna throw us some supplements to kick off the show. What we want to do is get your thoughts on these supplements in kind of a rapid style format. So without former adieu, do you want to piff one at us?
Alright, what do we got here? So the first one is Mireva.
Mireva. Meriva being curcumin, one of the demonstrated x-factor curcumin to be quite effective. Curcumin’s been demonstrated in the literature to lower tri-glycerides and improve the ratio between LDL and HDL. It’s your good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. It’s an excellent anti-inflammatory, but having some black pepper extract in there is important for total absorption.
So when you’re looking at the research, having curcumin alone seems to have excellent anti-inflammatory effects within the gut, but curcumin plus the black pepper is what’s gonna make it’s way into the cardiovascular system.
Right and is there a difference? ‘Cause I know there’s the SF and then there’s the delivery systems of the ones that are kinda slower release and fast release. Do you have a preferred one that you use out of?
I do have a slower release. I preferentiate the slow release in order to get a slower drip over time because inflammation’s something that will happen throughout the entire day. Anytime you shock the body with something massive in any sense of the word, there always tends to be some sort of negative feedback loop. So I’d rather have that slow drip throughout the whole day.
Right, that’s interesting. Clients who should be looking at this … People I should say that should be looking at this. Who’s the top person that should be considering Meriva?
I think a lot of people could consider it ’cause I think inflammation’s something that a lot of people struggle with. Whenever you take on a client, before you treat them like an athlete, male or female, you have to treat them as a human first. And human’s tend to struggle with inflammation, stress and sleep. Since this is something that’s so powerful for inflammation, I think for anybody who’s training extremely hard or anybody who is general population and they’re currently in a state of not being very healthy and are looking to make some changes, that can create an excellent well-rounded benefit for them.
So this is one that you’d use a lot of UFC fighters I’m guessing?
Yes for sure. That’s actually, I’m glad you brought it up. That’s something that’s been demonstrated as well to be as effective as Advil and ibuprofen for main management. Even in populations with osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
So, cage fighters got a lot of joint issues, this brings down joint pain.
‘Cause yeah before [inaudible 00:02:48] in the UFC and then got issues associated with that as well and it’s bad, bad, bad.
Negative feedback basically.
Yeah we got the next one happening. Maybe … Well this one’s glass so we won’t piff this one. That one’s from my brother, he loves this stuff.
Some GPC, yeah I absolutely like this for lightening up the brain. So this is something where I do like it for neuro stimulation, for say, pre-workout or pre-game performance. Because it’s really gonna help stimulate the brain for performance and not stimulate the adrenals to kind of force performance. So anybody who’s looking at something pre-workout but they are currently under a lot of stress, they think their adrenals have been adapting too much over time to their stressful lifestyle, this is something that can definitely help them out.
This is also something that I utilize quite a bit with my hockey athletes because a lot of them complain about late night games and then not being able to sleep at all. So, they come to be and say, Dan I can’t sleep. I’m like okay, what are you taking before your game? Well 300 milligrams of caffeine and tirese. I’m like oh, it’s a shocker that you can’t get to sleep. Caffeine has a half life of five hours.
So for example, if you were to have 300 milligrams of caffeine at noon, well then by five pm, that’s gonna be 150 milligrams and by 10 pm, you’re still gonna have 75 milligrams of active substance within your body. So, every five hours, that’s what the half life is breaking down out.
So if you’re having a pre-workout in the evening, even if you do get to sleep, it’s something that would be considered shallow sleep, ’cause caffeine gonna’s suppress your REM sleep levels. So, anytime you can avoid the adrenals and use a little bit of brain performance in the pm, I’m a fan.
So, Mark, this being for a UFC fight, is he caffeine and a little bit of?
He’s stimulated enough.
No, no [crosstalk 00:04:35].
Anything we … L [inaudible 00:04:36] and taurine.
Right, right. So it’s really dependent on who you’re working with.
But for CEO’s, execs, a good way to start the brain to get more admin, awesome.
We’ll go for the next one. What do we got here? Hemp oil.
Hemp oil. Unfamiliar with hemp oil, man. I don’t use it at all with any of my clients. So, no comment.
So it’s different … I know you did the podcast on cannabinoid oils, was that a podcast you did recently I think it was.
Yeah that’s right. So I’m going through a lot of the research on that. But I haven’t been sold on it yet. If you’ve got the gist from that podcast. So it’s something where I haven’t dove all the way into it yet in order to have a wide-spread application. One thing we do know from the literature, although a lot of it is still animal based, which is why I’m not extrapolating it a lot to humans. Is you can get anti-anxiety effects, you can get anti-depressive effects. There are certain anti-inflammatory affects.
In one study, this was actually done on humans, it demonstrated your ability to do public speaking. So in a format like this, it actually might be pretty beneficial. But I don’t prescribe it to my clientele, so I can’t talk about something that I don’t have true experience with, only knowledge with the literature.
Awesome, awesome, grab that one.
That’s big for you.
Yeah. BCAA is something where I believe in the literature that these have been, I wouldn’t say disproven, but misapplied. It’s something where in the literature, I think that it is represented in the literature that these do not have the effect that people think they have, but not reflected in coaching practice.
So, represented in the literature but not reflected in coaching practice. What we’ve seen with branch chain amino acids is a lot of different things. So losing threshold is … There’s a very small amount required in order to breakthrough this and maximally stimulate losing threshold. In younger populations this tends to kick around .2 to .3 grams of total protein per kilo of body weight. Whereas in older populations it tends to kick around more .4 grams of protein per kilo of body weight.
It terms of losing though, if you look at Norton’s research or if you look at … I can’t remember who else did the literature, but there was a difference between stimulation of muscle protein synthesis, which is just adding protein to the body and maximizing protein synthesis. You can stimulate protein synthesis with about 1 gram of lucine only, but maximizing protein synthesis is still gonna be maxed out at around 3 to 4 grams, even in advanced individuals, even post work out. So it’s not something where you would need a whole ton of branch chain amino acids in order to get the full effect.
So, something like this can stimulate protein synthesis, but mass dosing it doesn’t make any sense. We’ve also seen in the literature that mass dosing of branch chain amino acids up regulates the production of something known as anomia. Ammonia’s already been linked to central nervous system fatigue. In the gym, we need to be fueling not just the muscle cell but also the nervous system. Because the nervous system’s what actually allows us to recruit muscle fibers for contraction in the first place.
You can think about your muscle fibers like a V12 engine, but the nervous system is the driver. It doesn’t matter how big your V12 engine is and how much horsepower it has if there’s nobody being the wheel pressing the gas pedal down.
If we’re creating a lot of anomia, then we’re decreasing the ability that we’re able to press that gas peddle down. So I think that that’s another thing that would negate mass dosing branch chain amino acids.
When you say mass doses, what’s a mass dose to you?
Anything that goes beyond the lucine threshold. So I think that anything … If you’re running branch chain amino acids in a 2-1-1 ratio, which has been seen a lot in the literature. Anything beyond 4 to 6 grams of lucine would be considered too much.
But I think that I wouldn’t actually use it at all because there’s also been demonstrated research that this does stimulate muscle protein synthesis but does not provide the additional amino acids required for actual skeletal muscle repair.
So, this is what kind of mislead people way back in even 2010 and 2012 because you can see that this stimulates muscle protein synthesis but skeletal muscle tissue is not just made up of isoleucine and valine. Which is what branch chain amino acids are. So, amino … These select amino acids cause a stimulation of muscle growth which is great. But if you don’t have the additional amino acids that make up human muscle tissue along with it, you’re stimulating growth but not providing the raw material required to actually repair and build a muscle.
I like to use the analogy of a construction worker who doesn’t have the raw materials in order to build a building. This is the construction worker that stimulates the work shift to begin. But he doesn’t have any bricks and motor to actually build the house that he is supposed to build.
Then it was very, very recent research in 2016 actually that found that when you stimulate muscle protein synthesis but you don’t provide the amino acids available for recovery, that it can take it from elsewhere in the body.
So, let’s say that you did a hard leg workout today and then you’re using branch chain amino acids to fill that recovery capacity. Well those branch chain amino acids are gonna further support protein synthesis but since all of the other amino acids aren’t available, in order to recover your legs. Your legs have to get those other amino acids from somewhere else in the body. So, your body might say, alright, I haven’t used my rear delt in about a week, and right now biology only ever cares about survival. My legs are under extreme stress, so I’m gonna redistribute those amino acids from my rear delt and put them into my leg. My leg will actually hypertrophy and recover, but my total body net protein balance won’t go up. So I didn’t actually gain muscle from the workout, I just redistributed muscle from one area of the body to another.
So to extrapolate that in kind of an analogy and context, it’s almost like well, you’ve got this rear delt and there’s plenty of bricks in the rear delt, but you’ve got all these workers and the workers are kind of busy then. Well, what do we do? What do we do? We’ve got to get to work and here we are destroying our legs. They’re like oh, well there’s bricks over here guys let’s just go rub some bricks over here and let’s get building. While your legs might be getting bigger, you’re actually sacrificing your legs for say your shoulder growth, so it doesn’t make any sense.
Exactly. It’s always a battle between muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein breakdown. This provides the stimulus but it doesn’t allow us to fight muscle protein breakdown. So an essential amino acid product would be far superior to a branch chain amino acid product.
Right, so have you seen the thorn amino complex?
Amino complex, that’s what I use.
That’s what you use?
That’s what I use.
Yeah, yeah, that’s what I normally use but I ran out, so I’ve been [inaudible 00:11:42] that I brought in.
You just wanted to take me off of that.
Great, great. We’ve got this one.
This is a probiotic type of formula. It’s a new one for her I think.
Oh we’ve got different probiotics here. We’ve got our bifida, we’ve got our lactobacillus. Yeah, so these are the main types of probiotics that people benefit from. We’ve got our lactobacilli and we’ve got our bifida bacteria.
Now, utilizing probiotics, it can be something that can be very beneficial. There’s probiotics that have been connected to a lot of different things. For example, lactobacillus gaseria, that’s actually been connected to reducing belly fat believe it or not. So it’s something that’s pretty cool.
You have your acidophilus, which is something that’s very popular, been connected to reducing a lot of GI symptoms. You have your Saccharomyces boulardi, which is connected to helping reduce nausea and fight off anything … If you’re in a foreign country and you’re dealing with something that you otherwise might not be familiar with. These are all things that are pretty good.
But, when it comes to probiotics, I am a bit of a fan of making sure that … Especially if someone has gastrointestinal symptoms, that we utilize some lab analysis first. For example, there’s actually a metabolite that you can extrapolate from someone’s urine known as delectate. If someone has an elevated delectate level, it actually becomes contradictory to have lactobacilli forms of probiotic supplementation.
So, what happens is if someone has an elevated delectate, which is actually associated with carbohydrate malabsorption, then including lactobacilli probiotic supplementation can actually further acidify the colon. So it makes your problem worse before it makes it better.
So it’s something where like, I’ve been big on probiotic supplementation in the past and in almost all cases it’s totally safe. But in some cases, just like every other supplement, it’s not.
So are you testing with a stool test or organic acid test?
Yeah so both actually. So I’ll have a lot of my clientele, my higher level clientele, go through something known as a genova cardio ion panel, and that’s an excellent organic acid test. When that’s when I pick up the delectate. But in many cases I also have people go through a genova GIF effects panel, which is the stool analysis as well. So you’re getting blood, urine and stool in order to complete the most complete plan possible. Delectate is something that can be elevated and I think that happens sometimes.
You’ll get some people who probiotics will actually bloat them or make them feel worse or they’ll run into say diarrhea or bloating, constipation, something will happen. They just get rid of their probiotic product. But they could have at that time been further acidifying their colon when they’re trying to do something that’s good for them.
So, excellent product but like everything else in nutrition, you gotta use the right tool for the right job.
Then the pushback of probiotics, have you seen that recently? Where people are like, oh you know you don’t want to mess up the gut bio and we don’t understand the gut bio so why are you even putting probiotics in it? Put prebiotics, they’re better. Do you have a comment on that?
Yeah! I think prebiotics are something that cause longterm health for the colon. So it’s something where it’s gonna help your build your own colonies and allow you to fortify a colon and an overall gut environment that leads to longterm success. But probiotics used properly, in my opinion, are something that really help accelerate the process and alleviate short-term symptoms.
So something that I always say to my students is, the symptom is never the problem. The symptom is always the result of a problem. So when someone has belching or excessive farting or acid reflux. The problem isn’t acid reflux or too much gas, that is the symptom of the problem. It’s our job to identify the root cause of that problem, eliminate it at the root cause or level so that the symptoms no longer exist.
When it comes to dysbiosis for example, repopulating a flora can be a good thing, so long as you’re using the right tool for the right job. So, I’m a fan of probiotics, but right tool for the right job.
Awesome. What have we got here? Viagra! Who’s was this? Viagra, anybody got a bit of a stiffy right now listening to Dan talk about supplements?
I think it’s pretty convenient that Tyrone showed up and then wanted my opinion on this. This is entirely his idea.
This is something that you would have to think long and hard on, wouldn’t you? You’d have to think long and hard before doing this before physical activity of any kind, that’s my comment.
That’s great, that’s great. Now’s a good time to subscribe by the way if you’re watching this on YouTube. Let’s give Dan a round of applause for that segment. That’s fantastic.
Alrighty, now that that fun stuff’s out of the way. If we’re getting to the … I suppose we’re already into the meat and veg with you … You just bang, pop off straight away.
But who is Dan Garner and what does he do, ’cause you’ve got a lot of elements to you.
Yeah, it’s a tough question to answer. I’ve got so much stuff going on. But essentially I’m Dan Garner, strength coach and nutrition specialist. I’m a functional medicine practitioner. I’ve got a year-round stable of clientele in the UFC, the MLB, the NFL, WBO, all kinds of different pro-athletes and a lot of different banners. On my watch, athletes have won NFL Superbowl’s and UFC titles and Olympic gold medals. So, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of high level people. I own my own certification program as well for the ultimate training mentorship, the ultimate nutrition mentorship. But also have worked with a ton of hockey players, being a Canadian. You weren’t gonna get away with me not dropping a few hockey references on this show. So yeah, I’m a co-founder of hocktraining.com.
Well we won the Stanley Cup together. You can check it out on Instagram.
That was the best image ever.
So how did you find these people? How did you fall into that? Did you go up and approach? Did you call approaching these people?
No, it was just classic story of a lot of hard work over a long period of time, man. It is as simple as that. There are three things that give you a big advantage when you get into the industry as far as people listening to you and seeing you as an authority.
The first thing that really helps you out is if you’ve had a successful bodybuilding physic competition history. Another thing that really helps you out is if you’ve had a successful athletic history. The third thing that helps you out is if you get into the industry and you have a Ph.D. Those three things really allow you to have authority, even really before you get any experience.
I had none of those things. I did not look like a bodybuilder. I did not have a crazy, successful athletics and I did not get in the industry in any form of Ph.D. So all I had was effort.
So I created high quality content for a long period of time. I always had the idea of-
What’s a long period of time?
Well, I posted every single day on Facebook about … The best quality of content that I could provide from 2011, 2012 to about 2015. Then the first podcast I ever got invited on was Under the Bar. That’s how a lot of Australian’s ended up hearing about me. So I guess three years, ever single day of dense content. That’s how my name eventually got out there.
Then from that eventual podcast a lot of other people started hearing about me, inviting me on their podcast. But, I’ve literally wrote hundreds and hundreds of blogs for hockeytraining.com, baseballtraining.com, coachgarner.com … Thousands and thousands of posts of Facebook and Instagram. Again, easily over 500 YouTube videos.
So just relentless, relentless pursuit and I’ve always had the mindset of attention rather than interruption. People are online to be entertained and be informed. So I don’t want to interrupt them with hey, come buy my product. I would rather educate and inform them and get them to know, like and trust me. You only do that by providing them with as much value as possible.
So, their time and attention is the best investment they could have ever given me and I wanted to make sure that every second somebody gave me their time, I provided them value.
So let’s look at UFC and the athletes of UFC for a moment. I mean, any UFC fans here? I know there’s a few, quite interested in the UFC.
When you got an athlete like that, I mean are you walking out with them? Are you doing the walkout? Where are you? Are you backstage with them? I imagine there would be a lot of, I suppose ownership of … The world is watching one of these big fights, and if this guy doesn’t perform, shit, I might be cut. Can you comment on that?
Yeah, well the nutrition guy doesn’t get a lot of props. Evidently he does not get a lot of props. So, for example when someone gets knocked out in the UFC, there’s about 20,000 people in the crowd. There isn’t one guy that says, oh, I wonder who did his meal planning! There isn’t one guy who says that. So I end up staying at home for the entire duration of the process and getting no credit.
But I stay at home, I do all of my coaching online and remote through Skype, through phone calls and I’ll send everything to the athletes well in advance so that their entire fight camp is predictable. I’ll send their weight cut. So that entire process is predictable. One thing that is my job and is everybody’s job in fight camp nutrition is to have the athlete focused on the fight and not focused on the diet.
If you follow fighters and you follow their interviews and you know fighters, so many times they’re focused on making weight and what’s my diet like? Am I gonna be able to make weight? I have to make 185. All of these different things are in the air. I don’t want them focused on their diet, I want them focused on their fight, I want them focused on strategy. So I do my job, I get everything to them way in advance. But I ultimately stay at home and don’t get credit. So that’s how it works.
Are there any nuances I suppose, ’cause you’ve worked with so many pro-athletes from hockey, baseball, you name it. Are there any nuances when it comes to say, fight, because they’re so intense to say, getting in shape or doing power lifting, were the calories I suppose aren’t being used in demand. But are there any nuances with the UFC and the fighters specifically that you do nutrition wise that’s different to other sports?
Yeah for sure. You do have to focus on pain management, like I talked about with Meriva and stuff like that. Because they’re in many cases, training twice per day. A lot of times they will also train more than they tell me to because they’re afraid of the fight coming up. Which is understandable, you’re getting locked in a cage with someone and you’re about to throw down until someone stops. So, it’s something where it’s intense.
Lot’s of times I’ll be told two weeks later, yeah I was doing 10 rounds on the bag on Sundays too and just them not telling me. So, I kinda have to foresee how fighters act and react to things.
I have to include some more joint management protocols. I have to have a greater focus on immune system function throughout the duration of a camp because just being in state of highpocolorism, so just being in a dieting state, the immune system’s gonna start to depress. So go through something known as immunodepression. Then, beyond that, when you start over training, you’re gonna go through further immunodepression. So, we’re not eating enough, we’re over training and then what’s the third thing that’s gonna cause immunodepression? Stress and anxiety, which is what all fighters have.
So I have to ensure there’s pain management. I have to ensure there’s true immune system function, ’cause the immune system’s what’s actually allowing you to recover from training. So I need to make sure they get to the cage and not just survive their way to the cage. Then also dealing with stress and anxiety.
Is immune system function true for any athlete or any person, regardless. Is that a piece that’s gonna come up, anyone who’s in a calorie deficit?
Yeah for sure. Just some people have a little bit more luxury I would say.
What do you go to when you know someone’s cutting weight or they’re getting ready for a show. What are your go-to supplementation wise or food wise to support that and make sure they don’t hit that hole?
Yeah so there’s gonna be a couple of ways in which you can attack this. For first and foremost, I treat them like a human before I treat them like a fighter. So, a couple of things that are gonna increase their immune system more than any fancy protocol I can put together is stress and sleep optimization. We have their stress and sleep optimization on point. Then it’s something where that’s gonna do way more than anything else is gonna do.
But beyond that, Vitamin C has been demonstrated to improve immune system function. Zinc has been demonstrated to improve immune system function. And one of the most underrated ingredients or nutrients in this area is actually aged garlic extract. Aged garlic extract is kind of a double pronged thing, especially for fighters, ’cause it’s both anti-inflammatory and one of the strongest immune stimulators that you could have as well.
So let’s say you get a call from someone who’s always in the spotlight. Be it a fighter, be it an actor, they’re like Dan look, I need your help. Where does Dan start with this?
Yeah sure. So I really take a combination approach to try and offer them the best experience possible. If anyone ever invests their time in me, I’m always value, value, value, value, value. So when someone comes to me and they want to start up with me, I’m gonna utilize both the science of coaching and the art of coaching ’cause it’s the marriage of those two that allows the person to have the best possible result.
So from the science of coaching aspect, I’m utilizing the scientific literature that we know about caloric intake and macronutrients distribution and nutrient timing. But then I’m also using from the science of coaching, lab analysis. So lot’s of times when someone comes to me, I’ll have them go through saliva, urine, stool and blood analysis. So basically every excrement that I can get my hands on, I want to have a look at it because I want to find out where there’s any possible weak links in the chain. If there’s any root causes in the chain that they haven’t uncovered that I can solve so that the organism can adapt better to exercise. So that’s essentially a big chunk of what I’m doing from a science perspective.
But from an art of coaching perspective, I’m utilizing carefully designed questionnaires to extrapolate certain things about their motivation, their goals, their current lifestyle, their behavior and then even something as basic as their schedule is gonna allow me to make the meal plan fit the client and not force the client to fit my meal plan. So when I can get an idea on who they are, and then I can get an idea on the physiology that they are, then I can marriage the science and art of coaching to make the best plan for that person right now.
Moving to a different kind of topic, you have … You’re a nutritionist? And you’re also functional medicine practitioner.
Which, is a unique combination but at the same time, not a unique combination ’cause they’re also a marriage. But, what I’ve seen today I suppose in the world of nutrition. Is you have nutrition guys who are very much just about calories in, versus calories out and that’s really the whole story. Then you’ve got the functional health practitioners who are it’s all about your hormones, it’s all about your gut, it’s not about calories in versus calories out. They almost take more of a Gary Tob insulin index almost approach to things. You’re on both sides of the fence. How do you marry those two together and also, I know there’s a lot of layers to this question. But who’s right in that conversation? Who’s wrong? What are both camps missing?
I bribe the middle of that conversation because that conversation already is within the middle. Anybody that tells you that calories are the only thing that matters, doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Anybody that tells you that hormones are the only thing that matters doesn’t know what they’re talking about. It is a marriage between both, that’s where true physiology lies.
To be perfectly honest, the truth almost always lies within the middle when it comes to nutrition and training anyways. Biology never operates on extremes. We’ve learned this lesson so many times.
So for example, calories in versus calories out. Why does that matter towards something like human metabolism? Because the size of the organism is gonna determine the basil metabolic rate. That’s something that’s’ important to care about. Size is more important than anything else when it comes to measuring somebody’s true metabolic rate. How many calories they’re gonna burn on a day to day basis. Not to mention that the energy balance equation hasn’t been disproven in over 50 years of controlled research at this point. So, these are the laws of thermodynamics. They’re not the laws of Dan Garner.
So if we’re just getting to that, ’cause I do want to get into that. So something like Gary Tabs or I thinks it’s Robert Loswick, who are promoting the insulin theory of fat loss and weight loss. What are they missing fundamentally do you think?
They’re missing a fundamental respect for the laws of physics, the laws of thermodynamics. It was actually Gary Tabs funded the research that disproved his own hypothesis. So, the gold standard in research is metabolic ward studies. Metabolic ward studies are very much like having human rats. You can put human rats in a room, you can give them the exact amount of calories that you want, you can measure the exact amount of calories that they’re burning per day and you can control every single variable.
So in 2015, Kevin Hall did metabolic ward research comparing high carb diets to low carb diets and put them in a hypocalciuric state and then measured the outcome. This is in a metabolic ward. Then at the end of this study it was actually high carb diet lost more weight than the low carb diet. So if you remember in 2015, when Kevin Hall … If you are running the same nutritional nerd circles that I do, people went absolutely nuts about this, including Gary Tobs.
So what happened was everybody went nuts, and then further research was funded by the exact same author, Kevin Hall, it’s all in 2016 where it wasn’t just high carb, low carb. In 2016 they repeated the entire study for four weeks, in a metabolic ward, once again, but compared high carb to full on ketogenic. They put both control groups in a 300 caloric deficit and by the end of the study, both groups got equal weight loss results. Why? Because they had an equal caloric deficit and not because of any high carb or low carb differences between both groups. That second study was actually funded by Tobs.
Hey folks, hope you’re enjoying this episode of the Wolf Stand with Dan Garner. Just a quick message, make sure you subscribe and check out our awesome content, we’ve done a lot of great episodes with the best minds in health, fitness and performance. From Tony Diotee to Andrew Locktess, [inaudible 00:30:23]. Heaps of great content, we’ll get back to it in just a sec, but if you want to join us here at Wolf Pack, do visit personaltrainermentoring.com, where you can download my free e-classes or my free e-books which will help you with your personal training journey. See you on the other side of this epic interview.
Where does the insulin resistant piece fit in for you when working with say fat loss or physic performance?
It fits in just like everything else. You have to look at the individual and make the meal plan for the client and not make the client fit your meal plan. So when you look at something such as carbohydrate tolerance, if somebody is running into insulin resistance, insulin resistance isn’t the problem. Insulin resistance is the result of the problem. So it’s our job as coaches to determine, why is this person insulin resistant?
Okay well simply being in a high percentage of body fat causes insulin resistance, so that’s number one. Number two, being stressed out causes insulin resistance. Number three, sleep causes insulin resistance. Number four, inflammation causes insulin resistance. So when I’m looking at somebody and they are currently insulin resistant and I guess number five, genetics can also cause insulin resistance.
So if you have a genetic predisposition to diabetes in your family, that’s something else that will cause insulin resistance. I guess number six would be PCOS. Females are very insulin resistant do better on low-carb diets. Number seven, we could probably go on forever here but vitamin A, magnesium and zinc are required for glucose metabolism within the muscle cell. So if somebody has low zinc, vitamin A or magnesium levels then that’s something that’s going to decrease the amount of carbohydrates they can safely metabolize on a day to day basis without causing inflammation in their body.
So, when someone’s coming to me and they’re insulin resistant, it’d be very silly for me to put them on a high-carb diet because I believe in carbs. At that point it doesn’t become about energy balance anymore. At that point it becomes about matching the correct protocol for the client in their specific scenario. So they would still have their calories calculated for them, but there would be a varying ratio of carbohydrates to fats. If somebody’s insulin sensitive, they can have a lot more carbs. If somebody’s insulin resistant, we are going to go more fats until we figure out and solve that insulin resistance problem ’cause they can’t stay there for life.
So it’s similarly the right tool for the right job and that’s ultimately what’s gonna allow that person to move forward. Because there’s actually research by Cornia Attal, and they found when comparing insulin sensitive subjects to insulin resistant subjects … It was actually an excellent, excellent research study. The insulin sensitive subjects, they lost about … I think it was 13.6 kilos on a low-carb diet. But in the crossover design, when they switched to a high-carb diet, they only ended up losing 6 kilos. But the insulin sensitive people, they lost 13 kilos on a high carb diet, but only lost 6 kilos on a low-carb diet. So you saw exact opposites. Insulin sensitive people lost twice as much weight on high carbs, whereas insulin resistant people lost twice as much weight on low carbs.
So it doesn’t come down to, the Insulin hypothesis applies for everybody, it doesn’t. It comes down to the individual context and applying the right diet for the right person at the right time in their progression.
So I want to play a little bit of devil’s advocate, ’cause that’s what makes these shows interesting. Say we’ve got a client-
And they’re on Viagra.
And they’re on Viagra, and it’s stiff and they’re not losing weight and they’re not where they want to be. Is it simply a case, and I say simply, but this is often the soundbite that gets in media and in people’s head. Is it simply that they’re eating too much or is it they’re eating too much on the wrong diet and what they need to do is say a keto approach … If we identify that they’re insulin resistant, then build them up. Then eventually once they’re more able to handle carbs, switch them over to a higher carb diet.
Yeah. So I mean that’s something that you could do, definitely. But in almost all cases it’s because they’re eating too much or moving too little. If somebody’s metabolic rate … Even if somebody has the wrong foods, they’re still gonna lose weight. That’s the laws of thermodynamics once again. So even if you have somebody who’s insulin resistant but they’re only eating 500 calories per day of carbs, you better bet they’re still gonna lose weight ’cause they’re only eating 500 calories per day.
Have you worked with clients that they swear black and blue in the eye, this is what I’m eating, these are the calories that I’m eating and then they’re not losing weight, they’re not getting results. What are your go’s to? At that point do we identify, alright this person’s not telling the truth? They’ve got more a psychological issue and they need to go see a psychologist rather than see a nutritionist? How do you handle that?
Yeah I’m glad you asked, ’cause it kinda takes us back to your previous question regarding hormones and actual caloric levels. Because when I say that both sides of the equation are wrong. If they pick one side, it’s because they’re still married because the levels of and sensitivity to hormones such as lectins, such as testosterone, such as estrogen, such as thyroid, these all play a huge role in the equation that is your basil metabolic rate. So if somebody does have hormonal dysfunctions, it absolutely can reduce their metabolic rate on a day to day basis.
So if somebody swears up and down that they are following the plan to the t, and it should be a deficit and they’re training program design is applying progressive overload over time and everything is where it should be, then it’s our job to start then investigating and probing with more questions to try and identify what could be going on internally that’s causing this weightless resistance.
Have you ever seen any situations and I’ll give a couple of theoretical situations where the law of thermodynamics may be ended in slight way. Let’s say for example, you’ve got a guy and he’s doing a whole bunch of performance enhancing drugs, he’s roiding up. Do you think in that case, if he keeps his calories the same, he’s gonna be able to basically be more insulin sensitive, therefore lose body fat because you’ve driven … I say it as an example because he’s on the same calories, but if you’re boosting testosterone in that situation, is he not then gonna be more insulin sensitive even though keeping the calories same, gonna be able to facilitate weight loss or fat loss because he’s gonna be building more muscle?
Well it wouldn’t be bending the law, it would be respecting the law. Because when you have an elevation of testosterone your metabolism goes up. So you are going to burn more calories on a day to day basis and you’re also gonna be stimulating more protein synthesis on a day to day basis. So that energy is going to be preferentially stored into lean tissue, but it is still any energy in and energy out equation at the end of the day.
That’s a really interesting point and one that I actually haven’t considered before. So how do you in factor in the metabolism or metabolic rate for someone who say has differences of high testosterone versus low testosterone. Now I suppose it opens up if you’re working with someone who’s got low testosterone, then they’re gonna have less calories really, they’re gonna be able to get away with. So is that something that you factor in or able to factor in?
Yeah you have to be able to factor in and to … Whenever you’re talking to somebody who’s a super knowledgeable nutrition coach at the end of the day, the first program we give them is our best educated guess. No matter how much lab work, no matter how much lifestyle questionnaires, no matter how much anything that we have, our first plan is the best educated guess that we could ever fit for them right then and there.
But the real money in coaching and this is what I think really separates the difference between coaches and programmers. A lot of programmers can go shot for shot with guys like me and you about high level physiology and high level scientific principles of program design. But when it comes to actually getting results they fall short. Because they coach numbers, they don’t coach people.
When you learn how to coach people that’s when you’re adapting to the program over time. So if somebody has low testosterone, I’m gonna do a couple of things. I’m gonna increase the amount of fats that they have on their day to day diet because we have seen from Volix research that fats actually run linear of anabolic hormone production. So when someone has more fat in their diet, IGF 1 testosterone and growth hormone are all at higher levels than lower fat diets. So if someone has low testosterone, I’m gonna give them a little bit more fat. Also, testosterone’s highest in the morning. So even though it’s trivial, I would prefer that they do their workout upon waking because I want to use whatever testosterone that they have during their periods of physical activity.
So I would start them off that way, but as far as what I would do for this individual and accounting for their metabolic rate, I wouldn’t change anything at all with my initial calculations of what deficit and or maintenance, and or surplus that I would put them in. That would all come in the magic of coaching. The magic of coaching is your ability to adapt over time.
So like I said, there’s a best educated guess that we can do in the beginning and then every week after that, I have my clients do a weekly check in with me. If things are going the way that they should be, I would simply adapt from there. So, do your best in the beginning and then adjust accordingly based on how their body’s responding.
I heard you say something really good on your podcast show, The Garner Report. You said that a lot of coaches … If the client’s coming in and they haven’t lost any weight, they freak out. It’s like well I’m suppose to give this client a way, then they lose a kilo and they start stripping carbs out and doing when they freak out. My question to that is, well what is a long period of time? How long do you see the program out? Let’s say the client doesn’t get results for 12 weeks, are you then going, well alright somethings clearly not working. What’s your approach?
I’m pretty famous for not doing anything at all and letting people sit at maintenance for about two to three weeks, that’s what I’ll do. Lot’s of times when someone comes to me, they’ve been trying a lot of different things for a long period of time. They’re coming to me because what they’ve been doing isn’t working. So lot’s of times I have to kind of clean up the metabolic mess that they currently are. That can happen very effectively with just putting somebody at maintenance and seeing what happens. So I think that’s a true sign of being a confident coach is not your ability to change everything all the time but your ability to remain patient and allow physiology to adapt over time.
One thing we know for sure is biology always responds to averages over time. Nobody gets in shape with one great week of training. Nobody gets in shape with one great week of dieting. Biology always responds to averages over time. I’ll put somebody at maintenance for two to three weeks, put them on a good training program for two to three weeks, allow physiology to adjust and then we’ll see how everything shakes out at the end of two to three weeks. It’s only at that point where we probably would have had a meaningful difference in changes of stress, changes of testosterone, changes of DHEA, changes of sleep quality and needing to catch up on sleep debt. These things all take time. So I’m very big on sitting back and seeing how their physiology reacts, and then I’ll adjust accordingly from there.
What’d you eat for breakfast this morning?
I trained upon waking and then I had protein and carbohydrates right after my training, supplementation. Then after that I just went right to lunch and I had meat and rice.
So it was a liquid train fasted, liquid protein.
Question you must get asked all the time. What should I eat?
What should I eat, for breakfast?
No what should I eat? I mean metaphorically people coming up to you, Dan what do I eat? I want to get lean, I want to get bigger, what do I eat?
Yeah well, if anybody is coming and they’re super general then that’s somebody who would just benefit a lot of just basically going on a whole food, minimally processed diet. If it’s somebody who doesn’t want to do caloric equations, if somebody in an elevator asking me what they should eat. It’s pretty simple, have a protein source with every single meal and have whole, minimally processed carbohydrates, ’cause they’re not gonna kill you. Have natural fats and the type of fat source that’s been demonstrated repeatedly in the research to have the most wide array of health benefits would be mono and saturated fats. So things like avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, raw nuts, natural nut butters, those types of things.
Basically I have critiqued the diet in the past, but for general people, the Paleo diet’s actually not a bad idea. Getting in more protein and eliminating all the crap is what a lot of general people would benefit a lot from. But if you’re an athlete or a top business exec or something, then we’re gonna need a longer conversation.
So how do you weigh in on something like, if it fit’s your macros and the pop tarts making them fit in, that kind of thing.
Yeah, well if it fits your macros or IIFYM, that’s something that actually … It wasn’t born as an excuse to eat crap. It was born … IIFYM was actually a diet that was created in this old thing that use to exist called, forums. Forums use to-
I remember them.
It was actually a bodybuilding.com nutrition forum where IIFYM was born. What was continually happening was people were misrepresenting the fact that biology responds to averages over time. So, you’ve got … No one food will ever make you unhealthy, only diets can make you unhealthy. So provided you’re making more good decisions than bad decisions, your biology is gonna respond positively over time. People were thinking that single foods were going to destroy their health. You’d get very orthoexic people that would freak out about things.
So what was happening over time is people were doing 95% of the process perfectly, whole minimally processed foods, calories, macros, the whole deal, and from all clean foods. Then they’d be like, I’m going out on Saturday night, can I have white potato? If it fits your macros you can, you’re fine. You’re not gonna die. Then someone else would say, can I have white rice post meal instead of brown rice? If it fits your macros you’re gonna be fine. Can I go out for a Valentine’s day dinner with my wife? Of course you can! You’re not gonna die. Make it fit your macros.
So then if it fits your macros was said so often that everyone got lazy and turned it into IIFYM, like a bunch of proper Ozzy’s, it would just shortened. The word was just shortened right down to it’s nominal form.
I’m surprised an O wasn’t added on the ends. Which macros? O.
Yeah totally. So that’s how it was born and it provided you’re making more good decisions than bad decisions. It’s not something that needs to be taken into … Not needed to be something that is critiqued. Once again, it is the marriage of this is what I essentially …
This is how I approach nutrition, is from the outside in and the inside out. The outside in is all the factors that we know from the research that apply to people. So getting in your calories in the correct point, getting your protein, carbs and fats at the correct point. Getting all of this research from the outside in to be able to apply to that client.
But then we also have to care about the inside out, ’cause that matters just as much. So their hormonal balance, their inflammation, their sleep, their gut health, all of these factors. Their personal lifestyle, all these things need to be married in one. If you can have a treat every single week and that allows you to maintain your diet over the longterm, then that’s something that you should do. Because consistency beats intensity ten times out of ten. Like I said, nobody gets in shape off one week of dieting. People get in shape off 16 weeks of dieting. So if having a treat, fitting in your macros allows you to maintain 16 weeks of a deficit, rather than two weeks of a wildly extreme approach, then do it. Consistency beats intensity every time.
So I see in nutrition and love to get your thoughts on this. Again, coming back to two sides of the pole, where you’ve got if it fits your macros crowd, you’ve got the hormone crowd, and they’re just violent for lack of a better word, towards each other. Then there’s everyone in between. But if you get out of line and you say something about calories, you get attacked from if it fits your macros. If you say something about calories, you get attacked from this side. How have you struggled with that? I mean I know you’re very balanced in having a great conversation, very balanced on things. But looking at this world of nutrition, it really isn’t reflective I think on good practitioners, but where is this I suppose, polarization born out of? What do you think?
I think polarization is born out of people just needing attention online, I think that’s one. I think a lot of people don’t know how to market themselves at all so they try to be extreme with their approach and then that’ll get you attention. So that’s I think number two. I think number three is just a complete ignorance towards it’s knowledge of the data. Because it’s absolutely silly.
So, for example like we talked about. If you’ve got two people of equal weight and equal height and equal activity, but I put that guy on 600 milligrams of testosterone per week then this guy on 100, he’s gonna have a better body composition because it impacted his metabolism. So it’s an extreme example, sure, but it is an example of the effect that hormones can have when your metabolic rate and therefore your calories in versus calories out. So inside out matters.
In turn, your calories in versus calories out, we know that if we exceed our calories in versus calories out for too long we are gonna gain weight. That weight gain is gonna cause a transient increase in estrogen and drop in testosterone. Therefore that guy is gonna have less protein synthesis, he’s gonna have more protein breakdown, less energy and that’s also something that’s gonna cause insulin resistance over time. That’s gonna impact his metabolism.
So to say that those two aren’t connected is absolutely bizarre. We need to be able to marry both. That’s why I have never struggled with it because I don’t see the argument. I avoid the argument online because they have the same point. They’re both saying the exact same thing, they’re just using different angles at which to get there.
Is people trying to pull you into that argument I imagine quite frequently?
Yeah, but I never do any of that stuff online. Yeah, you can scroll back for 10 years, I’ve never been in an online debate and I never will.
Well fist bump for that. Very good.
I never ever will.
So if you’re watching this on YouTube, make sure you leave comments. No, joking.
Fasting, that’s been all the rage, keto and fasting. But let’s not talk about keto on this one. But fasting, is that something you implement with your guys? Is that something that you do for mental clarity? What are your thoughts on fasting?
I don’t do any kind of fasting. It’s actually apart of my jet lag protocol. So I did a podcast called, “The Ultimate Jet Lag Protocol.” Fasting has been demonstrated to dramatically reduce jet lag symptoms even of water retention, energy loss, all of this stuff. So, it’s something where if you fast 48 hours prior to your flight and then have your first meal in the new country at their time, then that’s something that can really help.
But overall with fasting, it’s something where again, it’s a right tool for the right job. As far as the literature is concerned right now, it’s something that can be great for fat loss and muscle retention during fat loss. But seems to fall short in terms of muscle gain. So if somebody is interested in fasting, I would utilize that approach more so for a diet than I ever would for a bulking phase.
And have you seen any research that indicates it’s better for males than it is for females?
Yeah for sure. Yeah actually Precision Nutrition did a pretty cool thing about that too. So they’ve gone over the research in that and then Doctor Crystal Scott-Dixon who’s somebody who I respect greatly, she went through it and saw a lot of metabolic hiccups that otherwise weren’t there in her regular meal frequency patterns.
So if you’re female, avoid the fasting. If you’re male, you’re okay. It’s actually funny story about fasting, ’cause I know when I jump on a plane to go to another country, I just choose not to eat. I just fast. People are like, what are you doing? I’m fasting. I just don’t want to eat the food, ’cause it sucks, it’s airplane food. But I’m fasting.
Hey who got you into what you’re doing today?
As far as how I got into the health industry in general?
Yeah, like who is your influence? Is there someone who’s influenced you and your mindset?
Not really. I’ve had many influencers who’ve taught me things and have got me excited about stuff. But, when I first got into the industry, it was, I had my back up against the wall. So, a lot of people don’t know, I had a terrible in high school. Absolutely awful grades in high school, ’cause I just didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t really care about anything at that point. So, after high school, I graduated, and then I got a job in a machine shop. Was looking back on it, I could have been considered a certain level of depression. I was so unhappy with my life. All the guys in the machine shop hated the jobs, they hated their boss, they hated how much money they were making, they hated their wives. I was like a 17 year old kid and being impressionable on all of these guys. I was like, is this life? This is terrible.
Then the best thing that ever happened to me was that I got laid off three and a half years into that job. The company wasn’t actually making enough airplanes to pay everybody. So then I ended up getting laid off and I saw it as a second chance at life. I went back to school, went through college, finished that thing. Got on the floor as a personal trainer and went forward from there.
When I was in the machine shop, I was actually not working and usually researching training and nutrition the whole time. I ran something known as the water jet, which actually operated about eight hours all by itself. So I’d get paid for being on those weird forums and reading. I was already doing the training and nutrition programs for everybody in the machine shop already in there. So, I just knew that that was my true calling.
When I got out of the machine shop I went absolutely insane and have not stopped going insane ever since.
So when you look back at your life, I know you said … How old were you when you found wow, this is what I want to do with my life?
I think that I knew it earlier, but I didn’t have the self confidence to go through with it. I just think that I was like, ah, I got bad grades in school, I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I like training but I don’t know about being a coach. I was doing all that, about 17 to 20, I was in the machine shop with those … Not a lot of confidence. Then once I actually got into college, I realized how much I knew because I was in college and then I was actually tutoring the year above me when I got into college my first year. I was like, k, I know a lot more than everybody in here and I’m the guy who came from the machine shop, what’s going on.
It was like the first time in my life I actually felt intelligent about something. I never did good in high school and I was just a machine shop guy and then I got into college and all of a sudden, I was the smart guy. Getting good grades and tutoring the year above me in the exact same course as me. So it was I think at that point then I started building confidence and then I was designing programs for the other students in my grade and even the grade above me. While I was in school I went so crazy that I got six certifications while I was in school. So on top of the curriculum, I did six more certifications on top of that cuticulum.
It’s funny that you ask, ’cause I use to listen to Maxis Mark radio.
Yes sir. True story, true story. I put them on these old things called CD’s. I use to have Maximus Mark and they would actually … Only one or two episodes would fit per CD and I would listen to that. It was a commute to London, Ontario, to Branfort, Ontario every day and it was about 90 minutes of commuting there and back. I’d put on a Maximus Mark episode.
That is so funny.
So you were doing podcasts before podcasts were cool.
That is true. So for those who don’t know, my, I suppose name used to be Maximus Mark. It was maximusmark.com and I was doing podcasts back in 2010. I’ll tell you the story how I got into podcasting was I read Randy Roaches book, Muscle Smoking Mirrors and I thought it was the most phenomenal thing I’d ever read. I thought, well, I’m just gonna do a review on this book. I put it up online, I sent it to the guy.
I said, “Hey Randy, I don’t want anything for this. Your work … You’ve touched me as a person because you’re blind and you’re written three volumes in the history and I just can’t fathom what you’ve gone through to put this together. I just want to say thank you.” He [inaudible 00:55:07] straight back within 10 minutes and was like well, that is the nicest thing anyone’s done for me. If you want to have a chat, feel free. If you want anything else. I was like, wow, of course. You’re Randy Roach, 100 percent. Can we have a chat? Then I asked him on the phone, can we do a podcast? He said yeah, sure.
So after that, I didn’t have a podcast show at that point. I spoke to my web guys and I said, I just interviewed the most amazing person, what do I do with this? How do I put this up online? They’re immediate answer was oh you just put it up on iTunes. We’ll just start a podcast show. I was like, okay. Then when I had it I was like well, I’ve just spent money to develop a podcast show, I might as well just get the feelers out and interview a bunch of people.
Yeah for sure.
That is so funny.
Dude I listened to it and I actually had the thought in the cab ride over here, that you were doing podcasts before podcasts were cool. This video shows something that no one else is doing with the studio, audience and all this other stuff. So I applaud you for being innovative.
Well it’s one of our values, there it is innovation.
Oh innovation’s right there. Right on!
Yeah I gotta be innovating constantly. Let’s get back to the interview, let’s do the one word game to wrap up this show.
Let’s do it.
So one word game, if you haven’t played this before … So if I said batman, or if I said sorry, let me say that again. If I said, superhero. You might say, batman for example.
So you ready to go?
Most hated food?
Wide pronated grip pull ups.
Athlete you admire.
Oh he was just in Australia, my brother just met him.
Go to supplement.
Least favorite supplement.
Body building mags.
Muscle and fitness.
For breakfast Dan eats.
Eggs, omelets every time. Except in Australia I guess.
Mine is scrambled eggs every time.
Movie you love.
Into the Wild.
Most common nutritional pitfall.
Carbs make you fat.
A good book or a book you gift most.
Allen Argonne’s first book. The Girth Control or something like that.
Underrated food most people should eat more of.
A comfort food.
Which burgers? Have you been to Grilled in Australia?
Yeah I had … No I went to healthy burger place and they put beetroot and an egg on my burger and I died of happiness.
But you haven’t been to Grilled yet?
Oh we gotta go to Grilled, we are going to Grilled.
A podcast you listen to.
I listen to Under the Bar.
A mental or peer you respect.
Doctor John Birartee and Doctor Crystal Scott-Dixon.
We are at a bar, what are we drinking?
It’s okay for dieting.
Something you want to see less of.
Something you want to see more of?
Hobby or past-time.
Biggest nutritional myth.
Carbs make you fat.
An athlete or celebrity you wish you could consult for.
So Dan this was a blast, where can people learn more about you?
You can learn more about me on Instagram at @DanGarnernutrition. You can learn more about me and my courses at coachgarner.com and at Facebook at Dan Garner Strength and Nutrition Specialist. Or if you’re into the fitness business world, you can catch me at createfreedom.com and @createfreedomcoaching on Instagram.
So you’ve got the three products? Really the mentoring for nutrition, the mentoring for training and the mentoring for business, is that right?
Yes, that’s right.
Awesome, awesome. Well thank you for watching another episode of the Wolf Stand. Be sure to subscribe and ring that bell while you’re at it as well to make sure that you get all of our updates. Make sure you follow Dan on Instagram and stay tuned to the enterprise fitness Instagram and my Instagram. ‘Till next time folks, train hard, supplement smart and eat well.
Alright thank you.
How good was that?