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4 ideas on realizing your genetic potential

Dan Bailey


If you want to forget limiting eating ways and consider reaching your full potential as a human being here is the link for our book Met Flex for Fat Loss.

  1. Many dieting concepts prevalent in bodybuilding culture have no practical application for new trainees, and they certainly don’t set you up for optimal athletic performance.
  2. You have to have a lot of muscle on your body to look great at a low body fat percentage.  Furthermore, the levels of leanness that some people attempt to achieve are impossible to maintain.  Nobody needs to be walking around at 5% body fat unless they’re preparing for a competitive physique/bodybuilding show or a photo shoot.
  3. Genetics are no excuse not to work hard.  If you place limitations upon yourself based upon your genetics, you’ll sell yourself short.
  4. Instead of asking yourself how much more fat you need to lose, ask yourself how much more muscle you need to gain/how much stronger you need to become to accomplish your goals.

Here is the full length article “What is your genetic potential (or being Dan Bailey)

How to Eat and Move when you’re Injured

A big part of what we talk about in the Science Lab is moving properly and keeping yourself healthy through a gradual approach.  However, most people suffer some kind of injury during their training, and the topic of how to eat during a lay off comes up quite frequently. Injury can make or break an athlete, whether they’re pro or amateur.  How you deal with it determines whether you rise to the occasion or spend the rest of your life holding back.

(Click here to jump to a summary of this article.)

When I first started on my path to better health, I suffered a major accident.  It was actually the most horrific accident I have ever personally seen, and unfortunately it happened to me.  Winter was turning into Spring, and I was getting the itch to be outdoors more.  At this point I wasn’t into fitness the way I am now.  I had a Vespa that I would drive around town, and it was fun, but I wanted something that would allow me to go further.  While it might seem odd to move from a Vespa to a Harley Davidson, I have ridden motorcycles and ATV’s my whole life.  (I am from the South after all!)  I opted for a Sportster and decked it out “James Dean style”.  I was ready to embrace my inner Kerouac, even if it just meant that I’d be able to go to the grocery store 8 miles away.

I was definitely scared, and in retrospect it was kind of silly what I did, but the circumstances set me up very poorly.  Because I paid cash, they were able to let me ride the bike out on my own; if I had financed it, that wouldn’t have been the case.  So I got a little unlucky there.  To make a long story short, I came down the hill and the motorcycle stalled.  I had to re-start it, and as I left the driveway of the dealership, it began to stall again.  So I went to hit the clutch, but probably ended up hitting the brake, and I accelerated.  The bike then spun out on the sandy roads of Minnesota in April (residue from snow removal) and as I went to brace my foot down, my ankle snapped off of my leg.  If you think this was a joke, and you are tempted to make fun of me for my misfortune, I will have nothing to do with you; this was extremely traumatic and even talking about it right now is something very difficult.  If you have ever seen the Joe Theismann injury or the recent Kevin Ware injury, it was like that.  (At least, I assume; I can’t watch the Kevin Ware injury because of what happened to me.)

In a very real way, who I have become today is a direct result of sitting in a chair for six months after the incident.  I had already started my typical “stop eating M & M’s and drinking Cokes” diet, and had lost some weight.  That’s about the same time I started thinking, “I am too smart to be fat”.  As I talk to people in the Science Lab today, it’s not often that I need to research things all that much because when I was in that chair, I literally drank up information with a straw.

(As a funny side note, having no pain medication was not an option, but I was only on it for 3 days.  I’m also a sometimes-professional poker player; in those 3 days, I won about $50,000 dollars playing online poker, so it was tough getting off of the pain medication for more than one reason.)

The focus of my research became the ability to mobilize fat without extreme calorie restriction, and not only was I able to figure it out, but I determined that the calorie-restricted model was severely flawed for many reasons.  I write a lot of articles about that though.

The Basics of Physical Therapy and Why it’s Important for you To Know

The basics of Physical Therapy go like this:  get the patient moving, increase the patient’s range of motion, and make the patient stronger.  That’s my version at least.  Healing requires energy; it’s an extremely stressful time for the body.  Although it can be difficult to eat when you’re out of commission, tour body needs as much food (if not more) to recover during this time than it did while you were training.  This is the case for that elbow sprain you incurred doing hang power cleans, as well as that meniscus tear you sustained doing ATG squats, so let’s start there.  When you’re injured, the worst thing you can do is go on a diet.  You certainly should do what you can to help your body rid itself of inflammation and toxins, and we will talk about how to do that, (Some of it will be conjecture on my part based on what I know related to exercise physiology.) but it has nothing to do with under feeding.

Injury Is a Toxic Event for Your Body 

While severe injuries do require a substantial amount of time off to heal and rehabilitate, there will come a point where things have improved enough that you can return to light activity.  You want to get back to normal, but your strength will be diminished and your body will be inflamed.  To remove toxins and inflammation, you need to move.  This applies for both small and major injuries.  So while resting is a key component, maintaining and restoring mobility is top priority.

For example, inflammation builds up in your ankle after a leg injury; it’s swollen and stiff but you’ve got the go-ahead to return to light duty.  Once you can move more comfortably, a great strategy is to perform dynamic stretches or myofascial release (foam rolling) for your gastrocnemius and tibialis to pump out the inflammatory agents and improve your range of motion.  Without engaging in some kind of stretching or exercise, the inflammation just stays there and your recovery time will be lengthened.  You often hear of athletes needing to get their knees or elbows drained.  The reason is simple; they can’t rest.  They have too much on the line to take weeks off from training, but they also have teams of doctors and coaches to make sure they’re not doing anything that will result in more overall damage.  So rest is important but active movement (not static stretching) is necessary if you want to minimize your time off.

Should I Eat Carbs?

The simple answer is, “YES!”  Carbohydrates are a key to both muscle protein turnover (also known as healing) and maintaining a healthy metabolism.  Does that mean it’s cheesecake for lunch and Ben n’ Jerry’s for dessert?  No, it doesn’t.  We’re talking the same carb sources you know are good for you, that you’d eat any other time of your life; sweet potatoes, white rice, etc.!  Many people find that when they are injured, it is difficult to maintain weight; without activity, you do put yourself in a position to gain some poundage.  While this is preferable to wasting away during a forced recovery period, I would probably recommend some control days; maybe one on/two off for most people.  That is to say, one carbohydrate day and two “control days”.  Even though you’re injured, the control days shouldn’t be excessively low carb; you just want to keep the scale in a range of 1 to 5 pounds as an example.  The control days are basically meant to keep your inflammation levels low.  That combined with moving (however you can) will gradually release the inflammation around the affected area and aid in the healing process.

Thoughts on Supplements

I think we can keep this one pretty short.  You probably don’t need a whole lot of carbs, especially when you’re forced into a sedentary lifestyle, so that brings us to protein.  Whether you’re recovering from a superficial injury or a catastrophic event, I think there is value in supplementing with protein from eggs or whey.  You should shoot for amounts even higher than 1 gram per pound of body weight.  You don’t need to take this to an extreme, but clearly protein goes a long way to regenerate new tissue, and that is what your body needs when you are injured.  Another suggestion is to intake some BCAA’s (branch chained amino acids).  Even if you are having no problem getting most of your protein from real foods, two 10g servings of BCAA’s would increase your amino profile and potentially lead to better healing.

You can let an injury break you down, or you can use the time to set new goals.  Eating is a big part of the recovery process, and you’ll still be doing plenty of it.  Don’t worry about gaining a little weight; it’ll only make you stronger.  Continue to utilize the strategies that you’ve learned, and make nutrition a priority.  Nothing is more important than your recovery, both physically and mentally.  You have to go forward with the attitude that you WILL be up and moving as soon as you can, that this is just a bump in the road.  In the end, your goal is to get back into the gym, restore your body’s functionality, and eventually surpass your old PRs.  If you believe in yourself, you’ll achieve.


  • Injury can make or break an athlete, whether they’re pro or amateur.  How you deal with it determines whether you rise to the occasion or spend the rest of your life holding back.
  • The basic goal of physical therapy is to get the patient moving again, improve their mobility, and then strengthen their injury so they can return to normal activity.
  • As soon as you can move, start stretching and doing light exercise to pump out inflammation and improve nutrient partitioning to the injury.  The sooner this happens, the faster you’ll recover.
  • Without proper nutrition, your recovery will be compromised.  Although it can be difficult to eat when you’re hurt, the worst thing you can do is go on a diet so you don’t get fat.
  • Stick to your regular diet; don’t avoid carbs, and try to get more protein in the form of shakes.
  • Supplementing with BCAAs is probably a good idea.
  • Approach your recovery with a positive attitude and get back out there when it’s safe!  Don’t rush into things, but don’t hide from fear of re-injuring yourself.  Be smart about the risks you take but don’t be overly cautious.

Raw with Joy Victoria

Joy Victoria Ab Photo


The concepts of Intermittent Fasting or “delaying breakfast” is always a big topic because the advice contradicts most standard advice.  For more information on the Science Lab and how Intermittent Fasting can work for you click here.

I appreciate you taking the time to chat with us. Your articles on T-Nation and Tabatatimes seem have your name everywhere at the moment. Has that been surreal and why do you think your message is getting so much interest?

One reason a message will get so much interest is when it’s needed as well as wanted. And I think I made good choices in picking topics that fulfilled that need; simple diet principles and encouraging women to strength train. Many people are getting plenty fed up with the crazy state of diet and training going on and the confusion about where to get good information, that someone who will give it straight is appreciated. Everything I share is a reflection of the education I have received from the works of those like Alan Aragon, Mark Rippetoe, Lyle McDonald or Dan John, and I am also proud to be published alongside coaches and trainers I admire on T-Nation. I plan to keep on writing, so you can expect to see more from me.

You coach High School athletes and have more of a powerlifting background (rather than say Crossfit). It’s my experience that once performance and work capacity is in line the eating part becomes relatively trivial with a mostly whole foods approach. What are your thoughts on that and specifically how you use various macros as fuel?

Actually I have a background in a bit of both. I did Crossfit for about a year, before switching to more traditional powerlifting/bodybuilding strength training. I also used to be a diet-whore. I was one of those people who would pretend to not be searching for the “magic diet”, when in fact they were. I tried quite a few different ones quite religiously. One common tactic for any diet is just banning certain food groups or certain combinations. Not one diet book I have read (and I have read quite a few, including some crazy ones from the 80’s) ever really laid out the simple basic rules of human physiology and nutritional science and explained the role of macros and micros and how the body uses food. And every single one promised that it had something another didn’t and comes with certain unbreakable rules that will guarantee your success. Rules like “Don’t eat this food and this food together and you ‘ll be fine”. Or, “Just eliminate ……. at this time and you’ll be fine.” I can’t stress enough that until you know the principles, you will never understand the methods. People that argue IF or Paleo or Atkins or South Beach or whatever are just arguing methods. And as you hear repeated often; the method is what is individual. The best method is what works for you. And all that takes is some education and attention to your body. Rules and structure are great, even needed. You can’t just take someone with horrible eating habits and tell them to “diet intuitively”. And that’s where diets and strict methods are useful. But in the end if you don’t understand that basics of calorie intake, macro importance etc, you will fail at any diet no matter how wonderful it sounds. Right now I just lift weights and while my main focus is gaining strength, I don’t believe that means I have free-for-all in a diet. I train hard and eat a lot and keep it simple. I eat the same types of foods very often and don’t find the need to schedule “cheats”. If I want it I eat it and stay within reason. If I feel I want to drop some body fat, I know how to do that sanely. If I eat too little, I know what it will feel like in the gym, so I keep my intake consistent. Now that I have a sound education in the basics of nutrition I can always tweak my diet to reflect my current goals. For instance, right now I am training 6 days a week, squatting heavy every day, so I don’t cycle carbs, I just aim to eat consistent calories every day. Previously when I was training 3-4 times a week, I would cycle carbs and eat higher on training and lower on rest days. I know that if I want to drop fat, I don’t need to remove all carbs from my diet, or restrict fat aggressively, I would just stay high protein and keep a caloric deficit in any way I choose. You can argue a diet protocol to death, and still not stumble on the basics, which are pretty simple. I also now know that there are no real “bad” or “good” foods per se (you should have heard me argue against milk when I was 17). Its about the context and the balance. Some people preach against dairy or meat or nightshades etc. That’s a debate for someone other than me. I spent years obsessing over one food or another or one method vs another, and really it never did me me much good or got me closer to my goals. Eat your protein, eat your fats, and use carbs appropriately. I like Dan Johns suggestion of sticking to a basic 20 foods for about 80% of your diet. Nail good food choices and sounds habits, then tinker with other details when they matter.

Last question and thanks for doing this. You and I share a similar experience, we have both used Leangains to get lean. There has been a lot of criticism of Intermittent Fasting that I believe is misplaced. If you use it as an eating strategy it is a useful tool in my opinion. If you use it as an extreme diet the results would be similar to using any diet protocol poorly. What’s your take?
The criticism is usually from people that don’t bother to examine the evidence and think for themselves. They also tend to be the same people who will argue method over principle and refuse to see that you are pointing to a principle to convey a method. Unfortunately we are at the mercy of an overload of available information, so suddenly anyone can become an expert without any thought to an education on the basics and applying critical thinking and common sense.
Any diet can screw you over if you are just using it as a bandaid for bigger problems. If someone is a chronic binger, maybe they shouldn’t IF. If someone can’t control their sugar cravings, maybe telling them they can fit Snickers into their macros is not what they need to hear. With anything you need to ask: do my actions suit my goals? Are my choices giving me the results I want? How can I protect against my weaknesses and exploit my strengths?

Martin Berkhan has provided us with organized, systematic and compelling evidence that IF is not only fine, but a good idea if it is a method that suits you and your goals. That gives us two bangs for our buck; the anecdotal (experience) evidence, and a sound scientific backing. Where’s the problem? I’m not going to tell someone that they “have” to do this or that for a diet. My job as a coach is to ask “What do you want?” and then lead you there. Our job as coaches is to help someone find the best path to reach their goals. And that can come in so many ways, it blows the mind. If you can’t argue without including context, critical thinking, and respect for the scientific method, then keep your mouth shut.

Joy Victoria Non Abs


Joy Victoria is a strength and conditioning coach with an emphasis on powerlifting.  You can visit her at or like her page on Facebook.

Joy Victoria is the Strength & Conditioning Coach at St. Johnsbury Academy in St. Johnsbury, VT, a personal trainer and online fitness consultant. Besides training her athletes she is a competitive powerlifter and most recently won her division in the USAPL Massachusetts State Powerlifting Championship of 2012. Joy is a mother of two beautiful children, lived in over 10 countries in Asia and South America as a non-profit social worker, and spent two years as a Correctional Officer and volunteer firefighter. She can be found writing about lifting, dieting and hot topics in fitness on her site (listed above).

Question and Answer with Elisabeth Akinwale

Elisabeth Akinwale

She’s a little busy at the moment (training for regionals) but if you want to be in the same group with one of the fittest women on the planet join the Science Lab.  Click Here for info.

Time Stamps for the Video:

01:05 Elisabeth introduces herself, briefly details her career, learning to Eat To Perform, Paleo

05:10 (Elisabeth’s mic cuts out)

05:30 Interview recommences.  Elisabeth talks about leaning out on Paleo, cheating on “almond butter, an apple and diet soda” and “newbie gains”

09:40 Feeling “depleted on a regular basis”, adding fats through clean foods, Vikings or Bears, and “opening the floodgate” to replenish carbohydrate stores

13:35 Carb Back-loading and how it isn’t about eating doughnuts and turnovers, using carbs to speed up your metabolism, altering “The Zone Diet” for performance

16:20 Talking about SPN “Sweet Potato Recovery Fuel” and satiation

18:25 Elisabeth talks about Paleo, Rich Froning’s cookie strategy, and the challenges of being a parent as well as a high-performing athlete

22:30 The differences between male and female athletes, eating on training days, nutrition snobs, and how everyone is different

25:45 Paul talks about an upcoming article about his pizza strategy, inflammation, intuitive eating, and carb/fat cycling, differences between men and women when considering carbohydrate intake

30:50 Elisabeth talks about the cultural perspective of underfeeding for women, how some people wear calorie deprivation as a “badge of honor” and simple dietary modifications to increase calories

32:20 “The Cinnamon Roll Challenge”, losing weight by eating more, the success of Eat To Perform

34:10 Competition day nutrition, the advantages of liquid nutrition, late-night eating and flexible meal timing

38:25 Intermittent fasting, skipping breakfast and intraday hormone optimization, how any diet be harmful if done wrong

41:20 biochemical individuality, aging, being open-minded and continuously adapting your nutrition strategy and the wrap-up

How I imagine our fictitious conversation to be going

How I imagine conversations I am having with people to be going on Facebook:

“Wait, this bald headed sometimes mohawked middle aged and relatively mediocre Crossfitter seems to be saying that if I eat towards my energy output the net result will be positive.  I will then sleep better, lift heavier weight, make Fran my bitch and have better sex as a result.  And oh yea, I will look better naked.”

Me responding to fictional conversation that actually never occurred:

“Not only am I saying that it is one of the most scientifically studied principles that exists related to nutrition (that being the concept of a slowing metabolism related to negative energy consumption).”

The gradually awesome approach – April Blackford

April Simmons Blackford

This article is similar to the approach we teach in the Ladies Specific Q&A sessions.  The “Science Lab” allows you to interact with other people in a similar situation to yours and ask questions in a virtual classroom setting as well as a private group.  April is one of the Science Lab moderators.  When you buy our book Met Flex for Fat Loss you get a membership to the Science Lab and our webinars for free.

First, let me start out by saying that for as long as I have known what a true “carb” is, I have always (I guess not technically always) had a sort of “fear” of them. Within the past 6 months, the light bulb finally went off in my head and I had that much-needed “Ah-ha!” moment. This has truly got to be the best thing, both physically and mentally, to have ever happened to me.

I want to rewind to when this amazing experience first occurred. I am a member of the LeanYou Facebook group and in August 2012, we decided to have a friendly 16 week competition where guys and gals were separated into categories of cutting and bulking.  At the time, I honestly did not have a lot of so-called “weight” or fat to drop, but I had bulked over the summer and put on some extra fat that I wasn’t feeling comfortable with.  I decided to be a good sport and join in, to help keep the others in the group motivated. My initial plan (in my mind) was easy:  I thought, “Well crap, I’ll just go low carb with a once-a-week reefed, drop a bunch of fat and breeze through this!!”  Well, that was a nightmare; a freaking nightmare. If you look up “freaking nightmare” in the dictionary, it will reference a picture of me. I was still continuing to lift heavy at the gym 3 days a week. The first couple of days were fine, but then my workouts started to suffer. Actually, they sucked. I was so weak that my body would tremble with simple movements like dumbbell bench press. My main lifts, like deadlift, squat and bench press, were even worse.  My pulse would race to the point that I felt like I was going to have a heart attack, but I kept up with it for 6 weeks. At the end of the 6 weeks, the scale had only moved a whopping 3lbs.  “Only 3lbs???!! What??” I wanted to eat my sweet potatoes, kabocha squash, and Brussels sprouts more than once a week!! So, I sat and thought it out and said, “There has to be a better way.”

Abandoning Low Carb was scary

I immediately stopped the low carb method and started on more of a moderate carb cycling approach. The new plan consisted of low carbs on rest days, two medium carb training days, and one high carb on my heaviest training day. What happened? I started slowly dropping fat and at the end of the 16 weeks, I was down 14lbs. After the competition, I knew I had to reverse out of my diet and reset my body and hormones. At this point, my body was screaming at me.  ”What the heck are you trying to do to me!!!?” I had consistently eaten at a deficit for 16 weeks. It was time to start back increasing my calories and carbs, and yes, I was nervous; I think it is natural to have that feeling. I knew to expect an increase in water weight, mainly for the simple fact that carbs hold more water.

First week: I increased all my days by an extra 25g of carbs compared to what I was eating at before. I did that for two weeks, increased again and continued ‘til I reached my highest level yet. I was now at 150g on rest days and 225g on training days…YAY!! Time for happy dance! I get to eat carbs every day now, not just the days where I slam some heavy weight around at the gym!

Now Performance is the driver

Fast-forward to where I am now: I have been eating at maintenance since November. My strength has blown up in this time. I hit a new deadlift best of 220lbs for 2 reps a few weeks ago.  Something magical has happened; I stopped caring about the scale and losing weight, started focusing only on my lifts, and I’m getting leaner! I officially weigh 7lbs more now than November. My abs look good, my arms are getting vascular, and my butt is growing (this was the year of the butt for me you know.)

Strategic Carbs within reason

Now, what and when I eat is probably the next question. I eat protein/fat throughout the day and save the majority of my carbs (especially starchy carbs) for night. Is it Carb Back-Loading? I don’t know; I guess you could say I do a clean version of some sort. I eat a LOT (and I mean a LOT) of sweet potatoes…Like, I am seriously obsessed. I love yams; Japanese and Okinawan varieties the best. I have a natural sweet tooth, so I don’t care for regular potatoes or rice too much. My absolute favorite carb source is kabocha squash; I could seriously eat this every single day.  It is not as starchy as potatoes, therefore I limit these to my rest days only, but can you imagine eating 2lbs for less than 300 calories?

When that “Ah-ha!” moment occurred to me, things changed. I finally stopped obsessing, and started seeing results. The moment when I realized that less it not always good, and more is better, is when the magic happened. As I tell my friends now, “Don’t be scared of the carbs.” They are truly magical for me. Like, really magic.

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