Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.  – Miles Kington

Tools of the swole trade
Tools of the swole trade

As this is somewhat a continuation of my Muscular Failure, Akhilandeshvari, and the Hypertrophy Response post, I’ll again (as I did there) lead with the punchline: slight genetic variation manifests in wildly different response to environmental nudges.

Now that’s hideous circumstance for researchers who need to level the playing field between control and subject groups.  The Venn overlap of identical twins who also want to be human guinea pigs is narrow indeed.  Especially so in exercise or dietary studies.

For the n=1, citizen scientist though, things are a bit rosier.  We don’t have to be exactly right across the spectrum; we simply need to be in the ballpark, and constantly refine our answers so as to approach THE answer.  And know this:  THE answer is a continually moving target.

But, as I alluded to in my last post, it’s not as if we’re just blindly flinging hatchets at moving targets.

Or flinging hatches with the Barbell Business crew under a beautiful, SoCal sun...
…or flinging hatches at fixed targets with the Barbell Business crew…

There are some things we know to be universally true, such as:

  • in diet, nutrient density rules
  • refined carbohydrates, HFCS, trans fats and sugar are good for no one
  • a mediocre routine followed consistently will outperform the finest, though inconsistently-followed, routine
  • strength predicts health; power output predicts athleticism

I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  My point is simply that there is no universally correct answer when it comes to either diet or training.  You have to do some n=1 homework.

Toward that end, I urge you to listen to Paleo f(x) alum, Dr. Rhonda Patrick, in this IHMC podcast.  It’s a gem, to say the least. Rhonda is exceedingly smart, and the IHMC crew (you might remember them from this post on keeping astronauts healthy during prolonged space travel) is absolutely top-notch.

After listening, you’ll have a much better understanding of why some trainees respond better to high rep schemes and others get zero benefit.  Or why some get kick-ass results on a ketogenic diet, while it’s a complete trainwreck for others.

And, too, we have to consider other variances between people: gut biota, for instance; psychological factors.

Lots to navigate, for sure.  Which is why my Five Ts tool works so well.  Just sayin’ 🙂

Which also means you can’t just shotgun even the highest quality supplementation and expect it to work.  What we now know of genetic variance makes that old school methodology laughable.  This is why I am so adamant about folks being on ID Nutrition as an adjunct to an otherwise healthy (read, Paleo/real food) diet.  That we can infer much about genetic (and epigenetic) variance via our assessment is a game-changer in the supplement industry.  And it won’t be long before we’re able to pin-point unique nutritional needs even further via incorporation of genetic testing.

That truly is the future of supplementation.  And we at ID Life will be best positioned to capitalize on that wisdom as it comes available.


In health, fitness and ancestral wellness –






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