Dan John: Wandering Weights, Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 11

I almost didn’t get to this. I was in my garage checking the amount of air in my footballs. Speaking of football, we don’t have many games left this season. Alas. So, we look forward to next season!

Let’s start off with a very informative video on how to train like a Special Forces Operator. Keep a pen and paper handy to take notes.

I have often had people ask me about the “gap” in the book, Mass Made Simple. The gap is that I don’t really explain “eat a lot.” That gap has now been addressed by Connor Grooms’ Geek to Freak blog and book. His discussion on how hard it is to eat a lot is spot-on. His book is on special on Kindle, and I really like it, even for those not interested in bulking up. I can’t recommend it enough—it’s fun reading. Connor also lives a minimalist lifestyle. This article, How to Travel Around the World with Just a 20-lb Backpack, is a fun overview of how to pack minimally—very light, but still comfortable. I adopted two of these ideas already.

If you have a need to be smarter about training…and life…I’ve really been enjoying this On the Platform blog, and you probably will, too. It reminds me of Open Culture, one of my favorite websites. The first link, though, includes the Olympic lifts. And speaking of smart stuff, you’ll like this recommended fitness and nutrition reading list for 2015 from Ryan Ketchum.

My friends over at IGX posted a very interesting program generator link for Girevoy Sport people. Play with it a little bit. I realize something like this is possible for every peaking program, but I’m still amazed to see these things.

Excellence is Obvious! EIO! During my last year teaching at Juan Diego Catholic High School, I tried to emphasize EIO, using the Old McDonald Song: E-I-E-I-O. As with any time you coach in high school, it was like Sisyphus…pushing that rock up the hill, just to watch it roll back down. But, once you see and experience excellence, you begin to seek it everywhere.

In the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the song Lonesome Polecat was going to be cut by the producer and director. They simply couldn’t get it to work, and said, “Forget it.” But it was such a strong piece, they decided, “Here we go, one take. Make it or forget it.” Today it remains a classic in cinema history. I discussed this further in the blog post, Foxes, Hedgehogs & Lonesome Polecats.

In a conversation about it at the time, I mentioned that a group of guys who have lots of funny videos remade the segment. You can really see the skill of professional dancers, and the difference between the pros and the amateurs. See that dandy music video here—

This reminds me of how Dave Tate famously summed workouts and training programs, which you probably read about in that ever-popular book (you know the one), Never Let Go. You can read my Dave Tate bit here on T-Nation if you don’t have the book.

And Dave’s summary?


His great insight: To go from one level to the next takes a lot more time and energy and thinking and passion than most people are willing to put out. I always argue that Pretty good is not bad, and perfect gets in the way of both. Watching a side-by-side comparison of that music video might help you more than buying some new equipment. Mastering the basics and fundamentals seems to be better than buying more toys. Dave warns us of the difficulty in moving up this ladder. Doing things excellently—mastering the fundamentals—always seems to be the right path.

This next Anatoly Bondarchuk link might be a bit dated, but I still like the insights in the interview. I learned a lot from one of Bondy’s students, Dane Miller, and always tried to apply some of his ideas in my training and coaching. I still think track and field is a place where you can just say, “This works, and this doesn’t work.” And that’s rare.

Incidentally, for “everything throws,” visit my friend Scott Krall’s website.

Just before I submitted this issue, t-nation posted a new article of mine. In 1998, I wrote a list of lifting commandments, and recently was asked to come back and take another look. I think these commandments stand the test of time.

So, enjoy. Strive for some excellence in all areas of your life this week. You won’t have to tell people what you’re doing. It will be obvious.


Publisher’s note: With the end of football season upon us, you’ll probably need something to do next week. We’ve come up with just the thing to fix your problem: A 25%-off coupon for an On Target book or DVD. Use the coupon code DJWW11 in the coupon box at checkout—offer expires 2/5. And yes, you can use this on Dan’s book, Mass Made Simple. Or Never Let Go. Or….

Image of Dan John's Mass Made Simple

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