Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 106

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 106

Do you have a couple of minutes to help us out? We launched our new site last week and now have space for product reviews. Unfortunately, since we didn’t have that before, we have no reviews, which leaves new visitors with a bad impression. Here’s how to say thanks to Dan for his contributions to your work: Click here, pick a product you’ve read, watched or listened to, and write a comment in the review tab at the left on the product page. We thank you!

I just set up a simmering batch of beef and onions for tonight’s French dip sandwiches. I love Thanksgiving week. I make a lot of food, buy an enormous amount of booze and spend quality time with friends and family. Last night, when I got home from the airport, my house was filled with people.

Last night’s flight put me over 215,000 miles for the year. I enjoyed Canfitpro in Toronto. Stu McGill spoke just before me and I am always happy to see science support the same lessons we are learning in the field and gym. The event was very smooth…my only real complaint, again, is getting across the border.

I check “business.” So, the agent asks: “Are you trying to make money?”

One cannot invent that kind of statement.

I also had a one-of-a-kind opportunity to visit some friends in Toronto who were hosting a “Mac and Cheese” taste-off contest. What marvelous people. I was talking with Daniel Ince not long before the invite about the importance of saying “yes” to things on road trips and this was a marvelous “yes.”

It was good food, yes, but it also reminded me of my younger years when we didn’t have two pennies to rub and we came together and celebrated life at least once a week at “Hang and Graze” parties. It was BYOB and bring whatever you have for food; the times were wonderful.

It was truly a “Thanksgiving” moment for me Saturday night…and I thank all of you for reminding me about friendship and food.

Speaking of food, James Clear does a great job on this page summing everything you need to know. I found it interesting how he links so many articles together. I like this idea.

If you eat right and do KB swings, most elements of the fitness and health formula are answered. I found this article very good. I teach a harder version of the Hardstyle swing, but you will get the point.

“To answer that, let’s start with the examples of form displayed in the 2004 article. The male athlete demonstrating the American swing shows atrocious form in the top position. His knees are bent, his hips shy of full extension, and his low back is hyperextended. This shows the type of body alignment required for overhead lockout with hands together.

“In the photo meant to be an example of the Russian technique, he swings the bell far above the proper end range. Glassman asserts that a Russian swing represents half the range of an American swing, despite that fact that his own photos display the athlete improperly swinging the bell to roughly 70% of the height of the overhead swing. This negates his entire mathematical analysis.

“Glassman’s primary argument is that the faster cadence of the Russian swing does not make up for the gap in intensity that the shorter range of motion creates. But the photos in the article demonstrate a much higher end position than a proper Russian swing, which throws into question his timing of the movements.”

While you are on that page, scroll on to read a GREAT article about my hero, Tommy Kono. I have met all my heroes and he was simply as good as it gets.

“Tommy Kono was a Japanese-American who started lifting in World War II internment camps. At this time, mainstream sports in America were still getting used to the idea of ethnic integration. Jackie Robinson had only cracked the color bar in baseball in 1947 and basketball was still mostly a white man’s sport. Football was marginally better, but there were obvious unwritten rules with regard to the number of black players that were allowed on a team. Hockey was also a white man’s sport, but that had more to do with the Canadian demographics than any real racial policy.

“The more marginalized sports were often tolerant of diverse populations. Weightlifting was one such sport. While the sport’s kingpin Bob Hoffman may have had his share of human flaws, ethnic animosity was not one of them. He was interested in winning athletes, not what they looked like or where their parents came from.

“Tommy Kono took advantage of this more-inclusive environment and rose to the top in a relatively short period of time. He was respected among his teammates, and was even asked to carry the United States flag at the opening ceremony of a World Championship only a handful of years after the end of World War II. Despite lingering anti-Japanese feelings among much of society, his teammates decided that Kono deserved that honor. It was at this point when Tommy Kono felt like he was an American again.”

Get your “thumos” on!!! I really enjoyed this article and I will be taking The Great Course advised at the end.

“When the famous Great Books curriculum was created in the 1930s at the University of Chicago, its purpose was to acquaint students with the primary source texts that had played a fundamental role in shaping Western thought and culture. University president Robert M. Hutchins wanted Americans to be able to take part in what he called ‘the Great Conversation.’ For him, this universal dialogue was made up of the deep discussions which form around the philosophical pursuit of Truth, which began with the ancient Greeks and continues today.

“Topics of the Great Conversation concern the Big Ideas that philosophers, theologians, and artists have been mulling over for thousands of years. What is justice? What is true friendship? What is love? What is honor? How do you live a good life?

“Like any discussion that you take part in, to actively participate in the Great Conversation, you need to have an idea of what’s already been said; you don’t want to be the guy who jumps in and blurts out things that make no sense. Lots of people today are willing to state their opinion on the Big Ideas in life without having taken the time to study the threads of discussion that have come before them. They think they’re contributing to the conversation, but they come off like anyone who jumps into a discussion without bothering to get filled in on what’s already been said — their thoughts are fragmentary, out-of-turn, needlessly repetitive, and lacking in context.

“Getting ‘filled in’ on the Great Conversation requires you to go back and read the ancient classics. For example, to understand any philosophers from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, you first have to achieve an understanding of the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. No philosophy exists in a vacuum; rather, all philosophers have been having an extended conversation with each other for thousands of years, whether explicitly or implicitly. And the origin of this conversation traces back to ancient Athens. Once you’ve got this foundation down, from there you can see how successive philosophers have added, transformed, and rebutted what came out of that city-state. And then, at last, you can start making your own constructive contributions to the Great Conversation.”

People HATED this article on Facebook. Being a track athlete, I believe in running, certainly, but lousy garbage mileage is lousy for you and turns your body into garbage.

“Running is a crappy way to lose fat and an inferior way to boost cardiovascular health, but it’s somehow become the most popular exercise on Earth after walking.

“That’s bad, because running sucks. There’s a reason that up to 79 percent of runners get sidelined with an injury at least once per year: It’s an incredibly inefficient way to build strength. And as we all know, a strong body is the number one way to prevent injuries, increase metabolism, burn fat, and stay mobile and functional in old age.

“Statistically speaking, if you’re interested in staying healthy, you run. And sure, it seems like a ‘natural’ exercise. But running at a middling, not-too-hard, not-too-easy pace for an extended period of time isn’t some timeless, eternal movement pattern on which our bodies thrive. It was really only popularized as a ‘palliative to sedentariness’ in the 1960s, and while any movement is usually better than none, running fails almost every test of a worthy exercise.

There was another fun article that counters more common fallacies (idiocies) in the business of fitness.

“These men are known colloquially as facade-bods. They are second-generation Schwarzeneggers, contemporary iterations of the chicken-legged meatheads of yesteryear. Despite the current talk about centeredness, health, fitness, self-respect, their main goal is, as one gym’s slogan puts it, to #lookbetternaked.

“Facade-bod types are missing the point by developing muscles that do little other than please the eye. Take biceps. ‘Bulging biceps are required by almost no sport. You don’t need them to throw a ball, swing a bat or a racket or a punch, swim, or climb,’ Nic Berard, 32, who runs a physical therapy practice in Los Angeles, told VICE. ‘They get in the way. And yet guys want those big biceps because they want to look good in a shirt. Or without a shirt.'”

I tell you this all the time.

“All too often, this is the wrong reaction. The one-year mortality for patients who are admitted to the hospital after a fall is a staggering 33 percent. A fall bad enough to warrant hospital admission can carry as poor a prognosis as some stage IV cancers that have metastasized to the lungs and brain. Of course, the people who are hospitalized after a fall are much more likely to have a higher mortality rate anyway. (They’re going to be older, and have more comorbid medical conditions, but falls still pose a bigger risk than other conditions.) By comparison, the one-year mortality for older patients admitted to the hospital for pneumonia hovers around 21 percent.”

So, don’t jog, don’t worry about the muscles in the mirror so much, learn to fall and take it a bit easier! This article explains that last point.

“If you want to lose fat, a smartly targeted program of kettlebell swings is probably going to be more effective than 45 minutes of random beasting. If you want to stay nimble enough to play with your currently-hypothetical grandchildren, then ten minutes of mobility in front of the TV every night definitely beats doing burpees while a man wearing his baseball cap backwards yells at you.

“If you want to jack up your stress hormones and expose yourself to injuries without any real goal in sight, then just do a load of thrown-together moves you’re not very good at, at high speed. Quick disclaimer: I’m sure Gymbox would argue that this isn’t what Flatline encourages, and that in fact it’s very carefully designed to maximize something-or-other at minimal risk, but in that case here’s my question – why isn’t that mentioned in the press release?”

This might be my favorite week of the year.  I love Thanksgiving. I love the process, I love the day. I’ve had a bad Thanksgiving and I decided I would never let anyone else have one if I can help it.

I’m thankful, by the way, for Laree Draper to allow me to put this out every week. You all should be thankful for her and Dave, too.

Until next week, keep on lifting and learning.


Help me out—Share on Facebook!
Like Dan John's Wandering Weights: Issue #106 on Facebook

Publisher’s note:  Do you have a couple of minutes to help us out? We launched our new site last week and now have space for product reviews. Unfortunately, since we didn’t have that before, we have no reviews, which leaves new visitors with a bad impression. Here’s how to say thanks to Dan for his contributions to your work: Click here, pick a product you’ve read, watched or listened to, and write a comment in the review tab at the left on the product page. We thank you!