Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 123

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 123


This article featuring Dan and Gray Cook guiding a loaded carry drill sure was a hit last week. Here’s the link in case you missed it: Loaded Carries—The Cook Drill Kettlebell Carries


I was at the UPS store sending a copy of Before We Go to Jordan Syatt. He had visited my house and we had a delightful time. I signed a copy…and he forgot it. The UPS guy picked up the book, put it next to my face and asked:

“Did you write this?”


Jordan and I talked a lot…as happens when strength coaches sit down together. The conversation came up about writing. He asked me; “What is your favorite book of yours?”

I said:

Can You Go?

“Wait, no…

“Now What?

“But you just can’t get it yet!”

Well, now you can. Although CYG focused on everybody, with a hint about how I train elite performers, I could argue that Now What? focuses on elite performance.

I would lose that argument! Now What? is my attempt at showing how the tools of time management, the principles of elite performance, daily habit checklists and—what everybody seems to want—programs fit together for both the person chasing fitness (and I will explain that) and chasing elite performance.

Let me pat myself on the back: When I did the Audible part of the book, I sailed through it. Rarely did I have to go back and repeat a messed-up word, sentence or paragraph.

It flowed.

I think the reason the audio book was so easy is simple: The book links together concept after concept building up to the simple idea that “Performance should be better than practice.”

In addition, I offer some answers to the most difficult of questions for the athlete, spouse, scholar and artist:

Now What? [That’s a link to the new book!]

I had a chance this past weekend to sit down with some great college and NFL coaches. The one “theme” that shows up over and over with the best in the strength field is this:

“How can I get better?”

Whether it is equipment, programming, presentations or systems, the top people want to improve. They want to get better a little bit in everything. What I find is that they have basic fundamental principles and live their lives striving to find ways to just get better.

Not perfect. Better.

As I was thinking about this, I was also reading this article. It’s not about fitness, but I really enjoyed the solution here. The video is worth a watch.

“Minimalism and tiny homes have taken over hearts and minds in recent years. This type of ‘shoebox’ style of living is both sustainable and super affordable. But, at just 225 square feet, could you really live inside of one? In the video below, current residents take you on a tour and show you exactly why these tiny homes are a dream come true! Wow, seeing the inside left me speechless.”

It reminded me of what I call “Being Maxine.” I worked with a woman for years and she knew how to push my buttons. Maxine was a master class in finding problems. If you look hard enough, you will find problems with everything.

One morning, while my wife was STILL in Manhattan and couldn’t get home after 9/11, Maxine came into my office to complain about the hotel choice I made for our speakers. I had just hung up with Tiffini…now seven days stranded and crying…and I had enough of it.

Here’s the thing: everybody and everything has problems. I want people who walk over to me with solutions. Don’t be Maxine.

If you have an old mall, find a solution. If things aren’t working in the weightroom, find a solution.

That’s why I like those “Hack” articles. This one takes some basic travel issues and gives some simple solutions.

“Where’s My Car?

“Remembering where you parked in a new town or city can take a lot of time to figure out. Taking a picture of the parking space or nearby landmark is a great way to jolt your memory!”

Can I ask a favor? Will you join me and Tiffini in supporting Taylor Lewis and his work with people dealing with CF? If you can’t donate money, take a moment to share this site.

“CFFI’s mission is to improve the lives of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) through exercise. CFFI produces instructional online videos and web content addressing exercise, strength, and conditioning topics for those with CF. CFFI is asking for donations to keep its exercise content free, allow its trainers to keep developing customized programs for patients with CF and maintain the quality of the website. With these donations we will be able to help more patients and families with CF.”

Taking a cold shower or training in short sleeves outside might not shiver off fifty pounds but it could be part of the formula to get in better overall condition. This article shares with us something we have been hearing more and more about the past few years.

“And though our newfound ability to live in comfort is pleasurable, Carney thinks it may not be healthy.

“With no challenge to overcome, frontier to press, or threat to flee from, the humans of this millennium are overstuffed, overheated, and understimulated,” he wrote.

“There are some important caveats to that opinion, of course. Modern technology helps us avoid freezing to death in winter and allows us to remain productive through the hottest days of summer.

“But there are others who think that many of our current struggles with physical and mental health have to do with the ease of modern life. Anxiety, for example, is one of the most common mental-health issues people face now, but some researchers think it may be an evolutionary adaptation that has gone out of control. Anxiety can be part of our ‘fight or flight’ response, which helps keep us alive in dangerous situations, but because we no longer fear predators and other threats, it can kick in when we have to give a speech or ask someone out.”

Well, here we go: this article tells us something that is a touch contrarian but worthy of discussion. As my brother, Gary, told me years ago: Johns don’t die of heart issues, we die of cancer. So, cancer proofing is important with my family. This article gives some insights about “better ideas” for health. Feel free to disagree with the conclusions.

“Cholesterol does not cause heart disease in the elderly and trying to reduce it with drugs like statins is a waste of time, an international group of experts has claimed.

“A review of research involving nearly 70,000 people found there was no link between what has traditionally been considered ‘bad’ cholesterol and the premature deaths of over 60-year-olds from cardiovascular disease.”

I have a busy few months coming up and I will be on the road every weekend. But, if I can learn as much as I did this past weekend, it will all be worth it.

Until next week, keep lifting and learning.