Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 140

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 140

In addition to Dan’s cool get-back-up drill and the twists on loaded carries they offered, Gray Cook’s commentary on variety vs progression from their Essentials of Coaching and Training Functional Continuums was a real eye-opener for me. Check it out for yourself.

As I am typing this, I just finished wishing both Tiffini, my wife, and Lindsay, my daughter, a very happy birthday. They share a birthday and the joke has always been that I was too cheap to buy Tiff a present so I gave her a daughter.

It’s been a nice stretch at home. I have been able to train, do chores and simply hang out for a bit. My schedule went a little crazy this year, but that is a blessing, too.

A curse, but a blessing.

I did my annual physical this week and everything got “better.” I’m not sure what I did differently the past year, but my heart rate, blood pressure and all the other normal tests all turned “better.” They were not bad, but it was good news across the board.

The only change I can think of that is different is now I give “double donations” when I donate blood. Instead of five or so visits a year, it is only three, but they take double the red blood cells and give back the plasma.

We have changed our training a little, more KB snatches than swings now and more direct glute work, but nothing much has really changed.

It doesn’t matter: I just want to be around for a lot more birthdays.

I enjoyed my time on the web this week. There were a lot of positive things. This article finishes with a great series of insights.


Setting aside my secret hope that technological advances will let me live to 700, I see three takeaways here:

1) Living in the same place as the people you love matters. I probably have 10X the time left with the people who live in my city as I do with the people who live somewhere else.

2) Priorities matter. Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you—not by unconscious inertia.

3) Quality time matters. If you’re in your last 10% of time with someone you love, keep that fact in the front of your mind when you’re with them and treat that time as what it actually is: precious.

End quote

On the same theme, my friends over at Original Strength provided us this gem.


But the weeds and the “facts” trip us up. Sometimes the norms don’t actually show the true story. Is it normal to get arthritis with age? Or is it normal to get arthritis by sitting around and not moving your joints? Is it normal for mens’ testosterone levels to drop with age? Or is it normal for men to consume lots of xenoestrogens from all the plastics, chemicals, and added hormones in food that we fill our lives with? Our issues may show a correlation with our age, but that does not mean that our age is the causation of our issues.

We have to protect our minds by knowing the right things and looking for the real story. Look, our design is better than the norms that fill our world. Our body is made to heal, made to be resilient. But it is also made to carry out its design. What if the majority of all our problems, was the real unseen story? What if the real story is this: As we age we sleep less, we eat less real food, we sit nearly all our waking hours, we live our lives stressed out behind technology that feeds our fears, and we expect one concentrated hour of overcompensated movement to magically fix all our needs? What if its not our age, but our ignorance and our misplaced notions.

If you know things are happening to your body that shouldn’t, don’t accept them or settle for them. Know you are designed to heal. AND, open your eyes. Are you missing something? Are you seeing the real causation? Or are the world’s normals simply trying to corrupt your mind to keep you from living the life you were meant to have?

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This next article provides a nice logical list of aging measurements.


8.  Sleep Zone.  When it comes to sleep, Goldilocks had it right, not to little, and not to much.  Under 6 hours and over 9 hours were both predictors of death.  If either is in your life, get some help to figure out why.

9.  Make Some Friends In Your Community.  One of the best and healthy things a human can do is be involved in their community.  What that means to each individual will be highly different.  Whether it is church, a gym, a bike club, a book club or anything were you get involved and share some type of bond has proven to be a highly healthy trait that is ingrained in the human soul.  It has as much evidence for lifespan as quitting smoking.  I recently just finished Sebastion Jungers great book “Tribes,” in it he describes why we gravitate towards things like Crossfit gyms and why we are the most content after natural disasters when we are forced to band together to endure hardships.  In fact, during wars, mental depression and suicide go down.

10.  Keep Your Joints Healthy.  Does your shoulder move in 360 degrees of motion?  Does your hip act like a hip?  Can you laterally bend your spine?  Joints are designed for motion.  If they can’t, you tend to not move as much.  As you can see, a lot of these healthy aging markers will be improved if you can keep moving.  Functional Range Conditioning was designed to keep your joints acting like joints.  Every morning moving your joints and explore their motion, this is called your Daily CARS.  Controlled Articular Rotations.  Your asking each joint, hey can you move in a circle without much discomfort.  If not, figure out why.

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This article got a lot of people talking this week. I found it interesting.

“The ACE Study found that the higher someone’s ACE score – the more types of childhood adversity a person experienced – the higher their risk of chronic disease, mental illness, violence, being a victim of violence and a bunch of other consequences. The study found that most people (64%) have at least one ACE; 12% of the population has an ACE score of 4. Having an ACE score of 4 nearly doubles the risk of heart disease and cancer. It increases the likelihood of becoming an alcoholic by 700 percent and the risk of attempted suicide by 1200 percent. (For more information, go to ACEs Science 101. To calculate your ACE and resilience scores, go to: Got Your ACE Score?)

“High ACE scores also relate to addiction: Compared with people who have zero ACEs, people with ACE scores are two to four times more likely to use alcohol or other drugs and to start using drugs at an earlier age. People with an ACE score of 5 or higher are seven to 10 times more likely to use illegal drugs, to report addiction and to inject illegal drugs.”

Many of you know my love of the Stark Center. They are now opening up their vault for the rest of us. This article on Hack is worth your time.

This article completely reshapes the fat loss argument for me. If metabolism DOES slow down, does the model “Calories in/Calories out” still hold true?

“Mr. Cahill was one of the worst off. As he regained more than 100 pounds, his metabolism slowed so much that, just to maintain his current weight of 295 pounds, he now has to eat 800 calories a day less than a typical man his size. Anything more turns to fat. ‘A Basic Biological Reality’

“The struggles the contestants went through help explain why it has been so hard to make headway against the nation’s obesity problem, which afflicts more than a third of American adults. Despite spending billions of dollars on weight-loss drugs and dieting programs, even the most motivated are working against their own biology.”

I thought this was just interesting. I like comics and some of the standards have become stale. For whatever reason, Batman seems to hold up the best with the reboots.

“For Batman: White Knight, writer-illustrator Sean Murphy (The Wake, Punk Rock Jesus) created a version of Gotham with real, modern-day problems, and then let Batman solve them by making him the villain. How? In the comic mini-series’ alternate-reality, it’s the Joker—cured of his insanity—who sees that Bruce Wayne is just another part of the city’s vicious cycle of crime and sets out to stop him.

“‘My main goal was to undo the comic tropes while changing Gotham from a comic book city into a real city—a city dealing with everything from Black Lives Matter to the growing wage gap,’ Murphy says. ‘[But] rather than write a comic about the wage gap, I gave those ideas to the Joker, who leads a kind of media war against Gotham’s elite by winning people over with his potent observations and rhetoric.'”

Summer is on us here in Utah. I will keep sweating and training every day. And, until next week, let’s all keep on lifting and learning.


Tall-kneeling is an often-missed step between crawling and half-kneeling and lunging postures. Mark Cheng wants you to give it due attention and tells you what to look for.