Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 153

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 153

The key to injury prevention and injury rehab is a sound understanding of functional anatomy. Today on OTP, Mike Boyle clears up misconceptions about the anatomy responsible for hip flexion.


I’m sitting in my home as I type this week’s WW. Oddly, this is rare in the past few months. I will be able to lift every morning with my group and walk my dog and do the things that I like to do.

We are at the strange time of year where we have football, baseball and basketball in America. I follow college football and I don’t really follow the other sports like I did when I was a kid. I always wonder if the internet and fantasy sports (which I loathe) overloaded my brain with too many sports.

As a kid, Track and Field News arrived once a month (for a while, it was delivered twice) and I would study the various results from every level. When the internet first showed up, forum users would retype results in real time, then, soon, this became much more professional. The faster the information came to me, I fear, the less I cared about the results!

This could “just be me.” When I was a young thrower, I would study pictures of discus throwers to find clues of excellence. Now, in basically real time, we can watch entire meets and see every nuance…and I don’t take the advantage of this opportunity!

I feel the same way about nutrition and exercise. I am overwhelmed sometimes by the amount of information I have literally at my fingertips.

When I was young, there were ads entitled “The More You Know.” And, that is true…except I feel overwhelmed sometimes!

So, I do the WW for me as much as I do it for the people who originally asked me to do this. My goal is to find the interesting articles that make me see things clearer.

This article about Canadian doctors and diet is a fun start to this week.


It is true that there is a difference between processed foods rich in carbohydrates and natural whole foods rich in carbohydrates, such as fruits. But it would be simplistic to believe that because something is natural or called “whole grain,” like a banana or “whole wheat bread,” that we cannot develop health problems as long as we eat them in the quantities recommended by the guide. Humans evolved as hunter-gatherers, feeding almost exclusively on meats and vegetables. Although fruits are natural, humans ate very small amounts, mainly in the form of berries, and not throughout the year. It was the occasional candy from nature, as opposed to the year-round summer buffet that exists in our grocery stores now.

It is also true that carbohydrates come in several forms. Grain products get broken down into glucose, whereas sugar (white sugar, corn syrup, honey) and fruits contain a mixture of glucose and fructose. Glucose and fructose do not have the same effect on the body. Even in small quantities, the liver tends to turn fructose into fat and store it in its cells. If sugar intake is high, fatty liver (hepaticsteatosis) can develop. Eating less sugar but more fat is an effective way to reverse hepatic steatosis.

Despite whether sugar comes from a banana, a soft drink or a slice of bread, it will generally have the same effect on blood sugar, particularly in diabetics. The blood sugar level will rise. When sugar rises, the pancreas secretes insulin to decrease the amount of sugar in the blood. This insulin can also come from an injection prescribed by the doctor.

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I found this article eye opening. A number of people claim these magic potions for success, but Leo Tolstoy offers an interesting list.  Very interesting.


Wake at five o’clock
Go to bed no later than ten o’clock
Two hours permissible for sleeping during the day
Eat moderately
Avoid sweet foods
Walk for an hour every day
Visit a brothel only twice a month
Love those to whom I could be of service
Disregard all public opinion not based on reason
Only do one thing at a time
Disallow flights of imagination unless necessary

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While I was floating around Open Culture, I revisited this great article by Kurt Vonnegut.


  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things–reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them–in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

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I actually think this article raises a point that we can all use a good reminder about life in general.


Whatever the case, these factors about mass shooters are often true:

They are deeply lonely. They have no significant friendships to rely on, and very few quality people to confide in.
They experienced ongoing play deprivation. Their innate ability was crippled, and they struggle to maintain a healthy emotional connection with themselves and others.
They are deeply ashamed. They experienced extreme ridicule, rejection, or humiliation.

Are there other factors at play here?

Absolutely. Mass shootings are complex, and so are people. They don’t fit perfectly into our narratives.

Do the above three factors always lead to murderous behavior?

Of course not. But over time, they destroy an individual’s emotional health. And that’s the point.

We’ve created a culture where the first two factors — loneliness and play deprivation — affect everyone. And because friendship struggles to take root in this environment, we are more likely to be struck by the third factor — shame.

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I liked this article on Tony Robbins.


Beck sent us Robbins’ standard meal plan:

Wake up: An “adrenal support cocktail” composed of a shake made of greens powder, vitamin C, and antioxidants along with capsules of methylated B vitamins mixed with additional nutrients

Breakfast: Free range eggs, organic coconut bread

Lunch: Large green salad, avocado, extra virgin olive oil cold pressed, lemon, Himalayan sea salt

Mid-afternoon: Meal replacement shake

Dinner: Clean organic protein source, roasted potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil

Evening: Meal replacement bar

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For the workout.

This article expanded on Tony’s morning routine.


2. Be grateful for what you have

The next step involves thinking of three things that he is grateful for. It is pretty common these days that we see a lot of negative people who just can’t help but rant. Instead, what Tony Robbins does is to count his blessings.

This particular exercise can make a huge difference in the way you live your life. It can change the way you perform your work, to how you interact with other people. And all it takes is a small dose of positivity.

You can be grateful for the smallest things and even the big things that happened in your life. For instance, it could be as simple as the weather or the wind on his face. This helps change his attitude throughout his day. It keeps him from being angry, and it also keeps him from being fearful of things in life.

To help you feel grateful over different things, try asking yourself the following questions:

Who are the people who loves me?
What are the things that I enjoy doing?
What are the things I accomplished so far?

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One thing I like about this series at Dragondoor is that they are highlighting regular trainers and the good work they do. This young man is special.


The atmosphere was a game changer, and you were not sweating to death the day of the test. We weren’t afraid to explore new weights in the press, and we weren’t afraid of looking stupid in front of everybody. We felt loved and supported which was huge—the support network is gigantic.

Because my boss, Mark Fisher, trained at his first HKC with Dan, we’ve carried that idea over to the clubhouse. We like to give people a comfortable place to explore their potential. We want to make people feel safe enough to explore their capabilities. And I think that’s so rare. At Mark Fisher Fitness, we bill ourselves as the island of misfit toys in fitness. It’s a gym for people who don’t like going to the gym.

I think we’ve all had an experience with a bad coach in the past who made us feel ashamed and then we’ve walked away from a sport or an activity that we could have been really great at, just because some closed-minded asshole was a jerk to us. I think it’s invaluable to find a place that will give you the space to really explore your potential and build your skills. I feel like Dragon Door does that for so many people on a global basis. That’s what I’ve seen when working with them, and it’s incredible.

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I love this article. Love it.


A few of her tips: Don’t start with your photos, as you’ll get bogged down in your memories and never accomplish anything. Make sure you keep a book of passwords for your heirs. Give away nice things you don’t want as gifts, such as china or table linens or books, as opposed to buying new items. Keep a separate box of things that matter only to you, and label it to be tossed upon your death. It’s okay to keep a beloved stuffed animal or two.

Magnusson and one of her daughters filmed a video where she talks about why she decluttered and how it’s not a sad process, but more of a relief. Her daughter asks whether her mom would help her begin death cleaning. They go to a storage locker overflowing with luggage and clothes and blankets topped by a garden gnome.

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Enough with the clutter! Until next week, keep on lifting and learning.


Flipping through the pages of a book helps us discover if a book is a good fit for our current needs. To help with that, here’s a sample pdf of the interior of several sections of Chuck Wolf’s Insights into Functional Training.

Picking up with “The Sword in the Stone” (Part XI)

Often, I get this question at workshops: “If you could only do one exercise, what would it be?” I hate the question. I can’t even imagine any scenario where this would truly happen. It makes no sense to me.

If you could only have one season what would it be?

Football season!

If you could only have one beverage what would it be?

Coffee and wine!

If you could only have one thing on a deserted island, what would it be?

Unlimited supply of food and water, lots of people, and a full bar and entertainment options!

I’m not good at this.


Chapter Five would be the chapter of “The Sword in the Stone” I would tell a publisher to print “just this one.” This chapter breaks into five parts and each part is well developed and very detailed:

·      A general overview of the castle and grounds
·      An introduction to Dog Boy and the kennels
·      Merlyn and Wart beginning his “eddication” by becoming fish
·      Wart learns to swim like a fish and Merlyn doctors an ill fish
·      Wart learns about power from a pike (predator fish)

It’s a full chapter, to say the least. It is also the first chapter that provides a sneak peek for the actual pulling of the sword from the stone.

The Wart walked up to the great sword for the third time. He put out his right hand softly and drew it out as gently as from a scabbard.

Wart will be transformed into various animals throughout the book and each will revisit him to help him pull the sword from the stone. Some of the advice will be these quotes:

·      Power springs from the nape of the neck.
·      Use those forearms held together by the chest.
·      Find your tool.
·      Never let go.
·      Keep up a steady effort.
·      Fold your powers together, with the spirit of your mind.

I have argued that those six quotes inspired my lifting and coaching career:

  1. Olympic lifting and kettlebell ballistics
  2. Anaconda training
  3. “Killer app” (See “Can You Go?”)
  4. Never Let Go” is my signature line and title of my first bestseller
  5. “Little and often over the long haul”
  6. Mental training in all its forms

In Chapter Five, we will learn to swim like a fish by focusing the power in the nape of the neck!

T. H. White’s sense of humor shines through here throughout the chapter. This little interchange made me laugh out loud in 1970 and I still think it is funny:

(Merlyn states): “After all, Rome was not built in a day.”

Then he patted all the little roaches once more, told them to grow up into brave little fish, and swam off with an air of importance into the gloom. As he swam, he puffed his mouth in and out.

“What did you mean by that about Rome?” asked the Wart, when they were out of earshot.

“Heaven knows.”

I’ve used clichés with athletes in the past and, with a sudden insight…and regret, realize they have no idea what I mean. I once had a coach answer a question I had with: “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” He walked away. I turned to Eric Seubert and asked him “What does that mean?”

Heaven knows!

White includes this little image, too, that always brought me a smile:

The Wart’s own special one(dog) was called Cavall, and he happened to be licking Cavall’s nose—not the other way about—when Merlyn came in and found him.

“That will come to be regarded as an insanitary habit,” said Merlyn, “though I cannot see it myself. After all, God made the creature’s nose just as well as he made your tongue.

“If not better,” added the philosopher pensively.

I’m looking forward to breaking down the sections of Chapter Five. But, first I have to lick my dog’s nose.


Flipping through the pages of a book helps us discover if a book is a good fit for our current needs. To help with that, here’s a sample pdf of the interior of several sections of Chuck Wolf’s Insights into Functional Training.

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