Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 155

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 155

What do FMS Trunk Stability Pushup scores mean for swinging sports? Contact sports? I loved this section of the Three Principles lecture, where Greg Rose demonstrates how a disconnect between the lower body and upper body can cause power problems.


I lifted in the Utah Recordmakers meet on Saturday and did just fine. I came in with tweaked left shoulder and left limping with pulled left quad.

Ah, this is the joy of lifting at age sixty. O lifting has a lot more participants today, but the quality is down. I was amazed at how few attempts were made over 300 pounds (136 kilos) as this was pretty standard when I lifted. I often would come home without medals with lifts that would be pretty good today: high 200s in the snatch and high 300s in the Clean and Jerk.

The techniques are better for the young lifters. Everyone is wearing singlets again and lifting boots. I appreciate that. Coaches use clipboards and iPads to coach their athletes. I miss the old days for some things.

I talked with one young female lifter who I was impressed with because she “lifted weights!” So, a lot of time with PVC pipes has great value, but this girl lifted with aggression and intensity and went after the big weights.

Everything is easy until it gets heavy.

It was nice being nervous, thirsty, dehydrated and needing to pee all the time again. That’s how I compete: I’m always looking for drinking water and urinals. Now, there is a lovely image to start your day.

Around the web this week, I found a wide variety of new and fun things.

I had a fun interview with Pat Flynn and we discussed favorite books, movies and all the rest:


The Sword in the Stone

The Hobbit

Don Quixote (Book One)


Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy




The Tao of Pooh

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night (Dylan Thomas poem)

Wednesday (From “Seven Days to Sunday”)

This is a nice article simplifying fitness and diet.


1. Drink up to 1 Gallon of Water a Day

OK, I know what you are thinking right now….”A GALLON!!! I’ll be in the bathroom all day!” Yes, in the beginning you will be going to the bathroom more often, but your body will get used to the extra water and it will slow down. If right now you don’t drink a lot of water, work your way up to the gallon. Don’t try to go from usually drinking 8-16 ounces a day to a gallon right away, you will feel like you are floating. LOL. Instead, try adding 8-16 ounces every other day until you reach that gallon. It will get easier.

So why add the water? Adding the extra water is not only good for you, but it will help keep you full and that will help with the extra snacking or food you might be tempted by during the holidays. It will also keep you from drinking all those calorie dense specialty drinks that come out around the holidays. You know, the ones that are really good but after you had it you feel like you just ate a whole buffet.

2. Add extra leafy green vegetables to every meal

This is another really simple way to help fight those dreaded holiday pounds. Adding those extra veggies to every meal is not only a simple way to make you feel fuller, longer, but also a great way to get extra vitamins and nutrients in.

Now, you don’t need to sit there feeling like a rabbit, chewing on lettuce. LOL. But add an extra handful of spinach to a salad or green smoothie. Add an extra 1/2-1 cup of veggies to your plate for dinner. Put some bell pepper in your eggs in the morning. It’s pretty simple. And before you know it, you will be eating more veggies then ever before and not only will your waistline love it, but so will your general health.

3. Go for a walk

Simple right? Yes, it should be, but I have a lot of clients tell me they 1. don’t have enough time or 2. they don’t believe walking is enough.

End quote

A quick video about success…as a science and an art.

While the United States is having nothing but health issues, some countries are taking the lead. This article about something Scotland is doing has me interested.


She later told MSPs that the government was putting forward “bold” measures which would “make a real, lasting difference to the country’s health”.

These include plans to restrict price promotions on food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt in areas around visitor attractions and on routes to schools, and £40m of investment to deliver almost 100,000 “supported weight management interventions” for people with or at risk of type two diabetes.

Ms Campbell also said that if the UK government did not commit to banning TV adverts for unhealthy food before the 21:00 watershed, the Scottish government would ask for powers to be devolved so it could do so itself.

The SNP MSP said: “Simply put, it’s harming the people of Scotland. It also puts pressure on the NHS, other public services and our economy.

“That is why we need commitment and action from everyone across all sectors and at all levels including government, citizens, the public sector and businesses right across the country.”

End quote

Lots of people pinged me emails about my apple diet information from last week. Here is another article on the benefits of apples.


But when insulin rises to abnormally high levels and remains elevated (a condition known as insulin resistance, common in obesity), it can promote the growth of tumors directly and indirectly. Too much insulin and many of our tissues are bombarded with more growth signals and more fuel than they would ever see under normal metabolic conditions. And because elevated insulin directs our bodies to store fat, it can also be linked to the various ways the fat tissue itself is thought to contribute to cancer.

Having recognized the risks of excess insulin-signaling, Cantley and other metabolism researchers are following the science to its logical conclusion: The danger may not be simply eating too much, as is commonly thought, but rather eating too much of the specific foods most likely to lead to elevated insulin levels — easily digestible carbohydrates in general, and sugar in particular.

This is not to say that all cancers are caused by too much insulin or that we should never eat sugar again. Michael Pollak, a metabolism researcher and director of cancer prevention at McGill University in Canada, says that the best approach to sugar is to think of it like a spice — something to occasionally sprinkle on foods, as opposed to an ingredient in nearly every meal and too many drinks.

Nutrition is an inherently messy science. But recent advances in cancer metabolism research are sending us an increasingly clear message about our diet. Winning the war on cancer may depend upon whether we’re ready to hear it.

End quote

Have you read that brilliant book Now What? It seems the author may have been more right than wrong on many things.


At the end of 2014, in Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s first-ever public Q&A session, he was famously asked, “Why do you wear the same thing every day?” in reference to his nearly ubiquitous uniform of blue jeans, a gray T-shirt, and a hooded sweatshirt.

“I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community,” he replied. He went on to explain that, when taken together, small decisions—like choosing what to wear—add up and can be quite tiring. “I’m in this really lucky position, where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people. And I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life,” he said.

Zuckerberg isn’t the first genius to simplify his wardrobe. Albert Einstein had a closet filled with multiple same gray suits. Steve Jobs almost exclusively wore a black mock turtleneck, blue jeans, and New Balance sneakers. President Barack Obama recently told Vanity Fair that he only wears gray or blue suits. But can removing such simple choices—blue shirt or red shirt, Apple Jacks or Cheerios—really affect performance and make us more productive?

End quote

As I sit here in my black polo and jeans, all I can say is…until next week, let’s all keep lifting and learning.


Rolling is great as a corrective exercise because of its position in the developmental sequence, but as
Gray Cook explains, it can also be an informative assessment to have in your toolbox.



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

As we continue to march through this marvelous chapter, we come to a section that at first glance may seem unimportant. Yet, like we discovered with the Forest and the Castle, small little asides by T. H. White tend to give us a peek into future events of our story.

When we meet Dog Boy, we are reminded of the dangerous man in the forest, Wat. Wat and Dog Boy will be part of the adventures with Robin Wood in the forest. They will become fast friends as both have been bullied by humanity.

The dogs will be an important part of another story, the Christmas boar hunt with Master Twyti. It will be a funny, tragic adventure and King Pellinore will be a major part of the story.

This part of the chapter gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about the dogs of the medieval period. As my dog, Sirius Black, looks on, I will try not to insist that he goes with me on boar hunts on Christmas.

Let’s pick up the story again:


This place was, of course, a paradise for a boy to be in. The Wart ran about it like a rabbit in its own complicated labyrinth. He knew everything, everywhere, all the special smells, good climbs, soft lairs, secret hiding-places, jumps, slides, nooks, larders and blisses. For every season he had the best place, like a cat, and he yelled and ran and fought and upset people and snoozed and daydreamed and pretended he was a Knight, without stopping. Just now he was in the kennel.

People in those days had rather different ideas about the training of dogs to what we have today. They did it more by love than strictness. Imagine a modern M.F.H. going to bed with his hounds, and yet Flavius Arrianus says that it is “Best of all if they can sleep with a person because it makes them more human and because they rejoice in the company of human beings: also if they have had a restless night or been internally upset, you will know of it and will not use them to hunt next day.” In Sir Ector’s kennel there was a special boy, called the Dog Boy, who lived with the hounds day and night. He was a sort of head hound, and it was his business to take them out every day for walks, to pull thorns out of their feet, keep cankers out of their ears, bind the smaller bones that got dislocated, dose them for worms, isolate and nurse them in distemper, arbitrate in their quarrels and to sleep curled up among them at night. If one more learned quotation may be excused, this is how, later on, the Duke of York who was killed at Agincourt described such a boy in his Master of Game: “Also I will teach the child to lead out the hounds to scombre twice in the day in the morning and in the evening, so that the sun be up, especially in winter. Then should he let them run and play long in a meadow in the sun, and then comb every hound after the other, and wipe them with a great wisp of straw, and this he shall do every morning. And then he shall lead them into some fair place where tender grass grows as corn and other things, that therewith they may feed themselves as it is medicine for them.” Thus, since the boy’s “heart and his business be with the hounds,” the hounds themselves become “goodly and kindly and clean, glad and joyful and playful, and goodly to all manner of folks save to the wild beasts to whom they should be fierce, eager and spiteful.”

Sir Ector’s dog boy was none other than the one who had his nose bitten off by the terrible Wat. Not having a nose like a human, and being, moreover, subjected to stone-throwing by the other village children, he had become more comfortable with animals. He talked to them, not in baby-talk like a maiden lady, but correctly in their own growls and barks. They all loved him very much, and revered him for taking thorns out of their toes, and came to him with their troubles at once. He always understood immediately what was wrong, and generally he could put it right. It was nice for the dogs to have their god with them, in visible form.

The Wart was fond of the Dog Boy, and thought him very clever to be able to do these things with animals—for he could make them do almost anything just by moving his hands—while the Dog Boy loved the Wart in much the same way as his dogs loved him, and thought the Wart was almost holy because he could read and write. They spent much of their time together, rolling about with the dogs in the kennel.

The kennel was on the ground floor, near the mews, with a loft above it, so that it should be cool in summer and warm in winter. The hounds were alaunts, gaze-hounds, lymers and braches. They were called Clumsy, Trowneer, Phoebe, Colle, Gerland, Talbot, Luath, Luffra, Apollon, Orthros, Bran, Gelert, Bounce, Boy, Lion, Bungey, Toby, and Diamond. The Wart’s own special one 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.

The Wart did not know what Merlyn was talking about, but he liked him to talk.

End quote

For more on the basics of medieval hunting, these two resources are fantastic reading:

Master of Game

Medieval Hunting

The title “Celtic Hound” probably is the best term to use when thinking of these kinds of dogs. This site explains the basics here.


The following is possibly one of the earliest known breed standards, dating as it does from the middle of the second century AD. This is from the Cynegeticus of Flavius Arrianus, usually known as Arrian although he liked to style himself “The Younger Xenophon”. He was a native of Nicomedia in Bythinia (Asia Minor) and was a keen huntsman.

“There is nothing more beautiful to see, whether their eyes or their whole body, or their coat and colour. In those that are pied there is a wonderful variegation and the whole coloured ones are no less pleasing to the sight.” He says they may be rough or smooth haired and the larger the better. “A good Celt should be long, length being regarded as indicative of speed and good breeding, and should possess wide, supple hips and shoulders, broad loins and firm, sweeping haunches. The legs, of which the hind pair should be the longer, are required to be straight and well knit, the ribs strong, the back wide and firm without being fat, the belly well drawn up, the thighs hollow, the tail narrow, hairy, long and flexible, with thicker hair at the tip; the feet round and strong and the eyes large and clear and strikingly bright. Flame coloured eyes are best, next to these dark; light eyes come last, yet a good dog may have light eyes. A light, well set on head is considered the hallmark of particular excellence but such a feature is by no means regarded as essential and a hound may have a head of any shape always provided it is not heavy, or with a broad muzzle, or with a hanging dewlap. A hound may have soft ears, that look as if they have been broken, or prick ears and still be a good hound to hunt. A good Celt should have a prominent brow and a proud look, should not be afraid of people or of noise, should never stand still once it has been slipped, and should come back to the hunter without a call.”

End quote

Now, if you are trying to get your own Sir Ector kennel club, here are the modern explanations:

Lymers: Bloodhound and Red Setter mix
Alaunts: Greyhounds with thick heads
Brach(et): Beagles with all the joy that comes with beagles.
Gaze-hounds: Greyhounds

“The Wart did not know what Merlyn was talking about, but he liked him to talk.”

This line ends the first parts of this chapter. Some of the best parts of this book are coming soon.