Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 167

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 167

With a training history that began in 1965 and continues to this day with barely a waver, Dan has a lot to tell about his training successes and failures. Lucky for us, he’s good at the telling too. Here are two links to help you along the road, wherever you are in your training journey: Dan John: Training Longevity — Life in the Weight Room and Dan John: My Gamechangers.


I’m typing this in the KLM Lounge in Amsterdam. I had a great weekend in Norway and I really like my new presentation. I like it so much, I am changing my Perform Better workshops to reflect it.

Training, performance and the basics of life are pretty simple. I’m amazed how often what works in the weightroom…or in the field of play or performance…illuminates the same truths as what we see in life.

Focusing on quality in most things seems to answer most questions.

I didn’t sleep much last night. I was told to get to the airport at four in the morning. As I often say: I didn’t know there were two fours in the day. Security, an efficient process in Europe, took about a minute, so I got a chance to sit and read. But, I was able to follow, online, the Patriots win over the Jaguars. I read Tom Brady’s book, TB12, and I was shocked to find out how bad it was on Facebook.

Now, the people on Facebook had NOT read the book, but by the special powers that are giving online experts (like me), one merely needs to opine upon something and be right.

I know this: whatever Brady is doing, love it or hate it, is pretty good. The book recommends things like drinking water, eating veggies and doing preparation work before training.

Now…who would do any of that! (?)

I didn’t see the game, nor the Eagles win, but I know that I will not be drinking water and eating veggies when the two teams play. I will smell like beer and pizza for days after the Super Bowl.

Well, let’s look on the internet this week…

You should know, by now, that I love Tim Anderson’s insightsThis article simply issues an important challenge to his readers.


You see – and this is the weird part, but this IS my story – I asked to become bulletproof….I asked to become strong.

Crawling was part of the answer. Part of the answer was also found in letting go to what I knew and becoming open to the possibility of something different, something more. I grew to believe we were made to be strong, we are supposed to be strong. And I think that is my secret to the strength I have enjoyed: I believe. At first I believed that crawling would make me strong, so I crawled more. Then I grew to believe that the Response to my ask made me strong, so I trusted more and I played more.

I know that probably seems very strange.

So I’ll leave you with this: In the grand scheme of time and the short span of life here on earth, if you have:

·      spent years following a traditional strength training model
·      spent years injuring yourself or training with and through pain
·      spent years of doing the ordinary and coloring inside the line

……why not try something different, if only for a little while? Why not dance with something else to see what you can learn?

You can always go back to what you’ve always done before. But you can never know what you’ve never experienced.

What if the one thing you were looking for was simply waiting for you to show up?

End quote

Stoicism is making a comeback, he said cynically (philosopher joke). This article offers up some advice for every aspect of life.


Here are the 4 irrational beliefs that cause you a lot of problems:

·      “This shouldn’t be happening!”: Do you really expect to always get what you want? No. But if you really believed that you wouldn’t be shouting.
·      “I must be perfect.”: Not possible. And it’ll kill you. You can control effort, not outcome. “I will do my best” is rational. “I must be the best” is not.
·      “I should worry about this.”: Set a time to worry, to dispute, and to replace. This lets your brain know it doesn’t need to be reminding you 24/7.
·      “It’s because of my past.”: If that’s really the case, then you should be in therapy. But your problems are rarely due to dire past traumas, they’re usually due to some outdated, irrational belief you still hold. Get a friend to help you dispute and replace.

End quote

This material might be the best evidence about why high intensity (lactic acid producing stuff) tends to help with leanness. Maybe it is the gut response…not the other systems…that is the “answer.”


He thinks he may have found just the microbe. In a meeting of the American Chemical Society in August, Scheiman told the world about a type of bacteria—one he wouldn’t name publicly—that he saw blooming in large numbers in marathoners shortly after they finished races. The bacteria accu­mulates in the bloodstream after strenuous exercise and appears to break down the ­metabolites associated with ­fatigue. The bug, which doesn’t show up at significant levels in sedentary subjects, ­almost appears to be a natural response to the buildup of lactic acid in our muscles during workouts—a recovery mechanism we may have outsourced to our microbiome mil­lennia ago.

Scheiman’s bacteria, as one hypothesis goes, may have been cultivated by these elite runners over years of intense training. By producing ­punishing, thigh-burning quantities of lactic acid throughout their lives, the marathoners created an ideal environment for the bugs to thrive. Lactic acid became a plentiful food source, and the bacteria most capable of breaking it down flourished. In a sense, the marathoners may have earned their ability to recover quickly.

Scheiman has already isolated the bacteria and is developing a startup called Fitbiomics. If all goes well, he hopes to sell a fatigue-busting, endurance-boosting probiotic to the public within two years of completing his research.

End quote

I just enjoyed everything about this article. The test alone is worth using in conversation.


In 2016, David Melcher, who studies creativity at the University of Trento, identified brain networks used in visual art. “A critical open question, for future research, is whether this ability to put the brain in creative mode transfers across tasks,” he said. “Do we learn to network our brain regions for creativity in new domains once we learn to do it, for example, in painting or freestyle rap?”

“There has been an educational policy, in many countries including the US, of reducing teaching hours in the arts and focusing instead on rote learning for yearly testing of basic knowledge,” he added. “We need to understand whether creativity is a transferable skill, a way of using the brain that students learn to use across fields.”

End quote

I met Jerzy at the Stu McGill lecture. I can’t argue with anything from this paragraph…and, my rates going up, folks.

“Their program is simple, but not easy — or cheap, at $750 for the first two-hour session and $275 an hour thereafter. Their 30-minute set of daily exercises with 18 moves comes in five levels of difficulty, depending on ability. To have a “happy body,” one they define as strong, lean (10 to 13 percent body fat), stress-free and injury-free, they advocate lean protein and vegetables; occasional treats; adequate rest; and time away from work to clear the mind. On their plan, food and drink are not the main sources of pleasure in life.”

I found this nice article on the web. Jose is a friend of mine and people have been telling me about this article for years. Well, here it is.

That’s a smart adaption.

Until next week, let’s all keep lifting and learning.


Here are a couple other great links from Dan on OTPbooks.com:
Dan John: Six Decades of Competition
Dan John: Programming Checklists & Calendars

The Sword in the Stone


Madame Mim Three


“As nice a brace of young gentlemen,” said the witch, “as ever stewed or roasted. Fattened on real butcher’s meat, I daresay, with milk and all. Now we’ll have the  big one jugged for Sunday, if I can get a bit of wine to go in the pot, and the little one we’ll have on the moon’s morn, by jing and by jee, for how can I keep my sharp fork out of him a minute longer it fair gives me the croup.”

“Let me out,” said Kay hoarsely, “you old witch, or Sir Ector will come for you.”

At this Madame Mim could no longer contain her joy. “Hark to the little varmint,” she cried, snapping her fingers and doing a bouncing jib before the cages. “Hark to the sweet, audacious, tender little veal. He answers back and threatens us with Sir Ector, on the very brink of the pot. That’s how I faint to tooth them, I do declare, and that’s how I with them ere the week be out, by Scarmiglione, Belial, Peor, Ciriato Sannuto and Dr. D.”

With this she began bustling about in the back yard, the herb garden and the scullery, cleaning pots, gathering plants for the stuffing, sharpening knives and cleavers, boiling water, skipping for joy, licking her greedy lips, saying spells, braiding her night-black hair, and sing as she worked.”

End quote

White’s use of language is lovely. James Joyce, basically a contemporary of White, is noted for his “word play” and this section does a nice job of showing T. H. White’s talents.

Mim worries about the croup, then Kay speaks hoarsely. It’s just fun to read that. So many words in this section can easily be skipped over, but a few add depth and luster to this situation. These, I thought, were fun to learn:

Jing: to move nimbly (like liquid)
Jee: to move forward
Croup: upper respiratory inflammation.
Scarmiglione: one of the demons who torments politicians in Dante’s Inferno.
Belial: from the Bible, a demon. Often considered Lucifer’s assistant.
Peor: from the Book of Numbers, a mountain peak where Balak wanted Balaam to curse Israel. Ciriato Sannuto: another demon from Dante’s Inferno. I’m just guessing that “Dr. D” is the devil.

Mim, to say the least, is Satanic. This section had to be toned down for the American readers when the story came out:

“The Sword in the Stone was accepted for publication in the U.S. by G.P. Putnam & Sons, on the condition that several fairly significant changes were made.  As required by Putnam, Chapter 6, where Arthur and Kay were trapped by Madame Mim was substantially edited.  According to Elisabeth Brewer, Putnam might have required this change because they feared the material was too risqué for a young audience (33).”

Mim’s pinching of the naked Wart might have been too rough for the readers of this generation; these readers had lived through the Great Depression and were listening to Hitler on the radio were too faint for such things.

This is rough reading: our heroes are going to be butchered and stewed. J. K. Rowling seems to also understand a key to children’s literature when she, too, puts her heroes in tight corners and some die in the action.

Catch your breath as, next time, we sing and talk to animals.


And… two more Dan links to keep you going until next week’s WW:
Dan John: Shark Habits
Dan John: Training for Tomorrow


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