Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 183

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 183

On OTPbooks.com this week: Mike Prevost reports on the latest research to bring you information on dietary protein and muscle hypertrophy—including the different protein needs for bulking up, maintenance and weight loss. [CONTINUE READING]

As I type this, my mind keeps floating backward in time. Thirty years ago, Tiffini and I got married on this date. We joke about the number of people betting that we wouldn’t last. We both wished we could have gotten “a piece of the action.”

Thirty years is half my life. I heard this morning that Seinfeld ended twenty years ago in 1998. I remember watching the show in our old house on Brister Drive and then I have to remind myself that my daughters were six and eight when it ended. In 1998, I received my first emails.

That’s the problem with memory: Seinfeld seems like it just ended a week ago. Yet, I can barely remember life without email. Ten years ago today, I had daughters throwing the discus in the State track meet and I remember that moment better than I can remember my last cup of coffee.

It’s funny how these big anniversaries make you strive to readjust your brain clock. Last night, we pulled out the photo albums and they literally just stop around 2004 or so when digital cameras just took over everything. Then came the phones with the cameras and all the rest; photo albums and those boxes of old pictures became a thing of the past.

Looking at the photos reminded me of the point Theseus makes in “A Midsummer’s Night Dream:”

The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,
Doth glance from heaven to Earth, from Earth to heaven.
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.

Looking at old photos gives “bodies” to my memory and puts me back in time.

And, on my Thirtieth Wedding Anniversary, I seem to be glancing “from heaven to Earth, from Earth to heaven.”

I still had time to search the net. This article discusses the importance of cooking in human evolution, but it also gives us a great way to spin the words “recipe” and “code:”

Quoting:

The word that comes closest to “code” in this economic context is “recipe.” There has been code in production literally since the first time a human being prepared food. How important has this capacity been to human advance? Substantial anthropological research suggests that culinary recipes were the earliest and among the most transformative technologies employed by humans. We have understood for some time that cooking accelerated human evolution by substantially increasing the nutrients absorbed in the stomach and small intestine. However, recent research suggests that human ancestors were using recipes to prepare food to dramatic effect as early as 2 million years ago—even before we learned to control fire and cooking became common, which occurred about 500,000 years ago. Simply slicing meats and pounding tubers (such as yams), as was done by our earliest ancestors, turns out to yield digestive advantages that are comparable to those realized by cooking. Cooked or raw, increased nutrient intake enabled us to evolve smaller teeth and chewing muscles and even a smaller gut than our ancestors or primate cousins. These evolutionary adaptations in turn supported the development of humans’ larger, energy-hungry brain.

The first recipes—code at work—literally made humans what we are today.

End quote

I love these articles on the benefits of minimal exercise. I keep telling people to read more articles like this about the benefits of exercises versus the crap we see spreading in magazines and the internet.

Quoting:

“By walking just 10 continuous minutes at a brisk pace every day, an individual can reduce their risk of early death by 15%,” says Professor Muir Gray, adviser to PHE. “They can also prevent or delay the onset of disability and further reduce their risk of serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, dementia and some cancers.” Emma Stevenson, professor of sport and exercise at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, says it is all about functionality – living well, not just longer. “Age is not a reason not to be doing things,” she says. “That way, we age more quickly. We may be living longer but without good nutrition and exercise we lose functionality – like simply being able to get out of a chair – and that is not good quality of life.”

End quote

Sarah Smith has been on a roll lately. Her work on the pelvic floor is worth reading. This article gives us a taste of her work.

Quoting:

Step 3. Sit less, practice moving.

Remember earlier when I mention that we get into these not-so-great movement habits from LACK of movement? Several years ago my husband and I spent 4 months in Asia and you know what I noticed? People that move all of the time and don’t have the access to the modern-day conveniences that we do (cars, appliances, dance furniture and computers) THEY KNOW HOW TO MOVE!

No one has to teach them how to deadlift, how to squat, how to push or pull. How to carry a baby or a load of laundry.

They know how to do it.

Why?

Practice and habit.

Sure there are some scenarios where malnutrition or lack of medical attention has resulted in some major physiological and musculoskeletal imbalances, but for the most part, the alignment, strength and capability of folks in developing nations is something to be envied by us folks in the US of A.

The benefit that these folks have is that they never really got into bad movement habits, so we have to work OVERTIME to reverse some of the movement routines that we’ve adopted from sitting in desks at work and school, in cars and buses for commutes, on fancy squishy sofas at home …but with practice and mindfulness, we can do it.

And when we do, when we learn to move more and better, we build a stronger foundation for our bodies, we discover our primal pelvic floor, we dramatically reduce our risk of injury and therefore improve our quality of life, and as I’ve alluded to above, sex life.

End quote

Nick Lynch does a great job blending mind and body, health and fitness at his gym. This article is a nice intro to his work.

Quoting:

1: “The Zen of Zane”

Frank Zane used to train chest, triceps and shoulders in one day. Compared to how his competition was training, his approach was totally bizarre. His competition was training opposing muscle groups such as chest and biceps. Frank was known for his amazing symmetry and muscularity. With a daily dose of this workout, I think you might start to look and feel like Frank Zane!

Set a timer for five minutes and repeat the following sequence of exercises until five minutes has passed.

5 push presses per side
5 pull-ups
5-10 push-ups
30 seconds break
1 push-up
1 push press per side
1 pull-up
5 push presses per side
5 pull-ups
5-10 push-ups
30 seconds break

Modification

Trade reps for seconds. For example, instead of 10 pull ups, perform a 10-seconds flex arm hang.

End quote

I liked this article. When Tiffini had to get her thyroid removed, I learned some valuable lessons. First, trained professionals like doctors and nurses are probably better than internet articles for advice on health…and hormones. Second, reread “First” over and over and over again.

Quoting:

Your move:

No matter what your client has been led to believe by friends, trainers, or TV commercials, hypogonadism isn’t something that can be diagnosed by a hobbyist. Even legit lab tests are just numbers on a sheet of paper. “Lab assays for testosterone have traditionally been very poor,” Nadolsky says. “We don’t treat numbers. We treat people.”

Your training program is a powerful tool. Higher volume is better than lower volume, and heavier weights are better than lighter ones.

End quote

I shared this article with Mike Brown. Mike and I talk about books almost daily, but even though we have both read Homer’s works dozens of times, there is still room for more insights. I thought this was fascinating.

Quoting:

The early Greek vocabulary of colour was very strange indeed, to modern eyes. The word argos, for example, is used for things that we would call white, but also for lightning and for fast-moving dogs. It seems to refer not simply to colour, but also to a kind of flashing speed. Khlōros (as in the English ‘chlorophyll’) is used for green vegetation, but also for sand on a shore, for tears and blood, and for the pallor of skin of the terrified. One scholar describes it as capturing the ‘fecund vitality of moist, growing things’: greenish, certainly, but colour represents only one aspect of the word, and it can easily be overridden.

Weirdly, some early Greek terms for colour seem also to indicate intense movement. The same scholar points out that xanthos is etymologically connected to another word, xouthos, which indicates a rapid, vibrating movement. So, while xanthos certainly suggests hair in the ‘brown-to-fair’ range, the adjective also captures Achilles’ famous swift-footedness, and indeed his emotional volatility.

End quote

The sun is starting to pop through today and the weather is clearing. It reminds me of thirty years ago. Until next time, keep on lifting and learning.

Dan
DanJohn.net

New release on OTPbooks.com: Sue Falsone’s Bridging the Gap from Rehab to Performance [CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION]

 

The Sword in the Stone

TSITS 40, Chapter 8, Continued

Quoting:

“You run a grave risk, my boy,” said the magician, “of being turned into a piece of bread, and toasted.”

With this he slowly began to unpick his beard, muttering to himself meanwhile and taking the greatest precautions not to drop a stitch.

“Will it be as difficult to fly,” asked the Wart when he thought his tutor had calmed down, “as it was to swim?”

“You will not need to fly. I don’t mean to turn you into a loose hawk, but only to set you in the mews for the night, so that you can talk to the others. That is the way to learn, by listening to the experts.”

“Will they talk?”

“They talk every night, deep into the darkness. They say about how they were taken, about what they can remember of their homes: about their lineage and the great deeds of their ancestors, about their training and what they have learned and will learn. It is military conversation really, like you might have in the mess of a crack cavalry regiment: tactics, small arms, maintenance, betting, famous hunts, wine, women and song.

“Another subject they have,” he continued, “is food. It is a depressing thought, but of course they are mainly trained by hunger. They are a hungry lot, poor chaps, thinking of the best restaurants where they used to go, and how they had champagne and caviare and gypsy music. Of course, they all come of noble blood.”

“What a shame that they should be kept prisoners and be hungry.”

“Well, they do not really understand that they are prisoners, any more than the cavalry officers do. They look on themselves as being dedicated to their profession, like an order of knighthood or something of that sort. You see, the membership of the mews is, after all, restricted to the raptors—and that does help a lot. They know that none of the lower classes can get in. Their screen perches don’t carry blackbirds or such trash as that. And then, as to the hungry part, they are far from starving or that kind of hunger. They are in training, you know, and like everybody in strict training, they think about food.”

“How soon can I begin?”

“You can begin now, if you want to. My insight tells me that Hob has this minute finished for the night. But first of all you must choose what kind of hawk you would prefer to be.”

“I should like to be a merlin,” said the Wart politely.

This answer flattered the magician. “A very good choice,” he said, “and if you please we will proceed at once.”

The Wart got up from his stool and stood in front of his tutor. Merlyn put down his knitting.

End quote

This is one of T. H. White’s gifts as a writer: he understands and illustrates the cycles of human emotions. Those of us in love (at all levels) know that the relationship ebbs and flows likes the tide. It is hard to explain this concept logically in any of its forms. Love is not a geometric proof. Poets seem to understand this issue. The great Northern Irish poet, W. R. Rogers, wrote this wonderful piece (The Easter Sequence):

Quoting:

Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane.

It was a lovely night,

A night for weddings and water.

Going out into the cold glow he felt washed

And clean of people. The garden had an air

Of waiting about it, as if the leaves were bent

On eavesdropping. And the rain

Scented the air with more-than-midnight pain

And the wet trees that had nowhere to go

Stood around and gazed at the One walking there below

In agony. Ebb and flow, to and fro, Yes and No;

Doubt assailed him. Which and what to do? This much must be admitted,

We live between two worlds, faith and doubt,

Like breath. The air that one breathes does not care

Whether it’s in or out; it’s not in love with life

Or death. And yet we do not dare to hold it long,

But must let it go to find again. So with faith,

With love, with everything.

End quote

Rogers, like White, is underrated, in my “humble” opinion. “Ebb and flow, to and fro, Yes and No; Doubt assailed him” probably defines and explains the bulk of the four/five books of White’s The Once and Future King (and, if you decide to count it separately, The Book of Merlyn).

Merlyn threatens Wart with a “toasting” and Wart responds with flattery; he wants to be a merlin. All too often, this seems like how we live in relationship. Ebbs and flows, tos and fros, yeses and nos.

As I read and reread this selection, my mind is running off into dozens of directions. “Merlyn put down his knitting” just springs off the page to me as I think about my days and hours in the weightroom and practice fields. If “fitness” is literally “knitting,” Merlyn is putting down his work to turn over the teaching to a group of warriors.

Merlyn is clear about what he is sending young Arthur into; the hawks are “dedicated professionals.” They will be discussing “tactics, small arms, maintenance, betting, famous hunts, wine, women and song.” And food.

“Well, they do not really understand that they are prisoners, any more than the cavalry officers do. They look on themselves as being dedicated to their profession, like an order of knighthood or something of that sort. You see, the membership of the mews is, after all, restricted to the raptors—and that does help a lot. They know that none of the lower classes can get in. Their screen perches don’t carry blackbirds or such trash as that. And then, as to the hungry part, they are far from starving or that kind of hunger. They are in training, you know, and like everybody in strict training, they think about food.”

I can see why I am so drawn to this chapter. The discipline of the hawks reminds me of those old days in my life when we ventured away on long bus trips to remote colleges. We left behind family, friends, the party life, and general craziness of college to compete. Yet, I always loved the long bus rides. Oh, I hated not being able to use a bathroom for hours and hours, but I loved the communal sacrifice. At Utah State, teammates would share life stories and class projects. I learned a lot about Argyle sheep, cow diseases and attempts of colonizing dung beetles.

And, no, I can’t make up that kind of thing.

We ate sandwiches with a bag of chips and an orange drink. Some would try to sleep, but it was always tough with the bounce of the bus and the idiocy of athletes. And, I miss it.

Wart will find as much danger as with the pike. But, he trusts Merlyn. He has faith in Merlyn. And, like love, Merlyn must let him go.

“We live between two worlds, faith and doubt,

Like breath. The air that one breathes does not care

Whether it’s in or out; it’s not in love with life

Or death. And yet we do not dare to hold it long,

But must let it go to find again. So with faith,

With love, with everything.”

Until next time.

Dan

New on OTPbooks.com: Mike Prevost reports on the latest research to bring you information on dietary protein and muscle hypertrophy—including the different protein needs for bulking up, maintenance and weight loss. [CONTINUE READING]

 

 

 

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