Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 192


Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 192

New this week on OTPbooks.com: From junk-food-junkie to fat-burning, healthier and more pleasant strength coach, Chris Holder tells the story of his ketogenic diet journey.


My dog is snoring on his bed. I’m waiting for the Murray City guys to come by and cut down some dead trees. Summer in Utah is hard on things: it gets so hot that if you leave kettlebells out in the sun, you burn your hands touching them.

Sweat dries up as you watch.

Being a black dog, Sirius Black enjoys the cool mornings. For whatever reason, during this cool morning I also thought back to my time in London and a conversation at the Pub:

“Are the Rolling Stones still the Kings of Rock and Roll?”

Oddly, this funny little discussion with a Swedish couple in a pub in London before the Stones played in Twickenham Stadium got me wondering about language.

Our waiter was a nice young man, a recent emigre. How does that translate to him?

Stones. Rocks.

When I ask people what’s the difference between stones and rocks (I really took this too far and I apologize to my friends and family), usually we got the idea that stones were smoothed down from actual rocks.

Friedrich Nietzsche used them both in this inspiring quote:

There will always be rocks in the road ahead of us. They will be stumbling blocks or stepping stones; it all depends on how you use them.

A famous actress once said the same thing, basically:

Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.

That, of course, is the from Oscar-winning actor, Emma Stone.

I always wonder if she will do a movie with The Rock. Maybe they could have the Rolling Stones guitarist, Keith Richards, do the soundtrack because, as he once said:

The rock’s easy, but the roll is another thing.

I could probably go on all day: Don’t read my favorite book, The Sword in the Stone,stoned, but let’s stop.

I had a professor teach me, years ago, that the secret to continuing dialogue is simply this:

“Never deny, rarely affirm, always distinguish.”

In the world of weightlifting, I have learned that this is the key to intelligent discussion. There are so many wormholes when talking about lifting:

“Yeah, but:
He was on drugs.
She was a genetic freak.
That only works for a few weeks.
They are just selling something.
You can’t trust the X, Y or Zs…they always lie.

You get the point: every statement is true, I don’t deny it, but we need to separate the wheat from the chaff when having intelligent discussions.

When I pick readings for Wandering Weights, I don’t agree or disagree with the material. I get weird emails complaining about the articles being this or that and I always point out that the reason I picked this (or that) article is because it made me think. As we visit each week, just remember that I am not trying to rock the boat; I am just trying to leave no stone unturned in my quest to further my knowledge. It’s the bedrock of my life.

So, here we go: Dan Martin shared this on the Q and AMarty Gallagher just seems to cut through the crap better than anyone I know:


Quad-Limb Fan Bike Core Protocol

For each Fan Bike exercise, the procedure is the same, regardless of the drill:

Warm-up gradually: pedal and/or push-pull, light and easy…
Gradually pick up the pace: warm-up to and maintain 50% of capacity…
Allow the body to acclimate at each subsequent intensity level
Move to 70% of capacity: the body is now completely awake and alert
Move to 85%
Move to 100% of what you are currently capable of–today, at this time
Hold 100% for as long as is comfortable
Be cognizant that capacity is a shifting target and will shift, session to session
Gains occur when we equal or exceed these (diminished or enhanced) capacities
Log the watts, RPMs, and, if possible, heart rate, when attaining 100% max

Once we achieve a 100% all-out max effort in an exercise, we relax and go into the slowest, easiest warm-up iteration of the next sequenced exercise in the cardio chain. Our procedure is to hit 100% of capacity in each exercise, and then immediately shift into the easiest version of the next exercise. We sequence exercises in such a fashion that whatever muscle or muscle-groups are taxed to 100% are rested as another “section” of the body takes over the cardio effort. We again and again hit a 100% effort. Our report card is the watts, the RPMs and the heart rate monitor reading.

100% means that you go as fast as you can go, at that instant of time. Your capacities might be diminished, normal, or enhanced. After a thorough warm-up, exert to 100% in each of the selected exercises.

We can continually assault our limits, safely and effectively if we train smart. All 100% efforts need to be preceded by a comprehensive warm-up. We do all that we can do (safely and sanely) on this particular day at this time.

The gains we seek (improved endurance, increased athletic performance, better body fat percentile, quicker, lighter and healthier, a radically improved physique) are attained by equaling or exceeding current limits.

End quote

I really found this particular paragraph of this article illuminating:


From the archeological record, it’s inferred that Neanderthals evolved in Europe or western Asia and spread out from there, stopping when they reached water or some other significant obstacle. (During the ice ages, sea levels were a lot lower than they are now, so there was no English Channel to cross.) This is one of the most basic ways modern humans differ from Neanderthals and, in Pääbo’s view, also one of the most intriguing. By about forty-five thousand years ago, modern humans had already reached Australia, a journey that, even mid-ice age, meant crossing open water. Archaic humans like Homo erectus “spread like many other mammals in the Old World,” Pääbo told me. “They never came to Madagascar, never to Australia. Neither did Neanderthals. It’s only fully modern humans who start this thing of venturing out on the ocean where you don’t see land. Part of that is technology, of course; you have to have ships to do it. But there is also, I like to think or say, some madness there. You know? How many people must have sailed out and vanished on the Pacific before you found Easter Island? I mean, it’s ridiculous. And why do you do that? Is it for the glory? For immortality? For curiosity? And now we go to Mars. We never stop.”

End quote

Moving from pre-history to today: it’s time to clean up your apps. Happy Tenth Anniversary to the app!


The iPhone has an automated way to kill apps that you don’t use anymore when it needs to free up space on your device. Go to settings > General > iPhone Storage and it will give you an option called “Offload Unused Apps,” which automatically deletes apps you don’t use regularly, but saves the documents and data that go with them. As a true app slob, this option would save me more than 23 GB.
Both Apple and Android users will soon have a much better idea of which apps they actually use thanks to Apple and Google’s respective digital wellness initiatives. The next generations of both operating systems will include dashboards that track how much time you spend in each application. If you don’t want to wait for those first-party solutions to roll out, you can try an app like Moment, which is meant to prevent you from spending too much time in apps but could provide similar insight about apps you’ve ghosted.

End quote

Finally, a site I am very excited to share.


You honor us, brother. The world has a great many stadiums, but very few men who can stand in their shadows and know that they were a champion. You have achieved a feat of steadfast devotion, of iron will and glacial determination. You have prepared yourself to scale grim peaks, to ford rivers, to protect any and all you love, and perhaps to subdue those you don’t. The lessons you’ve learned were occasionally physical, but more often echoed the quiet truths that have always dwelled within the hearts of great and honorable men. You do not cower. You do not break. You bend, on occasion, because you’ve learned that there are times when this is the right thing to do. You accomplish your goals. You speak softly. You carry a stick that’s fit for a titan, one which you carved yourself.

Now there is one standard left to attain. Now you will prove your worth, Champion. Now is the time to give back.


Teach that which you’ve learned

End quote

That’s good stuff. I rock.

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


Chris Holder: A Fat Guy’s Experience on the Ketogenic Diet

From junk-food-junkie to fat-burning, healthier and more pleasant strength coach, Chris Holder tells the story of his ketogenic diet journey.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 48


“Very nice,” said the peregrine. “Captain Balan, I think you were a little off on the top C. And now, candidate, you will go over and stand next to Colonel Cully’s enclosure, while we ring our bells thrice. On the third ring you may move as quickly as you like.”

“Very good, Madam,” said the Wart, quite fearless with resentment. He flipped his wings and was sitting on the extreme end of the screen perch, next to Cully’s enclosure of string netting.

“Boy!” cried the Colonel in an unearthly voice, “don’t come near me, don’t come near. Ah, tempt not the foul fiend to his damnation.”

“I do not fear you, sir,” said the Wart. “Do not vex yourself, for no harm will come to either of us.”

“No harm, quotha! Ah, go, before it is too late. I feel eternal longings in me.”

“Never fear, sir. They have only to ring three times.”

At this the knights lowered their raised legs and gave them a solemn shake. The first sweet tinkling filled the room.

“Madam, Madam!” cried the Colonel in torture. “Have pity, have pity on a damned man of blood. Ring out the old, ring in the new. I can’t hold off much longer.”

“Be brave, sir,” said the Wart softly.

“Be brave, sir! Why, but two nights since, one met the duke ’bout midnight in a lane behind Saint Mark’s Church, with the leg of a man upon his shoulder: and he howled fearfully.”

“It is nothing,” said the Wart.

“Nothing! Said he was a wolf, only the difference was a wolf’s skin was hairy on the outside, his on the inside. Rip up my flesh and try. Ah, for quietus, with a bare bodkin!”

The bells rang for the second time.

The Wart’s heart was thumping, and now the Colonel was sidling toward him along the perch. Stamp, stamp, he went, striking the wood he trod on with a convulsive grip at every pace. His poor, mad, brooding eyes glared in the moonlight, shone against the persecuted darkness of his scowling brow. There was nothing cruel about him, no ignoble passion. He was terrified of the Wart, not triumphing, and he must slay.

“If it were done when ’tis done,” whispered the Colonel, “then ’twere well it were done quickly. Who would have thought the young man had so much blood in him?”

“Colonel!” said the Wart, but held himself there.

“Boy!” cried the Colonel. “Speak, stop me, mercy!”

“There is a cat behind you,” said the Wart calmly, “or a pine-marten. Look.”

The Colonel turned, swift as a wasp’s sting, and menaced into the gloom. There was nothing. He swung his wild eyes again upon the Wart, guessing the trick. Then, in the cold voice of an adder, “The bell invites me. Hear it not, Merlin, for it is a knell that summons thee to heaven or to hell.”

The third bells were indeed ringing as he spoke, and honour was allowed to move.

End quote

Well, there is nothing fancy about Wart’s “Look, there’s a cat!,” but it will work pretty well in this case. As a little brother, I learned to point and say “Mom!,” then turn and run as fast as I could.

Sometimes, it worked.

I’m pretty sure Cully is doing Shakespeare….among others.

Sonnet 144 might be part of his rant:

Two loves I have of comfort and despair,
Which like two spirits do suggest me still
The better angel is a man right fair,
The worser spirit a woman coloured ill.
To win me soon to hell, my female evil
Tempteth my better angel from my side,
And would corrupt my saint to be a devil,
Wooing his purity with her foul pride.
And, whether that my angel be turn’d fiend,
Suspect I may, yet not directly tell,
But being both from me both to each friend,
I guess one angel in another’s hell.
Yet this shall I ne’er know, but live in doubt,
Till my bad angel fire my good one out.

Antony and Cleopatra inspires, too, with this line:


Give me my robe. Put on my crown. I have
Immortal longings in me. Now no more
The juice of Egypt’s grape shall moist this lip.

Of course, Lady Macbeth is loaded with quotes about blood and damnation and John Webster’s Shakespearean era play, the Duchess of Malfi, gives us this quote:

“but two nights since, one met the duke ’bout midnight in a lane behind Saint Mark’s Church, with the leg of a man upon his shoulder: and he howled fearfully.”

We also find references to Hamlet’s soliloquy with the reference to the bodkin. I’m sure if I continued to dig, I would soon be rambling madly.

So, when it comes to mad ramblings, Cully is well versed!

Once again, Merlyn’s education is not gentle and kind and filled with hugs. These life or death training sessions, and another follows this chapter, are teaching Wart to think like a leader, like a king.

He will barely escape the jaws and claws of death in this book several times. It should prepare him well for a life in the public eye.



Chris Holder: A Fat Guy’s Experience on the Ketogenic Diet


From junk-food-junkie to fat-burning, healthier and more pleasant strength coach, Chris Holder tells the story of his ketogenic diet journey.

Wandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications

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