Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 200

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 200

So… did you see that issue number above? 200. That’s 200 weeks in a row, no misses, no illness, no holidays. If you want a way to gauge your efforts in any endeavor, that’s what you want to look at: unbeatable consistency. Thank you, Dan.


It was nice to be home for a change on a weekend. I went to a high school football game, watched college football and shopped the Farmers Market. This is the best time of year for local produce and I always enjoy all the weird booths.

I’m not sure about some of the stuff people sell. One woman had porcelain dolls for Halloween that are fodder for an ax murder movie. These dolls were just creepy. She had them next to these cute kid’s costumes, but I was a little freaked out.

The upside of being home is that I can train every day. I also walk, cryotherapy, and meditate more when I am home, too, so this is “win-win” for me. I got sick on the tail end of my last European trip and I feel like I lost some momentum. But, sleep and liquids for the win.

The days are getting shorter and Utah is beginning to cool off. My pumpkins are turning a nice of orange and we will be seeing snow sooner than later now. It’s just the way it is. I have some big things coming up now, but, for today, I am going to enjoy these beautiful days outside.

There were some fun items on the web this week. This article makes a point that I remember well from my years of bulking: the eating just gets old. It “sounds good,” but it can be awful.


Davenport is, to this day, astonished by Jackman’s work ethic. “He’s an absolute beast . . . he was doing two-a-days on Logan. Like, we’re sitting around eating lunch and he’s training again.” Of course, that physicality also presents challenges for Davenport. When the stuntman got the call about Logan, he had been traveling in Australia—and dropping weight, dwindling to about 188 pounds. Then the studio gave him a vivid mandate: “There’s a clone [in the film]. The clone is Wolverine in his prime—and that’s gonna be you . . . we need you to be big.”

Davenport gained about 18 pounds for the role in under two months, thanks to a truly horrifying, self-designed regimen. “I didn’t see nine P.M. for I don’t even know how long. I was up by three o’clock, four o’clock in the gym, lifting as heavy as I could. My first meal—this will make you want to vomit—after I got back from the gym would be 10 hard boiled eggs, two cups of oatmeal, two cups of blueberries, two bananas, and a protein shake. That’s meal one of eight. I would literally need time after I ate to stop sweating and just not move. If I get up, I may throw up.”

End quote

“Tell a story.” That is the key to presentations. I am considering this idea of blacking things out as this article suggests.


People can’t read a slide and listen to you at the same time. When using a slide deck, keep it simple. Use brief bullet points and pictures that tell a story, but refrain from making it a novel. Try not to use more than three bullet points or one image at a time. When you forward to a new slide, don’t talk. Be quiet and allow the audience to read the data without your interruption. If you advance to a new slide while speaking, they are going to tune you out to take in what they see. Science has proven that the brain is incapable of consciously listening and reading simultaneously, so let them do one without the other. Be quiet long enough for them to read and understand the slide. Then black out the screen before you start talking. This allows you to reengage without competing for their attention, which is easily achieved with handheld slide clickers and shortcut keys.

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This is an article that I really worked overtime to make my point. OTP, as always, does a great job adding the pictures and materials to make the articles so much better.


Exercise HAS a role in FAT loss.

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Over on medium, Brian Gwaltney is repurposing my older blog materials. This article, written “live” from discus camp, might be as good as I have done as a coach. I need to come back to this article and expand it.


During our drills today, I was watching high school football player struggling to pick up a 60 pound stone to “play catch” with it. These guys are on year round football lifting programs, but when asked to pick up a rock, it is an effort. It got me thinking about one of my heroes, Glenn Passey, the great Utah State discus thrower. At 178 pounds, he set the NCAA discus record at 190′ 9.” His training was nothing like what we do today, but he spent his summers tossing hay bales up into barns. Plus, he did a lot of Farmer Carries to get things from “here” to “there.”

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I’ve met Alex Smith. He is a great person. He deals with issues as a true professional. It was interesting to read this article on his approach to IF.


Smith allows himself to eat only between noon and 8 p.m., an approach he became intrigued with months before the Pittsburgh loss, shortly after the Chiefs signed quarterback Nick Foles to be his backup for the 2016 season.

Smith says Foles is a big believer in fasting and drinking bulletproof coffee — which is coffee mixed with butter and oil — and soon, everybody in the Chiefs’ quarterbacks room was trying it.

“When you put fat — a derivative of coconut oil — and you blend it in your coffee, that oil helps kick you into ketosis faster, and you produce more ketones,” Smith explained.

Smith played around with Foles’ approach during the 2016 season, but devoted himself fully to fasting 16 hours a day that offseason and quickly saw results, as he says he maintained the same weight — 212 pounds — but saw his body fat percentage shrink from 10 percent at the time to 4, which is what he checked in at right at the outset of the Washington Redskins’ most recent training camp.

“Your liver stores glycogen for ‘X’ amount of time, and when that depletes and you don’t have any sugar or carbs to run off of, your body kicks into ketosis and pulls stored fat cells … so essentially, you’re using your own fat for energy,” Smith explained.

The science generally checks out. The concept of fasting has grown in popularity over the years, and several prominent doctors have written about the benefits of it, which range from increased weight loss to sharper mental clarity, with the latter being a byproduct that Smith — who had a few concussion scares in Kansas City — can attest to.

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I have another quiet week. I am getting ahead on a few projects and I am playing with two ideas for the future. So, until next time, keep on lifting and learning.


Are you devoting enough attention toward breathing patterns? The breath influences our actions and emotions and is influenced by our actions and emotions . . . and chances are, it’s having a far greater physical effect than you think.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 56


“It is a nice sort of story,” said the Wart, because it seemed to be over.

“I am sorry,” said Merlyn, “that you should be the only one to get my extra tuition, but then, you see, I was only sent for that.”

“I do not see that it would do any harm for Kay to come too.”

“Nor do I. But the Rabbi Jachanan did not see why the miser should have had his wall repaired.”

“I understand that,” said the Wart doubtfully, “but I still think it was a shame that the cow died. Could I not have Kay with me just once?”

Merlyn said gently, “Perhaps what is good for you might be bad for him. Besides, remember he has never asked to be turned into anything.”

“He wants to be turned, for all that. I like Kay, you know, and I think people don’t understand him. He has to be proud because he is frightened.”

“You still do not follow what I mean. Suppose he had gone as a merlin last night, and failed in the ordeal, and lost his nerve?”

“How do you know about that ordeal?”

“Ah, well, there it is again.”

“Very well,” said the Wart obstinately. “But suppose he had not failed in the ordeal, and had not lost his nerve. I don’t see why you should have to suppose that he would have.”

“Oh, flout the boy!” cried the magician passionately. “You don’t seem to see anything this morning. What is it that you want me to do?”

“Turn me and Kay into snakes or something.”

Merlyn took off his spectacles, dashed them on the floor and jumped on them with both feet.
End quote

If there is a better line in literature than this, “Merlyn took off his spectacles, dashed them on the floor and jumped on them with both feet,” I don’t know what it is. Oh, sure, quote Shakespeare all you want, but I would argue that this is the most real line I have ever read.

And funny. And true.

Most parents, many teachers and all coaches have had this moment: the kid just won’t shut up, let it go, or leave it alone. I find this story funnier and funnier as I age; perhaps, I didn’t see the humor when I was 13.

Wart wants Merlyn to do something Merlyn cannot do.

We have all been there, I think.

I can remember a transfer student (and her mother) arguing that she didn’t need to take any of our coursework at the school because she was obviously too qualified to take basic coursework.

But, she will need these classes to fulfill the graduation requirements.

“Edna doesn’t need them. She is brilliant and far ahead of anyone her age.” (Actual quote)

But, if you want to go to this school, you need to take these classes.

“We just need the diploma so she can get into University XYZ.” (She didn’t get in, by the way)

But, we can’t give you a diploma without classwork, testing and evaluation.

“She already knows all of this.”

This continued for a long time. I finally threw my glasses on the ground and stomped on them.

Kay is going to get his adventure. As we move forward in this story, this adventure, as well as the Boar Hunt with William Twyti, will be a chance to bring many of the story’s characters together.

In the next section, we will learn about Merlyn’s magical abilities and how he actually does magic. Wart is just beginning to discover that Merlyn has limits on his abilities. If you continue reading the rest of The Once and Future King, you will discover that Merlyn’s “overlooking” or forgetting, depending on how you read it, a key point is going to be a huge issue for King Arthur.

Until next time.


Spine expert Stuart McGill focuses on how he creates the strongest default patterns – good patterns that can be strengthened with load.




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