Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 204

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 204

This week on OTP: Preorder the new Johnny Parker, Al Miller, & Rob Panariello book on periodization, the book Dan calls “This book, from start to finish, is a master class in strength coaching. This is the how-to/do-this book we have been looking for in strength and conditioning.” 


I’m getting ready to go on a tour of New Orleans, then pop on a flight home. I’ve enjoyed this weekend. Tuesday, I go back to Ireland and, somehow, I need to do all those things that I need to do for a getaway.

So, by the time you read this, I will be in Galway. And that is always good.

The food in New Orleans is fabulous. There is something magical about this place and I always enjoy my time. I still need to do the “Confederacy of Dunces Tour,” which is a great book about New Orleans, and I love to wander around here. I average six miles a day here (iPhone App says so!) and love the music. Ireland, of course, is an epic walking tour country, so I will get my miles in.

I travel now with a hip band and Judo belt for isometric work. These are light and easy to pack and they keep me going a bit. Nothing too fancy, no, but it works. I’ve been trying to figure out how to train on the road my whole life.

Bouncing around the internet, I found this online this week. Thirty years ago, I discovered the book Debt Free Millionaire and this site does a nice job summarizing the materials. Hint: it works.

This article really fascinated me. I’m from the Great Books tradition and we were raised reading, discussing and debating. It has allowed me to think through some things that some people might just huff and puff and growl around with no results.


Teare: Based upon your experience with professionals in various businesses, what would your recommendation be with regard to the undergraduate educations of college students?

Ager: My recommendation would be to ensure undergraduate educations teach methods of inquiry and of communicating findings. My eldest daughter’s liberal arts education did just that, and she is translating that into a career in data analytics.

At the end of the interview, Teare confides: “I know that my own liberal arts education has enabled me to succeed not only in secondary and higher education, but also once upon a time as a television anchorman. I have always needed critical thinking skills in education, but TV news sometimes required nothing other than the ability to read a teleprompter. Of course, if the teleprompter broke, and I had to ad-lib, or was conducting an interview live, I had nothing but my liberal arts critical thinking skills until the next commercial arrived.”

End quote

Markus Wessel sent this in and I enjoyed it. It’s worth your time.


It’s estimated that about half of marriages end in divorce. Why are so many people getting divorced, and how can you prevent splitting up with your spouse? We asked four divorce lawyers what they’ve learned in their practice on how to keep your marriage alive.

End quote

I really enjoyed this article. I know nothing about this runner, but it is a fascinating read.


Kawauchi tries to sleep at least seven and a half hours a night. And he incorporates ultralong runs into his training to build stamina. He has been known to jog the distance of a marathon three times in a week and to run 62 miles, or 100 kilometers, along a river to his home in seven and a half hours.

Will Kawauchi will run faster when he quits his job and becomes a full-time runner next April? Will more training miles leave him hurt more often, and less resilient in recovery? It remains to be seen.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are approaching, but ever the contrarian, Kawauchi said he was not interested. He has struggled running in heat and humidity. It would be a waste, he said, to prepare for the brutal conditions expected in August in Tokyo.

“The Olympics aren’t the only destination an athlete should go for,” Kawauchi said.

He has broader ambitions: To run another personal best in the marathon. To win a medal at the 2021 world track and field championships in Eugene, Ore., where the weather figures to be more accommodating. To run as many marathons in as many countries as possible. Unbound by a civil servant’s job, he will be free to go off and see the world as he pleases.

As a boy, Kawauchi loved to thumb through atlases and read train schedules. But when he began to run, his world turned inward. He said he thought of little but trying to follow his coach’s plan perfectly. Now he makes his own plan, longs to try new things, see new places.

“He’s a clever runner,” said Sugita, the chief scientist of Japan’s track and field federation. “He thinks for himself.”

End quote

I never heard anything after this interview, but it is pretty good. I enjoyed listening to it.

In this episode we discuss:

His morning workout
What he feels are his current weaknesses
Connecting the dots of “what you need to do” to “here is where you are in life and here is what we need to address”
Finding the best metabolic workout while still addressing the big things
How difficult it is to stay on track and keep it fundamental and simple
His “pop” quizzes on the first day of class
Building the framework of knowledge
Once you add something in you have to take something out
“Let’s bring horses back into training”
The Diderot Effect by James Clear (former podcast guest)
How you help people see the benefits of weight lifting
The benefits of lean mass
Why he doesn’t program in bench pressing or curls with some athletes
80/20 Rule
His interns and what he expects of them
Coaching is mostly cost/benefit analysis
Solving “delightful” problems
“Think” through the problem
Mark Fisher Fitness
What Dan John looks like angry
His clan Tartan
Bastardless family trees
Kirk vs Picard
The first time he saw Star Wars
His disappointment in the Prequels
Where he would go in a time machine
His preference on scotch
What his interns have taught him
What he still has to master
Cleaning the leaves out of the gutter
What spurred him to apply to be a Fulbright Scholar
His best experience traveling the Middle East
What he worries about or fears
Giving back to his community
What famous person he would have dinner with
How do you remain united when people are divisive
His definition of evil

End quote

Well, next week, I begin my reports from Ireland. Until then, keep on lifting and learning.


Fitness professionals, as well as many other driven people attempting to create a career and a life, are always worn out physically, and most importantly, mentally because they never learn how to rest both body and soul.
Read more from Thom Plummer

The Sword in the Stone, Part 60


Merlyn immediately struck himself on the brow and exclaimed excitedly, “Now I see it all. Yes, of course there is, and you are going to see it. Yes, you must take Kay and hurry up about it. You must go immediately after Mass. Have breakfast first and go immediately after Mass. Yes, that is it. Go straight to Hob’s strip of barley in the open field and follow that line until you come to something. That will be splendid, yes, and I shall have a nap this afternoon instead of those filthy Summulae Logicales. Or have I had the nap?”

“You have not had it,” said Archimedes. “That is still in the future, Master.”

“Splendid, splendid. And mind, Wart, don’t forget to take Kay with you so that I can have my nap.”

“What shall we see?” asked the Wart.

“Ah, don’t plague me about a little thing like that. You run along now, there’s a good boy, and mind you don’t forget to take Kay with you. Why ever didn’t you mention it before? Don’t forget to follow beyond the strip of barley. Well, well, well! This is the first half-holiday I have had since I started this confounded tutorship. First I think I shall have a little nap before luncheon, and then I think I shall have a little nap before tea. Then I shall have to think of something I can do before dinner. What shall I do before dinner, Archimedes?”

“Have a little nap, I expect,” said the owl coldly, turning his back upon his master, because he, as well as the Wart, enjoyed to see life.

End quote

Well, this section is just a delight. We knew about Merlyn’s time and life issues (he lives backward in time), but this reading takes his issue to a new level. I just love the “little nap” discussion.

White’s humor tends to be situational; he tends to set his characters into funny situations and letting the humor unfold. In this selection, Merlyn’s excitement about taking a nap just strikes me as funny.

I’ve been there a few times: long days, humid days, rough sleep and I want to do is take a nap. Merlyn’s enthusiasm just makes me smile.

And that is it for the chapter. Not much happens here, but our next three chapters will introduce a lot of new characters and a great story.

It will be fun “to see life.”


Fitness professionals, as well as many other driven people attempting to create a career and a life, are always worn out physically, and most importantly, mentally because they never learn how to rest both body and soul.
Read more from Thom Plummer

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