Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 213

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 213

New on OTPbooks.com this week: How would you scale down a pro training system for weekend warriors or keen amateurs in our 30s, 40s and 50s, with lots of experience, but also full-time jobs and families? Jeremy Hall, the editing author of The System book on periodization, works this out for us.


I gave a talk at the NSCA in Kansas. It was a great experience. I went to Emporia State to see the Hall of Fame. I was impressed, well…Al Feurbach, of course, is in there…I am always impressed with the number (and variety) of track and field athletes enshrined in these midwestern universities. The local high school weightroom, Randy’s Place (!!!!), is the dream of most of us. I love the presentations and took about 20 pages of notes.

Since I can’t read my own handwriting anymore…I type them. I wish I would have done this a long time ago.

I got back to my hotel in time to see the end of the Army-Navy Game. No matter how their seasons are going, it is always a great game.

This week seems to be my annual doctor/dentist run. I will be getting a fair number of shots this week. The new shingles vaccine hurt a bit more than I thought it would, frankly, so I am not looking forward to the booster. The nice young man said: “This might hurt.”

He was right.

Let’s look at this week’s stuff I found on the Internet. I liked this article so much, I bought David Thompson’s book.


Veteran track coach David Thompson, in his College and High School Dual Season Practice Book, mentioned Simonyi’s “combinations of boards, rubber cables, and bands connected in every which way, which when used judiciously, enabled the thrower to experience things with the hammer not felt before.”

“He was always looking for the little tweak, for the thing that would make him famous,” Sanderson said of Simonyi, who came from a family that included innovators and engineers.

“He came up with some pretty off-the-wall ideas; one of them was a device … he thought it would be good for blood flow, for athletes to hang upside down. He had a system where they’d hook their feet into stirrups and hang upside down from a bar. That kind of stuff.”

End quote

Here is my take from the ideas in this article…how do people NOT know this?


• Eating few carbs, lots of healthy fat. Our dietary choices are hugely influential in our overall health, and perhaps nowhere else is this as evident as it relates to brain health. I limit my net carbs to around 30 to 50 g a day, and add in a lot of terrific fat in the form of extra virgin olive oil, nuts and seeds, and wild fish. I also supplement with the omega-3, DHA, 1000mg each day, as well as MCT oil, 1-2 tablespoons daily. This diet, along with the MCT oil, helps to create ketones, a specific type of fat that’s extremely beneficial for brain function and protection.

• Supplementing here and there. Other supplements supported by good science include vitamin D, whole coffee fruit concentrate, turmeric, a good probiotic, and B complex.

• Working out daily. Sure, we know that exercise is good for us and generally makes us feel good, but the extensive literature relating to higher levels of exercise to reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease makes it clear that this is a lifestyle choice too good to turn down. So, I do at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day, including running, using an elliptical machine, or biking. Resistance training is also very important, and while I do favor free weights, I certainly spend plenty of time using machines as well. Finally, although I can’t specifically relate stretching to directly reducing Alzheimer’s risk, stretching can help reduce your risk of injury and therefore will help prevent you from getting sidetracked from your exercise program.

Hopefully, there will come a day when scientists do develop an effective Alzheimer’s treatment. But for now, we’ve got to do everything we can to implement the science that supports the idea that to a significant degree, Alzheimer’s is a preventable disease.

End quote

I’m certainly no basketball fan, but I love this new use of stats and research. I always want to tell people that I am sorry your game changed, but…


Last Monday in Chicago, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich arrived at his pregame interview in the gloomy concourse of the United Center, the house that Michael Jordan built. So many of the league’s iconic highlights played out here in the 1990s, and those images seemed to be on Pop’s mind.

In response to a ho-hum question about the state of the Spurs, Pop took the chance to lament the aesthetic of the NBA in 2018.

“There’s no basketball anymore, there’s no beauty in it,” he said.

It was a startling statement from the best coach of the era, whose own championship team from just five seasons ago played arguably the most beautiful version of the sport we’ve ever seen.

Pop honed in: “Now you look at a stat sheet after a game and the first thing you look at is the 3s. If you made 3s and the other team didn’t, you win. You don’t even look at the rebounds or the turnovers or how much transition D was involved. You don’t even care.

“These days there’s such an emphasis on the 3 because it’s proven to be analytically correct.”

End quote

Jp92 from the Q and A forum added this article to our forum. As I was reading the article, Amazon arrived with a new book from one of the internet gurus.


But what is the point of all of this maximized, optimal, highly efficient, connected, charismatic effectiveness? If Ferriss himself is any indication, it’s to be a cipher that stands for nothing beyond success itself, a brand that touts its best-seller status like a street barker, that boosts itself on the shoulders of other such brands, that throws a never-ending party for itself. Like his guru ilk, Ferriss manages to be invisible, efficient, and enviable, without daring to be honorable or righteous or admirable. He is, in other words, the ultimate American hero, the Greatest of Gatsbys, an evanescent tech-bro heartthrob, an emperor with no face. If his bibles for better living could be reduced to a single phrase, it would be: “Become less human.”

This goes back to the core religion of the guru, of course: More than anything else, the modern guru denies the existence of external obstacles. Racism, systemic bias, income inequality—to acknowledge these would be to deny the power of the self. They are sidestepped in favor of handy modern conveniences, or the importance of casting off draining relationships, or the constant quest to say no to the countless opportunities rolling your way. What an indulgence it must be, to have your greatest obstacles be “sugar” or “anger” or “toxins.”

In many ways, the artist might be seen as the polar opposite of the guru. The artist (or at least some imaginary ideal of the artist) leans into reality—the dirt and grime of survival, the sullen, grim folds of the psyche, the exquisite disappointments, the sour churn of rage, the smog of lust, the petty, uneven, disquieted moments that fall in between. The artist embraces ugliness and beauty with equal passion. The artist knows that this process is always, by its nature, inefficient. It is a slow effort without any promise of a concrete, external reward.

End quote

Boom. Short and to the point. This article has it right.


“The benefits of vigorous activity applied to men and women of all ages, and were independent of the total amount of time spent being active,” said lead author Klaus Gebel. “The results indicate that whether or not you are obese, and whether or not you have heart disease or diabetes, if you can manage some vigorous activity it could offer significant benefits for longevity.”

End quote

I will be taking my whole family up to the Polar Express this Saturday night, our annual tradition. I will also be doing a lot of writing and thinking this week, too.

Until next time, keep on lifting and learning.


What’s the difference between functional exercise and corrective exercise? Do you know? Stop right here for a sec and consider that. Can you give a confident answer?

The Sword in the Stone, Part 69


“Under the greenwood tree,” sang Maid Marian,
“Who loves to lie with me,
And tune his merry note
Unto the sweet bird’s throat.”

“Come hither, come hither, come hither,” hummed Robin.

“Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.”

They laughed happily and began again, singing lines alternately:

“Who doth ambition shun
And loves to lie in the sun,
Seeking the food he eats
And pleased with what he gets,”

then, both together:

“Come hither, come hither, come hither:
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.”

The song ended in laughter. Robin, who had been twisting his brown fingers in the silk-fine threads which fell about his face, gave them a shrewd tug and scrambled to his feet.

End quote

The best thing about this project for me, and from what I gather I may be the only audience, too, is that I dig deep into this material and discover so much more. I never knew…and I have read The Sword in the Stone countless times that this little song is actually from Shakespeare. Once again, T. H. White reflects his depth and breadth of literature here. Here is the original, from As You Like It, Act 2, Scene 5.



[sings] Under the greenwood tree
Who loves to lie with me
And turn his merry note
Unto the sweet bird’s throat,
Come hither, come hither, come hither.
Here shall he see
No enemy
But winter and rough weather.

End quote

Amiens contributes little to the story in As You Like It, but he sings two songs that push the story forward a bit.

Perhaps the most famous part of the play is the brilliant “All the world’s a stage” speech: Jaques to Duke Senior


All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

End quote

“They have their exits and their entrances,”  I think this is a beautiful line. Of course, the whole seven ages of life can be hard for me to read as I see my “mere oblivion” come closer to me each day. The great Northern Irish poet, W. R. Rogers, uses “exits and entrances” in a beautiful way in this poem:


And there was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre…

It is always the women who are the Watchers

And Keepers of life, they guard our exist

And our entrances. They are both tomb and womb,

End beginning. Bitterly they bring forth

And bitterly take back the light they gave.

The last to leave and still the first to come.

They circle us like sleep or like the grave.

Earth is their element, and in it lies

The seed and silence of the lighted skies,

The seasons with their fall and slow uprise,

Man with his sight and militant surmise.

It is always the women who are the Watchers

And Wakeners…

WR Rodgers, from Resurrection: an Easter Sequence

Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

End quote

Until next week… .


Sue Falsone and Gray Cook were able to catch up on the lecture circuit recently. We’re glad one of them thought it would be a good idea to hit record when they started talking.



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