Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 219

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 219

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I start traveling again this week and weekend. I’m going on a fairly long Pacific trip. The day I get back, I see my doctor again. He is very pleased with my progress.
For those of us who love American football, we don’t have many games left. Well, one. I like the college and high school game more, but the Super Bowl is a big deal here. Some years, we throw massive parties, but as of now, I don’t know where I am going to be that day.
Training is going well. The rain and snow lately have put a bit of a damper on my walking, but I always like the idea of NOT being able to do somethings during certain seasons. I figure that wanting to do something and not being able to do it builds up some enthusiasm for when the weather cooperates.
Like many of you, I find podcasts to be a good way to keep me walking and biking. I like books on tape (or whatever the cool kids call it now), but I feel like I miss some stuff on podcasts and still get the general point. With books, I don’t like to miss very much.
This has been a good few weeks for the internet. It’s nice to see some great materials popping up again online. This article is pretty simple, but it’s worth taking some time to review it.


42. Have no more than 3 items on your to-do list each day
When you shift your life from day-to-day reactivity to one of creation and purpose, your goals become a lot bigger. Consequently, your priority list becomes smaller. Instead of doing a million things poorly, the goal becomes to do a few things incredibly — or better yet, to do one thing better than anyone else in the world.
    “If you have more than three priorities, then you don’t have any.” — Jim Collins
So, instead of trying to do a million small things, what one or two things would make the biggest impact?
Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach, explains that there are two economies: The Economy of Hard Work and The Economy of Results.
Some people think hard work is the recipe. Although this is completely true, the effort is often misplaced. Most people focus on the process or work first, and the result second. Conversely, those who determine the outcomes their seeking first can better discern which strategy will be most effective. Sure, that strategy may be out of your comfort zone, but as Tim Grover has said in Relentless, “When you crave the end result, the hard work becomes irrelevant.”

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This might not be a big deal for a lot of you, but this article reminded me of taking philosophy courses in college. My professors were always mixed on Socrates and this article might give some hints as to why they may have disagreed.


Xenophon also wrote down his remembrances of a local philosopher named Socrates. Those who know Socrates mainly through the writings of Plato – Xenophon’s near-exact contemporary – will find Xenophon’s Socrates something of a surprise. Plato’s Socrates claims to know nothing, and flamboyantly refutes the knowledge claims of others. In the pages of Xenophon’s Memorabilia, however, Socrates actually answers philosophical questions, dispenses practical life advice, provides arguments proving the existence of benevolent gods, converses as if peer-to-peer with a courtesan, and even proposes a domestic economy scheme whereby indigent female relatives can become productive through the establishment of a textile business at home.

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Fasting is really making some noise in the popular media. This piece was solid.


In 2017, Longo was a co-author on the first human trial of whether fasting might reduce the risk factors for diseases like diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. The researchers randomized 100 people into one of two groups for three months: The first group ate anything they wanted, and the second fasted for five consecutive days each month. (By “fasted” here, I mean, they followed the fasting-mimicking diet.) After three months, the first group was crossed over into the fasting group, so the researchers could gather even more data on fasting.
The findings were clear: Fasting just five days per month improved people’s health outcomes. The group that fasted lost weight (about 7 pounds on average), lost some body fat, lowered their blood pressure, and decreased their IGF-1, a genetic marker for diseases such as cancer. (Their total cholesterol, blood glucose, and triglycerides didn’t budge.)
Now, here’s an important catch: The research was still pretty short-term, only looking at biomarkers in people during a few months. So it’s not clear what effects on disease risks longer-term fasting will have, even though the changes to biomarkers look promising.

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This is a nice little article that many of you probably “know,” but it is always good to remind yourself of these basics.


You are at your absolute physical peak in your mid-20s, with the fastest reaction times and highest VO2 max—the maximum rate at which the body can pump oxygen to muscles. After this peak, your VO2 max decreases by up to 1% each year and your reaction time slows each year. The good news is that regular physical activity can slow this decline. Building lean muscle mass and bone density at this age helps you retain them in later years.
Vary your training and keep it fun. Try tag rugby, rowing or boot camp.
If you are a regular exerciser, get advice from an exercise professional to build “periodization” into your training regime. This involves dividing your training regime into progressive cycles that manipulate different aspects of training—such as intensity, volume, and type of exercise—to optimize your performance and ensure you peak for a planned exercise event, such as a triathlon.

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Biome is being discussed as much as fasting. This article brings a balanced approached to this discussion.


As adherents of the paleo diet like to remind us, humans have long eaten meat. They stress that meat is a fabulous source of many nutrients, especially if the animals being eaten were raised without antibiotics and allowed to follow their normal way of eating. Vegetarians and vegans also admonish us, pointing out that people who eat a plant-based diet generally have lower rates of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. They also point out that plants possess what animals don’t—an astounding arsenal of cancer-fighting phytochemicals.
In other words, both of these countervailing dietary perspectives—paleo and plant-based—contain more than a germ of truth. So consider another perspective. Combining elements of each diet makes a lot of sense given what our colonic microbiota do with the meat, fats, and plants we eat.
Here’s how it might play out. Imagine the putrefaction byproducts from undigested meat and secondary bile acids soaking the cells lining the colon. DNA mutations occur and a few abnormal colon cells start regenerating and gain the upper hand, ignoring instructions from immune cells to self-destruct. But follow this scene with a tsunami of butyrate, and the colonic cells perk up. Renegade cells succumb to immune cells. Prodigious amounts of undigested complex carbohydrates from plant foods enter the colon, dislodge and mop up secondary bile acids, thereby reducing contact between these carcinogens and the colon lining. Normal cell growth and functions resume, maintaining the health of the cauldron and thereby the body at large.
This scenario is ingenious from both a health and an ecological perspective. The fiber fermenters have solutions for problems the protein putrefiers create. Plus, everyone in the cauldron gets fed—with either complex carbohydrates, or the castoffs of undigested proteins and leftover bile acids. So long as the byproducts of the fiber fermenters prevail, the colon serves as a medicine chest rather than a toxic dump.

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Well, it’s snowing hard and time to say goodbye for the week. Until next time, keep lifting and learning.

Train all out. Recuperate. Repeat . . . The word “periodization” gets thrown around a lot. This primer will give you a great understanding of when and where it worksand just how simple it can be when used correctly.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 75
Just before we move into this next chapter, a fine adventure, I spent some time in White’s later books in this series and I found this little discussion before a battle:

“You are an innocent fellow, Arthur,” he said. “And a good thing too, really.”
“Do you remember anything about the magic you had when you were small?”
“No. Did I have some magic? I can remember that I was interested in birds and beasts. Indeed, that is why I still keep my menagerie at the Tower. But I don’t remember about magic.”
“People don’t remember,” said Merlyn. “I suppose you wouldn’t remember about the parables I used to tell you, when I was trying to explain things?”
“Of course I do. There was one about some Rabbi or other which you told me when I wanted to take Kay somewhere. I never could understand why the cow died.”
(The Witch in the Wood; later the title was changed to The Queen of Air and Darkness)
Thankfully, White addresses this again in The Book of Merlyn when Arthur realizes that his transformations were not dreams, but real memories. As the books move on, Merlyn leaves (he tells Arthur that he is trapped by a woman, but the story is slightly different In The Book of Merlyn and the stories become, almost by the page, less magical.
So, as we embark on this adventure to meet the “People of Peace,” we have to know that this is real, not a dream. Or whatever.
“Then we must go there.”

Chapter XI
Robin smiled at the elder boy and patted him on the back, while the Wart thought despairingly about his dog. Then the outlaw cleared his throat and began to speak again.
“You are right about going there,” he said, “but I ought to tell you the unpleasant part. Nobody can get into the Castle Chariot, except a boy or girl.”
“Do you mean you can’t get in?”
“You could get in.”
“I suppose,” explained the Wart, when he had thought this over, “it is like the thing about unicorns.”
“Right. A unicorn is a magic animal, and only a maiden can catch it. Fairies are magic too, and only innocent people can enter their castles. That is why they take away people’s children out of cradles.”
Kay and Wart sat in silence for a moment. Then Kay said: “Well, I am game. It is my adventure after all.”
The Wart said: “I want to go too. I am fond of Cavall.”
Robin looked at Marian.
“Very well,” he said. “We won’t make a fuss about it, but we will talk about plans. I think it is good of you two to go, without really knowing what you are in for, but it will not be so bad as you think.”
“We shall come with you,” said Marian. “Our band will come with you to the castle. You will only have to do the going-in part at the end.”
“Yes, and the band will probably be attacked by that griffin of hers afterwards.”
“Is there a griffin?”
“Indeed there is. The Castle Chariot is guarded by a fierce one, like a watch dog. We shall have to get past it on the way there, or it will give the alarm and you won’t be able to get in. It will be a terrific stalk.”
“We shall have to wait till night.”
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This is going to be fun. Wart and Kay are facing some real difficulty here…they may be over their heads.

Until next time!


Once simple, hard training fails to produce results, we have to take a broader view. We now have to vary the output over the course of the week, and then over the course of the month.

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