Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 227

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 227

Forthcoming from OTPbooks.com: Dan’s new book, 40 Years with a Whistle — we’re waiting on a cover photo and working on the audiobook. Things are very close and we’ll get you a preorder link by the end of the month.

Our St. Patrick’s Day “Social Social” went better than planned. We had about twenty people show up to help us fill backpacks for a local charity and readers of WW supported us with both materials and “showing up.” So, thank you.
I finally took a rest and got sick. That’s the way it tends to work for me; as long as I go-go-go, I am fine.
I take some time off to R and R and my lungs invite some colony creatures over for dinner and dancing. I’m sure there is a lesson there. Last week, I felt an odd thing in my upper back and Tiff sent me straight away to the doctor. I had an infected cyst…and the local crud that is floating through the valley this week. If you ever watch “Doctor Pimple Popper,” what they don’t share is the smell. ‘Nuff said.
But, the weather is slowly turning and I can smell spring. Sadly, in Utah, spring means “more snow” and we are getting storms weekly (at least). But, after I shovel, I turn around and the snow is already melting. It’s that year!
Oddly, my training is going well. Somehow, snow and sickness make me enjoy the gym. As I type this, it is the three-month “anniversary” of my total hip replacement and my progress has been great. Maybe in a few weeks, I can take my first stabs at throwing, biking and living again.
I found a lot of interesting things on the net this week. This article raised some interesting questions and, overall, I think it is worth reading.


For the study, Curry’s group studied ethnographic accounts of ethics from 60 societies, across over 600 sources. The universal rules of morality are:
    Help your family
    Help your group
    Return favors
    Be brave
    Defer to superiors
    Divide resources fairly
    Respect others’ property
The authors reviewed seven “well-established” types of cooperation to test the idea that morality evolved to promote cooperation, including family values, or why we allocate resources to family; group loyalty, or why we form groups, conform to local norms, and promote unity and solidarity; social exchange or reciprocity, or why we trust others, return favors, seek revenge, express gratitude, feel guilt, and make up after fights; resolving conflicts through contests which entail “hawkish displays of dominance” such as bravery or “dovish displays of submission,” such as humility or deference; fairness, or how to divide disputed resources equally or compromise; and property rights, that is, not stealing.

End quote
Mike Rosenberg sent in this fine article on food…especially sugar. I’m not sure obesity is a war we can win.


But let’s put sugar’s addictive potential aside for a moment. How much sugar is safe to eat?
Though the American Heart Association is not always known to give the best dietary advice due to conflicts of interest — don’t worry, we’ll get to them later — their sugar limits are a good place to start.
The AHA recommends that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons of added sugar per day, and women consume no more than 6 teaspoons. For children, the range is 3–6 teaspoons depending on their size.
Let’s put that in perspective. A 12-ounce can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar, which is equivalent to 9.75 teaspoons. So if you have a standard-sized soda, you’re already over your daily allotment. Don’t even think about that Big Gulp.
    Sugar is listed on nutrition labels as grams, but seriously who can visualize that?! To convert grams to teaspoons, simply divide by four.
And remember, sugar is added to 74 percent of processed foods, even products marketed as healthy.
For instance, Tazo’s organic chai latte contains 6 teaspoons of added sugar. Perhaps you’d like to enjoy it with a serving of Chobani strawberry greek yogurt, which has 4.5 teaspoons of its own. It may sound like a healthy snack, but you’d already be well over your daily limit. Sugar sure adds up fast, no?
In middle school, I used to trade my Oreos for a friend’s LUNA bar — not for health reasons per se, but I thought the protein bars were healthy enough that they became my lunch staple for the next five years. It turns out that LUNA bars contain the same amount of sugar as three Oreos. I should have just kept the cookies.
Perhaps the most surprising fact: 12 ounces of orange juice is equivalent to over 8 teaspoons of added sugar even though all of the sugar is natural. Why? Juice lacks the essential fiber that eases sugar’s bombardment of the liver.
Food manufacturers excel at disguising sugar in their products. There are at least 61 names for sugar, from rice malt to dextrose to dehydrated cane juice. Why go to all this trouble? Because ingredients lists are sorted by weight. Even if consumers don’t understand how sugar affects their biochemistry, they might become wary if sugar is the first ingredient.
To add to the confusion, manufacturers were not required to list added sugars or their percent daily value on nutrition labels in America until this year. The sugar industry naturally wasn’t thrilled with the decision, claiming it was based on “inadequate scientific evidence.” Many products still do not feature the updated labels, and it’s no mystery why companies are stalling.
When we combine misleading packaging with sugar’s addictive potential — and its ubiquity in food products — it’s no wonder that the average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons of sugar per day, nearly 300 percent more than we should.

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I sent this article into Rob King a while ago and it is finally published. I think there are some important points here.


When I first began coaching in 1979, I was lucky to work with track athletes, both male and female. I quickly learned on big lesson:
The weightrooms of the 1970s were not designed for women. The benches for bench pressing were too high and we had to put boxes or plates so our female athletes could lift with their feet flat on something. The barbells and dumbbells didn’t have appropriate jumps in load and it wasn’t unusual to have to rig a device to apply progression. Most of the equipment simply didn’t fit.
Forty years later, much of this is a Ghost of Lifting Past: we have Olympic barbells with thinner grips and a host of equipment choices that fit more body types. The weightrooms are also now brightly lit and rarely smell like stale water and mold.
In terms of our training, most gyms have moved beyond the power bodybuilding training of my first experiences with simple “5 x 5” programs and basic raw barbell movements. Now, we have balls, bands, chains and a host of other items that can increase intensity with almost no joint issues.
As more and more people accept weightlifting, those of us who coach and train have had to adapt to the changing clientele, climate and culture. For me, moving from coaching athletes to training everybody else has been a joyful journey of discovering my ineptitude.

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This interview came up on my feed and I was amazed to see it was from 2010. That seems like yesterday to me.


Dan: The problem with many folks only concerned with general fitness is that they don’t face consequences for failing to hit their goals. If the average guy or gal outlines a few six-week goals with their trainer and they don’t get there, oh well, too bad. Nothing happens.
But in the athletic performance field we’re constantly being judged, and if we fail to rise to the challenge, it can be devastating. If I’m coaching a shot-putter for a meet in six weeks, if he’s not ready and he’s a high school senior, it’s over. He’ll never be a senior again. Even if he repeats due to academics, he’s ineligible, so it’s still over.
So one of the things you can learn from us in athletics is this concept of timeliness. We have cut off dates that we’re forced to adhere to, and those are crucial to success. You know those people who say they need to look great for a cruise or anniversary or wedding date? Well, you can’t keep pushing back a wedding day because you love chocolate. Really, that’s a huge gift!
A big problem that a lot of general fitness trainees have is that they’re like grass. Now, grass is wonderful; it bends and sways and never breaks. It can survive a tornado very well.
The oak tree on the other hand, doesn’t do so well, because it looks at a tornado and says, ‘Bring it!’ Sometimes the oak tree survives and sometimes the tornado breaks it in half. Athletes are like oak trees. They don’t bend. They either rise to the occasion or they break.
I think the personal trainers out there can learn a lot from athletes in this regard. Having a deadline that can’t be pushed back is such a powerful motivator.
I personally love those program like “14 Days to Titanic Triceps” and “21 Days to Jaw Dropping Pecs.” What I like about them is that there’s a line in the sand. Whether the program works or not is a different story, but at least the deadline is there so you’re becoming timely. That, first and foremost, is what the average trainee can learn from the athletes.

End quote
Ideally, next week I will be back and better than ever. As I cough up a lung, I wish you a wonderful week and, until next week, keep on lifting and learning.

With so many exercises available, you likely have a strategy for developing your clients’ hip mobility. But how do you maintain it? Here’s Evan Osar on developing and maintaining hip mobility.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 83

The boys stood there in wonder and nausea, before just such a stronghold. It rose from its lake of milk in a mystic light of its own—in a greasy, buttery glow. It was the fairy aspect of Castle Chariot, which the Oldest Ones—sensing the hidden knife blades after all—had thought would be tempting to the children. It was to tempt them to eat.
The place smelt like a grocer’s, a butcher’s, a dairy and a fishmonger’s, rolled into one. It was horrible beyond belief—sweet, sickly and pungent—so that they did not feel the least wish to swallow a particle of it. The real temptation was, to run away.
However, there were prisoners to rescue.
They plodded over the filthy drawbridge—a butter one, with cow hairs still in it—sinking to their ankles. They shuddered at the tripe and the chitterlings. They pointed their iron knives at the soldiers made of soft, sweet, smooth cheese, and the latter shrank away.
In the end they came to the inner chamber, where Morgan le Fay herself lay stretched upon her bed of glorious lard.
She was a fat, dowdy, middle-aged woman with black hair and a slight moustache, but she was made of human flesh. When she saw the knives, she kept her eyes shut—as if she were in a trance. Perhaps, when she was outside this very strange castle, or when she was not doing that kind of magic to tempt the appetite, she was able to assume more beautiful forms.
The prisoners were tied to pillars of marvellous pork.
“I am sorry if this iron is hurting you,” said Kay, “but we have come to rescue our friends.”
Queen Morgan shuddered.
“Will you tell your cheesy men to undo them?”
She would not.
“It is magic,” said the Wart. “Do you think we ought to go up and kiss her, or something frightful like that?”
“Perhaps if we went and touched her with the iron?”

End quote
This is the kind of scene I wished they used in the movies. The attempt to “seduce” with lard and butter with cow hairs is just so wrong, but the imagery here is amazing.
This line: “She was a fat, dowdy, middle-aged woman with black hair and a slight moustache” really undoes the standard clichés of this kind of story. Almost universally, our enchantresses are beauties…sinister beauties, but always attractive and appealing.
White does a marvelous job of dismissing that image almost immediately. The prisoners are all friends of Wart and Kay (and Robin) and we will have good news soon. Wart’s idea to kiss her and Kay’s counter to “touch her with the iron” might sum up these two boys visions of the romantic adventure.


Greg Dea: Feedback and Cueing – Reliable Strategies, in which Greg details his favorite visual, verbal and tactile cues, including examples of scientifically reliable and valid feedback strategies.


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