Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 228

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 228

Forthcoming from OTPbooks.com: Dan’s new book, 40 Years with a Whistle, is at the printer! The ebook files are ready; Dan has recorded the audiobook and I’ve started the audio edit. I hope to have an order link for you right here next week — preorder for the print book due out at the end of April, with the digital files available for immediate access. Stay tuned. ~ Laree

I spent a few days last week down at Newport Beach. My friend, Jim Hooper, came by and we did kettlebells on the beach. I really miss this.
When I lived in Burlingame, 2010-2012, I kept a KB in my car. I had it in a seatbelt in the back seat so it wouldn’t flop around when I drove and I would often drive down to Pacifica and get in a workout and swim.
There is something magical about training on the beach. The sun, the barefeet in the sand, the cold water and the air all combine to make magic happen. I got in a lot of Bret Contreras’s Glute Loop work, a long mini-band walk and tons of presses.
Often when I train at the beach, people come up and talk and ask questions. Pressing a KB seems to make people want to share their stories, too. Ideally, I would love an Intentional Community workout a few times a week on the beach, but the flights would kill my budget.
And, I probably can’t carry on my bells.
I came home to snow. Of course. On paper, this is spring, but we always joke in Utah that spring and autumn are about six hours each. We wake up with the heater going and go to sleep with the AC cranking. Autumn is the opposite.
I was happy to see an email from Laree this week with the cover of my new book. As I type, we are starting to print. I finished the audible a week ago and, I have to admit this, it wasn’t all roses and honey. Some of the stuff I share in the book was difficult to read out loud. But, it is the story.
I found a lot of stuff on the internet this week that I swear I knew already…from fifty years ago. But, “everything old is new again.”
I keep relearning this over and over. Friends, the answer is fiber. I am trying to remember the question! This article reminds me of what I learned in 1971.


The second thing to know about fiber is that humans evolved to eat it — a lot of it. Long before we learned to cook, domesticate animals, and put McDonald’s on every corner, our evolutionary cousins — such as chimps and bonobos — followed frugivore diets, subsisting mainly on fiber-heavy fruits, roots, shoots, nuts, and seeds. There’s also ample evidence that early humans went to great lengths to eat fiber-rich carbohydrates, such as oats and acorns.
Today, studies of Tanzania’s Hadza people, one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer groups on the planet, are a useful model for understanding just how much fiber early humans probably ate. Tribe members consume 100 to 150 fiber grams per day — enough to fill some 50 bowls of Cheerios, and 10 times what Americans take in, as NPR reported. Their daily diet is rich in roughage — tubers, berries, baobab fruits — and the Hadza people don’t eat any ultra-processed foods.
Researchers who study the health effects of fiber, including Jens Walter at the University of Alberta, say the Hadza’s enthusiasm for roughage should remind us of how much the human diet has shifted away from fiber.
“It’s really just within the last 5,000 years, and definitely within the last 100 years, that we basically took all the fiber away,” he said. “The average amount of fiber consumed by now is a small fraction to what we evolved with.” (Caveat: There are human communities — like the Inuit in Greenland — who’ve adapted to survive on meat-heavy diets without many plants, but they’re outliers.)
This change isn’t just attributable to the advent of fiber-free processed and fast foods in advanced economies. More than 10,000 years ago, before agriculture and selective plant breeding, early fruits and vegetables were almost unrecognizable by today’s standards.
Generation after generation of farmers have since bred them to be bigger and tastier — in many cases increasing their sugar content and stripping them of fiber. Milling, meanwhile, cleared the whole-grain fractions out of our bread and bakery products, which were a major fiber source, Walter said. And meat replaced fibrous beans and lentils as the main source of protein in many parts of the world. Researchers are now documenting the health impacts of that change.

End quote
“Fiber” does more than make you poop. This article teaches that fiber makes us smarter. 


Other research has examined entire humans, not just their bugs. A paper published in the May 2015 issue of Psychopharmacology by the Oxford University neurobiologist Phil Burnet looked at whether a prebiotic—a group of carbohydrates that provide sustenance for gut bacteria—affected stress levels among a group of 45 healthy volunteers. Some subjects were fed 5.5 grams of a powdered carbohydrate known as galactooligosaccharide, or GOS, while others were given a placebo. Previous studies in mice by the same scientists had shown that this carb fostered growth of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria; the mice with more of these microbes also had increased levels of several neurotransmitters that affect anxiety, including one called brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
In this experiment, subjects who ingested GOS showed lower levels of a key stress hormone, cortisol, and in a test involving a series of words flashed quickly on a screen, the GOS group also focused more on positive information and less on negative. This test is often used to measure levels of anxiety and depression, since in these conditions anxious and depressed patients often focus inordinately on the threatening or negative stimuli. Burnet and his colleagues note that the results are similar to those seen when subjects take anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications.
Perhaps the most well-known human study was done by Mayer, the UCLA researcher. He recruited 25 subjects, all healthy women; for four weeks, 12 of them ate a cup of commercially available yogurt twice a day, while the rest didn’t. Yogurt is a probiotic, meaning it contains live bacteria, in this case strains of four species, bifidobacterium, streptococcus, lactococcus, and lactobacillus. Before and after the study, subjects were given brain scans to gauge their response to a series of images of facial expressions—happiness, sadness, anger, and so on.
To Mayer’s surprise, the results, which were published in 2013 in the journal Gastroenterology, showed significant differences between the two groups; the yogurt eaters reacted more calmly to the images than the control group. “The contrast was clear,” says Mayer. “This was not what we expected, that eating a yogurt twice a day for a few weeks would do something to your brain.” He thinks

End quote
This article is about Barry Ross’s insightful Easy Strength program. This section reminds me, especially, of what we often forget.


So, can I draw the conclusion that this approach to strength gain is the best way to help athletes achieve faster speeds?
No. Many factors could have come into play for this impressive success story. Maybe it had something to do with giving our test subject a variation in training from logging all the heavy winter mileage he had done in his previous two years. Maybe it was not having any strength training “bias” from some other strength gain protocol (which I thought was important for this test). Maybe it was the Hawthorne Effect—knowing that he was being filmed and closely observed throughout each day of training. Even the wind that test day might have influenced his performance.
Since that first experiment, I have used Ross’s program with all of my cross country and track athletes. As much as I like the gains that athletes have made over the years in terms of the weight they pulled from the beginning to the end of each season, as with the “Barry Project” itself, so many other variables could have accounted for the speed gains they experienced.
Though I’ve been satisfied that I may be doing something positive for all athletes in the program, I need to answer one overarching question: How does the amount of force produced via heavy strength training relate to the amount of force produced during high speed running?

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I thought A Star is Born was the best film of the year. When you watch what won, you rediscover why I hated Glee…all the edits. I love movies that understand stories; not rapid-fire cuts.
Here is a great video on editing.


He also turns to the words of editors with decades of experience in the game, including frequent Steven Spielberg collaborator Michael Kahn, frequent Martin Scorsese collaborator Thelma Schoonmaker, and even Murch himself. But ultimately, no matter how much wisdom about timing, emotions, tension, and rhythm you collect, you’ve got to sit down in the editing suite and go it alone. “If you watch anything over and over again,” Zhou says, “you eventually feel the moment when the shot wants you to cut.” If this seems like an overwhelming task, especially given hundreds of thousands of hours of footage an editor will work through in a career, do keep Kahn’s simple words in mind: “I see all that film up there — it doesn’t matter. I’m doing one piece at a time. One scene at a time. One cut at a time.”

End quote
Hitchcock simplifies everything in this interview about cutting…I love it.
I would like you to actually read this article. I won’t give away too much!


The previous night, the Seneca coach told him that his counterpart, a freshman who also stands 6-foot-8 and averaged more than 15 points per game, barely practices. “All the talent in the world, and he is not committed. C’mon man!” Stoddard said. “There is a huge gap between where I want to be and where he is, and it kills me that he doesn’t put in any effort.” Stoddard had only managed to play eight minutes in that game, an Algonquin loss, but in spite of the fatigue, the lingering cold, and his physical ailments, that seemingly throwaway comment ignited Stoddard. Though he missed his first three shots, the last being a right hook on a paint touch, his step had an inherent lightness; he didn’t look like someone who weighed more than 300 pounds.

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I really enjoyed this interview. I don’t know, day to day, if I like Gervais or hate him, but this is good.


Has Twitter been good for your comedy? It has. I can see a cross section of society a thousand times faster than I could’ve otherwise. I’ve got 13 million followers. That’s the world, really. I’ll tweet, “What’s a subject you should never joke about?” Some people fall for the trap and say something like, “Psoriasis.” Then I can come up with 10 minutes on that.
Sounds like a good 10 minutes. What’s something that you’ve researched online that was helpful in developing a joke that way? There’s loads of things. Onstage I’ll read out responses to “These are the things you should never joke about,” and whatever I say is quite funny because in your head you think of this one person being angry about the joke. People think someone joking about their issue is the worst thing in the world. I did a joke on “Fallon” about peanut allergies, and someone said I should never talk about food allergies. I joke about AIDS, famine, cancer, the Holocaust and you’re telling me I shouldn’t joke about allergies? The audience has got to be clever enough to know when I’m playing the idiot and saying the wrong thing for comic effect. That’s one of the things of comedy: laughing at the wrong thing because you know what the right thing is.

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The sun is shining and it is time for me to go train. Until next week, let’s all keep on lifting and learning.

While you’re waiting for Dan’s [fabulous] new book, click here and scroll for interesting stuff to read.

The Sword in the Stone, Part 84

“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?”
“You do it.”
“No, you.”
“We’ll go together.”
So they joined hands to approach the Queen. She began to writhe in her lard like a slug. She was in agony from the metal.
At last, and just before they reached her, there was a sloshing rumble or mumble—and the whole fairy appearance of Castle Chariot melted together in collapse, leaving the five humans and one dog standing together in the forest clearing—which still smelt faintly of dirty milk.
“Gor-blimey!” said Friar Tuck. “Gor blimey and coo! Dash my vig if I didn’t think we was done for!”
“Master!” said Dog Boy.
Cavall contented himself with barking wildly, biting their toes, lying on his back, trying to wag his tail in that position, and generally behaving like an idiot. Old Wat touched his forelock.
“Now then,” said Kay, “this is my adventure, and we must get home quick.”
End quote

And…that’s it.
I have decided, when appropriate, to retype the 1938 version of this story. Here, the boys walk up with iron…and, that’s it. Now, yes, there is a bit more in the next chapter, but the original is a dangerous fight with poisoned arrows and a lot of danger.
The best part of the story for me has always been the budding relationship of Old Wat and Dog Boy. Cavall will remain true to Arthur literally “forever,” if you read The Book of Merlyn. There isn’t a happy ending yet as we have to cover one more chapter of this story.
We did pass a griffin on the way here!
The 1938 version includes the cannibal anthropophagi with their waspy, poisoned arrows. It is a vicious fight and considered too frightening for the American audience. I would have loved to see White discuss the change; literally, from the start of the book (Wart’s quest for a tutor), we have had hints of the anthropophagi. Dog Boy and Wat have been part of the story since our first descriptions of the castle.
Here: Kay and Wart walk forward with iron and…the end. Now, I read a lot into this story, often way too much, but I can’t get a grip on this finish.
She melts. As White is writing this, The Wizard of Oz has not even been filmed, so “I’m melting” isn’t even a cultural reference yet.
And, this is just my opinion. We are not yet out of danger, of course.
Until next time.


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.


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