Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 250

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 250

Life is good. I finally had a weekend of “fun” in Nashville and I am rebooted and ready to go again. My friend, EVZ, had a birthday and it was…wait for it…legendary. Nashville’s Broadway might be the winner of “Most Fun Street” in the world.
The music and food here are amazing. Certainly, when I return to Galway, Ireland, I may revisit my lists on “most fun.”
One of my RKC students, Leah, was in town, so we caught up and I met her family, too. That’s what I love about my career: friends from all over!!!
Leah was part of my group a week or so ago in Los Angles. I used my 30/30 for 30 protocol as a teaching unit and I think this might be the way for me to go in the future.
Thirty seconds is enough time for me to teach, fix and coach. It’s also enough time to transition. I will put this together into something logical and understandable soon.
For those interested, I have an HKC next month in St. Louis plus a “Dan John” workshop the next day: HKC516 | Dragon Door.  For the one-day workshop, go to this link. 
My Portland event is coming up, too.
I will also be teaming up with Ole and the gang at Strong4Life in Denmark in October.
During this week’s podcast with Pat, my daughter, Lindsay, got sick…so I had to run!!!! But we got a good discussion on “common sense” here: the key, I think, to the “best” thinking.

I’ve “doubled up” on my weekly Easy Strength review for you. Here, enjoy: Easy Strength and the “Experienced” Athlete
I break down people into two categories in my book, Can You Go?
Active Athletes (A2)
Everybody Else (E2)
Originally, though, the word “Aging” was used instead of “Active.” That bothered people. Here’s the deal: if you are over 22 and NOT a professional or at the highest level of your sport, you might never get there. It was tough to write, but there is some truth there. Juri Sedych, still the world record holder in the hammer throw, once told me at lunch that an “elite athlete continues to improve every year.”
I looked at my efforts and quietly sobbed to myself.
John Powell, the discus thrower, broke my heart even more. He noted that if you weren’t world class within three years of focusing on your sport, you probably would never get there.
That’s the best argument I have ever seen against early specialization!!!
“Peaking” Programs or Goal Achievement

I’m not a bad person, but I don’t believe that many athletes can peak nor do I think most people can achieve goals. It’s not that either is impossible, or even improbable; it’s simply that most people (and athletes) start off well then shuffle off into a million directions.
And, like I mentioned earlier, often the records fall while the athlete is hungover…or something else has gone wrong. My best throw during my sophomore year in college is when I arrived late, had to change clothes behind some friendly fans and competed right after I slapped on my jersey.
My second throw was the best of my life (up until then). No warm-ups. No plan. Personal Record.
When I work with athletes, I feel it is my job as a strength coach to get them as strong as appropriate. Strength magically tends to make people better at things. As I often say, I am in my sixties, but I am still the “go to” friend when you need the sofa moved.
Training the sport, mastering the tactics and strategies, and getting stronger is probably the best way to “peak.” Sleep, digestion (actually “elimination” is more important on Game Day), and nutrition are going to play important roles…obviously!!! But what is far more important is NOT screwing it up.
Peaking, then, is often simply staying on the path. Often, the path has been walked so many times, it might seem boring and obvious. Stay on it anyway!
Let me share my “secrets” of both peak and achieving goals:
1.         First, realize that you are powerless NOT to do something stupid. So, accept that. Embrace it. Now, promise yourself the following: The Goal is to Keep the Goal the Goal. Anything you add to your plan that is NOT part of the goal is going to be the problem. Don’t do it.

2.         Pieces of paper are cheaper than surgeries. Write out your goals, a specific date to achieve them, and a general plan from what has worked in the past and what has worked for others. This is 99% of success in planning.

3.         Grab a calendar and make a few big red letter “X’s” on dates where you know things are coming up. Now, don’t be surprised when things come up. Next, take a yellow highlighter and highlight the days with “issues.” It could be something as simple as school finals or appointments for the dog.

4.         Steal other people’s paths. There is a ton of information available for anything you are attempting. Success leaves tracks: follow them.

5.         Assemble the tools, supplies and information needed for correctives. If you are going to use a foam roller in this program, get a foam roller. Allow about ten percent of your training time to restorative work, correctives, mobility, flexibility, sauna, hot tub or any kind of stuff that you think helps.

6.         If you are involved in a sport, 80% of your training time should be doing the activity. For most, ten percent of your time should be on developing strength, another ten on correctives (planned recovery), but the bulk should be on the specific activity.

7.         For most situations, the day before competition should be an 80% day (hard to define, but most people have a feel for that), but TWO days before should be 60%, perhaps just a warm-up. The “Two Day Lag Rule” has survived the test of time. If the event is really important completely rest three days before and perhaps four days before, if possible. Don’t try to stuff weeks, months or years of work in the last week.

8.         The airline industry was made safer because of checklists. Use this simple formula for success: make checklists and follow them. If you need them for your warmup or mobility work or whatever, make them. I am reminded of the football team that showed up to a game without footballs. I remember this because I was the head coach. Use your lists to free up space in your brain to focus on the work at hand.

9.         Evaluate any program or system every two weeks. Make small course corrections when you are still basically on target.

10.       Be sure (!!!) to plan something for the successful completion of the program, season or system. Look “after” the finish line, so to speak. Answer “Now what?” long before you come to that point.
End Easy Strength
This just in from Brian:

This week on DanJohnWorkouts.com: “We hear you…”
Many of you have sent in feedback about the site and we appreciate all of it. We’ve heard your requests for new features and I’m working hard to implement as many as I can. A few that are currently in the works:
A notes section on the workouts so you can keep track of weights, comments, etc.
Options for the Bus Bench programs to make them more personalized.
Assessments for the Park Bench programs based on Can You Go?
Making the workouts printable so you can take a paper copy to the gym with you.
I can’t guarantee when all these will be finished, but I’ll be showing up every day to make the site better.
New essays posted this week:
Coach Maughan’s Top Ten Life Lessons 3 Part Series
Forthteller, not a Fortuneteller
The Quadrants of Diet and Exercise
It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish

New downloads in the Member’s Area:
To Grad, From Dad
A Contrarian Approach to the Discus Throw

Be sure to check out the essay section every day you get your workout. I’ve been and will be continuing to add content most days.
Thank you for all the interest and support on the site. We are really excited to see where this goes. ~  Brian

Thank you, Brian!
I found a lot of interesting things on the internet this week and, of course, a lot of garbage! You might find some of the following worthy of a read.
I can’t believe that the following is still “true:” “The researchers relied on diet information that participants reported themselves, which can sometimes be inaccurate.” With all the money we (USA and others) spend on diet stuff, food, fast food, medicines and surgeries, why are we still using people who respond: “Yes, I eat Atkins along with my bread and morning cereal”? But I found this article to be worthy of reading.

The idea that fat may be not be our dietary villain is not new. Several meta-analyses of those papers—studies that examine the results of multiple studies to determine how strong their conclusions are—didn’t actually find an association between overall fat consumption and heart disease. But the PURE study adds persuasive evidence to the debate.
Of course, it still has its limitations. The researchers relied on diet information that participants reported themselves, which can sometimes be inaccurate. And while they tried to control for all known factors, there’s always the possibility that some unknown variable contributed to the mortality rate.
The second study focused on fruit, vegetable, and legume intake. As expected, consumption of produce did indeed reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease. But while the USDA recommends five servings per day, Anand and her colleagues found that the benefits (at least in terms of avoiding death from heart-related trouble) tapered off around three servings of fruits and vegetables per day. They also noted that raw vegetables seem to confer a stronger benefit than cooked.
It may be that some of the nutrients destroyed by the cooking process are key, Anand explains. Countries like India and China tend to cook most of the vegetables they eat, and don’t consume much fruit. So those regions might benefit from a recommendation to eat more of their produce raw.

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I’m a “systems” guy, as one has to be when coaching American football. Later, I discovered that having terms that tell people how to sit, stand, or kneel saved hours of wasted time (if you have been to my workshops, “LKD Single Side Birddogs,” should right a bell). In discus throwing, I can talk about your issues on the phone simply with “Stretch-1-2-3.” Here is a great way to look at it.


2. Why You Need Systems
Systems have different meanings to people. For example, Scott Adams, the author of How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, did a great job explaining how systems work for him. He doesn’t set goals and only has systems. That’s not how I look at it.
Once we set goals, we know that we have to put in the work to achieve them. That’s when systems come into play.
It comes down to this: What do I need to do EVERY DAY to achieve the goals I desire?
Let’s say you want to become financially independent by age 50. You might think:
    I need to save at least 30 percent of my income
    I need to increase my income yearly
    I need to be mentally strong so that I can do my job
    I need to be in good shape, so I don’t get ill and have high energy
    I need to learn every day, so I get better at my job
    I need to look at my goals every day to remind myself of where I’m going
    I need to reflect on the past to learn and be grateful for where I am
Alright, congratulations. You have created a system. When you do the above things, you will make progress, no matter what.
One thing we must be aware of is that we keep an open mind: Goals and systems change all the time. Don’t fixate on one thing for a long time. Change your goals and systems as your priorities change.

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This young author pulls together a lot of information here. Perhaps the writer is a rising star.


The great strength historians Jan Todd, Ph.D. and the late Terry Todd, Ph.D., along with Jason Shurley, Ph.D., have written extensively on DeLorme’s influence. The story goes somewhat like this: After being bedridden by illness as a young man, DeLorme was told by physicians that he should avoid strenuous activity for life. Instead, he read issues of Strength and Health in bed, became obsessed with weight training, and became determined to “prove the medicos wrong.” He later recalled, “Upon leaving my sick bed, I started a comeback campaign.”
Using homemade equipment made of scrounged scrap metal and old narrow-gauge train wheels, DeLorme got seriously strong, to the point that he would stage lifting demonstrations at halftime during Alabama Football games—earning him the nickname “The Bama Hercules.” But he also got seriously educated. He went to medical school and became an army physician during WWII. After the war ended, he began experimenting with weight training as a rehab technique for the vast population of injured soldiers coming back from battle.
In 1945, DeLorme’s work culminated in a paper, “Restoration of muscle power by heavy-resistance exercises,” published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.
In 300 cases, he found “splendid response in muscle hypertrophy and power, together with symptomatic relief,” by following his method of 7-10 sets of 10 reps for a total of 70-100 repetitions each workout. The weight would start off light for the first set, and then get progressively heavier until a 10RM load was achieved.
Sound like a lot of volume? He thought so, too. By 1948 and 1951, DeLorme and his co-author Arthur Watkins, M.D., noted, “Further experience has shown this figure to be too high and that in most cases a total of 20-30 repetitions is far more satisfactory. Fewer repetitions permit exercise with heavier muscle loads, thereby yielding greater and more rapid muscle hypertrophy.”
A series of articles and books followed where DeLorme and Watkins recommend 3 sets of 10 reps using a progressively heavier weight in the following manner:
    Set 1: 50 percent of 10-repetition maximum
    Set 2: 75 percent of 10-repetition maximum (Later, many started just doing 5 reps here, which I prefer, as well.)
    Set 3: 100 percent of 10-repetition maximum

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I have read the bulk of the books on this list and I was a little amazed by some of the choices. Skippy Dies is a modern epic and I loved the book. Fair warning: it might not be for everyone.


So, Skippy dies. On the floor of Ed’s Doughnut House, after writing his beloved’s name on the ground in raspberry filling, the lovelorn teenage boy breathes his last. And that’s just the beginning. What follows is a tragicomic mystery story told from about 20 different perspectives—Skippy’s teachers, parents, classmates, coaches, priests, and more—and covering everything from quantum physics and early-20th-century mysticism, to video games, celebrity infatuation, drug dealing, Irish folklore, and cartoon pornography.

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Rex Stout is really a fun crime author to read. If you follow up this article’s recommendation in youtube and watch the series from 2000, you will find a lot of fun little mysteries.

“I think the detective story is by far the best upholder of the democratic doctrine in literature. I mean, there couldn’t have been detective stories until there were democracies, because the very foundation of the detective story is the thesis that if you’re guilty, you’ll get it on the neck, and if you’re innocent, you can’t possibly be harmed. No matter who you are.”  —Rex Stout
“Maintaining integrity as a private detective is difficult, to preserve it for the hundred thousand words of a book would be impossible for me, as it has been for so many others. Nothing corrupts a man so deeply as writing a book; the myriad temptations are overwhelming.”  —Nero Wolfe, declining a publisher’s offer, The Mother Hunt
[A joint committee of authors and publishers have asked Wolfe to help squelch a plagiarism scam]
“[Writer] Philip Harvey cleared his throat. ‘In a plagiarism suit, it’s the author that gets stuck, not the publisher. In all book contracts, the author agrees to indemnify the publisher for any liabilities, losses, damages, expenses –‘
“[Publisher] Reuben Imhof cut in. ‘Now, wait a minute. What is agreed and what actually happens are two different things. Actually, in a majority of cases, the publisher suffers – ‘
“’The suffering publisher!’ Amy Wynn cried, her nose twitchy.
“Wolfe raised his voice. ‘If you please!….If the interests of author and publisher are in conflict, why a joint committee?’
“’Oh, they’re not always in conflict.’ Harvey was smiling, not apologetically. ‘The interests of slave and master often jibe.’” —Plot It Yourself (1959)

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Next week, I will be in Ohio and then I have some quiet weeks. Sorry, there will NOT be a Sword in the Stone update. I left my book at home and loaned out my travel copy. I promise a thick edition of my review next week.
And, until then, keep on lifting and learning.

For your quick access link, here’s Dan’s full OTP page, including all of his articles, books, lectures and videos, all in one place.

Wandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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