Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 277
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 277
Twice a week, Mike Warren Brown and I toss on weight vests, grab two light handweights and go off on a walk. When we get back, we run through three sets of complexes and then I go off to Epic Fitness to do my strength workout.
I noticed a funny thing last week: I have rediscovered my quads. Now, let’s get this straight, it’s not like 1979, where the only pants I could wear comfortably were overalls as my thighs rubbed together no matter what I did.
After dealing with a decade-plus of pain, being pain-free has allowed me to get back into the kind of training I like to do: lots of squats and hinges. And, my body figured out that we needed to get the glutes and quads “back on line.”
I popped on my training shorts yesterday to shovel snow…yes, I shovel in shorts as more of a joke than anything else, but maybe it raises my metabolism…and my quads were pushing the material to the extreme.
I talk about this at every workshop: if you are in pain, you are going to really have a barrier in your way to things like fat loss, hypertrophy and performance. Obviously, there are degrees of pain, but I couldn’t appreciate this simple, and obvious, insight for much of my career.
I have been reading up on pain, inflammation and all the rest the past few months. It gets more confusing as I study it. Doctor Gabe Mirkin, the person who came up with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation for injuries) has completely reversed himself on icing injuries. I certainly respect and understand the use of ice and cold in training the body, mind and soul, but I was amazed to read it might not be the best thing for injuries.
Now, I know: next week, I will read that ice is the key to injury rehab.
I think this is a key problem in my field. One week coffee kills you, the next week it’s the secret to aging. I have seen the same with wine, veggies, protein sources, squats, deadlifts and even running.
I can say this clearly: if you are in chronic pain and, hopefully, it is fixable, fix it. I put off my issues far too long due to vanity (Me? Me hurt?) and I regret missing out on so much of life.
If it’s fixable, fit it. Then shovel snow.
By the way, I discuss Complexes with Pat Flynn on our weekly podcast. I sure enjoy our weekly talks and I hope the audience learns as much as I do.
I have a workshop in Sweden coming up and quite a few others in Europe. Over the next few weeks, I will share the details with you.
In July, I will be back in England.
If you want a discount, here you go, from the people running the clinic:
“We’ve sorted you a personal discount code which you can send out to your network. They can use code DAN10 at checkout for 10% off the current listed price. The pre-sale rate elapses at the end of February, so be good to get this out into the ether before it expires.”
Someone tried to use the checkout code and told me it didn’t work, but IFBA convinced me that it is working.
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
Episode 28 is live! As always, you can listen on the site. We also post the podcast on YouTube if you’d rather watch it.
New essays posted in the member’s area this week:
Reflections on Two Weeks of Olympic Lifting Easy Strength
The Direction of the Industry
Warren Buffet and Strength Training
Excess is the Enemy of Nature: Report from the Field
In an effort to make the site even more valuable for you, Dan has been reaching out to his friends for pdfs we can add to the site. This week, we posted Lean Made Simple, which was a book Dan wrote with Slade Jones. We have even more stuff coming from Pat Flynn and Tim Anderson on the way as well. Come for the workouts. Stay for the knowledge.
Have a great week!
Let’s look around the internet this week. I found this article so simple, and true, I had to share it with you.
1. Do a full-body workout with weights 3 times a week
Strength training has several benefits. It protects bone health, muscle mass, keeps you lean, increases energy levels, and prevents injuries.
I’ve been lifting weights since I was 16. It’s the only habit on this list that I’ve been doing for that long. Like many people who lift weights, I started with split routines.
That means you work out different muscle during every session. With most routines, you’re training a specific muscle only one time per week. It turns out that muscles need more stress to become stronger.
Ideally, you want to train all your muscles, 3 times a week. That’s why I’ve been doing full body workouts. It’s simple, practical, and it works.
2. Set 3-4 daily priorities
This is one of the best productivity strategies there is. We all know that focus is what brings us results.
No focus? No results. So how do you focus? By limiting your options and tasks. Elimination is the key.
Be very clear about what you want to achieve every single day, week, and year.
Every day, work on 3-4 essential (and small) tasks that will bring you closer to your weekly and yearly goals.
3. Read 60 minutes a day
I get it, you’re too busy to read. Or maybe you just don’t like to read.
Well, you’re not getting off that easily.
Reading is essential for your cognition. But you already knew that. How about this? Reading will also turn you into a better thinker and writer.
“But I still don’t like to read.” Well, there are many things in life we don’t like, but we still do them. Instead of telling yourself you don’t like to read, learn to enjoy it by doing it every day.
And like magic, one day, you’ll love to read.
I think this article follows a path of wisdom that many of the best and brightest have embraced. I think this short selection sums an important point.
Here’s why: The long view of why I train is that I want to feel good, be physically capable of doing the things I love, and infrequently visit the hospital from now until I die at, fingers crossed, a very old age. Ripping a big-ass weight from the ground a bunch of times may improve my capacity, but is it making me feel good and stay “healthy”? That’s debatable.
Performance and health are not the same. “Performance is about pushing boundaries. Health is about staying within them,” says Trevor Kashey, an Ohio-based performance and nutrition coach. Like a Venn diagram, the benefits most people see from training for performance and/or health overlap. But the more you push performance, the further you get from health. “Where that exercising-yourself-into-pain-and-suffering threshold lies is totally individual and also determined by your training method of choice, because some training methods are inherently riskier,” Kashey says.
Consider studies that found you need only burn roughly 1,000 calories or run seven miles each week to significantly reduce your mortality risk. A large body of evidence suggests having a larger amount of muscle improves health and disease outcomes. “But adequate isn’t really about building muscle,” Kashey says. “It’s about loss prevention.” That’s something you can do by eating enough protein and hitting minimal activity requirements.
I felt bad reading this (attempt at humor). I think this article would help a lot of students as they embrace the classics.
As noted by literary scholar Monika Fludernik, medieval authors represented characters’ mental states mainly through their direct speech and gestures, which were used to convey intense emotions in a stereotypical way—lots of hand-wringing and tearing of hair, but few subtle gestures such as raised eyebrows or faint smiles flickering over lips. The direct reporting of emotion was fairly common, but mostly kept short and simple (“He was afraid”). Moreover, emotions were usually predictable reactions to external actions or events, revealing little about a character that was complex or surprising.
Elizabeth Hart, a specialist in early literature, writes that in medieval or classical texts, “people are constantly planning, remembering, loving, fearing, but they somehow manage to do this without the author drawing attention to these mental states.” This changed dramatically between 1500 and 1700, when it became common for characters to pause in the middle of the action, launching into monologues as they struggled with conflicting desires, contemplated the motives of others, or lost themselves in fantasy—as is familiar to anyone who’s studied the psychologically rich soliloquies of Shakespeare’s plays. Hart suggests that these innovations were spurred by the advent of print, and with it, an explosion in literacy across classes and genders. People could now read in private and at their own pace, re-reading and thinking about reading, deepening a new set of cognitive skills and an appetite for more complex and ambiguous texts.
I’ve always loathed snakes. This article doesn’t help me move the needle.
“The scariest part was when it tried to coil around my neck. That was the point at which I was fed up.” A second jolt of adrenaline surged through him. He pried the animal off and started to shove it into the sack. It was like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube as the reptile’s muscular mass writhed. He can’t say for sure how long the ordeal lasted—five minutes, maybe 10.
Unable to fit the sack of snake in his backpack, Sterrett performed a delicate balancing act by resting it on his handlebars. With blood still dripping from his forearm, he navigated his mountain bike down the rutted service road back toward his teammates. The sight of him overjoyed the Cold-Blooded Killers. They posed for pictures with the snake and reveled in Sterrett’s retelling of the dramatic encounter. “The power, the size, the beauty. It was a remarkable animal,” Sterrett says.
All told, Sterrett’s snake measured over 10 feet in length. It wasn’t a prizewinner. With two days left to go, this year’s Python Challenge has already yielded 102 snakes, including one reportedly 15 feet long. It’s not lost on anyone that, despite the animal’s elusiveness, roughly 500 fewer hunters have turned up more snakes than were captured during the first python hunt.
Sometimes I see an article and I don’t like it. I didn’t like this at all when I first read through it, but I came back to it after rereading this section. I feel a bit odd “liking” this section, but, for me, it has been true: The Biggest Wastes Of Time We Regret When We Get Older.
Relationships require maintenance, but there’s a difference between maintaining a good relationship and trying to force a bad one that doesn’t make much sense to begin with.
There’s a lot of emotion in romance and friendships, so sometimes it’s hard to tell when you should keep trying or you should just call it quits. Like a lot of people, I made some common bad decisions that wasted both my time and the time of the person I was with. For example:
There are good reasons for wanting to make a relationship work, but those aren’t good ones. They cloud your judgment, prolong your unhappiness and distract you from things that matter to you most. At the same time, it’s hard to say all bad relationships are a total waste of time, because you learn a lot about yourself from them. That’s a valid silver lining, but still, the sooner you learn those lessons, the better.
Similarly, not dealing with the emotional impact of a breakup is also a big waste of time. When a relationship ends, we usually go through the typical stages of grief associated with loss. It’s easy to get comfortable with denial and convince ourselves we don’t really care and we’re fine. In reality, ignoring the pain only prolongs it. Our work suffers; the rest of our relationships suffer.
That should be enough for this week. I hope you enjoy some of the articles as I think this is a good mix.
Until next week, 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.
The Sword in the Stone, Part 130
The Wart did not like to watch Master Twyti for a moment. The strange, leathery man stood up without saying anything and whipped the hounds off the corpse of the boar as he was accustomed to do. He put his horn to his lips and blew the four long notes of the mort without a quaver. But he was blowing the notes for a different reason, and he startled the Wart because he seemed to be crying.
The mort brought most of the stragglers up in due time. Hob was there already and Sir Ector came next, whacking the brambles aside with his boar-spear, puffing importantly and shouting, “Well done, Twyti. Splendid hunt, very. That’s the way to chase a beast of venery, I will say. What does he weigh?” The others dribbled in by batches, King Pellinore bounding along and crying out, “Tally-ho! Tally-ho! Tally-ho!” in ignorance that the hunt was done. When informed of this, he stopped and said “Tally-ho, what?” in a feeble voice, then relapsed into silence. Even the sergeant’s Indian file arrived in the end, still doubling with knees up, and were halted in the clearing while the sergeant explained to them with great satisfaction that if it had not been for him, all would have been lost. Merlyn appeared holding up his running shorts, having failed in his magic. Sir Grummore came stumping along with Kay, saying that it had been one of the finest points he had ever seen run, although he had not seen it, and then the butcher’s business of the “undoing” was proceeded with apace.
Over this there was a bit of excitement. King Pellinore, who had really been scarcely himself all day, made the fatal mistake of asking when the hounds were going to be given their quarry. Now, as everybody knows, a quarry is a reward of entrails, etc., which is given to the hounds on the hide of the dead beast (sur le quir), and, as everybody else knows, a slain boar is not skinned. It is disembowelled without the hide being taken off, and, since there can be no hide, there can be no quarry. We all know that the hounds are rewarded with a fouail, or mixture of bowels and bread cooked over a fire, and, of course, poor King Pellinore had used the wrong word.
So King Pellinore was bent over the dead beast amid loud huzzas, and the protesting monarch was given a hearty smack with a sword blade by Sir Ector. The King then said, “I think you are all a lot of beastly cads,” and wandered off mumbling into the forest.
I actually have some emotions rereading this again. The death of Beaumont and Twyti’s emotions have always just made me sad. I have had to “put to sleep” two dogs in my life, Paint and Lexie, and both events were tough days and weeks.
After Paint was dead, I drove up to the Pacifica Barbell Club. When I came in, Dick looked at my face and asked what was wrong. I told him.
He plopped on a bench. He began to talk about the day he had to do this with Reg, named after Reg Park. We both sat, sad shouldered, until Eric Seubert walked in. He asked what happened.
Dick looked up, his voice broke: “Danny had to put down Paint.” Eric sat down, too.
When my mom died, my brother Gary said: “It’s not fair. I’m not over Paint yet.”
So, forgive me if I find this part of the reading so moving.
T. H. White has been preparing us for this moment literally from the very first paragraph. Let’s review:
“On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it was Court Hand and Summulae Logicales, while the rest of the week it was the Organon, Repetition and Astrology. The governess was always getting muddled with her astrolabe, and when she got specially muddled she would take it out of the Wart by rapping his knuckles. She did not rap Kay’s knuckles, because when Kay grew older he would be Sir Kay, the master of the estate. The Wart was called the Wart because it more or less rhymed with Art, which was short for his real name. Kay had given him the nickname. Kay was not called anything but Kay, as he was too dignified to have a nickname and would have flown into a passion if anybody had tried to give him one. The governess had red hair and some mysterious wound from which she derived a lot of prestige by showing it to all the women of the castle, behind closed doors. It was believed to be where she sat down, and to have been caused by sitting on some armour at a picnic by mistake. Eventually she offered to show it to Sir Ector, who was Kay’s father, had hysterics and was sent away. They found out afterwards that she had been in a lunatic hospital for three years.
In the afternoons the programme was: Mondays and Fridays, tilting and horsemanship; Tuesdays, hawking; Wednesdays, fencing; Thursdays, archery; Saturdays, the theory of chivalry, with the proper measures to be blown on all occasions, terminology of the chase and hunting etiquette. If you did the wrong thing at the mort or the undoing, for instance, you were bent over the body of the dead beast and smacked with the flat side of a sword. This was called being bladed. It was horseplay, a sort of joke like being shaved when crossing the line. Kay was not bladed, although he often went wrong.”
Pellinore, of course, has been bladed: “If you did the wrong thing at the mort or the undoing, for instance, you were bent over the body of the dead beast and smacked with the flat side of a sword. This was called being bladed.”
Pellinore wanders away. Once again, oddly(!), Pellinore will reignite the story. I have noted his role before, but let’s review:
Wart’s “quest:” He finds Merlyn (After Meeting King Pellinore chasing the Beast Glatisant)
Fish (Perch) Transformation
Tilting Lesson (King Pellinore and Sir Grummore)
The “Middle of the Book:” Robin Wood and the Adventure with the Fairy People
Boar Hunt (King Pellinore finds the Beast Glatisant…again)
Galapas the Giant (King Pellinore is among the captured…all are saved by the Beast)
After this, spoiler alert, Wart pulls the sword from the stone.
Pellinore seems to connect the stories and I wish I could sit down with White and ask him about this. King Pellinore could easily be dropped out an abridged edition (horrors!), but I think the story would be missing something very important.
The Sword in the Stone is a marvelous tapestry. I think the golden thread that holds everything together is Pellinore. White seems to know this and sets us up again and again with the King’s entrances and exits. He is a different kind of hero.
We will soon see, and understand, his true loyalty.
DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications
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