Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 323

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 323

I really don’t expect any rewards for doing much of the work I do. I have been trying to give back to the fitness community for a long time. If you read 40 Years with a Whistle, you might get a sense of how many people shaped my life and how much I owe to them.

Dick Notmeyer charged me twenty-five cents a week for three hours of Olympic lifting five days a week. That’s a fairly steep Cost-to-Benefit ratio. I’m not sure I have enough lifetimes to thank Dick enough for the positive changes in my life.

So, every so often, life does shock me with an expected reward. I got an email not long ago from someone who listened to me on a podcast. I noted that I live in Utah and our listener, Tucker, looked up my work as a fellow Utahn. He saw the cover of Never Let Go and noted that the view of the Wasatch Front (the mountain range) looked EXACTLY like the view from his house.

Tucker emailed me. He asked me: “Crazy question…do you live on Brister Drive?” I answered and said that I used to live there, yes. Tucker moved into a house a few years ago across the street from where I raised my girls.

I told him how quickly we had to move back in 2010 and asked him if there were still some odd stones in the front of my old house depicting the four seasons. He walked over and said “yes.” These were made by my daughters for a fund raiser (I bought them!) and it bothered me that we couldn’t find someplace to keep them.

He told me he would talk to the owner. Well, he did. Saturday, Tucker said that the owner was fine with me taking them back. Mike Rosenberg, one of my best friends and the person who deserves a lot of credit in helping me with loaded carries, and I drove over and brought the stones home.

My daughters were touched. My wife was happy. I can’t thank Tucker enough.

These are the kinds of rewards I find most satisfying with my career. My friend, Ian, hears me discuss something and he sends me some materials expanding upon it. I get odd little research from people keeping me up to date in a crazy number of fields.

I appreciate it all. It keeps me getting up in the morning and working. It keeps me going. Tucker saw the view out of his door on the cover a book and reached out. The book was Never Let Go and I will continue to use this motto for a long time.

This week on danjohnuniversity.com:

Here’s a link to Episode 76 of the podcast.

Our New Year’s special will be running throughout January. You can use code NEWYEAR to receive 3 months of access for $29.

The past week has left me a bit speechless. Please stay safe.

Have a great week!


I’ve been doing a lot of podcasts but I have not been getting the links. Pat and I continue to visit every week.

Pat and Dan discuss works in the fitness industry (including some of their own) they feel are underappreciated. Then, a listener question on what’s needed to retain muscle while losing fat, in which Dan John recommends a 3 year “coaxing” approach to losing body fat, instead of a 3 day “fight or flight” burst.

Bouncing around the internet this week, I found some interesting things. I know I beat this to death, but I have friends and family with diseases that might be cured, or at least aided, by some of this new information. If simply taking some more fermented foods or veggies can help, let’s at least keep studying this biome stuff.


As scientists learn more about how the gut-brain microbial network operates, Cryan thinks it could be hacked to treat psychiatric disorders. “These bacteria could eventually be used the way we now use Prozac or Valium,” he says. And because these microbes have eons of experience modifying our brains, they are likely to be more precise and subtle than current pharmacological approaches, which could mean fewer side effects. “I think these microbes will have a real effect on how we treat these disorders,” Cryan says. “This is a whole new way to modulate brain function.”

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As the father of two women, I constantly tell people “I raised wolves,” I really liked this article.

Real-life warrior women existed far beyond the Scythians and Sarmatians, however. “Many ancient cultures besides Greece told exhilarating stories of warrior women – such tales are found in Persia, Egypt, Rome, Caucasus, Central Asia, Mongolia, India, and China,” explains Mayor, who also runs a Facebook group, Amazons Ancient and Modern, for fellow scholars and enthusiasts. And history reveals countless examples of real-life female warriors, like Cynane, half-sister to Alexander the Great, who came from a tradition of warrior women and was taught the same military skills as the young Alexander. Pantea Arteshbod, a female Persian commander during the reign of Cyrus the Great, was integral to maintaining law and order after Cyrus’s Neo-Babylonian conquest. The Arab queen Zenobia, of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria, rebelled against Rome to conquer the eastern third of the Roman Empire. And Joan of Arc, the most famous warrior woman in European history, in turn inspired others across Europe: Spain’s Isabella of Castile’s granddaughter, Mary Tudor of England and a warrior in her own right, is said to have kept a chronicle of Joan’s life on her bookshelf.
    Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for a new type of woman who should, I believe, rule the world – William Moulton Marston

In ancient and modern literature and culture, the warrior woman figure appears in folk and fairy tales such as the Chinese folk story Mulan, and epic poems including Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, Arabic epic Delhemma and The Book of Kings, written by Persian poet Ferdowsi. And she regularly turns up in contemporary popular culture in various guises, including The Avengers’ Emma Peel, Xena: Warrior Princess, Lara Croft and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the US, the comic book character of Wonder Woman, inspired by the Amazonian warrior woman mythos, became America’s most iconic 20th-Century superheroine – and, arguably, its greatest fictional feminist icon.

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I just love this article. I will give you the most boring section of the article.


“Ireland on screen is coded in history, poetry, greenery [and] simplicity and that’s just part of the image our tourist industry relies on to sell tradition and nostalgia for the imagined old country, particularly to Irish-Americans,” says O’Brien, citing Ron Howard’s sweeping 1992 melodrama Far and Away, starring Tom Cruise as a tenant farmer, as another movie clearly designed to appeal to Irish-Americans’ genealogical fantasies. “It opens in the lush Irish countryside long ago but quickly goes where the title tells us it is going and becomes a story about the building of America. Ireland and the Irish serve only as backdrop – the place where these new Americans came from, but not where they are any more.” O’Brien wonders if there is a trade-off between the millions of euros foreign film productions bring to Ireland, and the tourism dollars that follow in their wake, and the ersatz depiction of Ireland they consolidate. “If we continue to sell an image of Ireland that applies only to sites and experiences designed to provide what is being sold, and take that money so we can live lives totally unlike the ones the tourists are buying, should we be racked with guilt? This isn’t a new question. We have always been happy enough to accept international investment at a cost to arguably outdated ideas of purity and authenticity.”

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This might be worth sharing with everyone you know.


You manage what you measure. My main goals were tracking what I ate and tracking my daily weight but I layered on tracking my daily steps and by setting it up as a “walk” on my Apple Watch it would count towards my 30-minute exercise target.
As I moved towards my “boomerang weight” and got closer to 200 it was clear to my wife that I had lost some weight so I started telling her that I was counting my steps and exercise so in a way I now held myself accountable for that measure and I had somebody else to tell whether I hit my daily walking targets so I could be externally accountable. I wasn’t ready to share that I was also tracking my food and weight- but I had my Noom group where I was held to account for that.

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Every parent I know needs to read this article…at least, in the United States: Roll Tide: The New Model – SimpliFaster


Since 2010, Alabama has sent 143 players to the NFL. That’s an average of 14.3 per year, meaning that on any given Alabama roster, there’s probably 57 future NFL players.

60% ran high school track. (The #1 best sport for building athleticism!)

50% played high school basketball. (The second-best sport for building athleticism!)

19 ran under 10.99 in the 100m.

18 long jumped over 20 feet.

10 threw the shot over 50 feet.

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That should keep you busy for a bit. I enjoy putting this together for you each week. And, 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 177

The years passed regularly and the Old English snow lay as it was expected to lie—sometimes with a Robin Redbreast in one corner of the picture, a church bell or lighted window in the other—and in the end it was nearly time for Kay’s initiation as a full-blown knight. Proportionately as the day became nearer, the two boys drifted apart—for Kay did not care to associate with the Wart any longer on the same terms, because he would need to be more dignified as a knight, and could not afford to have his squire on intimate terms with him. The Wart, who would have to be the squire, followed him about disconsolately as long as he was allowed to do so, and then went off full miserably to amuse himself alone, as best he might.

He went to the kitchen.

“Well, I am a Cinderella now,” he said to himself. “Even if I have had the best of it for some mysterious reason, up to the present time—in our education—now I must pay for my past pleasures and for seeing all those delightful dragons, witches, fishes, cameleopards, pismires, wild geese and such like, by being a second-rate squire and holding Kay’s extra spears for him, while he hoves by some well or other and jousts with all comers. Never mind, I have had a good time while it lasted, and it is not such bad fun being a Cinderella, when you can do it in a kitchen which has a fireplace big enough to roast an ox.”

And the Wart looked round the busy kitchen, which was coloured by the flames till it looked like hell, with sorrowful affection.

The education of any civilized gentleman in those days used to go through three stages, page, squire, knight, and at any rate the Wart had been through the first two of these. It was rather like being the son of a modern gentleman who has made his money out of trade, for your father started you on the bottom rung even then, in your education of manners. As a page, Wart had learned to lay the tables with three cloths and a carpet, and to bring meat from the kitchen, and to serve Sir Ector or his guests on bended knee, with one clean towel over his shoulder, one for each visitor, and one to wipe the basins. He had been taught all the noble arts of servility, and, from the earliest time that he could remember, there had lain pleasantly in the end of his nose the various scents of mint—used to freshen the water in the ewers—or of basil, camomile, fennel, hysop and lavender—which he had been taught to strew on the rushy floors—or of the angelica, saffron, aniseed, and tarragon, which were used to spice the savouries which he had to carry. So he was accustomed to the kitchen, quite apart from the fact that everybody who lived in the castle was a friend of his, who might be visited on any occasion.

Wart sat in the enormous firelight and looked about him with pleasure. He looked upon the long spits which he had often turned when he was smaller, sitting behind an old straw target soaked in water, so that he would not be roasted himself, and upon the ladles and spoons whose handles could be measured in yards, with which he had been accustomed to baste the meat. He watched with water in his mouth the arrangements for the evening meal—a boar’s head with a lemon in its jaws and split almond whiskers, which would be served with a fanfare of trumpets—a kind of pork pie with sour apple juice, peppered custard, and several birds’ legs, or spiced leaves sticking out of the top to show what was in it—and a most luscious-looking frumenty. He said to himself with a sigh, “It is not so bad being a servant after all.”

“Still sighing?” asked Merlyn, who had turned up from somewhere. “As you were that day when we went to watch King Pellinore’s joust?”

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In 1982, I taught a mini-course on Anglo-Saxon England. I often used the opportunity to teach a specialized course to force me to clarify my work. At the time, I had just finished presenting a paper on Beowulf to a convention and I wanted to work on knitting Beowulf and Arthur.

I didn’t utilize The Sword in the Stone as well as I should but I offered the text as part of the whole package. I offered the students an interesting assignment:

Simply, write up one of the transformations that we skipped over the six years that White sprinted past here in just a sentence. Here are some options:

“now I must pay for my past pleasures and for seeing all those delightful dragons, witches, fishes, cameleopards, pismires, wild geese.”

White, as we have discussed, did expand wild geese (and ants) in the Book of Merlyn. Once again, the geese and ants BELONG in the Book of Merlyn!

Not a single student took this task. It would have been an amazing thing to tag onto a college application, but we can discuss how people get into America’s select universities at some other time and place.

I still think this would be a delightful thing. I see all kinds of Sherlock and Harry Potter fan fiction. Wart fan fiction needs a place.

As we sigh away from this delightful meal, Wart and Arthur have a very important conversation.

DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications


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