Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 324
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 324
Twenty days. 500 swings a day. Done.
My friends over at danjohnuniversity.com decided to do the 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge and I, somehow, got convinced to do it. I did it.
Oddly, people all over the world are doing it and most of what I read on social media looks nothing like the challenge. Doing 10,000 swings in a year (how would you possibly keep count?) is not the same as twenty days or four weeks. I also discovered that a number of Fitness Experts have cut and pasted my article and forgot to mention that I wrote it…and took full credit for it!!!
I also learned some Greek. I did the Myriad KB Swing Challenge
murias: ten thousand, a myriad
Original Word: μυριάς, άδος, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Phonetic Spelling: (moo-ree’-as)
Definition: ten thousand, a myriad
Usage: a myriad, group of ten thousand, a ten thousand.
Well, who knew? I guess a lot of people. As I finished the Myriad Kettlebell Swing Challenge, I realized how tough it would be to count to 10,000. My granddaughter, Josephine, noted the other night that she can count to 120. Add five, multiply by four, for twenty days and you have your myriad.
That’s the challenge.
This week on danjohnuniversity.com:
Here’s a link to Episode 77 of the podcast.
This is the last chance to enjoy our January special. You can use code NEWYEAR to receive 3 months of access for $29. If you haven’t signed up yet, now is a good time!
Dan and many others on the site are starting to finish the 10,000 Swing Challenge. I must say that having the community to do it with has made it so much easier. Dan filmed nearly all of his swings for the challenge only missing the times he took a picture instead of starting the video. :)
In the end, we have at least 10,000 on film, though, and you can watch all of them here.
The challenges on the site are ongoing and always have new people joining, so feel free to get started anytime you want.
Have a great week!
My friend, Pat Flynn, got a nice case of the flu, so we didn’t do the podcast. We caught up later in the week, but I don’t have that link yet. I did enjoy two podcasts with my friends, Joe and Mimi.
Podcast with Joe Di.
Mimi Chan and I talk The Sword in the Stone. This is an older show; the new one will be out soon.
I really read a lot this week and didn’t endlessly scroll on the internet. Oddly, I found some fun articles that took me down Memory Lane. I hope you enjoy these.
Here!!! The answer to the obesity epidemic. Narrow doors!
Later in his travels, he is taken to meet a Spanish princess, who inquires, “How did you leave the fat waddling monks of Alcobaça? I hope you did not run races with them.”
Perhaps such tattle is what convinced the brass that something must be done.
The remedy took the form of a porta pega-gordo (or “fat catcher door”), 6′ 6″ high, but only 12.5” wide.
Keep in mind that David Bowie, at his most slender, had a 26” waist.
Allegedly, each monk was required to pass through it from the refectory to the kitchen to fetch his own meal. Those who couldn’t squeeze through were out of luck.
Did they have to sit in the refectory with their faces to the walls, silently eating the sins of the people (respicite quia peccata populi comeditis) while their slimmer brethren filled their bellies, also silently, face-to-the-wall, as a reader read religious texts aloud from a pulpit?
History is a bit unclear on this point, though Beckford’s enthusiasm waned when he got to the refectory:
…a square of seventy or eighty feet, begloomed by dark-coloured painted windows, and disgraced by tables covered with not the cleanest or least unctuous linen in the world.
According to a German Wikipedia entry, the monks passed through the porta pega-gordo monthly, rather than daily, a more manageable mortification of the flesh for those with healthy appetites.
This is fun. Derek Sivers has been a huge influence on how I run my various businesses. I wrote him a thank you email and we have been talking ever since. This is something I really like: when he reads a book, he sums it on his site. This book, considered “MUST reading” by most people, is a fun review.
I miss the Highland Games, track meets and O lifting meets that I used to be able to schedule. Coming home, we always had a big party and Sunday was a great day. This article explains why I used to love weekends pre-Covid.
There’s another reason you might want to trade some of your couch time for more effortful pursuits, too: Doing so will make time appear to slow down, allowing you to relish your life more. As blog Science of Us recently reported, neuroscience shows that if you don’t want your days to pass in a blur of indistinguishable memory mush, “the key is to seek out newness.”
That applies both on the large scale (too much routine will make your life fly by) and also to shorter time periods, like the upcoming weekend. “If you really want to stretch every hour to its fullest potential, you’re going to have to make some plans. A weekend getaway, for example, will seem much longer than a weekend spent at home. A weekend spent at home, if you spend it exploring new neighborhoods or trying new restaurants, will seem longer than one where you hole up in your apartment with a book,” explains the post.
Keep one important caveat in mind, though: Exciting activities will de-stress and refresh you, as well as make time stretch out in retrospect, but when you’re actually engaged in them, the minutes will fly by.
My old boss, the late Archbishop George Niederauer, taught me to always X out my Wednesday afternoon calendar. Obviously, things came up, but I took his wise advice. Wednesdays were for professional reading (catching up on the journals, newsletters, and magazines that I was expected to keep up with as part of my career), simple brainstorming, and long-term planning…not putting out fires. This is where I came up with the Monthly Checklists, the Event Checklists and all the project work that later made my job so streamlined that the “work” of my job was finished basically on the first of each month within about an hour or two. I spent the rest of my time doing the important work of meeting with people and fixing things for the long-term.
This article reminds me of why Wednesday was such a good choice. Enjoy.
A Wednesday holiday interrupts the externally imposed pacer of work, and gives you a chance to rediscover your internal rhythms for a day. While a long weekend gives you a little more time on your own schedule, it doesn’t actually disrupt the week’s pacing power. A free Wednesday builds space on either side, and shifts the balance between your pace and work’s—in your favor.
There are many advantages to taking a Wednesday off: Empty beaches, parks, museums, and movie theaters, for example. But fun isn’t the only reason to take a day to re-calibrate your life so that your internal and external pacers are in better harmony. ”Chronic misalignment between our lifestyle and the rhythm dictated by our inner timekeeper is associated with increased risk for various diseases,” write Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young, the 2017 Nobel Prize winners for their work on body clocks.
This same logic explains why work-from-home-Wednesdays have been so successful for some businesses. It’s a practice that Ballard says has the potential to keep our inner and outer clocks in sync. “You start the week knowing, I only have two days on this rhythm and then I get back to mine, ” Ballard says, describing the shift in perspective that comes from a Wednesday off. “There’s a greater sense of calm and control.”
This is the organization method I learned from the amazing Lead the Field by Earl Nightingale. If you haven’t listened to it, it’s on Youtube now; it changed my life and I can’t recommend it enough. Not every organization tool will work for you. That’s a tough lesson when you buy a lot of self/professional improvement tools, like me, and expect them to work with the way you do things.
The MIT method is all about focusing on what’s essential. Rather than writing out a massive to do list and trying to get it all done, determine the 1-3 tasks that are absolutely essential and then relentlessly focus on those tasks during the day. It’s not that you never do more than three tasks in a day, but that you don’t do anything else until you’ve completed the three essential tasks.
The reality is, most days there are only a few essential things that must be done. Yes, there are a thousand voices clamoring for our attention, but most of those voices aren’t crucial. The notifications blowing up your phone and the emails filling your inbox can all wait. If you can complete the 1-3 essential tasks, everything else becomes secondary or even unnecessary.
Not a lot this week on sets and reps but I think, long term, these articles will be far more important for the quality of life. So, until next time, 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 178
“Still sighing?” asked Merlyn, who had turned up from somewhere. “As you were that day when we went to watch King Pellinore’s joust?”
“Oh, no,” said the Wart. “Or rather, oh yes, and for the same reason. But I don’t really mind. I am sure I shall make a better squire than old Kay would. Look at the saffron going into that frumenty. It just matches the fire-light on the hams in the chimney.”
“It is lovely,” said the magician. “Only fools want to be great.”
“Kay won’t tell me,” said the Wart, “what happens when you are made a knight. He says it is too sacred. What does happen?”
“Only a lot of fuss. You will have to undress him and put him into a bath hung with rich hangings, and then two experienced knights will turn up—probably Sir Ector will get hold of old Grummore and King Pellinore—and they will both sit on the edge of the bath and give him a long lecture about the ideals of chivalry such as they are. When they have done, they will pour some of the bath water over him and sign him with the cross, and then you will have to conduct him into a clean bed to get dry. Then you dress him up as a hermit and take him off to the chapel, and there he stays awake all night, watching his armour and saying prayers. People say it is lonely and terrible for him in this vigil, but it is not at all lonely really, because the vicar and the man who sees to the candles and an armed guard, and probably you as well, as his esquire, will have to sit up with him at the same time. In the morning you lead him off to bed to have a good sleep—as soon as he has confessed and heard mass and offered a candle with a piece of money stuck into it as near the lighted end as possible—and then, when all are rested, you dress him up again in his very best clothes for dinner. Before dinner you lead him into the hall, with his spurs and sword all ready, and King Pellinore puts on the first spur, and Sir Grummore puts on the second, and then Sir Ector girds on the sword and kisses him and smacks him on the shoulder and says, ‘Be thou a good knight’.”
“Is that all?”
“No. You go to the chapel again then, and Kay offers his sword to the vicar, and the vicar gives it back to him, and after that our good cook over there meets him at the door and claims his spurs as a reward, and says, ‘I shall keep these spurs for you, and if at any time you don’t behave as a true knight should do, why, I shall pop them in the soup.'”
“That is the end?”
“Yes, except for the dinner.”
Wart doesn’t seem too enthused about being a squire. We will next read what he really wants…knighthood. Merlyn, of course, living backward in time, knows that Wart will skip that step and become the king.
I never liked this line from Merlyn, although I appreciate it:
“Only fools want to be great.”
When I first read this as a kid, I wanted to be great. On my journey into sports and academics, I think I wanted to be great…it can be murky to look back through the dark mirror of memory.
I always found something stirring from this line from L. Frank Baum’s Land of Oz:
“That proves you are unusual,” returned the Scarecrow; “and I am convinced that the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones. For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.”
I’m certainly not discussing the worth of each and every human person, but as I look over my life, the “unusual ones” tend to be the people I enjoy at my meals. Choosing to train eight hours a day in the weightroom and throwing sector is not a normal life. One of my favorite professors labeled his files “Eye of Newt,” “Toe of Frog” and “Jabberwocky.”
And…he knew exactly where everything was in his file cabinet.
As a schoolteacher for almost four decades, I got exhausted by the use of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken. Trust me, I know the struggles of teenage independence both from personal and professional experience but, sadly, it can also be a cliché.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Sitting with a teenager discussing their vision of the less traveled road is always interesting. I had one student, whose grandparents and parents all graduated from the school I was teaching at and had also decided to go to the same university that the whole family attended, vehemently explained to me that they were trotting down the less traveled road.
And, maybe so.
I couldn’t follow my family into college. I am a first-generation college student. No one in my family ever threw the discus…or played American football.
I wanted to be great. Here is my great (ha!) life insight:
The Road to Greatness is a very well-traveled road. It’s long, but the road is clear and wide. There are not a lot of secrets; just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
DanWandering Weights is published each Wednesday by On Target Publications
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