Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 50

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 50

From the OTP Content Files: Each time a body comes in contact with another surface, it encounters impact forces. These forces have an influence on movement efficiency, injury risk, gait and limb health. In this detailed article, you’ll learn the basics of what you need to know to manage impact.

My friend Chris Long turned 60 and we celebrated his birthday, of course. At the party were a lot of coaches and after almost every conversation I realized I might never be able to coach high school again. Over and over, I heard about how the parents have just become worse: more overbearing, more demanding and even more unreal about their child’s abilities. Or, lack of abilities. This article does a nice job looking at some of the issues.

“When that dream/delusion is squashed after meeting the reality of genetics, talent, and/or interest, it’s hard to reconcile. For the parents, that is. The thing is that many kids know what they’re good at, and what they’re not good at. When it comes to football, for instance, most of the middle-schoolers or freshman already know the one or two kids who are good enough to play on the varsity team. And be the ones likely to catch the eye of a college recruiter. Their parents do not. The rest play because they enjoy it, need the discipline, want to belong to a team, have dreamed of it since they were 5 or 6, are trying to make their parents happy, need a varsity sport on their college application, or some combination thereof.”

I understand the dreams of parents. But the kids live in the day to day reality of genetics, talent and interest. Frankly, in my experience many kids simply don’t want what their parents are hoping for about their futures.

I’m not sure how this relates to my typical day, but we all know that some people in the fitness industry only allow certain kinds of photos to be taken. One famous name demands that the others in the picture are either seated or doing an incline bench press.  Maybe we can learn some things from Disneyland and make us all look taller and leaner.

“Most Disneyland fans know that Main Street, U.S.A. was built using forced perspective. For example, the taller the building gets, the smaller the bricks actually are. Not only did it help with controlling the sizes of the buildings, but it makes Sleeping Beauty’s Castle look a lot bigger than it actually is. But, Main Street, U.S.A. is not the only place this Disney forced perspective is in place. If you have ever taken a trip around the castle, chances are you’ve been to visit Snow White’s Grotto. The statues of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves were a generous gift from an anonymous donor. However, there was one problem with them: Snow White is the same size as all the dwarves! The grotto was built using that same forced perspective so Snow White seems taller and many guests are none the wiser! This trick was so popular, that Tokyo Disneyland demanded the exact same grotto: dwarfed Snow White and all!”

Craig Marker has been on a roll over at BreakingMuscle. It’s so hard to find information at that site, but his article is worth your time.

“In these last two articles, we discussed panic and overthinking that occurs when people ‘choke’ in athletic competitions. Although the suggestions for getting past each type are slightly varied, there is a general theme. That theme is to build greater resiliency in training so competition seems easier than training. I like to think of this idea in terms of what Nassim Nicholas Taleb called ‘Antifragility.’”

“Antifragility is the opposite of fragility. We can think about fragility, resilience, and antifragility on a spectrum:

“Fragility is when we break under pressure.
“Resilience is when we survive under pressure.
“Antifragility is when we thrive under pressure.”

Taleb’s Antifragility concept has become a cliché in the fitness business, but Craig gets it right here.  I look back on my career and look at when I “choked,” as I was told by loving  family members at the time, and realize there was a story in each and every bad performance.

Sadly, sports results don’t care about the realities of life, training and injuries. Being a track athlete, one is always expend to exceed the personal best, even in situations where you had just broken your PR two days before THIS event.

So, one of the things the book Antifragile taught me was the idea that these bad days—these bad performances—lead to a bigger engine in the future. We WANT to fail, but survive, building up to something truly big.

Oddly, as the decades pass, I begin to realize how truly unimportant some of those times I “choked” in the past really were…but how the lessons made me so much better in dealing with life and all that goes with it.

For more clarity on the topic of stress and recovery, I don’t think you can do better than this. This site is a gem and worthy of your time floating around it.

“But in reality, hormesis should be thought of as a binary process of alternating stress and recovery.”

“Lifting weight builds muscles because it induces “catabolic” microtrauma to the muscles; it is the rest between workouts, in combination with adequate diet, that leads to the “anabolic” rebuilding of the muscle.  Both stress and recovery are necessary.  For the same reasons, weight loss through insulin lowering should be balanced with sufficient periodic insulin raising to maintain lean body mass, and maintain the healthy function of the insulin producing system, including the pancreatic secretory islets and the insulin receptors in the brain and muscle tissues.  One risk of an unremitting “insulin sparing” diet, such as a very low carbohydrate diet without periodic insulinogenesis is the induction of a state of physiological insulin resistance. This is indeed a paradoxical outcome of a diet which many pursue in order to improve their insulin sensitivity!”

To apply lifting, this article was pretty good. Brian Oldfield posted that this 10 x 3 is how he trained in 1972. I have most of his programs, and you can read them in the old Get Up archives. 

“Now that you know why 10 x 3 training works, try it. Pick a compound exercise for a body part that’s lagging (like barbell squats for the quads) and perform the 10 x 3 method at least once each week. The other parts of your workout should consist of significantly different parameters in order to keep the nervous system as fresh as possible (like 3 x 10 or 5 x 5). Then give it a month. Seek training knowledge and the gains will follow.”

Following links on the site, I found this. 

Farmers Walk: “For fat loss: Bouts of 2 minutes with 1 minute of rest.”

What? Two minutes of FWs? I need to do this before I comment on it, but doing a lap around my block doing waiter/rack/suitcase carries is nearly unrepeatable. I need to try it, but this would be very hard.

So, it is probably right.

If you need a summary of goal setting, Goal setting 101, it is this Ted Talk. I really enjoyed the whole thing, but we get five great tools to measure here. “The Experiment of One” is something I try to pound on people all the time: “Please, try it and get back to me.” Bert Herring gives some great insights here.

How do you start your day? I wander aimlessly around the neighborhood asking for coffee, but others have better ideas. Tony Robbins takes a cold plunge, among other things.

“Robbins previously said that when he was in one of his several homes around the world, he would jump into a Jacuzzi after waking up before taking a dip in one of his cold plunge pools, personalized pools maintained at a temperature of a brisk 57 degrees Fahrenheit. But now he goes straight for the cold. He keeps himself submerged for a full minute. ‘I don’t do it because I’m a masochist—I do it because there is nothing that can change everything in your system like a radical change in temperature,’ he said.”

This is the article that lead me to Tony’s article. This is good for most of us, but 4:30 is awfully early.

“’Discipline starts every day when the first alarm clock goes off in the morning,’ he writes. ‘I say “first alarm clock” because I have three, as I was taught by one of the most feared and respected instructors in SEAL training: one electric, one battery powered, one windup. That way, there is no excuse for not getting out of bed, especially with all that rests on that decisive moment.’”

I tossed out a lot of ideas, some conflicting information, and some ideas to push forward this week. It does seem that some shock and awe does the body and mind good, and you should build in some tools to appreciate that reality/truth.

So, until next time, pop out of bed and take an ice plunge. Then get back to lifting, learning and living.


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From the OTP Content Files: Each time a body comes in contact with another surface, it encounters impact forces. These forces have an influence on movement efficiency, injury risk, gait and limb health. In this detailed article, you’ll learn the basics of what you need to know to manage impact.

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