Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 51

Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 51

From the OTP Content Files:
We hear about sitting being bad for us, and the initial response is surely “Well, duh!” But when your parent or client asks why, do you have a complete answer? And are you prepared to help a desk worker offset the problem?
Click here for a comprehensive review.

October is over. In my life, that is always a good thing. October is the month when nearly every event in my life that would be on the list of “Worst” happened. So, goodbye until next year and I hope your Halloween was splendid.

As you recover from the haze of candy, consider Rory O’Gallagher’s nice summary of intermittent fasting. I’ve been including a lot of IF in the Wandering Weights, as it’s easy to find articles on the subject. When I first came online, Atkins and his followers, “Atkids,” dominated the “web rings” of the times. Today, it is IF. It will be interesting to see if someone smart connects the dots between IF and Atkins, and gives us a revolutionary new program.

“Efficient adaptation to famine was important for survival during rough times in our evolution. Lowering metabolic rate during starvation allowed us to live longer, increasing the possibility that we might come across something to eat. Starvation literally means starvation. It doesn’t mean skipping a meal not eating for 24 hours. [Or,] not eating for three days even. The belief that meal skipping or short-term fasting causes “starvation mode” is so completely ridiculous and absurd that it makes me want to jump out the window. Looking at the numerous studies I’ve read, the earliest evidence for lowered metabolic rate in response to fasting occurred after 60 hours (-8% in resting metabolic rate). Other studies show metabolic rate is not impacted until 72–96 hours have passed (George Cahill has contributed a lot on this topic). Seemingly paradoxical, metabolic rate is actually increased in short-term fasting. For some concrete numbers, studies have shown an increase of 3.6% — 10% after 36–48 hours (Mansell PI, et al, and Zauner C, et al). This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. Epinephrine and norepinephrine (adrenaline/noradrenaline) sharpens the mind and makes us want to move around. Desirable traits that encouraged us to seek for food, or for the hunter to kill his prey, [which] increases survival. At some point, after several days of no eating, this benefit would confer no benefit to survival and probably would have done more harm than good; instead, an adaptation that favoured conservation of energy turned out to be advantageous. Thus metabolic rate is increased in short-term fasting (up to 60 hours).”

My good friend, Patrick Riedl, sent me this article to enjoy. Maybe you don’t like hobbits — I couldn’t stomach the recent overblown films, but I loved the books.

“Tolkien regrets that, over the centuries, fairytales have been downgraded until they are considered fit only for very young children. Most of all, he dislikes the story that moralises: ‘As a child I couldn’t stand Hans Andersen, and I can’t now.’

“He has written: ‘The age of childhood-sentiment has produced a dreadful undergrowth of stories adapted to what is conceived to be the measure of children’s minds and needs. The old stories are bowdlerised. The imitations are often merely silly or patronising or covertly sniggering with an eye on the other grown-ups present. …’

“He said to us: ‘Believable fairy-stories must be intensely practical. You must have a map, no matter how rough. Otherwise you wander all over the place. In The Lord of the Rings I never made anyone go farther than he could on a given day.'”

That last line just made me happy. It probably sums good coaching, good parenting and good teaching, too.

“How do we make goodness attractive?” Mister Rogers asks this question and the whole video will help you out if you haven’t had your cry today.

I never really had a “Mister Rogers” experience except that my nieces and nephew loved him. But, I do know that he was always on “the right side of history.” This is a wonderful moment. Take the ten seconds, by the way.

Shane sent me this via our OTP email. I welcome readers to find quality work like this! Outstanding material, plus you will find a logic that explains the role and practice of posture training.

“Unlike so many “postural exercises you see out there,” these moves will actually help improve your posture and provide assistance to you in getting bigger, stronger and more awesome, without the use of pink rubber-coated dumbbells. Together, we can make posture sexy again (I’m bringing posture back, the other boys don’t know how to act.)”

Although probably obvious to our readership, this article discusses the importance of deliberate practice. Years ago, I heard Jimmy Johnson discuss specific situations that you need to train a football team to ready for a game: Third and Long, Rushing Kicking Teams in, Sudden Change Defense and Situational Offense. The assistant coaches hated these, but this is what games came down to in the end. Brett N. Steenbarger clarifies this:

“How can we pursue our peak performance? The first step is making the transition from practice to training, from repeated experience to deliberate practice. Without drills, we never build skills–and we never cultivate the sisu needed to move beyond our limitations. You know you’ve found your performance niche when, over time, effort gives you energy.”

Ross Oberlin sent in this very nice hint about hand position in the pushup. I find this clue to be a real shoulder saver when I do horizontal pushing

Amy Dix also sent in this amazing article on aging athletes.

“As I spoke with fit pros, a common thread began to emerge: continue to train, because it’s more important than ever. Don’t be an idiot. Respect what your body needs. Along with these common themes, fitness after 40 should bring with it the wisdom to appreciate the bigger picture. We are less likely to be chasing six-packs. We’re much more likely to begin to appreciate what fitness can bring us in terms of longevity. As we see our parents age and our more sedentary peers begin to reveal the markers of time, getting and staying fit takes on a new urgency.”

In the past few weeks,I haven’t seen much on The Art of Manliness that I liked, but this is a solid article. Years ago, I was at a workshop with a Lakota who was also a priest. (I tried to find his name, but I couldn’t…I will keep looking.) He taught a very interesting thing: when disciplining your child in public, do it without bringing any attention to the event. He said that parents should have a code word for their child. Ours was spelling out “H-O-T” which meant my daughters were acting “hot,” a phrase that told them we were seeing behaviors that were inappropriate.

My daughter, Kelly, 25 years of age and a school administrator, still hates the phrase. So, much is to be learned from this tradition. In the article, we see praise for two meals a day, cold therapy and practical hormesis.

“The usual method of bathing in winter is to go into a sweat lodge for five or more minutes; then he jumps into a hole in the ice, which he has cut large enough to enter safely, and comes out in a few minutes. After a short run, he wraps himself in a buffalo robe with the hair inside and sleeps for a while. This makes him a new man. The Indian boy often rolls in the snow naked when fresh snow is on the ground.”

As long as we’re going old school, read this interesting counter to the Western Diet:

“It is here that both Fulkerson and Campbell appear to have forgotten one of the most basic techniques in science: always check the extreme cases; in this case, societies with meat-heavy diets like Mongolia.”

“The problem is that both men have conflated the consumption of animal-based foods with the consumption of processed foods. Admittedly highly correlated in America’s industrial food supply, but as every passing Statistics 101 student should know, “correlation does not imply causation“.”

So, maybe the web will be filled with Mongolian intermittent fasting articles soon. Also, how did I not know that there was a meat-based beer? I am disappointed with myself.

Until next time, save the meat beer for me.


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Publisher’s note: We hear about sitting being bad for us, and the initial response is surely “Well, duh!” But when your parent or client asks why, do you have a complete answer? And are you prepared to help a desk worker offset the problem?
Click here for a comprehensive review.

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