Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 81

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 81

In case you missed it last week, have a look at Dan’s new audio & ebook of his lectures: A Lifelong Approach to Fitness!

Here in Utah, we have had so much rain, yet the forecast predicts summer this week. The temperatures will really leap up, so we will go from soggy to sunny in one day. To prep, I put up all my summer outdoor stuff in a rainstorm. It made sense at the time.

I am off to Sweden and England the next few weeks and this summer will largely be spent on the road. I am working on several projects and I hope I can keep ahead on things.

I had a strange week following the world of health and fitness online. Everything new is old again, but this first article continues a theme about how the American diet experiment took us in the wrong direction. Shockingly, it seems money was involved!

“Many of the studies are funded by the food industry, which has a clear bias. Kellogg funded a highly cited article that found that cereal for breakfast is associated with being thinner. The Quaker Oats Center of Excellence (part of PepsiCo) financed a trial that showed that eating oatmeal or frosted cornflakes reduces weight and cholesterol (if you eat it in a highly controlled setting each weekday for four weeks).

“Many studies focus on children and argue that kids who eat breakfast are also thinner, but this research suffers from the same flaws that the research in adults does.”

Ashley Palmer continues spreading wisdom with this nice blog here.

“Step 2: Plan a shopping list for your recipes, adding ingredients you will need for breakfasts and lunches as well. I also make a “fun” recipe on sunday nights that might be more involved (and yes, probably from pinterest) so I’ll add the ingredients I need for that as well.

“Keep that shopping list somewhere handy (like, on your computer so you can print it out every week, cross of items you still have, and hit the store)

“Step 3: Continue using the same plan week after week. When you’re ready to hit the grocery store, just print your list and go.”

We all lose sometimes. I hate it, but this article here was a brilliant look at the appropriate way to deal with loss.

“After my initial poor reaction of blaming and complaining about not getting a bid I took ownership.  We controlled our destiny.  We could have won our conference tournament (which is an automatic bid) or won more games along the way.  Simply put, we didn’t do enough; our fault, nobody else to blame.  Then, I reached out to our seniors who were very special to our program and my family.  I wanted to let them know that any success we have in the future will be due to the fact that we are standing on their shoulders.  Playing in a program isn’t a four-year deal; it is a lifetime relationship.  Next, I turned my attention to our returning players.  I wanted them, like I had decided to do, to take ownership for not achieving our goal.  Most importantly, I wanted them to understand that their thoughts and actions would determine our success.  For us to achieve our goals in 2017 what we decide to do over the next 12 months will be critical.  Luck, “getting a break,” or a committee will not affect the outcome; our attitude, work ethic, and commitment level absolutely will.  Finally, I began putting my summer schedule together for how I plan to improve in every phase of my life.  I have a lot of work to do; I need to get to work immediately.

“Basically, we all needed to understand that our RESPONSE would determine our fate.”

This post shows the power of social media, both positive and negative. I share it without response.

I thought this was a good explanation of a key movement in the hip hinge family.

“So I’ve talked about the benefits of eccentric training, I guess it’s time to tell you how to do it.

“The 2/1 variation is performed by lifting the bar like you would in a normal hip thrust, then lowering the weight with only one leg.

Still quoting:
Step 1: take your normal hip thrust stance and lift the weight to the top.
Step 2: Take one leg off the floor by flexing the hip. You will instantly feel the glutes on the supporting leg contract pretty hard.
Step 3: Control the weight with the supporting leg and focus on fighting the load from lowering.
Step 4: Lower really, really slowly.

“It will take a few reps to get comfortable with coordinating the change from two feet to one foot without losing your balance. But once you can, you’ll be able to overload the eccentric portion like a boss.”

I’ve never been good with easy day training. Taking a day off is “easier” for me, but this article has some nice insights on training.

“You’ve heard the saying: ‘No pain, no gain,’ or ‘Pain is weakness leaving the body.’ When you glorify pain and an aching body as part of fitness, you have a much harder time forgiving yourself for having a life and missing a gym session, or screwing up. And this tends to lead to more self-sabotaging behavior (binge-eating or falling off the fitness wagon completely).

“Worse, if you work out intensely every day (or something close to it) in some capacity, you run your body ragged.”

I’m always a big fan of intelligent financial advice. I like David Bach’s work and this point from a list article really resounded with me.

“However, before you start tackling college, make sure you’re setting aside enough for retirement, Bach emphasizes: ‘You shouldn’t even consider putting aside money for your kids’ college costs unless you are already putting at least 10% of your income into a pretax retirement account. Your security basket comes first. College funding comes second … The greatest gift you can give your children is to ensure that you won’t be a financial burden to them.'”

I have been speaking highly of Taylor Lewis for a long time and this article will give you a sense of the kind of work he is doing. Blending Easy Strength with people with CF was illuminating.

“I also work with adults and young adults with cystic fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease that causes thickened mucus to form in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. Something I am working to continue to developing their training and learning how to really attack recovery. Recovery doesn’t just mean what happens after a workout—nutrition, sleep, hydration—all of which are extremely key. What I’m doing with my clients with CF is to build recovery into their rest intervals.

“For example, if they have a minute of rest between sets, when they have 20 seconds left of rest, they will take 2-4 good diaphragmatic breaths before setting up for the start of the next lift. This approach to rest has not only helped them regulate low to high or high to low arousal, it also gives their bodies the opportunity to go into the lift with a higher potential for tension. The body only has so much tension and arousal available throughout the day. If you live in a chaotic world, you may need to find ways to help keep some in ‘the tank’. Diaphragmatic breathing (in through the nose and out through the mouth) is an instant down regulator.

“I am also slowly implementing this recovery strategy with our baseball players. A kid who hits a baseball then runs a double will be out of breath if he’s going at 100% capacity. So, when he’s on second base and has 30 seconds off, if he’s been training to breathe with his diaphragm, it will help his recovery. Then getting to third base and home will be a lot easier.”

This is a nice piece on health and fitness and the importance of clarity when we define them. Phil Maffetone is finally getting the credit he deserves.

“Poor health can be observed in athletes who adhere to sport’s global “no pain, no gain” mentality, who may push themselves beyond a point of appropriate system stress [1, 2]. This includes physical injury (e.g., neuromuscular dysfunction), biochemical injury (e.g., endocrine and immune dysfunction), and/or mental-emotional injury (e.g., depression). Each injury, in turn, could potentially cause other signs and symptoms indicative of poor health. The overreaching label we place on many athletes presenting with various combinations of these injuries is the overtraining syndrome [3]. The mechanisms leading to this condition can vary considerably, across different levels of training history and ability (recreational, non-elite, elite athletes), age, genders, and sports (dependent upon their aerobic and/or anaerobic metabolic requirements).”

Until next week, keep on lifting and learning.


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Publisher’s note: Dan’s new audio & ebook, A Lifelong Approach to Fitness!