Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 89

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 89

In case you missed the announcement, here’s where to have a look at Gray Cook’s Lecture Compendium (ebook and audio book)

I rediscovered the importance of water in the last week. I kayaked the Chicago River, swam in Lake Michigan and dipped myself in Lake Fremont in Wyoming six times in two days. I like cold water. I like how ALIVE I feel during and after a half hour swim and play in a lake.

With my travel the past few years, I have not really had a summer. I miss those days of hanging out at Lagoona Beach and the ocean. So, I made up for it in one week.

Slade Jones is putting together a book, “Lean Made Simple.” It is a 28-day template and he asked me to look it over. So, I took on the program and so far, so good! It should be available soon, but don’t bug me about “when” as I don’t know, sorry. I like doing somebody else’s program. One thing I would suggest: if you have never tried a program, it might be best not to make many comments on it.

I found that with my two years of training Nautilus “HIT” style that I made great progress and felt pretty good for a bit. The problem was that my performances went down in every measurable quality (distance and time are hard to argue with, if you are being honest).  The upside was that I looked good in clothes.

With my two years doing “the workout that shall not be named,” it rhymes with “Bossmitt,” my joints (the good ones!) started barking and I watched the discus and Highland Games come back to me. I can honestly say that randomness certainly feeds the demon of “squirrel” that I seem to have, but progression is the key to performance.

Performance is a different animal. When they turn the spotlight on you, say your name…that’s performance. Fitness is the ability to do a task. When judging programs, I keep that in mind, first and foremost.

So far, Slade’s program is making me feel good and I am actually finding the workouts “just right” when it comes to volume. Just right, the scientifically valid concept of measuring most things, is more than just Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Striving for “just right” is going to keep you on the right track most of the time.

On the web this week, I found some interesting stuff.

This article shows why so many people are confused about diet:

“Nine-hundred-ninety-eight overweight trial participants who lived on the Mediterranean diet for a year lost between 9 and 22 pounds. Both the low-carb and ADA diet had similar results, while those on the low-fat diet lost between 6 and 11 pounds. Although the article doesn’t determine a single diet that’s ultimate for weight loss, it does conclude that the Mediterranean diet would be the closest option because of its heart-healthy benefits.”

Me: The last sentence is why there is so much mystery in diets. “Doesn’t determine” and “concludes” in the same sentence seems to be difficult for me to follow.

This article reminds me of one of the mental exercises they had us do at the Olympic training center.


Know your main purpose.

It’s the last Rich Habit, but it might be the most important. Those people who pursue a dream or a main purpose in life are by far the wealthiest and happiest among us. Because they love what they do for a living, they are happy to devote more hours each day driving toward their purpose.

Odds are, if you are not making sufficient income at your job, it is because you are doing something you do not particularly like. When you can earn a sufficient income doing something you enjoy, you have found your main purpose.

Believe it or not, finding this purpose is easy. Here’s the process:

1. Make a list of everything you can remember that made you happy.
2. Highlight those items on your list that involve a skill, and identify that skill.
3. Rank the top 10 highlighted items in the order of joy they bring to you. Whatever makes you happiest of all gets 10 big points.
4. Now rank the top 10 highlighted items in terms of their income potential. The most lucrative skill of all is worth 10 points.
5. Total the two ranked columns. The highest score represents a potential main purpose in your life. Presto!

James Clear has been on a roll lately:

“There are three keys to making this work in real life. Here are the three rules of the Domino Effect:

1. Start with the thing you are most motivated to do. Start with a small behavior and do it consistently. This will not only feel satisfying, but also open your eyes to the type of person you can become. It does not matter which domino falls first, as long as one falls.
2.  Maintain momentum and immediately move to the next task you are motivated to finish. Let the momentum of finishing one task carry you directly into the next behavior. With each repetition, you will become more committed to your new self-image.
3. When in doubt, break things down into smaller chunks. As you try new habits, focus on keeping them small and manageable. The Domino Effect is about progress, not results. Simply maintain the momentum. Let the process repeat as one domino automatically knocks down the next.”

Coach Ralph Maughan told me that the key to lifting was Quarter Squats, Power Curls, Standing Bench Presses (“Neider Presses”) and Stadium Steps. Of course, I didn’t listen. He, according to this article, was right…once again.


“This new study reinforces the principle that strength is joint-angle specific, and indeed shows that squat strength is extremely joint-angle specific, with quarter, half and full squats all displaying specificity of strength gains. It also shatters the current paradigm that full squats are always superior for improving athletic performance (but bear in mind that this study did not measure gains in muscle size).

“Only rarely do genuinely remarkable studies emerge in the field of strength and conditioning, that invite coaches to tear up the rulebook. More commonly, they appear in physiology or biomechanics, where research is constantly pushing the boundaries of what we know about how the neuromuscular system works.

“We are fortunate to have see two such studies appear in a matter of months (and both in sprinting no less!) as this eye-opening training study follows hot on the heels of the first hip thrust training study, which supported the force-vector theory of training, and established the hip thrust as a key exercise for anyone looking to improve sprinting performance.

To milk or not to milk, that is the question. For once, this article actually clears up the issues of milk products for me.

“Some other basic things to know if you choose to consume dairy products:

·      Heavy cream and butter contain virtually no casein or lactose, and most people can consume these with no problems.
·      Fully cultured hard cheeses contain predominantly casein and fat. If you have a problem with lactose, you may be able to tolerate fully cultured cheeses. The way to tell is if the carbohydrate content on the label is 0.
·      Most yogurts on the market have not been fully cultured and thus contain a fair amount of milk sugar. Read the label on the plain variety of your favorite brand to see how much carbohydrate it contains. This is all milk sugar — lactose and galactose. Making your own yogurt is an option — culturing your yogurt for longer periods will allow the bacteria to more fully consume the milk sugars.
·      Dairy products from cows that have been feeding on green grass contain the most nutrients.”

I have a quiet week here working on my next book, “Now What?,” an expansion of my new video, and generally taking care of business. My dog was glad to see me NOT going somewhere today.

Until next week, keep on lifting and learning.


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