Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 92

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 92

New this week on OTP: Evan Osar on pushing patterns and forward shoulder posture.

I’m back from Long Beach Perform Better. I enjoyed the weekend. Next year, I am going to put together all the parts of my work into some kind of flow chart, so one can identify and program anybody who comes into the gym.

I try to do something new every year for PB. I think it keeps my “game” alive. I travel off to the Dragon Door Health and Strength Conference this week…then I slow down with trips to Oakland, Costa Rica, New York and Ireland.

I’m having my mail sent to Delta Airlines, Seat 1A.

Traveling the internet this week was interesting. With the Olympics in Rio, many people are discovering that some training methods have been around longer than the internet (attempt at humor). Tony Gentilcore gets this exactly right:

“I must give kudos to CrossFit for creating a lot of fat loss testimony all over the world. I’m sure that thousands of people have lost weight/fat utilizing the CrossFit system.

“However, what really bugs me is that you rarely if ever hear credit being distributed by CrossFit authorities on where specific training strategies were adopted. Did they just magically guess and innovate methods proven to work better than anything on the training market?

“Hell no.

“Furthermore, I see many specialized fat loss techniques being regularly implemented by CrossFit such as: HIIT, Metabolic Resistance Training, Timed Sets, Complexes, etc. but where the hell did that come from?

“Not Crossfit unfortunately.

“Ten years ago a guy by the name of Alwyn Cosgrove was busting out fat loss manuals left and right and disclosing drills and methods I nor anyone had ever seen before. The training concepts were brilliant and revolutionary at the time, but still hadn’t hit the mainstream yet.  He was also sending out newsletters at the time which validated these now popular methods through sound research and tremendous data he was collecting at his training facility in South California with his wife Rachel, who was also a proven expert. I still have them. But how many of you actually know Alwyn and Rachel Cosgrove? I guarantee not as many as there should be.”

This little article got a lot of travel this week. A female crossfitter competed at the Games and it got some mixed reactions.

“If she studies the record books, the Gladstone athlete will note the Olympic record in the clean and jerk in her weight category is 138kgs, the snatch is 108kgs, both set by Chinese athletes, meaning she is more than 50kgs under the best.

This article needs a close reading to understand the point, but it is something my family believes in strongly. To paraphrase Dan Derry: Life is short, death is certain. Seriously, buy some extra pencils for the kids.

“I’m not going to buy just the one extra box of tissues because (let’s all be honest here) I can afford more than that. And *gasp* what if someone other than my precious Timmy uses them? Well, then, haven’t I done a good deed for the year for less than the cost of a coffee?

“We should all be interested in what will create the best learning environment for all these kids, for all these little people who will be making big decisions some day like what to do with YOUR Social Security or how to fix YOUR city infrastructure or how best to treat that cancerous mass in YOUR body.

This article is “shocking,” but it highlights food issues at most places I eat. It made me sad about oysters. Oysters are supposed to be good for the sex life. So, I ate a dozen of them but only ten worked. (Old and moldy joke).

Raw Oysters. Damn.

This article might have obvious information for the readership of WW, but it is nice to see a general health article agree with what most of us believe.

Heavy resistance training two to three times per week
High-intensity cardio exercise (such as running, indoor cycling or something else that revs up your heart rate) one or two times per week
Light cardio exercise or yoga one or two times per week

Pat Flynn has a nice summary of smart eating here. I don’t know why it has to be more complex than this:


1.     Have protein (whey, hemp, or eggs) within 30 minutes of waking up. We can talk about fasting later.
2.     Eat a bowl of greens before every meal.
3.     Have fruit for dessert. Strawberries are what I like.
4.     Follow the rule of 3, 100’s for daily intake: 100 grams of protein (or more), 100 grams of carbs (or less), 100 oz of water (or more).
5.     Eat slowly and until you are (about) 80% full.

I’ve been looking for an old article online from Jason Keen. Oddly, the only thing I could find was when I quoted Jason myself! A fun overview of the RKC here.

The Divorce Diet!!! (Thanks to reader Geoff Hemingway for the ping)


Experts and those who have been through divorce offer advice:
What to Do
Practice yoga, meditation or any other activity (running, ballroom dancing) that calms the nervous system, increases appetite, and interests you.
Remember to eat.
Drink smoothies if you can’t keep food down.
Learn cooking. It can be therapeutic and teach you to love food again.
See a nutritionist if you keep losing weight.
Remember that stress manifests itself in different ways; you may get slimmer, gain weight or stay the same.
What to Avoid
Going too fast on hard-core exercise.
Just grabbing a candy bar. Try some nuts, fruit or crackers instead.
Replacing food with alcohol.
Using meal-delivery apps too much. They are expensive and easy to skip.
Ignoring the problem, especially if you feel weak.
Thinking you will remain this way long-term

I remember Gerd Bonk well. Why the East Germans are not stripped of every medal from 1976 is beyond me, but this is an interesting and sad read. When I was told amount the volume of drugs one of my competitors used, I wondered how in the world I didn’t get beat by more!

“By this point, Bonk was likely already on steroids, although exactly when he started doping is still unclear—Bonk died in 2014, and his widow declined to comment for this story. In 1961, Jenapharm, an East German state-owned pharmaceutical company, patented Oral Turinabol, an androgenic-anabolic steroid. It came in the form of a blue pill. Anabolic steroids replicate testosterone, a male hormone. They encouraged more rapid muscle growth and, it turned out, decreased recovery time between training sessions for athletes.

“Soon enough, athletes in strength-dependent sports like weightlifting were turning to anabolic steroids for a boost, and not just in the GDR. But the East German government took things a step farther than most nations when it started pilot programs for doping its male athletes in 1966 and, in 1968, began testing the male hormones on women. The female test subject, shot putter Margitta Gummel, won gold in the Olympics that year.

“The GDR won 25 medals altogether in the 1968 Olympics. Four years later, at the 1972 Games, East German athletes were awarded 66 medals, including the bronze a 22-year-old Bonk won in the total event. The Soviet Union won 99; the United States took 94; and West Germany, a nation with about three and a half times the GDR’s population, won just 40.”

This is a fun video from Chip Conrad on the history of lifting. Not only is it well done, but the scenes with Jim Schmitz, my old coach, make me laugh.

There is an interesting mix of things this week as I review them. I will continue to try to keep this interesting.

Until next week, keep lifting and learning.


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Publisher’s note: In this video (transcript included), Mark Cheng describes the value and technique of cross crawling.