Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 94

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 94

From Now What?, here’s Dan’s clip and transcript on standards: Is your athlete up to the standards?

I leave for Costa Rica in about half an hour for a week of sightseeing and workshops. I just got back from another trip and I can’t believe I am taking off again. So, here we go.

Lots to share this week. I am not sure if I have shared Mike Prevost’s site before, but repetition has great value. Mike’s insights are always amazing. This is a gold mine of material. This book is brilliant!

I get a lot of questions about dieting and, frankly, I don’t have the expertise. I sent these articles out to a friend this week and they were helpful. This first one has a good point on “all or nothing.”

“I’ve personally experienced the negative psychological effects of rigid food restriction. In the past, whenever I wanted to lose some body fat, I’d start eating less and restricting certain foods entirely. For example, I never allowed myself to eat any sort of dessert or snack food – not even a single cookie. But after perhaps a week or two of dietary compliance, I just couldn’t resist having a little bit of ice cream or chocolate. The problem was that “a little bit” quickly turned into an all-out binge. Because I had already broken the rules, I figured I might as well make the most of it and eat as much as I wanted, of whatever I wanted. The diet was over, and it would be days, if not weeks, before I mustered up enough conviction to start a new challenge of dietary perfection.

“This type of all-or-nothing dieting is extremely common, and from my experience, it is the single biggest reason that most people have difficulty losing weight and keeping it off. Understanding the principles behind flexible dieting will help you avoid this massive pitfall. Because no food is considered “bad,” you can make literally any food fit into your diet. Eating a single cookie no longer means that you’ve failed. Instead, you could theoretically eat several cookies every day, as long as they fit into your 20% maximum.

This primer on IF actually has some great insights on any kind of appropriate eating plan.

“Remember, some of these fasts follow very specific protocols.  Just eating haphazardly and then not eating is what gets many people overweight in the first place. But if you’re keen on giving IF a try, here are 9 things that you must first consider.

  1. Food choices matter. Just because you’re not eating often doesn’t mean the basic rules of good nutrition don’t apply. Fasting for 20 hours and then spending 4 hours eating pizza, Twinkies, and half your kid’s Halloween loot won’t get you lean. You need to focus on good sources of protein, healthy fats, high quality carbohydrates, and lots of fruits and veggies.  (Your mom was right about that one.)
  2. Be patient. If you’re a big fan of breakfast, fasting is going to be a major test of willpower–especially for the first few weeks. In my case, the early stages left me suffering from massive stomach rumblings, hunger cravings, and big-time morning moodiness. I did my best to stave off the breakfast cravings with a few cups of green tea or coffee, but I still felt really bad. Luckily, I told my friends and family what was going on, and they’re a pretty understanding bunch. But here’s the good part. It gets better–much better–after 14 days or so. Stick it out. You’re not dying –you’re just hungry.
  3. Exercise helps. The best fasting protocols had me hitting the gym as hard as ever, empty stomach be damned. There’s a reason for that –exercise drives the fat loss bus.
  4. Timing is everything, but not the only thing. I experienced the best results when I fasted for around 16-hours per day, followed by an 8 hour eating window.  I usually ended my 16-hour fasts with a workout.  Then I ate my largest meal of the day.  However, other less stringent protocols also delivered results. Experimentation is the key.
  5. Progress slowly. It’s important to start with the trial fast and allow yourself to get “good at it” before graduating to more frequent or complicated fasting protocols. Many find going just a few hours without eating unbearable. It takes practice and willpower, so be patient. Dominate the easy steps before moving further up the fasting ladder.
  6. Don’t overdo it. In my case, after achieving great results with a weekly fast, I tried doubling the frequency to twice a week to see if I’d get twice the results. It didn’t happen. More isn’t necessarily better.
  7. Eat meat. I ate upwards of three pounds of meat a day to get my calorie and protein requirements.  Now, I’ve always been an omnivore, but during extended fasts, where meals are so infrequent, eating meat is even more important. Of course, you can still do this if you’re following a vegetarian diet.  It’s just more difficult to meet your calorie needs for the day.
  8. It’s still a lifestyle. There are no diets, only lifestyles. And any diet that you couldn’t theoretically follow for the rest of your life is doomed to failure. During my first few fasts I was convinced that there was no way I could eat like this for life. But after a few weeks, I was loving it, and it was a breeze.
  9. Some shouldn’t do it. I think anyone and everyone should attempt the trial fast. Trust me, you learn a lot about yourself when you go without food for a full day. However, for the more regular or more extreme forms of fasting, I’ve found they’re more successful when:
  • You have a history of monitoring calorie/food intake (i.e. you’ve “dieted” before).
  • You’re an experienced exerciser.
  • You’re single or you don’t have children.
  • Your partner (if you have one) is extremely supportive.
  • Your job allows you to have periods of low performance while you
  • adapt to a new plan.


This article simply cuts to the point of all diet and nutrition plans.

“You don’t have to cut any food completely out of your diet; you do have to eat in moderation. Moderation is not a punch bowl sized salad from the Cheesecake Factory or a burger that needs to be hoisted up to your mouth with a crane. Grandpa Hurst went out to lunch every day, but he wasn’t served a plate the size of a garbage pail lid. When sitting down to dinner at home, fill your plate with average-sized portions, and then don’t go back for seconds. When going out to eat, it’s often recommended that you put half of it in a to-go box. The reality is that you’re not going to want to place half that burger in a doggie bag; countless studies have shown that the human instinct to clean one’s plate is practically irresistible. The best route is to convince your dining partner to split something with you. Portion control is thus automatic.”

The following is a nice article about winning more chess games, but I thought the list probably would carry over into lifting, finance and most aspects of life.


It’s time for you to take a look at these ten tips to help you learn some simple ways to win more games:

Look at your opponent’s move.
Make the best possible move.
Have a plan.
Know what the pieces are worth.
Develop quickly and well.
Control the center.
Keep your king safe.
Know when to trade pieces.
Think about the endgame.
Always be alert.


This is a fun little article on really eating well.

“Which is why, on a recent holiday with my boyfriend, I was surprised to find the waiters at everything from small, family-run pizzerias to gourmet restaurants in Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot) piling our table with plates and servings exceeding American proportions.

“Breakfast for two at our modest seaside beach apartment featured a basket of croissants and bread, plates of salami and cheese, yogurts, and platters of fruits, jams, butter, and nuts — enough to hold us over for an entire day!

“One night in a wood-paneled trattoria near Ostuni, a gleaming white city that rises out of Puglia’s olive groves, we ordered the house appetizer. Seventeen small dishes arrived filled with battered and fried vegetables, raw and fried cheeses, oily frittatas, salamis, crackers, and breads. There were so many plates, in fact, that the servers brought a side table to accommodate them.

“Then came the primi (first course, often pasta) and secondi (second course, usually fish or meat), followed by dolci (dessert, often gelato). In the gelaterias, I noticed something new: Servers were now offering to dip the cones in chocolate, in addition to the usual offering of whipped cream topping (gelato con panna).”

Is this true? I thought this was…I’m not sure what I thought.


Her best tips to help tackle the bloat:

• Get your zzzs.
• Write a food diary and reflect where and when you bloat.
• Look into gut health supplements—multivitamins and probiotics.


Ketogenic Dieting has returned!!!

What are the best kinds of alcohol to drink on a Ketogenic Diet? And how many carbs are in different kinds of alcohol?

“While there is no best kind of alcohol to drink while following a Ketogenic Diet, there are certainly kind of alcohol that are carb-free or very low in carbs. Check out a few ideas in the lists below:

Zero-Carb Liquors

  • Brandy
  • Cognac
  • Gin
  • Rum
  • Scotch
  • Tequila
  • Whiskey
  • Vodka

“Please note, the list above includes unflavored vodkas, rums, and whiskeys. Flavored vodkas (Pinnacle, Ciroc, Smirnoff, etc.), flavored rums (Captain Morgan, Bacardi Coco, etc.), and flavored whiskeys (Fireball, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire, etc.) may include carbohydrates, so it is best to check the nutritional label before indulging.

Low Carb Beer

“Beer is not a particularly carb-friendly alcohol choice, but there are some low(-er) carb beer options. While your Coors Lights and Amstel Lights of the world weight in at ~100 calories and 5g net carbs, and something like Bud Light fares even worse at 110 calories and 6.6g net carbs, there are definitely a few brands that can be accommodated in small amounts:

  • Bud Select 55 – 55 calories, 1.9g net carbs
  • MGD 64 – 64 calories, 2.4g net carbs
  • Rolling Rock Green Light – 92 calories, 2.4g net carbs
  • Michelob Ultra – 95 Calories, 2.6g net carbs
  • Bud Select – 99 calories, 3.1g net carbs
  • Miller Lite – 96 calories, 3.2g net carbs
  • Michelob Ultra Amber – 114 calories, 3.7g net carbs

Low-Carb Wines

“There are obviously far too many brands and styles of wine to build a comprehensive list of carb counts, but there are a few general rules you can use to determine how much wine you can drink without going over your carb limit:

Red Wines

  • Merlot – 120 calories, 3.7g net carbs
  • Pinot Noir – 121 calories, 3.4g net carbs
  • Cabernet – 120 calories, 3.8g net carbs
  • White Wines
  • Chardonnay – 118 calories, 3.7g net carbs
  • Pinot Grigio – 122 calories, 3.2g net carbs
  • Riesling – 118 calories, 5.5g net carbs
  • Champagne/Sparkling Wine – 96 calories, 1.5g net carbs

This is a cool site about a scam. Wow! Did the scammers work hard on this one! This might be worth scrolling through if you buy things online. From there, click the Blacklist. Fascinating stuff here.

This article “got me thinking.” It is something that many of us realize when trying to use exercise to help with fat loss clients. At best, exercise…on paper…is five percent of the formula. Yet, it seems to really be the key long term.

“All of this lends some credence to people who may once have been dismissed by people like Strick himself, who are skeptical of anything that isn’t borne out by a concrete mechanism. As he put it, ‘How we move, think, and feel have an impact on the stress response through real neural connections.’”

This article is an excellent way to look at the big picture of successful sports managements and athletic performance. This is well worth your time.

“Team GB has spent double on double the money on the team’s facilities in Rio than at any other Games but disaster struck when the plumbing proved ineffective in the Olympic village. First, chef de mission Mark England approached British plumbing firms about flying them out. Then the British Embassy in Rio provided a list of firms who might get the problem sorted. The British team have found laborious transfers between the four Olympic venues frustrating at times. Other problems have included the availability of good food and access to a 24-hour training facility. But good plumbing was the essential fix.”

Several readers sent this in to me, so thank you all. My old boss used to tell me that “The most spoiled generation in American History had kids” to explain each and every problem in schools. The “counterculture” seems to have left an interesting legacy.

“Why might this be? The Vietnam-era counterculture brought many challenges to “general education” requirements like phys ed, Cardinal said; by the end of the 1970s, only about 70 percent of colleges and universities still had the requirements.

“And the decline has continued. One factor, Cardinal said, is that physical education courses began as a service to students, to ensure their health, but have shifted more toward exercise-related academic degree programs. So faculty tend to focus on the needs of majors rather than the student body at large.

“Also, he said, many campuses now have recreation programs that include some of the most palatial gyms around, so administrators may feel their students’ needs are met.

“But chances are they’re not. Just under half of American university students get as much physical activity as the basic national guidelines say they should, Cardinal said, and probably only about a quarter are fulfilling the full requirements. (At Harvard, surveys find that it’s mainly students on athletic teams who get enough exercise, and one-quarter are sedentary, Harvard Magazine reports.)”

This is a great article highlighting my friend, Seth Munsey. He is a smart guy and this article has a lot of excellent points.

“Dragon Door: What’s your favorite drill to teach?

“Seth Munsey: The basic hip hinge, because I really want to help people move better, and feel better. At first, most people don’t understand that concept. Teaching them the hip hinge allows them to feel successful on the first day—and we might have already helped them stave off future injuries. I also like teaching the Turkish get-up. It’s an amazing full body exercise that forces our clients to slow down and learn about body awareness. If someone can get down on the ground and back up just one time a day, then they can increase their chances of living longer. Falls are number-one killers. When I was working on an ambulance, almost half of our calls were from elderly people who had fallen down. The get-up builds the strength, confidence, and the ability to get back up off the ground.”

I would like to celebrate my birthday with all of you. Cheers!

Until next week, keep on lifting and learning.


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