Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 95

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 95

Last week on OTP: Gray Cook on self-liming exercise and movement principles

I’m traveling home from Costa Rica today. I had a wonderful experience with my friends at Fabian’s gym. CR is a rare place. The people are truly kind and welcoming and I also had a chance to finally Zip Line over the jungle canopy.

That was the screaming you heard.

I have a quiet week or two coming up with a Highland Games and a wedding, but it will be nice to ease into a few days off with the dog.

When I travel, I struggle to stay up with my reading, but many of my readers help me out by highlighting things I may have missed. This week, Henry Adderley, sent in this interesting James Clear post which also mentioned John T. Reed, someone I also read all the time.

“’When you first start to study a field, it seems like you have to memorize a zillion things. You don’t. What you need is to identify the core principles – generally three to twelve of them – that govern the field. The million things you thought you had to memorize are simply various combinations of the core principles.’” —John T. Reed”

This ties into a new blog by James. I actually think this one has a good moral to the story….as we used to say.

“Success in one area is often tied to failure in another area, especially at the extreme end of performance. The more extreme the greatness, the longer the shadow it casts.

“To phrase it differently, the more one dimensional your focus, the more other areas of life suffer. It’s the four burners theory in action. The more you turn up one burner, the more you risk others burning out.

“The things that make people great in one area often make them miserable in others.

“Footnotes: Picasso literally had multiple people killing themselves over losing him. When I was dating, I could barely get someone to text me back.”

Ginger Fear mentioned this at a workshop recently: underreporting of caloric intake. It is a far bigger issue than I thought.

“This British actress was adamant she had a slow metabolism, turned out she was simply misreporting calorie intake.

“When she recorded her food intake via video journal, her intake, according to her, was 1100 calories. When they checked her actual intake [with doubly labeled water] it came to 3000 calories.

“Even when she was keeping a food diary, she misreported by 43%.

“Numbers are abstract. Let’s make this palpable.

“Let’s say your calorie intake is 1500 calories: 43% is 645 calories. Maybe within the scope of a day or two, this wouldn’t make that much of a difference, but you misreport like this over a week? That’s an additional +3500 calories you ‘forgot’ about – enough to gain a pound of fat.

“Suffice to say, I’ve made my point. People are terrible at tracking and reporting food intake accurately [1].”

Mike Warren Brown sent in this great article on a comic. I think the lessons work well for everyone.

“Don’t worry about failing. There’s a great video where Ira Glass explains that when you start in a new field, your work won’t be as good as your taste. It will take years for your taste and the quality of your work to intersect. (If ever!) Failure is essential. There’s no substitute for it. It’s not just encouraged but required.

“The bedrock of all good pieces of writing is 10 bad drafts. Maybe 20. I wrote 12 drafts of ‘Don’t Think Twice,’ 14 drafts of my first movie, ‘Sleepwalk With Me,’ and worked on my first one-man show for six years. My first five-minute set on ‘Late Show With David Letterman’ in 2002 was mined from three hours of so-so material that I had tried and failed with for six years.”

This article blew up on my Facebook messenger feed. I like the idea of “possible self” and I think it is how I ended up throwing the discus for Utah State.

“Daphna Oyserman, a psychologist and professor of education and communication at the University of Southern California, has a theory about the link between academic success and the way adolescents envision their future selves. Oyserman writes that if kids’ visions of their future selves (or ‘possible selves’) are untethered to their academic achievements, they typically don’t see much value in doing school work. So schools need to help students get personally invested in careers and accomplishments that are directly tied to the work they do in class.

“There was a moment just after my second child was born when I began to envision how exercising could make a meaningful difference to my future self. I was too unstable and too weak to pick up my older child without sending my back into spasms. I began to dream of a life where I was strong. Where I could hike and row a boat. Where I could encourage my children to be active by modeling that behavior myself. And then I hit upon the idea of doing a triathlon. Could I become a triathlete?

“The second step of the ‘possible self’ intervention is to set a related but much shorter-term goal. For example, if you aren’t exercising at all, you could decide that in the next eight weeks you will complete a Couch to 5K training program. You must then immediately set a goal for the week ahead: ‘I’ll buy the app and run at least once this week.’ When you are tying your day-to-day efforts into a loftier, aspirational dream, it’s easier to stay motivated.”

In case you need more reasons to shop locally and cook at home and dine as a family, well, here you go:

“Sugary, oily foods are engineered to be consumed often and in big portions. But we’re not just influenced by their irresistible taste. The food industry is also terrific at marketing its products to us — and turning us into loyal consumers.

“A 2006 report by the Institute of Medicine helped establish how the rise in obesity among kids corresponds to increasing marketing of unhealthy food and drinks to them. Since then, public health researchers have tracked food advertising — and have discovered how in some ways, this problem just keeps getting worse.

“The UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity found that in 2014, food companies spent $1.28 billion to advertise snack foods on television, in magazines, in coupons, and, increasingly, on the internet and mobile devices. Almost 60 percent of that advertising spending promoted sweet and savory snacks, while just 11 percent promoted fruit and nut snacks. And advertising of sweet snacks increased 15 percent, even from 2010 to 2014, according to Rudd’s analysis.

Waking up in Costa Rica yesterday morning, I found a nice text message from Adam Nelson. He asked about me and Tiffini’s health and wants to chat. Yes, he is that guy: smart, caring…and Olympic Gold Medalist.

“’I always took pride in my results. I always tried to do it the right way. I wanted to compete with integrity, not doping and I tried to live up to the Olympic standard. I think I did a good job at that over 13 years. Now, I honestly don’t think about the gold medal. It’s sitting in a junk drawer somewhere with my other medals. What I was really good at was the struggle. With the Olympic Games, you are guaranteed to have struggle. Whether you can own and embrace that struggle and work to the point where you’ll get success. That journey means so much more now than any medal ever could.’”

“Nelson’s children will never get to see their father compete again, but they can be proud that their Dad is still fighting everyday to get others to live up to the Olympic standard.”

I love Calvin and Hobbes. I forgot how great the cartoon was and I appreciate the author’s discipline the more and more I see others sell out. Just watch this…

Slade Jones sent in this fun article:

“It may be that talking your theory through with another person will spark new ideas that can be incorporated into your conclusion or may even replace your original theory.  It’s also possible that another person may disagree with your inferences and proposes a different equally logical theory.

“While it may seem that what you see before is incredibly simple and clear, appearances can be deceiving. Sherlock Holmes was well aware of this and used it to his advantage in unscrambling a myriad of possibilities which cannot be explained solely by what you can see and hear.

“Holmes knew to balance intuition with logic, he drew conclusions from details and he listened carefully.

“Yet, he also kept an open mind, and accepted that some possibilities may yet be unexplained: ‘Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent.’

“Some things exist that are difficult to explain and it pays to open to all manner of possibility in this scenario (e.g. the existent of one or more deities).

I actually enjoyed doing this interview. I have noticed that people from outside traditional lifting tend to ask questions that get me thinking.

It’s time to catch a flight. Until next time, keep lifting and learning.


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