Dan John: Wandering Weights, Issue # 98

Wandering Weights
Our Epic Journey Through All Things Heavy, Issue # 98

Last week on OTP: Mark Reifkind on shoulder mobility

I had a wonderful weekend with Chip Conrad, Dave Hall, Taylor Lewis, and Geoff Hemingway. The Mental Meatheads workshops are really well run and the audience always includes a great mix of people from the fitness industry to the fitness enthusiasts.

Each time I talk lately, I get better clarity on the “Hammer and Stone” concept that I blogged about last week. One of my foundational statements in training is “The Body is One Piece.” That includes the concept of “Integrity,” the moral and eschatological concept of, basically, always being the same person. The body is one piece is summed as integrity.

We are one piece and I agree with the western tradition that we are body, mind and soul “one piece.” I often note that having diarrhea is going to make this a bad day to squat max. Breaking up (is hard to do) is going to have an impact on getting your Olympic lifts or hammer throws lined up correctly.

The environment is everything else. It can be an opponent, a shark, a wall or a football field.

When I talk about this “Sixth Movement” concept (anything you do in the weightroom that is NOT push, pull, hinge, squat or loaded carry), I often say that crawling and tumbling is “Integrity with the horizontal environment” and climbing and swinging around in trees is “integrity with the vertical environment.”

As I was speaking Saturday, I realized that Stone work builds integrity and Hammer work is what we do to the environment. Now that I understand Stu McGill’s idea better, I am getting clearer on what to look for in training methods to support stone and hammer work.

For example, doing bear hug carries with the 80-pound bag is great for the concept of stone. Strapping mini-bands around the socks and doing the monster walk WHILE bear hugging an 80-pound bag really highlights the concept of stone.

I’m going to add this work into my Intervention grid soon. It might take a few more weeks of discussion and work to make it right.

Zipping around the internet this week, I found a lot of interesting things. This first article really hit home for me. Many of my peers are really getting into Hormone Replacement Therapy (and then claiming it is a diet or exercise tweak that changed their physique overnight). I thought this article muddied the water for me, but I found it really interesting.

“You turn on the radio and you hear these commercials for testosterone supplements. It’s assumed that as you get older, your testosterone is going to decline and somehow that’s bad and you have to fix that. But there’s a lot of fuzziness around that assumption. For example, within the United States there’s a huge range of variation in testosterone levels at younger and at older ages. They vary by tenfold and we don’t know why.

“So, what could be ‘low’ or ‘high’ really depends on the individual, and age only accounts for about 15 percent of the variation.

“There is sort of a very faint signal to show that testosterone does decline with age in Western males. But it’s not universal. If you look at hunter-gatherer groups, their testosterone levels don’t change very much throughout their lifetimes. They start out with lower levels as adults and they pretty much maintain that their entire lives. So, the assumption that testosterone is going to change as you age is not necessarily true everywhere.”

In case you were wondering what to say, say “Thank you.” James Clear brings clarity again.

Well, most of us know this now, but it is always good to remember that Mother Nature might be right about a lot of things. It is a joy watching my grandkids play in the grass and dirt and step on rocks, this article points us in the right direction again.

“Back then kids got wet and muddy and the field may have been left a little worse for wear but we didn’t get hurt, it didn’t matter who won and for us adventures like these were the joy of growing up.

“Playing the mud is more than just fun and games. It has also been shown to:

  •  Reduce allergies and the symptoms of asthma
  •  Increase gross motor skills, sensory awareness, balance and coordination
  •  Improve the immune system
  •  Reduce childhood anxiety and stress
  •  Help to build creativity

“Isn’t that worth getting dirty for?”

You all know that I love Pat Flynn’s emails and updates. This little point just leaped out at me. If you want to lose weight, DO THIS!
If you want to lose a little weight every day, try this.

==> 300 swings, 2 protein shakes + Dinner <==

300 Swings: 24kg guys; 16kg ladies. 100 swings before every “meal”.

Protein Shakes: 30 – 50 grams of protein + handful of berries.

Dinner: 500-700 calories. Veggies, lean protein, quality fat. (Think Big Ass Salad.)

Is this for everyone? No way! But it does work wonders for fat loss.

I was lucky to have no personal college debt. My daughters both graduated from college debt free. Others are not so lucky! This article discusses college debt, but also has some great insights about money.

“Hoyt avoided the mall and simply ‘wore all the stuff that I had from college,’ he explained.

“Of course, there were a few necessities he had to buy — such as dress shirts and nice slacks for work — but he refused to spend on ‘wants.’

“5. Cable

“Hoyt cut the cord, and he advises anyone else looking to free up cash and pay down loans to do the same.

“It’s one of the simplest ways to save money — plus, he hasn’t missed it at all. ‘With Netflix, Hulu and devices like Apple TV you can easily stay up to date on shows without having to pay for cable,’ Hoyt wrote. ‘Stop paying for cable. Just stop.'”

I had this article sitting in my browser for almost a week. I think it truly gets to the point of teaching and coaching.

“Step 1: Choose a Concept

“Now this can be anything from gravity to world history. It works for everything. Now take out a blank sheet of paper and write the subject you want to learn at the top.

“Step 2: Teach It

“Write out everything you know about the subject as if you were teaching it to someone else. Not your smart friend but rather a toddler. This may sound silly but this part is incredibly important and has worked wonders for me learning new things.

“When I used to learn new subjects I would explain them with complicated vocabulary and jargon. The problem with this approach is that I was fooling myself. I didn’t know that I didn’t understand. And often, because I was using the right vocabulary, my lack of understanding was obscured from my teachers.

“When you write out the idea from start to finish in simple language that a toddler can understand (tip: use only the most common words) you force yourself to understand the concept and you get a clear understanding of where you might have some gaps.”

I enjoy the part of this article about how the Old Stories seem to be very true. I’m a big fan of stories and storytelling, but I am often amazed at how accurate the stories turned out to be about global events. The Illiad turned out to be a road map for finding Troy and the Epic of Gilgamesh discussed a big flood that actually happened.

“The story which has been passed down from generations tells of three migrations that have occurred over many thousands of years, one of us coming to this ancient land first, then another at a period after the last Ice age which saw the formation of the Great Barrier Reef, the other is of a migration out of Cairns that went back through the Cape into the Torres Strait to PNG and further.”

Next week, I will be writing this from Galway, Ireland, where I will be spending a month. I hope to have a bit of fun while I work, too.

Until then, keep lifting and learning.


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