Episode 6

Episode 6

Welcome to Episode 6 of the Dan John
Podcast. For those of you who are members on the site, I added a little article this
week on diet. I’m no diet expert. I have three nutritionists I work with. All Matt,
Ashley, and of course, Mark and they’re all very bright and they helped me in a
lot of ways. The most important thing is to declutter what the
nutritionists say. Read an article this week about this famous person in Canada.
He and his daughter are doing the carnivore diet. Well and they’re having
all his magnificent progress. Well they had been vegan for years and now they’re
having progress on carnivore. But what got me thinking about that and why
I posted this is that, the human body seems the love variation, variety. We all
do. You know if you’ve been doing Olympic lifts for 10 years straight, go into a
powerlifting meet is gonna completely change your vision of things. If you’re a
discus thrower, learning the hammer is gonna make it better discus thrower and I
don’t know why. So I wrote an article this week. Basically, I mean, I just think
it’s so simple and I get this from my people. Every diet says cut out crap
sugar stop eating cardboard carbohydrates.
That’s carbohydrates in a box or in a bag. Get rid of Frankenstein’s monster
fats. Those are fats made in a lab and generally eat vegetables okay? Of course
not the carnivore diet. That’s only meat, salt, and water. It’s a little different. I
didn’t see bourbon on it, so I couldn’t do the diet. What was kind of fun about
when I started taking all these lists and comparing them and looking at them,
is that certain foods seem to come out in every single list. Number one is water.
The next one was salmon. The third one was members of the olive family. Either
olives or olive oil and the fourth one was coffee. And every so often you’ll
hear people getting on coffee and my thought is, and this is my take away with
a lot of this stuff, is coffee and red wine seem to have magical properties for
longevity and my thought is, it’s nothing that’s in the wine,
nothing that’s in the coffee. It’s the fact when you’re having a bad day I’ll
say, “Hey! Come on. Come with me. Let’s go get a cup of coffee.”
You’ll come over my house and we’ll make dinner but before we have dinner we’ll
open a little red wine and drink. See I think the keys to all the stuff on
longevity is the social connections. The word fit comes originally from
the old Nordic, meaning to knit and the best way to look at the word fit
correctly is with a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces fit. So the more knitted you are
generally and it’s always a question of longevity. There’s one issue quantity
versus quality, but if you’re knitted, the quality of life raises up. So it’s
interesting, I thought, I started talking about diet and nutrition but it almost
universally brings me back to what we really need to talk about in this area, which
is we sit around the table, we share stories, we share food. We drink water, we
drink coffee, we drink wine, but the idea is that we knit together. So for me, food
is always about community and in a way, if you come to this house, community is
always about food. I hope that helps. So we have a question from Slizzard.
“I would like to hear your opinion on supplementation.” You know, look, we can
just stop right there. You know, we always make the joke in this field: supplements
supplement. You know, if you’re not eating your vegetables, if you’re not
eating your protein, if you’re not drinking your water, let’s not talk about what you
find at the grocery store, or pharmacy, or at the nutrition center. Supplements
supplement. I think they have value. I’ve been a big fan of fish oil for years
because of the the effects it had on me and my athletes. Especially in the
quality of skin, which I’ve never really been able to figure out. A person told me
one time it’s because you’ve added more omega-3 over the omega-6 that dominates
American diet and your skin being the largest organ of the body reflects the
fact that your inner blood chemistry is better and I thought, “Well I hope that’s true because that sounded really, really good
to me.” Yeah, magnesium is an amazing
supplement, especially for athletes and Special Forces guys because it helps
them fall asleep. If you’ve ever had a colonoscopy, you’ll know that magnesium
can do a lot of interesting things in a 24-hour period to you, so yeah I do. I do
think there’s value to it okay? But at the same time, we always make the joke in
my world: if it works immediately, it’s illegal, If it works quickly it’s banned,
and if it doesn’t work at all, you can go buy it at the store. Bit of a
joke there. I would say in the areas of health and longevity,
I think supplementation is something to look at. In the area of performance, you
know performance-enhancing drugs PEDs then, well they’re banned and they’re
illegal here in the United States, so keep your focus on the health and
longevity aspects of supplementation and really be careful about the
performance-enhancing. You know I’ve had athletes take massive amounts of this
powder and that powder and all it does is give massive diarrhea, which is not
performance-enhancing. So the answer is yes. In the areas of health, perhaps
longevity. There is a, the book Spring Chicken talks about metformin, or
glucophage, a pre-diabetic drug, helpful for longevity, so well and it comes to
about in about a penny to a nickel a day depending on where you’re from. That’s a
pretty good thing. For years they talked about taking low-dose aspirin, but I
guess that research now is getting a little bit cloudy whether it’s good or
not. Very often in areas of longevity and health, the supplementation you take
is marginal compared to the smarter things you can do. Like you know, wear a
seat belt, don’t smoke. I hope that helps. It’s always a tough question ok? Well I
like the name of this next guy. Juan Daniel. That’s a great name. “Just started Mass
Made Simple and although I’m a hundred and fifty four pounds I can’t do the
weights recommended for squats and I’m using the under 140 pound five-pound
weights.” There’s a right in the beginning of the book I talk about that six week
preparation program. As Brian and I are talking this morning, I’m back on the
fast mimicking diet so it’s a five-day. It’s a tough five days in some ways.
Where basically I eat about 500 calories a day. See I think the fast mimicking
diet is a great way to go into Mass Made Simple. First you lean out and then you’d
bulk up and that historically has always worked well. I loved working with
wrestlers when they come out for track and field because they have such a jump
in their, in everything after how difficult wrestling season is, track is
just a picnic to these guys. So maybe your preparation for the program wasn’t
good enough. Now the question you’re asking, “Can I
drop load?” Absolutely. Absolutely. There’s no problem with that at all. In fact I often have older, as we
discussed here, older adults start with lighter weights. You ask a good question
here at the end, “Is there a problem with going to lighter weights?” No. Absolutely
no problem at all. It’s just a simple program. In fact, I think you might have
great value in using the weights for 135 pound guy and dropping those first
two weeks to 95 because it accumulates. One of the things most people miss is
this great thing the East Germans used to talk about. First you accumulate a lot
of qualities, then you intensify, and then you transform. Like in the case of a
discus thrower, you might play twenty sports and learn a hundred different
lifts. Then you say, “I’m just gonna throw the discus and I’m gonna do these three
lifts.” and then it becomes a moment where you just, you transform into a discus
thrower. I think the way you’re doing Mass Made Simple is that you’re going to
accumulate a lot of benefits and maybe not this time,
you’ll probably still gain mass, but maybe next time, you can go a little bit
more intensely. But it’s a good question and
Juan Daniel, I just gotta say I love the name. Joseph asked a very simple question,
I think. “My question is regarding how you implement core training into your
athletes. Do I do core specific exercises?” Well if you read Forty Years with the
Whistle, I tell you everything in that book, but I didn’t even know what you mean by
core anymore. I used to understand what people meant, but if you’re doing heavy
suitcase carries, you know with whether you know kilos, 45 kilos per hand. The
one-handed carry. 45 kilos in it or a hundred pounds in one hand, and you go
for a walk, call me tomorrow and we’ll talk about core. We do core in the
movement. Core, and it’s terrible word because if you mean bracing or what we
call it anaconda strength, I’m a little closer in understanding what you mean.
But you would never walk up to a javelin thrower and say, “Do you work your core?”
because all you need to do is see the event and just check out their seven,
eight, nine, twelve packs that they walk around with on a normal day. We train
core in loaded carries, back squats, the hinge family, the anti rotation work. That
would be like the one-arm bench press and the one-arm row on usually a
suspension trainer. But yeah, all those things are core. I don’t believe in this
Frankenstein’s monster training at all. Arm day, leg day. I don’t, none of that, I
don’t like that. In fact I don’t like it when someone tells me that they’re doing
an exercise like front squats and ooo I feel at my quads because that’s just
nonsense the way the human body works. There’s a new way of looking at muscles.
You don’t have 600 muscles. You have one muscle divide it up into 600 places. I
like that much better. So, yes, obviously we do a lot of them. If you snatch over
300 pounds, you’ll understand tension and core very very well. Lawrence: “I agreed to
run the Salt Lake City half marathon in April.” Well I have to stop right there
and ask why. I’ll continue reading on, “It’ll be good for
me to have some physical challenge first thing out of winter to keep me on track.”
Yeah. I don’t mind that. I do like the idea of challenges, so I will grant you
Lawrence this. In our family we have a little joke. Do you run? We answer, “From
what?” So it’s, we’re a different family here. “Now for the question I’ll be
working from mid January through March in Wisconsin. 40 hours a week and home
just a couple of days a month. I’m a forester.” Well I gotta tell you right now,
if you’re a forester, you’re gonna be in shape for that 13.1 half
marathon, but we’ll continue. “Most of my days walking and possibly
snowshoeing at low to moderate intensity. I can almost rule out any possibility of
any of easily available cardio machines and running in sub-zero.” Doing
any kind of running after a day like that, we both agree would be difficult. He
can bring a pull-up bar and a kettlebell. Well I think that that nice
low level long walks snowshoeing mixed with some basic kettlebell exercises. I
think a hinge variation, a goblet squat and presses is a good idea and then do
your best to just drive your pull-up through the roof. If you’re doing 10
pull-ups now, I’d love to see you do 20 by the time this winter is over. Jump up
on the bar and do submaximal set after submaximal set. If you can do 10
pull-ups, do a bunch of sets of five. Just practice until five is so easy, you jump
to six and then six is too easy, you jump to eight. To get in shape for half
marathon after what you’re doing, probably the only thing you’d need, is a
tiny bit of roadwork. When you get a chance to go for a moderate run, that’s
going to do all the qualities you have. It is interesting, getting back to what
I talked about accumulation. With all the snowshoeing
and walking in the winter in the cold and then you’re adding some kettlebells
on top of that and the pull-ups, You’re really preparing yourself to
easily handle that half marathon and your only job is to, you
know, just just keep going and finish. Yeah I actually think in a lot of ways
if I was working with the track team and I said, have our distance runners spend
the entire winter cross-country skiing and snowshoeing,
the number of running related injuries would be almost none and they would have
that massive base to build on. My old college friend, and teammate, and
occasional drinking buddy, whenever he got a chance, Tarald Lindvigsmoen famously
won a cross-country ski race in the middle of our indoor winter
season. He got in trouble coach Maughan because they gave him a prize for it
and because of the NCAA he had to donate the prize to the University. So
he’s one of the few athletes I’ve ever heard of who’s actually donated to the
cause during the season, but he was a magnificent runner. My friend Eddie asked a very
simple question, “How do you put the armor building complex into a weekly
program?” Well that’s really easy. I mean the armor building for those you don’t
know: double kettlebells- two cleans, one press, three front squats, put the weights
down. Two, one, three, put the weights down. When we’re getting people ready for the
Russian Kettlebell Certification, we do that workout, it works out to about once
a week. You could pick, you could do the simple system of every minute on the
minute, which is, you know, ancient. People been doing that since the beginning. You could do it, I’m gonna, you could do it like 10 rounds one week, jump up to 15
the second week, slide back down to 10, sneak, you know, and just kind of undulate
up and down a little bit over a couple months, but I don’t think you should do
it more than once a week. We pick Tuesdays.
It is a hard. It’s a hard workout. It’s nice to have on Thursday the stretching
mobility and Original Strength day. I don’t know if you should ever get more
than, oh I put a top end of about, let’s just say, if you’re doing 20 to 25 sets,
that’s more than you’d ever have to do. Keep it more on that 15. At the top, 15 to
20 and maybe just once, occasionally, go as high as 20 rounds. I would just worry
if you do too much, it’s just the beating that it would happen to you if
you’re doing 15 rounds of it that’s 75 squats, and no check that,
45 squats. Not a math major. Which is which is a fair
number of squats in a workout especially with the intensity that the armor
building complex puts on top of you. Ed it’s a good question. Once a week 5 to 10
rounds for a while, occasionally sneak up to 15. Once in a, on a challenge week,
go up to 20 and then after that slide to 5 for a while ok? Thanks. Good question. This is from our friend Larry. I got a cousin named Larry. Do you know him? That’s
my standard joke. Ok I’m sorry. “Hi Dan. I’m gonna be soon-to-be 38 years
old.” What a child. “And my goal is to improve my strength and conditioning so
that I can play with my kids now and 20 years from now.” That’s actually, I’ve
been there. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I can remember when I was
in my late 30s and I had these two little blonde haired blue eyes running
up and down the stairs all the time. “If I can lose 10 pounds, currently 200, I would
not complain.” He had a minor back injury picking up one of his kids and went
through physical therapy. He’s feeling better now. He’s equipped, “and equipped
with some exercises strengthen my core. I wanted to get back into strength in,
strength training.” I’m sorry. “I can commit 45 minutes three times a week.” Well
that’s great! “I thought something like 15 to 25 sets of presses, weight assisted
pull ups, and squats 60 to 80 kettlebell swings, and finishing with farmers walk
would be simple.” And I’m looking at this. “Does this sound reasonable?”
Yeah. You just basically quoted every book I’ve ever written. The weight
assisted pull-ups, that’s actually impressive if you’re dealing with 200
pounds, but I’m gonna. I’m not trying to sell here
Larry, but I want you to think about this. We have a thing called danjohnworkouts.com
and if you plug in the equipment you have, we’ll just we’ll just knock
workouts out for you for the rest of your life. You would plug in the
equipment you have. I would check the box on 30-minute workouts just so you can do
a little extra warm-up in the beginning and then, wow, the intensity. It looks like
you could probably come in and start as a seven, eight, or nine and maybe even a
ten and we’ll just generate workouts for you that look just like this for the
rest of your life okay? It is funny to read that Larry because that’s exactly
what I would recommended to you anyway. So good question. It’s Padro. “Have you ever thought about how far your ideas go and who is using
them?” He talks then he’s a law student from
Brazil. He’s done Mass Made Simple and now he’s doing Fat Loss Happens on
Monday to help a cousin and aunt lose weight. You know it is weird,
Padro, because I was walking up a flight of stairs one time in Edinburgh and I
heard Dan John and this person who reads my work came over we shook hands. Another
time I’m in the water at Galway and a guy walks over. He goes, “I’m sorry to
bother you. Are you Dan John?” My daughter was in a bar in Dublin and she her and
this guy she just met decided become Facebook friends and he goes, “How do you
know Dan John?” And she says he’s my father
and he totally fanboyed out on her. my daughter Kelly has dozens of stories of
just these random things that have happened. So yeah. I mean, I’m I’m sort of
familiar with it. I’ve had people take their picture with me and their hand was
shaking so much because they were with me. These aren’t look how cool I
am stories but it is an idea that I do, I do understand my reach. My books are
translated into Chinese, Korean, Hungarian, German. Were working on a Spanish thing.
Yeah… but at the same time, I really hope I stayed true to who I am. My own little
compass here. I hope I don’t sell out on all of you guys. That’s that’s the big one
for me. Charles Staley, when I first met him back
in 2003 I said, “What’s the secret of being successful in this business?”
because that was a, I was a administrator at the time. Basically a
school administrator and he says, he told me famously, “Don’t believe your own
bullshit.” And I just sat down and I said okay.
So when people asked me for all my honors and all how wonderful I am stuff,
I always ease on back a little bit and you know, I try to be very honest about
my successes, my athlete’s successes, who I work with. I don’t tell. I don’t tell
the audiences most of who I do my work with because I don’t think it’s
appropriate to talk about some of the people I work with even though there is
no, I don’t well in one case I do, but usually I don’t sign a contract or
anything. So yeah. I do understand it but at the same time I’m really trying hard
to stay true to who I am okay? And he has a follow-up question. “Another question.
What thoughts about translating your books?” My books are translated. It’s
interesting because you say you’re from Brazil. Translating my books into
Portuguese might be miles easier than translating them the Spanish. There seems
to be an issue with Spain Spanish, Mexico Spanish, Venezuelan Spanish, Columbian
Spanish, that seems to be a barrier to translate in the books. I am out of my
element right now but that seems to be very common issue. Good questions Padro.
Okay got a question from Zachary and before we begin Zachary, I have to say
something. You’re gonna ask me to critique another trainers materials. I’m
never comfortable with it even when I’ve done the program myself, but I’ll be
honest as I can with you. “I am currently doing a Jim Wendler program
three times a week that includes the four big barbell lifts
and supplemental work,” and of course Wendler would be bench, squat, deadlift,
and military press. We had great success with it in in-season training back in
the day and Bigger But Boring is a wonderful program for high school kids especially. For those who don’t know, that would be his basic 5/3/1 program and the
way we did it was, if you did the military deadlift day you did five sets
of ten with the bench press squat and then the other day on the bench press
squat day, 5/3/1, we did the military and deadlift the five sets of ten and go
much lighter than you think. “The back squat is currently irritating my back
and I’d like to take a break from it for a while. In the meantime I’d like to do
the kettlebell front squat as a substitute.” Well it’s fine with me. I mean,
to me that’s a logical thing. One thing you’ll notice when you do the double
kettlebell front squat is that your anaconda strength your internal pressure
really builds up which is literally back bracing work and so you’re, you
might protect your back. Now this would be something Stu McGill’s told me. I’m no
expert here. I’m just quoting smarter people than me, but the double kettlebell
is like doing the zercher squat were you have the weights inside your elbows. So
yeah, you might, you might find that that exercise makes you brace harder here,
which we’ll do a lot more protection for your back and the other thing you
might want to think about when I did 5/3/1, I did front squats because I had no
interest in driving… When I drive my back squat up, my belly gets huge, so I’d
much rather front squat and boy I tell you, another one. I mean double double
kettlebell front squat, heck even the overhead squat might be a fun thing to
play around with. I always worry about this kind of question because I don’t
feel like I need to give you permission for making an intelligent decision but I
also understand how difficult it is, you know, when you’re out there because I’ve
been there myself. Where you’re getting hit with all this information. If
don’t make you progress on this program, you’re just a pansy and you’re
not tough enough you know? I and I hate that macho posturing.
I’ve met some of the people who’ve done this and, honestly, in real life,
they’re not like that at all. So it bothers me when they have
this… There’s a there’s a word called persona. Persona and the word
personality comes from it and it really means that my personality is the noise.
Sonar, sonic. My personality is the noise that I make. The other day we’re
joking about this thing called the brosona You know? That’s the whole “Hey man
you ain’t tough enough, man. You come to my gym, I’ll show you what skull
Crusher’s are like. Bro hey it’s all you man. you just gotta be tougher yeah. If
you’re not bleeding on the bar you’re a pansy.” Yeah okay. Yeah that’s your brosona,
which I thought was hilarious but I might be all by myself there. So yeah
let’s do this Zachery. Do it and I need a, I need a small favor from you. Keep
your reps on this, keep them a little bit higher and all you’re doing is, you’re
just gonna do the double kettlebell front squats, keep the reps higher
than the 5/3/1. I would say, like I mean, probably eight to tens and just live at
that. Do a couple sets of eight to ten and just see how that back responds okay?
It’s an interesting question. You have my permission
anytime, anyplace to replace anything you’d like okay? I use this big-picture
approach that I first picked up from the East Germans. Of course, that’s a long time
ago just saying East Germans. That sets us back into the to the 80s, actually in
my case I think I learned about this in the 70s, and it’s this idea of building
an athlete and building a year and I just always loved the way it was
explained. The three words are accumulation, intensification,
transformation and you’ll notice that I have programs called transformation
programs. So I think one mistakes a lot of people make is they don’t
accumulate anymore. They get a program, they buy a book and that’s it.
This is the program do that I’m going to do. And I’m not ripping on anybody but let’s just say it’s Marty Gallagher’s
program So twice a year I’m gonna do 12
weeks of squat, deadlift, bench press. Well that’s great. Marty’s programs are
phenomenal, but don’t forget Marty came from an Olympic lifting background and I
sure, I’m sure and I know that Marty knows a whole bunch about bodybuilding
stuff, but when you read his programs you’re reading that narrow focus at
the next two levels. So when you first get involved in our field of fitness,
strength and conditioning, whatever you want to call it this week, the fitness
industry, you know, you might learn all about machines, and there’s nothing
wrong with machines, and then maybe you should flitter over to calisthenics for a while.
Then maybe you should learn gymnastics Then the Olympic lifts and the power lifts
and then this exercise in the kettlebell world and the suspension training world,
and this, and this. You want to accumulate as much knowledge and physical knowledge.
It’s not just intellectual here. It’s that movement family you need to master. Once
you figure out from there what works for you, or in my case where we’re heading
with our goal set, then we’re gonna up a few of those numbers. So in if you wanna be a
better discus thrower, well you’re gonna have to throw the discus and maybe do
one or two other fun things and then. But then you have to snatch and clean and
jerk or snatch and clean depending what kind of program you’re doing. And as you
get stronger, and stronger, and stronger and those two, two, three, four lifts and
the throwing, pretty soon those other fun things that you doing have to drop off
too because now you’re transforming into an elite thrower. Now the mistake I often
make. I wish had one more word to share but I used the word transform in two
different ways in this model. The first is to transform you into, well what, the
goal we settled on. Elite discus thrower, 7% body fat, 6% percent body fat,
whatever it is. And I also use the word transform one other way. Once you get
to that place, once you get. You got your goal, you breathe out,
everybody hugs you, you have the big party, you get the trophy you get the
picture, then we need to transform you back into
accumulation again. So transformation is a big kind of flip. We’re going, we’re
getting more, and more, and more, and more specific, and then this turn happens and
we slide back down to accumulation again. I had a question the other day about
absolute specificity and I thought very few people can make specificity work. In
fact, I don’t know if I’ve ever made it. The the joke I used not long ago
with Pat Flynn was somebody at one time told me that to throw the discus far, I
should do this dumbbell fly exercise. That is as stupid as anything I’ve ever
heard in my life because as you go across the ring you don’t suddenly pec
fly the discus out there. It’s a, it’s like a rubber band. It’s a stretch reflex.
It’s like a bow and arrow. All your chest does is snap like that.
You don’t throw it. You don’t throw it. You become this massive rubber band that
snaps the implement in the sector. This person thought there was sports
specificity and they picked the worst example you could possibly think of. I
get this all the time. “I do a one-legged sports, so I just do one legged lifts.”
Well, well, maybe on the other, I mean if you’re a long jumper going off your left
leg, you know, long term, you probably want to balance that right leg off. But
asymmetry is part of the price you pay for elite performance. You’re not going to
be… I’ve been around a lot of elite athletes and a lot of you know high-end
military, collision occupation people. Normal is the farthest thing they are
okay? Normal is over there somewhere. This is where we are. So one of the things I’d
like you to think about as you move through your your fitness acknowledge. I
think it’s really important you read up
on all kinds of different opposing nutritional points of view. The carnivore
diet versus vegan. I think you’ll learn much from both. There’s a book that says
you should work for two hours, sleep for one and of course most of us think you
should just get a good night’s sleep. Eight or nine hours. I think it really
helps to have those conflicting concepts in your head. You should learn power
lifts. You should learn Olympic lifts. You should learn hardstyle kettlebell but
you should learn the sport of kettlebells too. Different techniques
there because you want to accumulate as much knowledge. Mental, physical and every
other “al” you can think of, and slowly intensify it by the things that work for
you. And then transform for a bit and then slide back down and repeat it. We
call this the AIT: accumulate, intensify, and transform. When my brothers were
young getting ready to go off to Vietnam, we had AIT. It was called Advanced Infantry
Training. Not the same thing. I hope that helps. Thanks so much. Now listen folks, if
you have questions, we’d really prefer that you send them to
[email protected] It’ll just keep everything in one place. It’s much easier
for us to answer those questions when we get them because then they’re all in one
pile and it’s easy to get to. With Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, the Daniel John site on
Facebook, the Dan John Strength Coach site on Facebook, the messages that come
in the DMs, the emails and the phone calls. That’s ten different ways that I
get questions. I tell you, if you want questions answered here, the easiest way
is just email us at: [email protected] Well I’m looking forward
to next week already. I really enjoy answering these questions.
I’m always here for you. Please enjoy the site. It’s blowing up and more stuff is
coming up almost every day. I’m here to help. I’m Dan John. Thank you so much

6 thoughts on “Episode 6

  1. That person from Canada's latest book is excellent , as is W.Edwards Deming's "Out of the Crises". BTW still havent read that fractals book, too intrigued by Fibonacci series at the moment.

  2. Hi dan,
    •Is it okay to do olympic lifting barefoot or is having weightlifting shoes necessary?
    •what %rm and rep range is recommended for snatch so that one never misses (and drops the bar bothering the people downstairs)? When and how much should load be increased in such a situation?

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