Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Wise Words From Dan John

Recently, I had a wonderful opportunity to hear Dan John live at a wonderful workshop hosted by my colleague Rick Kaselj of Exercise for Injuries. For years I have followed Coach John's work and every time I read one of his articles or watch one of his DVD's, I always come away wiser. I often refer to him as one of the wisest strength coaches. Here are some helpful gems from Dan John that I thought you might find helpful for your training. Enjoy.

Any idiot can make someone tired. If you want a program to get you tired, do 10,000 jumping jacks. You will be tired, but you won't be better. Training to get better at something is a whole different story.

"Squats don't hurt your knees. The way you squat hurts your knees, but squats don't hurt your knees."
"Swings don't hurt your back. The way you swing hurts your back, but swings don't hurt your back."
Translation: if you have a health problem with your knees or back, get it checked out and follow the proper medical advice. Otherwise, if you are doing squats or swings and they are hurting your knees or back, then you are doing them wrong - fix your technique. 

Be reasonable with your expectations

If you start a diet or exercise program - FINISH IT!

If you want to try a new thing (e.g. supplement, exercise), get on a solid diet and training program and then add that one thing - and only that one thing. Then see what happens. Most people try adding a bunch of new things at the same time and then can't tell what worked and what didn't.

Fat loss: a food journal and inefficient exercise (e.g. swings - you don't even go anywhere). 

Fat loss is a problem that can be solved - not a mystery.

Most females eat way too little protein.

For love you are bigger than you are (i.e. love is a great motivator that can help you do things you thought you could not).

Don't focus on the goal, focus on the bigger picture - the mission!

Athletic performance: a balance of strength throughout the body is more important than being amazing at one lift (e.g. bench press). Correcting strength imbalances will improve performance and prevent injury.

Reflect back on some of the worst things that have happened to you in life. Often they lead to some of the best things. 

Health is the optimal interplay of the human organs (Maffetone) 

Health is important. Daily do the little things that make you healthy (e.g. wear a seat belt, eat more vegetables).

Floss 2x per day. Inflammation caused by dental issues can be harmful to your heart.

Fitness is the ability to do a task. 

Most people think they should train like NFL football players (i.e. a high number of qualities at a very elite level). Most people should keep things simple and focus on joint mobility and building lean muscle. As you age, place an ever-greater emphasis on these qualities. 

The stronger you are, the more wiggle room you have with your diet.

Focus on excellence in movement/technique.

Do loaded carries (e.g. farmer's walks, sled pulls, etc)

When in doubt, do Goblet Squats and Farmer's Walks.

Training glutes and rhomboids (the muscles between your shoulder blades) make you look and feel younger.

Plyometrics work well one time

Train outside when you can

Train with a heart rate monitor - see what different exercises do

Eat like an adult (I'll expand on this shortly)

From left to right: Johann Windt (my training partner, former student, friend and colleague), Coach Dan John and Me 

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