T Nation

Dan John Prime Time: Monday

I’ve been sitting in line for a couple of days waiting for “Sith” to open, but I had some people hook me up to Internet access. I know it is hard to believe, but quite a few people in this line seem pretty computer savvy. Also, don’t get started talking about “Dungeons and Dragons” these guys either.

(The guy next to me told everybody that he once had a date with a girl…so, I need to hear this…post any questions you would like for tonight’s discussions)

Topic Ideas:

Thriving and Surviving in today’s world
Long term training
Combining diet and training…

I’d like to hear your thoughts on balance.

Balance between work, home, family, training, relaxation, personal endeavors, learning, etc.

No specific question here…just a random thought at this time.

TB

I would like to know what your nutritional recomendations are for the day of a competition.

You know, this was the topic of my boot camp presentation for Charles Staley in October. I have a small little idea, that I learned in the second grade. There are four things:

Play
Pray
Work
Rest

Now, prayer can be just personal reflection…or just private time.

My idea is this: most of us naturally view “increasing” work as the logic way to do things in life. More money? Work more. Less bodyfat? Work more.

Yet, I argue that when you expand one of these four factors (Play, Pray, Work, Rest) you MUST expand the other three, too. If you decide to train harder, you must rest HARDER. Hard rest? Sure, hot tub, massage, smarter supplements, more meals before training, better sleep. You must also have more damn fun!!!

I’ll see if I have this written up in a better way somewhere, I am pretty sure I do.

This is my secret and I know…I mean, I know I know (a much higher level of “know”)…that if you don’t regard all four factors, sooner or later you crash and burn.

Some jackass in a bodybuilding forum made fun of me for a. wearing a lifting suit at a lifting meet and b. an article that I wrote on steroids. His insight? Well, at the ripe old age of 20, he didn’t see any problems with drugs. Ah…I can’t wait to deal with this lad either in real life or when he is crying like a fourth grade girl when he is an adult.

Being a jackass is fine when you are young. Mom and Dad will bail you out, the school system will bail you out, your therapist/counselor will bail you out, systems will take care of you. One day, you need balance…as no one is going to be there.

So, the sooner one decides to hold things in balance…the easier it is long term. On my website, I have some free books
http://danjohn.org/coach
and one is a little book I wrote for my daughter on her 8th grade graduation. I think some of this is discussed there, too.

Day of? That is the tough one. It DOESN’T matter, by the way. I have had the flu and puked up breakfast and thrown well. Yuri Sedyk doesn’t eat the day of comps at all…a little coffee…which is why, and I quote, “I hate late meets.”

Usual rules: something that you trust, something that allows normal bowels. As I recently rediscovered: avoid shellfish. (What the hell was I thinking?)

If you are a low or zero carber, a sudden carb influx can give you the farts…trust me. Now, at a track meet, not a big deal. At an O lifting meet with a quiet auditorium watching you lift, you will remembered forever.

Having said all this, I still like the standard eggs and oatmeal for breakfast, tons of water, a pot or two of coffee (no, not for the zing, but to help…ahem…move things along. Lunch is a tough one. Last weekend, in Arizona, no lunch, we competed from 9 to about 3. That’s the way it goes. If you have an evening comp, I would usually look for a Subway sandwich place. On the road, Subway feels cleaner to the system than fatty salt filled burgers. Mexican food is great AFTER…rarely before. Especially on the road.

So:

  1. Avoid Shellfish
  2. Eat “normal”…try to get some protein at every meal
  3. “Hydrate” as the kids call it today. We used to call it “Drink Water.”
  4. The best “on the road” advice I know is to have room service bring your breakfast. Not only is it another wake up call, but you can eat your eggs, steak, fruit, whatever, drink you pot of coffee, in your undies, and relax. If nature calls, you answer. It is also VERY cheap to eat breakfast in your room (trust me, been there/done that…breakfast is cheaper in the room).
  5. Supplements are best after you compete. I mean, I LOVE fish oil, but nerves and fish oil lead to freaking fish oil burps that knock the paint off the walls…

Im in need to correct my posture, so I will stay abway from normal benching for a while.

What is a better movement to replace the flat bench:
-dips
-Closed grip-bench
-decline closed-grip bench
-other
?

thx for answering

Incline Bench Presses. The best of the bunch. Dips hurt a lot of guys in the middle of the sternum and…well, I just don’t think they are cool. The incline is just one of those lifts that seems to work really well for most people.

[quote]ecke2 wrote:
Im in need to correct my posture, so I will stay abway from normal benching for a while.

What is a better movement to replace the flat bench:
-dips
-Closed grip-bench
-decline closed-grip bench
-other
?

thx for answering[/quote]

I like CG Bench with elbows at 45 degrees or even closer to torso. My shoulders don’t like Dips… but this is a very individual thing.

first question: how inclined do you recommend for incline benches?

second question: on your site you have charts of the old York courses (well duh, there aren’t any NEW York courses). What do you think of the “one set per exercise/multiple exercises per session” approach? Louis Abele used a similar method, but for hypertrophy training. He seemed to favor the “pick one exercise per sesion and work the ever-lovin’ crap out of it” for strength gains.

BTW, I tried your 40-day workout (10 days worth, anyway) and loved it. My RDL’s really improved. Did 'em your way, with toes on plates and focusing on the “bow”. Just wanted to say thanks.

Good morning Dan.

  1. How many days per week do you lift weights? 3 right? (Mon, Wed, Fri) and the other days you do your walking, football, etc correct?

  2. How often do you do your “hardcore” conditioning workout (Tabata, hill sprints, etc) for heart health and fat maintenance?

  3. If one of my goals is to lower my bodyfat levels (they are already decently low) should I do more cardio and/or more intense cardio or focus more on my diet or should I do both?

  4. If one of my goals is to be able to clean and press a 100 lb dumbbell and overhead squat bodyweight for a single, then do you recommend I “grease the groove” Pavel style and lift 4-5 times per week but using very low reps (singles) and medium sets?

43.2 degrees. Any deviation will lead to the end of civilization as we know it.

I don’t think it reall matters. I think mine is 45 degrees, but a little higher or lower won’t matter. In fact, why don’t you try a couple of different choices and give it a couple of days. Now I find that “lower” seems to allow more weight, but I’m not sure that that is better.

I forgot the rest…I will be right back…

You may be the only person not to have read the article “The One Lift a Day Program” in the archives! I think one lift a day is like the best thing ever.

The York idea of just doing one set with a bunch of lifts isn’t bad, but I really think you have to think through the weight choices. That’s why I liked York…maybe…Course Three. You did one weight for the groups of lifts. Not a bad idea.

The courses needed some updating and I had a whole series of discussions with Andy Fochtman about this…it might be in my Q and A section…

http://danjohn.org/coach

  1. How many days per week do you lift weights? 3 right? (Mon, Wed, Fri) and the other days you do your walking, football, etc correct?

DJ: Nope. I lift every day. I pick one lift and do it, then either sled, sprint, bike, whatever, and I throw “something” every day, too.

  1. How often do you do your “hardcore” conditioning workout (Tabata, hill sprints, etc) for heart health and fat maintenance?

DJ: I hide from this hard stuff as much as I can. Usually, Tabata Front Squat once a month (far away from competition) and sleds/hills up to three times a week.

  1. If one of my goals is to lower my bodyfat levels (they are already decently low) should I do more cardio and/or more intense cardio or focus more on my diet or should I do both?

DJ: I agree with Poloquin on this: cardio has a very small role in fat loss. Walking (hiking and biking and rollerblading) are good for the mind, relationships, the dog and recovery…but not a superior fat loss method. I still think training compound lifts for 8-10 reps with a one minute rest is the best way to lose fat…actually, the “best” is lipo and probably some combination of things that could stop your heart, but…

  1. If one of my goals is to be able to clean and press a 100 lb dumbbell and overhead squat bodyweight for a single, then do you recommend I “grease the groove” Pavel style and lift 4-5 times per week but using very low reps (singles) and medium sets?

Good goals. These are so reasonable, you should be able to reach them doing practically anything, but Pavel’s approach is “almost” certain for these two.

[quote]Danny John wrote:

  1. How many days per week do you lift weights? 3 right? (Mon, Wed, Fri) and the other days you do your walking, football, etc correct?

DJ: Nope. I lift every day. I pick one lift and do it, then either sled, sprint, bike, whatever, and I throw “something” every day, too.

  1. How often do you do your “hardcore” conditioning workout (Tabata, hill sprints, etc) for heart health and fat maintenance?

DJ: I hide from this hard stuff as much as I can. Usually, Tabata Front Squat once a month (far away from competition) and sleds/hills up to three times a week.

  1. If one of my goals is to lower my bodyfat levels (they are already decently low) should I do more cardio and/or more intense cardio or focus more on my diet or should I do both?

DJ: I agree with Poloquin on this: cardio has a very small role in fat loss. Walking (hiking and biking and rollerblading) are good for the mind, relationships, the dog and recovery…but not a superior fat loss method. I still think training compound lifts for 8-10 reps with a one minute rest is the best way to lose fat…actually, the “best” is lipo and probably some combination of things that could stop your heart, but…

  1. If one of my goals is to be able to clean and press a 100 lb dumbbell and overhead squat bodyweight for a single, then do you recommend I “grease the groove” Pavel style and lift 4-5 times per week but using very low reps (singles) and medium sets?

Good goals. These are so reasonable, you should be able to reach them doing practically anything, but Pavel’s approach is “almost” certain for these two. [/quote]

Thanks a lot! Great stuff as always!

If I lifted say 8-10 reps w/one minute rest in between sets on overhead squats for “fat loss,” would that also help w/my max strength goal of being able to overhead squat bodyweight for a single?

Briefly, how would you train say a basketball player (high school/college) in season and off season? I guess what I’m mainly looking for is: frequency of weightlifting workouts, volume, intensity, exercise selection, etc. Say the b-ballers play 2 games per week in season.

Thanks Dan.

Do you include milk in your meat, berries, leaves diet?

Dan do you do any rotator cuff exersises at the end of your workouts. I know people will say that you will get imbalances and injuries but you’ve been lifting for a while and you never have mentioned injurying your rotator cuff. Also would you recomend the 1 lift a day program to a highschool freshman or is it to much.

Rotator Cuff exercises? No. God no. I would be kicked out of my gym.

Basketball players…well, I worked with the Jazz guys for a year or so, Walt Palmer, Big Al, Ike Austin for a few workouts, Eaton…and here is how you train them.

You don’t. God makes them seven feet. I’m sure if you could get them to lift and do some other stuff…I know the Chicago Bulls have luck with this…they improve, but I discovered that my skills and talents are best used other than with basketball players.

Meat, Leaves and Berries…generally…is Meat, Leaves and Berries. You can do anything you like, of course, but try the basic plan and see how it goes…

One Lift A Day for a frosh presupposes that the athlete would have the background and knowledge to do just one lift. I think you would find better progress with a traditional program…or a push/pull/squat week…than one lift here.

The complex varitations of the various equations used to maipulate the multitude of programs available for altering your physique, written by qualified researchers and studied by practical application leads me to conclude that no matter how much we like to give lip service to the K.I.S.S. principle, in the end, we ask far too many questions and are constantly looking for the ‘perfect’ approach. :slight_smile:

Whew, big words wear me out!!! My hats off to Dan John, who pointed out to me via an email, that ‘everything works, for a while’, when I asked a rather repetitive question about a training program. I’ve decided that at my age, and considering my profession, OLAD works extremely well for me. Simple workout, excellent results.

As for diet, ‘The Anabolic Diet’ is what I’m doing, easy and simple. See where I’m going with this. My life is already as complicated as I want it to be without adding TUT, set/rep, bodytype, excercise choice, tricep kickback, swissball body art, powerrack curls, macronutrient intake and breakdown, and other stuff underemployed 18-24yr olds do. (Not a flame) Most of this stuff is written for students and people with sitdown jobs (physically not demanding).

I’m able to train without obsessing on it. Same with eating. I work hard (physically), and I have a family life. Simple is the only way I like it nowadays. Again, this is not a flame to anyone, just an obsevation on my part. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

Sorry, but I just HAD to repost this.

I partially tore a pec tendon when I first started lifting about 7 years ago on the bench press. I didn’t receive surgery (they said you only require surgery when you fully tear a tendon) but did do extensive physical therapy and have gotten much better. I’ll always have a slight disfiguration on my left shoulder/pec, but it’s gotten much better. It was the WORST pain in my life by far.

I was active duty Air Force when I did this. I tend to think these factors contributed to my injury: weight was too heavy for me, form was bad (I was not controlling the weight enough), didn’t stretch back then and was very new to lifting weights. I became a static stretching fanatic and pushup fanatic because I became very fearful of lifting heavy weights and the bench press. Plus in the military we do many many pushups as we all know. I progressed to not even being able to do a single pushup on my knees or even hang on a pullup bar to now where I can do a single of the one arm/one leg pushup,one handstand pushup on chairs, 50 regular pushups, 12 pullups, a single pullup w/50 additional pounds, overhead press a 65lb dumbbell while standing.

Questions are:

  1. What factors do you think caused this injury? Are my theories (too heavy of a weight, new to lifting, didn’t statically stretch back then, bad form-bouncing not controlling, etc) pretty accurate?

  2. Should I make lifting heavy weights my primary goal (like I asked before w/the 100 lb dumbbell press and bodyweight overhead squat)or should I continue doing a lot of bodyweight stuff to get stronger? I want to be really strong but there’s always a small fear that I’ll tear that tendon again. Needless to say I don’t bench press but I do dumbbell bench presses every once in a while just to “test” the old injury and yesterday I did 65 lbs no problem but the “healthy” fear is there.