Dan John on ‘Reasonable’

There’s a reason that I quote and refer to and invoke the name of Dan John with regularity.   This captures it as well as anything he’s written.  

Selected quote:

Let’s just get this out first: I believe that a Reasonable Way of Eating and a Reasonable Training model trump insanity all the time.
So, in my last few workshops, I have gone to the whiteboard and scribbled illegibly in my scrawl that earned “D’s” in handwriting at St. Veronica’s School and asked these questions:

What’s a tough workout?
Dozens of hands go up, dozens of answers.
I truly enjoy this part as we swim from totally random training programs to sports (“Run a Marathon!”) to a multitude of DVD programs and the like. There are programs that can kill and programs that have from 16-50% injury rates in six weeks. Remember, this is a roomful of fitness pros and we still all think we need to kill you to make progress.

What’s a reasonable workout?
A few hands go up, a few shy answers like “Even Easier Strength”
I discuss “hand waving” again and again in my writings. It is this side-to-side handshaking wiggle we do with both hands followed by our mouths saying “You know” and our shoulders shrugging. With reasonable, sadly, we seem to NOT know. I argue that reasonable workouts cover all the basic human movements in a repeatable repetition scheme and appropriate load while providing plenty of time and energy for corrective work in any and all areas. Reasonable seems repeatable.

What’s a tough diet or way of eating?
Most hands go up with everything from pure fasting, protein drink only diets to sheer lunacy.
I had a girlfriend who had a three-day diet. Day One she ate seven eggs. Only. That was it for the whole day. Day Two, she had seven oranges and Day Three was seven bananas. She would lose seven pounds doing this. That, my friends, is a tough diet. I would probably find a three-day fast easier as my blood sugar will go crazy on the fruit days and turn me ravenous. Oh, on Day Five? She put on nine pounds.

What’s a reasonable diet or way of eating?
Blank uncomfortable stares. As a classroom teacher of over 34 years, my one fear has always been passing gas out loud during a lecture. As the group stares back at me, I have one of two thoughts: either I farted or we have a problem.
I checked. It wasn’t me.
Seriously, some of the biggest names in the fitness industry won’t raise their hands and tell me what a reasonable way of eating is in this age of one million diets.
Years ago, at the Olympic Training Center, we were told to focus on these three things:
Clear Water

Is there anything stunning there? Later, Robb Wolf summarized the most complex eating program (dozens of books by the same author promising all kinds of things and the problem is always that you don’t do it right) in the world with these three memorable lines:
More Protein
More Fiber
More Fish Oil
Please note: I have stolen both of these concepts and I now claim them as my own. Remember, the first time I say something: I am quoting someone. The second time I say something :I say “My good friend, fill in the name, always says….” The third time I say something, I say “As I always say…” This is what I remember from my ethics class on the topic of Intellectual Property.
As I argued in Mass Made Simple, I think we know how to eat:
Honestly, seriously, you don’t know what to do about food? Here is an idea: Eat like an
adult. Stop eating fast food, stop eating kid’s cereal, knock it off with all the sweets and
comfort foods whenever your favorite show is not on when you want it on, ease up on
the snacking and— don’t act like you don’t know this— eat vegetables and fruits more.
Really, how difficult is this? Stop with the whining. Stop with the excuses. Act like an
adult and stop eating like a television commercial. Grow up. Now, let’s get back to the point: Eat like an adult!


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