Eric: Hey, everybody. This is Eric with the Future of Fitness Podcast and Fitness Marketing Alliance, and this was a really, really cool interview for me personally, I have to say. It went much longer than what we would normally do. It was about a 90-minute interview, but Dan John has been a major influence in my fitness coaching career, and hopefully you know who he is. Hopefully he’s a man that has to go without introduction, but in case you don’t know who he is, he is a long-time athlete and long-time coach. He’s an author of at least six books. He’s competed in track and field as a discus thrower, he’s competed in the Highland Games, he’s competed in multiple different … And he still competes. I think when I talked to him he was preparing for an Olympic Lifting Meet in the age of, somewhere, he’s in his 50s now.
But the special thing about Dan John is that he can take an incredible amount of experience and information and boil it down to the simplest forms. During this conversation he really honed in on the little things that he’s done consistently over time that’s made him a huge success in the fitness industry. So tune in, pick up every little bit you can, because this is a highly valuable interview. Without further adieu, Dan John.
Hey, everybody, this is Eric with the Fitness Marketing Alliance, and I am extremely excited to be here with Coach Dan John. Dan is a legend in the strength game. He is an author. He is a father, a grandfather as well. And also what I would like to call a warrior poet. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you, Dan, I think three times now: twice at Strength Matters Summits, you gave a handful of presentations there on various topics, then I also had one of the highlights of my coaching career, I think it was a three-day intensive program with you and a small handful of people. I think it was right before you published your book Can You Go? So was that 2015?
Dan John: Where was that?
Eric: That was in La Jolla.
Dan John: Wow! Yeah, that’s right. That was The Art of Coaching.
Eric: Yeah, that was it. And you gave … That’s right. That was when you … I think the four-part assessment came out. Maybe that was right when you were honing that.
Dan John: Yeah, it would have been towards the … After, yeah. You guys probably had books, because it was … Who knows? Yeah, it was … And you remember I was trying to teach and had the personal trainers right behind you guys doing stuff.
Eric: Yeah, I do. I also remember you permanently fixed my pushup. That’s another story, but some things I really didn’t realize that my shoulder was pretty junked up, and right away you got it just from looking at like two pushups, and it was this part of my hand came up. Remember?
Dan John: Right. Yeah, I remember that. So every single pushup you did was-
Eric: Yeah. Yeah, it’s gotten better. I can’t say it’s perfect, but it’s gotten better, Coach. You know, just from a personal note, you’ve been a huge influence on my coaching career. I think the most impressive thing that really attracted me to you and your writing and you as a coach was that you take all of these years of experience and you boil it down into the simplest possible terms that we can digest as fitness professionals.
Dan John: Well, bu the hard thing is is that no matter what I do people still misunderstand me. Can I talk [inaudible 00:03:40]?
Dan John: Well, I’ll go in as much depth as you want, but-
Eric: Yep, I’ve got all day.
Dan John: This is for personal trainers, right?
Eric: Right, fitness professionals as a whole.
Dan John: Oh, okay. So the biggest problem, and I talk about this all the time, is that people have a world view, a paradigm about things, and it’s very difficult to push past that, and you’ve got to give me a few seconds. This is a standard thing when I talk, to personal trainers especially. In theology there’s a word called steno symbol, steno, S-T-E-N-O, you flip that and it’s O-N-E. A steno symbol is a word, a phrase, a concept with one meaning. So this is my desk right here. So if we’re on the beach and a woman walks past us and I elbowed you and I stay, “She’s so desk.” You’d be like, “[inaudible 00:04:39].”
Eric: I would think you were crazy.
Dan John: Is desk is this thing right there. A great example would be the word “gay”. 100 years ago gay meant happy. You can’t call up your parents tonight and say, “Mom, Dad, I’m gay.” And have them hear anything but one thing, good or bad. Now, in the fitness world we are stuck in paradigms. So I’ll go to a workshop and they’ll say, “Dan, talk about getting people stronger.” And I’ll say, “For what?” “You know, like throwing the discus farther for an off-season football player.” And I’ll go, “Okay.” Someone’s hand will go up, “What about burpees?” “What about burpees?” “Well, where are they in your program?” “Well, they’re not in my program. You said to get stronger.” “Oh, yeah, well, they burn fat.” “Well, I think you burn fat on a barbecue, but I digress.” I didn’t take physiology, but I know that’s not true.
Most people have this bodybuilding paradigm that, “I’m going to do hypertrophy work and I’m going to do some jump stuff, eat chicken and broccoli, and then I’ll have the body of my dreams.” And that’s just great for you, good for you. But the downside of the body of your dreams, you still might not be able to perform. You still might not be stronger. You might look better, but in most sports no one cares how you look. No one cares how you look. People used to make fun of Charles Barkley, the Round Mound. Yeah? You go play Charles Barkley. A buddy of mine, I used to work with a local professional team here, and they would talk about certain people in the league like Karl Malone. Trying to get around Karl Malone, trying to get around Charles Barkley. So who cares? I mean, obviously Malone was in pretty good shape, but Barkley, no. But, you had to get around him.
So, “Maybe we could take Barkley in an off-season program, have him do a bunch of burpees, lean him down to 80, 90 pounds, and then he’s no longer in the league.” This is the first problem we have when we talk to people. Most people who are even listening, when I say weightlifting their mind goes to desk. Their mind goes to gay. Their thought is, “Lose body fat, hypertrophy work.” I didn’t say “build muscle”, I said hypertrophy work”.
So when clients come in and I say to a client, a typical everybody else person, you know, coming into a gym, “What do you want?” Their steno symbol … Okay, when your mom said, “Did you do your homework?” You said, “Yes. Yes, I did.” Because that’s how you and your mom talked. I mean, I could have family members calling me up right after an operation when I’m still bleeding out, “Danny, how are you doing?” “I’m doing fine.” Because that is the steno symbol to, “How are you doing?” You know? You don’t say, “Hey, Merry Christmas.” The response isn’t, “Up yours!” It’s just-
Eric: Well, not in your family.
Dan John: Huh?
Eric: Not in your family.
Dan John: So these are kind of built-in mindsets. So when people come in to talk with me I hear, “I want to lose weight.” And I break that off with, “Well, I’ll just cut your leg off because you’ll lose weight then. Ha ha.” But, “I want to lose fat.” “Oh.” Because that’s always what they say. Then when I say, “What do you mean by that?” They don’t have a response. When I tell them, here’s the other side, and then when I say, “I want you to eat more meat, more protein, more veggies, more water, take fish oil.” They hear, “Starvation.” When I say, “I’d like to get you a little stronger, do some movement.” They hear, “Throw up sweaty mess.”
So before, and this is … Here’s the thing. We probably already have people clicking off like, “Who cares about this?” Folks, this is the communication problems you’re having. “Did you do your homework?” “Yes. Yes, I did.” “Well, show it to me.” “Oh, that homework.” So, you know, it’s like those … You remember the two questions that I ask of everybody? “Do you eat colorful vegetables?” And, “Do you exercise half an hour a day?” Everybody says, “Yes. Yes, I do.”
Here’s the funny thing. If you ate colorful vegetables every day, not a ton, just any, and you exercised half an hour, you would never need to hire me or you. But they say they do. So then I say, because I think I have the gravity, I can say to them, “Well, then I can’t work with you because you’re already doing what I was going to tell you to do.” Then, all of a sudden they realize that I just smashed their steno symbol, and now we can finally talk.
But as you learned in the one, two, three, four assessment [inaudible 00:09:53], is that the next step is I need to give people what they need, not what they want. The problem is, I don’t know what parenting is like now, but my job raising my daughters was to make sure they had their needs, not their wants. You might want a pony, and that’s nice, but you need to go to school, you need to read great books, you need to eat home-cooked meals, at least twice a day. School lunch is school lunch. But you don’t … In our family you don’t get treats for doing your damn homework, that’s your job. I don’t care if you want a treat for doing your homework, you need to do your homework. Do you follow my [inaudible 00:10:34] here?
Eric: Yeah, and the question I have for you on that is, so you do have the gravity to tell people what they need. For most fitness professionals, especially those who are just getting started in their one to five-year point, in some way they need to give them what they want until they’ve earned that right to give them what they need.
Dan John: Okay. That’s not have you do it. The bulk of the men I know need mobility work. They need free movement around the joints. But if I just gave them mobility, they’d never come back. So what I try to do is mix, for me, what they need, mobility, with hypertrophy, which is what they want. So between every set of hypertrophy work, we do anywhere from original strength movement, to a bird dog, to a suspension trainer movement, to a … So, “You’re going to do a set of presses with your right arm, and then we’re going to do a stretch, and then a set of presses with your left arm. And oh how happy you are, because you’re building muscle on your shoulder and your greater [inaudible 00:11:38] and your outer [inaudible 00:11:40], and your whatever. You know? But what I’m getting is you more mobile.
The funny thing is, if you do hook mobility and hypertrophy together, they actually work together. Very few qualities work together. Let me just give you the quick two. Strength and flexibility, because they’re both neurological; they’re neurological tricks; work well together. For example, that’s why when I first started Olympic lifting I needed more flexibility and more strength, and I was able to make great progress, and then the hormonal cascade hit me because of the load, and I put on all of this body weight. The other thing that works well together seems to be is hypertrophy and mobility. Those two things work well.
There’s not a lot of qualities that work well together. I mean, I keep hearing people say, long-distance running and power-lifting. I’m like, “[inaudible 00:12:31]!” Because that’s what I hear. You know? “I want to be an offensive lineman and a female Olympic gymnast.” That’s what I hear when people tell me their goals. “You want to weigh 340 pounds at 6’8″?” “Yes.” “You want to be a female Olympic gymnast?” “Yes.”
Now, you laugh, but that’s what most people’s goals are, you know, that 52 year old woman, and God bless her, you know, she wants to look like she did before she was 14, and hit secondary puberty, they had three kids, and then didn’t exercise for 40 years, 30 years. You know, give me more than two weeks, okay? Give me three on that, to turn that thing around. But that’s how … The very first thing I think we need to do is first kind of wrap your arms around this idea that your worldview, yours, your, I’m talking to you, your world view, in some cases, it’s hypertrophy work, bodybuilding work, and a long treadmill. That doesn’t cut it for most of your clients.
A guy like me, when I first started I thought the answer to all questions were the Olympic lifts. I was wrong. I was wrong. But for the clients I was working with, I was absolutely right. Then, the second state is that you have to get into this idea, “I have to give people what they want and what they need.” Read a good … Honestly, people ask me, “Are there good coaching books out there?” And I say sometimes, I always go, you know, there’s a great book, I couldn’t tell you the author because I’ve bought the book probably 12 times and given it … I think his name is Wong, W-O-N-G, but it’s called The First Three Days of School. And he wrote a book about establishing everything in the first three days. I’ve gotten so much insight out of that book because it’s such a brilliant book, because once you set up the standards, and the rules, and everything else, the school year is simple.
Good parenting books are often good coaching books, because good mothers and fathers, parents, have the ability to … Ah, here’s a quick one. You tell your child who’s five, “Do you want to go to Taco Bell or Jack in the Box, or Wendy’s?” You’re too stupid to be a parent. You’re in charge. If they don’t want to eat what you made, they go to bed hungry. They’ll learn quickly. We’ve got to get ourselves out of this idea as coaches that we’re a modern parent who throws … All these teachers, if you show up on time to a thing they give you a piece of candy. Well, no wonder we’re an obese culture. If you’re constantly being rewarded for what you’re supposed to do you’ll never learn.
The first thing you need to do with your client, in fact, I’ve got a phrase out of the book Mass Made Simple that I see on memes all the time. My sister loves the fact that I get memed. She thinks it’s hilarious. She just things it’s hilarious. There’s one called Eat Like an Adult. That’s my dining advice. And people, “Well, what do you mean by that?” “Well, if you don’t know what I mean by that, get out of the fitness business. If you don’t know how to eat like an adult … Really? It’s that hard?”
But here, this is the followup, people … it’s kind of a modern thing. I see it happen at my workshops all the time. A hand will go up. First off, any time a hand goes up I almost always want to say, “A question ends in a question mark. Or do you have a story about how wonderful you are?” And the thing I’ve noticed very recently in the last few years is when people’s hands go up at workshops they’re just trying to let the rest of the audience know either they’re smarter than me or more qualified than me.
Dan John: And yet, their ignorance that comes out of their mouth disqualifies them [crosstalk 00:16:38]. But you’ll ask me a question, okay, I’m going to say to you, “Eat like an adult.” And you’re going to say, “What do you mean by that.”
Eric: “What do you mean by that coach?”
Dan John: “You mean to eat like an adult? Well, it means, you know, eat real food, go to the store, make your own meals. It would be nice to make some meals from scratch. I would clean up after. I would eat as a family. How come that’s so foreign to you?” You’ve got to put it right back [crosstalk 00:17:11].
Eric: Oh, yeah.
Dan John: And you’ve got to kind of lean in like this and go, “Why do you think that’s so strange to shop and make your … ” And then I always tell women, I mean, “If you meet a guy who doesn’t understand that, run screaming. We can stop his DNA right now, this generation.”
Eric: Darwinism. Yeah, I mean, so many clients, and I’ve been in the fitness industry a long time. I’ve owned a gym for nine years. How many people if I say, “Hey, where’s the vegetables on your food diary?” Like, “Oh, I don’t like them. I just don’t like them.” And I’ve used that, like, “Well, all right. Eat like an adult.”
Dan John: Let me show you how easy it is to get [inaudible 00:18:00] vegetables. Welcome to my home everybody, this is my house. This [inaudible 00:18:05]. Let’s walk into my kitchen. Are you still with me?
Eric: We’re here.
Dan John: All right. See, there’s a bowl of avocados and lemons. Let me show you an easy … Oh, don’t look at that. My mother-in-law brought over something she wanted. But let me show you how easy it is to get vegetables okay? Oh, there you go, jicama, tomatoes, onions. Can you see this okay?
Dan John: So I buy about three or four of those a week, and that’s my snack. That’s my snack. And that’s my dog. He’s not happy [inaudible 00:18:47]. Okay, my point is, “Where are the vegetables?” We live in a culture where you can go to the store … And it’s funny because they’re already pre-made and pre-cut for us, and they’re cheaper. The pre-made, pre-cut ones are often cheaper than doing it yourself. Where are the vegetables? Why don’t you buy Progresso cans of vegetable soup? Why don’t you snack on that? “Well, isn’t there salt in there?” “Oh, I see, yeah. That can of vegetable soup is what put 100 pounds of body fat on. It wasn’t-“
Eric: Yeah. Let me segue that, because I think you … If anyone’s read your stuff or they’ve attended your seminars they know that you really … What was the book that you wrote with Josh Hillis? Fat Loss Starts on Mondays. Right?
Dan John: You mean this wonderful book?
Eric: Yep. Read it. Love it. Use it all the time. Now, you talk about-
Dan John: [crosstalk 00:19:49] why that was out, but go ahead.
Eric: Habit-based nutrition. Right? So taking that thought, and let’s move it over to, and let’s talk, you know, Joe or Susie trainer who’s a couple of years in the industry, great coach, but maybe just can’t find the clients, can’t get the clients in the door. What little habits did you do as you’ve been coming up as a coach and a trainer that made you successful from the standpoint of business and marketing? Things that you do on a daily, weekly basis?
Dan John: Wow. Got to be different. But let me share with you a couple of things that I do. I think I’ve been more than honest. I don’t think I’ve hidden anything, have I?
Eric: No, never. Not to my knowledge.
Dan John: So let’s do this. Let’s start with the food thing. Okay? Let’s start with that. Because I have this belief that fitness … it’s called the Four Rs now, it used to be called the Three Rs: fitness, finance, food, and relationships all have the exact same truths. Okay? It’s called the Four Fs. Okay? So do you have a menu for what you’re going to eat every night for dinner?
Dan John: You’re already behind on the eight ball. I’m already going to write more books than you this year, because I know every night of the week what I’m going to have for dinner, because I have a menu. And the menu hasn’t changed since my daughters were probably seven years old. Kelly is 27 and has two kids. The reason you have a menu is so that on Sunday after you eat you go shopping to the menu. What day of the week do you do your dark laundry?
Eric: No idea.
Dan John: Monday. What day of the week do you do white laundry? Tuesday. What day of the week do you clean your bathrooms? Wednesday. You’re going to miss the point of what I’m trying to say, but let me just say it right now. I have a white laundry basket. When I walk past it on Thursday and see that maybe there’s some sheets in there, for whatever reason we have sheets in there. My brain doesn’t see it, because Monday is white laundry day. So when I come home from shopping from the shopping list that’s on the refrigerator, and I can go show it to you if you want to see it, we make Monday night’s dinner. We make Sunday night’s dinner, but we also make Monday night’s … Well, start on Monday night’s dinner.
If it’s steak, salad and champagne, while we’re cooking up the Sunday special which is … Sunday is always different because it’s what you find at the store. Monday is always steak, salad and champagne. So Sunday night I’m going to brine the steak up. I’m going to pour boiling water with salt in them with a little bit of Worcestershire sauce, whatever, peppers and stuff like that, and let those steaks sit for 24 hours, because we might not buy the nicest kind of steaks, but 24 hours in a bath of that makes them phenomenal. So if I’m hungry at 3:00 in the afternoon, I don’t pull over, because I know I have delicious steaks sitting at home.
When I’m cleaning up the steaks, it’s an easy meal, either while doing the salad we’ll make Tuesday night’s meal. We just don’t want to do it [inaudible 00:23:27] … Just, this is my point. The more things you can compartmentalize in your life, basically turn them into checklists, the easier and simpler life becomes. In the world of food, have a menu. In the world of finance, there’s two things, there’s nothing … Well, here’s the overriding one on all of them, “Little and often over the long haul,” is the answer to most of human’s issues.
When it comes to food, a little thing like a menu done often works better for your body comp than all of the other nonsense you do. Having basically the same shopping list weekly is miles easier than inventing a new one every week. And you’re going to say, “Well, isn’t that boring?” The average American eats only 14 foods. Did you know that?
Eric: I had no idea. I think I eat more.
Dan John: Are you sure?
Eric: I’m not sure.
Dan John: Write it down. Count them up.
Eric: But I’ll find out by 5:00 p.m. today.
Dan John: If you start your day with Cheerios with milk and coffee, okay, that’s three foods. If you do that every day, that’s still three foods. So my argument is, you might as well pick the 14 foods. I mean, if your 14 foods are like blueberries, salmon, steak, coffee, broccoli, you know what I’m saying, cottage cheese, you’re going to be okay; unsalted almonds, those kinds of things. If that’s your … If the super foods are your 14, God bless you. You’re not going to suddenly go, “Oh my God. How did I get fat eating salmon and broccoli?” Well, good luck to do that, because those foods are satiating.
So I have, in fact, it’s right here on the back of my computer. You can’t see it. But would you mind linking this … Well, don’t worry about it. I have a pirate map that I follow every day. It’s a phrase I got from Pat Flynn. So I have a weightlifting meet in the last weekend of October. I’m 60, but I want to lift. I lift in meets when I can; Olympic lifts.
So I start my day the night before. Before I go to bed I make the coffee. The smell of coffee is what wakes me up in the morning. I wear my blue-blocking glasses if I’m watching TV or using the computer. I hot tub and ice shower every night before I go to bed after I take my supplements. Those four steps, like a dog turning around in a circle. When I wake up, the first thing I do is I have a moment of gratitude, and usually it’s … There’s a couple of things I’m very grateful for. Then I get on the floor and I do my Tim Anderson Original Strength to give me a couple of movements to do every morning. At that moment, I take care of my college grades, I answer every email. You know that’s true. Right?
Eric: Yep, quickly.
Dan John: I’m never late on emails. Then, if I have to, I write. I’m knocking out about, what, four articles a month, two or three books a year. And I focus on that until about 9:00. So I’m up for maybe two and a half, three hours. And then at 9:00 I shower, and I work out, because people all over the world come to train with me. Three days a week I Olympic lift, two to three days I either, always mobility work, more hypertrophy when I’m away from a meet, but close now. That’s what I do every single day.
When we’re done working out about 10:30, I go to the Landmark Café. I order, and you can call them up right now, a vegetarian omelet, a side salad, and cottage cheese. I fast for, what is that, about … I fast for about, what, 16, 17 hours a day. If I eat … I eat the big breakfast, I eat a normal dinner, and if I eat between meals, you saw what I ate. That little thing of veggies, when you called I had a thing of … I’m trying out this new style of beet, so I had a whole bowl of beets, and the only problem is they spilled and I got them on the … You see that little … So now I’m angry. I ruined a good book.
I guess what I’m trying to say, why am I talking about food and finances? Finances. If you’re debt free and you put a little bit away, money every month, when you’re my age you’ll be absolutely fine. I retired, what, 2010 at age, what was I, 52, 53 or something like that?
Dan John: How do I do that? Everybody knows how I did it. What would your mother, father, grandfather tell you at age 22? “Debt my friend. I tell ya, debt’s a bad thing. Put away a few dollars. Folks, debts are bad.” Well, we know this. Right? Fitness. We know that, you know, lift weights, go for a walk. Most people’s dreams come true if you just do those two things. Or, plank, goblet squat, do some hip thrusts and farmer’s walks, or suitcase carries. There’s four exercises. Four. Sorry. That was European/American. You know, pushup, goblet squat, hip thrust, walk with weights. All your dreams come true. Go for a walk. It’s just not … Turn off the TV and read good books. There’s not one thing.
When you’re talk about becoming successful, the very first thing people need to do is watch where the time and energy and resources are getting blown out of your life. Where are the time-wasters in your life? My wife and I in 2010, she got a promotion, and nice things happened, I had a couple of books that really hit. So we went to California, and then when our daughter got married, and of course the two, Danny and Joseph, being my grandchildren came by, we kind of decided to move back here to Utah.
When we came back, we had lost a whole bunch of friends. And it really, in many cases, it was kind of hurtful. But then Tiff and I talked about it, about where those relationships had gone. And I wouldn’t say they were toxic. I don’t like that phrase. You might know toxic people in your life, and we all know those life-suckers, but the relationship, the cost of benefit of the relationship wasn’t there anymore. So I would say do that in your whole life. For example, I do watch a lot of TV. This is true. When I do laundry, I watch television. When I’m folding clothes, I watch television. But we never watch … We have a real hard time getting ABC, NBC, CBS and the rest, because we don’t have the ability to get them here. So I watch … If you tell me a series is good, I’ll buy the series and watch the shows in 21 minutes with no commercials. I’m not saying you have to do this, and I’m not saying I’m a lunatic. I’m just saying, look for those places in your life where you see everything just pouring out.
My young friend down there, [Cirrus Black 00:31:36], my dog, he’s a pound puppy. But you know what? He’s not … We have a little system, he understands things. He’s my companion. He trains with us. My wife and I both travel a lot, and when I’m on the road, Cirrus Black makes me feel better about my wife being alone.
So for me, the dog is not a time-waster. But what are time-wasters in your life? Here’s one, shopping 23 times a week. We shop on Sunday. We have the Winter Dairy people, that’s the local dairy, deliver stuff to us on Thursday, because the worst thing most of us can do is go back into a storm. You know, what kind of vehicle are you driving? I know people who, this was a while ago, but got second mortgages on their house so they could buy big SUVs. And I thought, “Well, how stupid are you? Now, you’re working for a car that has a shelf life of, what, six, seven years?” So what I’m just saying is, where are your time-wasters? What’s sucking the energy out of you? Because until you get control of you …
Earl Nightingale had a wonderful story. His dad’s watching football, and the son keeps bothering him, so he takes out the Sunday paper and the dad cuts a picture of the world. And he says, “Son, piece that together.” Well, in just a few second the son comes back. It wasn’t perfect. It was a good job. And he goes, “how did you do that so fast?” And he goes, “Well, daddy. On the back side of it was a man, and when I put the man together the world came together.” And I’ve always … I don’t use that story enough because it doesn’t resonate as well as I’d hoped, but when you’re together, your career suddenly becomes together.
I know many personal trainers. In fact, I can think of a few who don’t have six-pack abs and perfect So Cal bikini bodies. But their clientele is massive because they’re together. Even though they might not have the genetics, or maybe some bad life choices, it doesn’t matter, because, “I want you, the personal trainer, to give a shit about me. I don’t care that you have six-pack abs. I don’t care that you have nice, big, arthritic hands. I don’t care. I’m paying you to help me get better.” And most people in our field don’t yet get that.
I’ve been around coaches who sit in a lawn chair and wax eloquently about events that happened 50 years ago and don’t coach their athletes. You see it all the time. The first thing, job one is you’ve got to put your stuff together. The areas you’ve got to put together are fitness, finance, food, relationships. You’ve got to get that together. I’ll tell you one thing, if you’re young in our business and you’re smart enough to join the Marine Corps and have all of your education paid for and you go out there in this business debt free with money saved, you’re going to probably have more clients than the person who’s just struggling to keep ends meeting. Because people can smell it, man. People can smell fear. Not fear. People can smell success. Sorry. That was question one. That went on for [crosstalk 00:35:18]-
Eric: Yeah, that was great. Yeah, feel to run off as much as you want on these. I know, obviously, you’re a big reader. There’s a book I recently just worked on, it’s called Thank You For Being Late. I want to get it right, An Optimist’s Guide To Thriving in the Age of Accelerations, and it’s by Thomas Friedman. Do you know this book?
Dan John: I know Thomas Friedman’s book.
Eric: So he makes a really good argument in the book, and I’m a closet futurist, and he … Well, I guess I just outed myself, but he talks about 2007, he makes this strong argument that in 2007 all of these technological advancements happened at once, iPhone being the biggest one, GitHub being another one, and just information in the cloud, essentially. So that was 10 years ago. 10 years. The iPhone has only been around for 10 years. You are what I would consider a master content creator, which would be the term we would use in the marketing world. You consistently pump out quality content, obviously books and things like that. The question I’m getting at here is, how has technology changed the way you do things, if at all? Then, What do you think is going to happen next in the fitness industry?
Dan John: Well, the odd thing is, you know, I was one of the first blogs, fitness blogs.
Dan John: Now, I’m going to say something-
Eric: Because you wrote T-Nation too, right? I mean, I wonder how many modern-day fitness professionals know about T-Nation, or at least the history of it. Anyway, carry on.
Dan John: So in 1998, this job came up, and I applied for it, to be an online professor, they didn’t even have a word yet, for Columbia College in Missouri. Tiff saw it and said, “You should apply for this.” I might be joking, it might not be true, but I might have been the only applicant with an email address.
Eric: That’s awesome. Was it Prodigy? Where was the email address?
Dan John: SoftHome. SoftHome.net. DJohn@SoftHome. Don’t use it folks. That’s a dead account. I 1998 I went on this thing called the internet and I found Clarence Bass, and he’s the first email I ever wrote, and Rob Wolf is the second. Because back then people used to have these big chains on their emails, and you’d go and mine them for people’s addresses. So the fact that … That’ll date me. But to my point, a guy by the name of [Tamir Katz 00:38:05] emailed me one time and said, “You need to start a blog to help us,” because the people who ran the internet fitness at the time were the high-intensity people who believed one set to failure.
So in 1998, the people who dominated the internet in the world of fitness were one set to failure on a Nautilus machine. They dominated it.
Eric: They were the loudest.
Dan John: Huh?
Eric: They were the loudest.
Dan John: Yeah. Well, they were the only ones on. Since they never actually trained they had plenty of time to do other things. No, just making fun. So in 1998 I got online and I started pumping out a lot of information. I wish I could find my original address and pull them up from the Wayback machine. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the Internet Archive? But I can’t find my original internet site … was hotbot.com/fitness/exercise/danjohn/ … But I don’t think that’s right. But it was, I mean, it was this long. You know?
So I just started, you know, a person would ask me a question and then I’d type up a five-paragraph answer. Someone would ask me about a program and I’d type it up. I would store, or I’d retype stuff. I was very concerned about losing some of the stuff, like notes and stuff from workshops I had been to, so I just, I’d get up there and throw it up there.
Well, and then you say to me 2007, so about 10 years after the first blogs, the iPhones show up, and now it’s 10 year … So we’re talking about a 20-year period. Frankly, I’d almost say things have flattened out technologically. I would almost say that. It’s not the wild west anymore. When I was first getting online you would ping … Don’t type in “snatch Olympic lifting” because, man, it would take days for you to shut down all the pop-ups that would come up. Days. That’s all gone now.
Well, as my friend told me not long ago, “Always look at porn to find out where technology is going to move.” Because, you know, I guess there’s a book or something about that, how porn chose DVD, and that’s … Porn chose VCR over Beta. What you’re seeing now in the porn world is this idea of virtual starting to show up. I’m wondering if we’re not far from … It’s funny if you watch the HBO show Ballers. There is a-
Eric: I do.
Dan John: They try to get the guy to invest in virtual reality, and it’s a very funny little scene, but gosh, that’s the future. I’m still convinced. I’m starting to think that maybe the future … I know for sure in the strategic sports, the tactical sports, American football, rugby, soccer, probably basketball, that the virtual reality for the athlete will become very big. The quarterback can make 700 reads on a defense. He can look at a defense, make an adjustment, make the play call, pick the receiver, and never take a hit or get tired, and not have to worry about 21 other people being out there at the same time.
So if you can get a quarterback to get a couple hundred reps a day on his own, when he does come up to practice his brain is going to be warp speed ahead of the rest of the people. So I think in the performance you’ll see that. Interesting, because it’s probably hard to find it now, maybe libraries will still have them, but Stanford tried this thing called CyberVision. Boy, it would have been right around … Yeah, it would have been late 90s. They would film great athletes and they, like in the hammer, putting on the glove was, “Ding, ding, ding. Ding, ding, ding.” And then they’d have music, “Ding, ding, ding. Woo.” And then another sound was, “Woo, woo, woo,” to teach you the rhythm. And then they’d just show you the hammer trace. They kept trying to lay in the patterns.
It didn’t make it. It just didn’t make it because it was only this and some here. But now the virtual world, with the new gloves that are coming out and things, I see the future of performance sports virtual. I mean, absolutely virtual. I see leagues starting up online where I’m an offensive tackle for the Ready Player 1 Knights. You know? You’re from the Lord of the Rings Hobbits Team, and I see virtual leagues showing up where, you know, chubby kids in their basement are playing high-level sports. I think. I don’t think this is out there.
Eric: No, I don’t think so at all. I think it’s a good … Have you got to play with any of the VR stuff; the virtual reality stuff with the gloves? Have you gotten that opportunity yet?
Dan John: Well, I have early prototypes. I won’t let you know what company this is, but this is an attempt to do something. If it’s powered up I’ll show you some cool stuff. But yeah. So, yeah, you know, I’ve been around long enough to test everything. But these are special. Don’t have them on the show too much. But those are glasses that are supposed to make my training harder. That was an early thing. That’s like a step before where we are now. Yeah, those bad boys. Then, I was there for some other things. But I think I’m the only person … There was this method they did at the Olympic Training Center, I think I’m the only person that’s ever done it twice. It’s archaic 3D. Well, not archaic, it was … But you had to stand there in a Speedo, and then they put silver dots on all of your joints, and you had to stand there for 5, 10, I mean, a long effing time in a Speedo in front of people, and then you were in the ring. And then they’d say, “Okay, throw the discus as far as you possibly can.” “Okay.”
I threw 180 feet like that, which I thought might be the best throw of my life. And it’s funny because when you look at my throw you can tell that … I could have thrown farther, but it’s a funny little throw because it’s just so … Instead of being like this, it just takes off like that. The downside is, how many throws did they do with me?
Dan John: One. So it wasn’t a real … I mean, it was a real discus throw, but nowadays you can get that feedback. I mean, honestly, we’re to a place where … I don’t know if you watched the Hobbit where Gollum, and Smaug, and the … I’m probably … Gollum in the Lord of the Rings and then Smaug where you just have … They have the suits now that are covered with the dots. Those aren’t perfect either, but at least you’re not standing there for 20 minutes. You could probably take 20 throws. You follow?
Eric: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dan John: That’s another area. Okay, sorry. That’s another … Again, we’re only [inaudible 00:46:12] performance. I think what’s going to happen on the fitness world is it’s going to get much worse. Food producers in the United States know that your brain is … your amount of free will to control your food is low. Well, it’s like, well, I said it’s unsalted almonds. Well, why did I say that? Well, the next time you go to the store, look at almonds and look at how many different varieties they have. Here’s a funny thing. I can give you two pounds of salmon, but if I find an almond with the kind of salt or spice on it that you like, you’ll start munching them away. If I pull that out and add another one, barbecue sauce almonds, you’ll start shoveling those down your throat. I think we’re in deep trouble because the food corporations, [inaudible 00:47:11] food complex is going to make it …
You’ve just got to look at a few commercials on TV. The fast food places. Tiff and I, the other night there was a company that’s selling, like a two for one. It’s a burger, fries, and a drink, and certain days of the week it’s two for one, so dinner is $5, and this is 2017. If you’re a struggling … not a struggling family, but if you’re a family that has kind of run out of options because of a busy Tuesday, you’re going to eat there, and you’ll probably eat more, because with a soft drink you’re probably already over the caloric limit for that one meal. You know? And the exercise front, I keep thinking we get smarter, and then I go on the internet and I realize that we’re miles to go.
What I’m trying to do before I die is provide at least clarity to things. This is strength training, this is mobility training, this is bodybuilding/hypertrophy training. This crazy stuff you’re doing over there is fine. It’s inefficient exercise, coupled with caloric restriction, might help you lose body fat, burpees, treadmills, those weird bikes, all that stuff. But do not take that weird bike over to my strength room. But it’s a piece of equipment for exercise. True. That’s a phrase I use all the time: if you chase two rabbits, you go home hungry. Most people chase 50 rabbits and they wonder why they get no success. I chase very, very few rabbits. Very few rabbits. Now, you say that, and you raise your and and say, “Don’t you teach religious studies?” “Yes.” “Aren’t you an instructor over in England?” “Yes. Yes, I am.” “Don’t you write … ” “Yes, I do that.” But I only chase a few rabbits, and I chase one rabbit, finish with that rabbit, and then chase the next one.
But if you don’t have check lists … Here’s a quick one. Do you have a yearly calendar? Not a yearly calendar like … Okay, right there, you better have birthdays and anniversaries in that yearly calendar, but what I’d also tell you to do is … Here’s a quick one. When do you shop for Christmas?
Eric: Right after Thanksgiving.
Dan John: Okay. I’ve already got you beat. I’m already ahead of you. On Thanksgiving Friday my wife and I put up Christmas around the house, and then we go on Amazon Prime, drink wine and shop, [inaudible 00:50:08] shopping with two bottles of wine. We call it Wine and Prime.
Eric: That sounds like a blast.
Dan John: But Thanksgiving Day I’ve taken care of Christmas and I’ve taken care of … Well, I’ve taken care of Christmas. And I have a delightful free day, because no one does anything on [inaudible 00:50:26] Friday. And, by the way, we’re also watching football at the same time. So it’s when, when, when. When do you do your tax stuff? When do you do you taxes? When are you going to get this? When are you going to do that? I try to have …
For example, the other day I had these big sails in my backyard to keep the sun … When you’re out there you take … Well, that is a September chore taking them down. I de-summer my house in September. I try to do one or two small things every day, de-summering my house. And I try to push it off so that you can still come over to the house, and you can still sit outdoors from, you know, deep into October, November here in Utah. I also start to set summer up. That’s April. April I start getting summer ready, and I try to do one or two small … Why wait until you have 150 people come over to get the chairs out? Do you follow where my brain is here?
Eric: Yep. Organization and planning.
Dan John: Yeah.
Eric: And simplicity, right? I mean, I think in one of your Wandering Weights issues, which is Dan’s weekly email, you had mentioned an article about decision fatigue, and how that is overwhelming for today’s society. And I find it every day. By 5:00 p.m. I can’t make a decision worth anything because I’ve made so many up to that point.
Dan John: What kind of jeans do you wear?
Eric: What kind of jeans? I actually don’t wear jeans.
Dan John: Okay. I buy Barbell brand jeans.
Dan John: I buy four pair. What kind of shoes do you wear?
Eric: I wear basically Nike [mek-ons 00:52:15] and Innovates. That’s it.
Dan John: Nike Free. How many pairs do I buy?
Dan John: I don’t have it on me because I’ve been working out, but I bought 16 of the exact same shirt. It’s true.
Eric: Where did you buy them?
Dan John: It’s the old name for [inaudible 00:52:35]. [Antherix 00:52:36] or something like that.
Dan John: And I got 16 because that’s all they had in my size in North America, and they’re all black.
Dan John: I mean, let’s talk about decisions. And then people, so I’ll finish this whole damn thing. People say, “How do you knock out two or three books a year?” It’s like, “Because I wear the same shirt to everything. That’s the secret. My secret is I … Did you not listen the first time? I wear the same shirt to everything.” “Well, how does that help you write books?” “Because every second you’re looking through your closet, I’m already writing. I’m already writing.” You saw my snack tray, right?
Dan John: You buy a couple of those. If you’re hungry, eat a couple of those first, then see if you’re really hungry or just bored. You know? Decision fatigue is huge. Well, there comes … I tell people all the time … Listen, just because I’m a kettlebell instructor don’t … Just listen to the point. If you just had a gym with cowbells and suspension trainers, that’s all you had, you A would have very good clients, and B you would keep out all … A guy walks in, “I’m a power-lifter. Do you have the Megatron 5000 squat rack?” “No.” “Well, if you get one I’ll sign up.” The Megatron 5000 costs $24,000. [inaudible 00:54:08] two months into it. Why waste your money? No. “What do you got?” “We’ve got kettlebells and suspension trainers.” “Well, what about … ” “Yeah, that’s not our gym.” “Then I’m not going to come here.” “Okay.”
If your people don’t fire clients they’re just … I’m a big believer in getting rid of people. The reason you do that, and I haven’t done it in years, but the reason you do it is because you will spend more time trying to please the person that got you … The picked up … By the way, stop doing Groupon.
Eric: Thank you. Thank you, Coach.
Dan John: Stop discounting your stuff. You do not give away 12 session for the price of 10. What you just told everybody, that’s your price. It’s a joke I heard years ago and it’s important. You walk up to a woman at a bar. “Would you have sex with me for $5 million?” And she says, “Yes.” “Oh, okay. Would you have sex for $5?” “What, do you think I’m a whore?” “We’ve established that, now I’m just working on the price.” Do you have to clear that one off? Is that okay?
Eric: No, that’s great. That’s staying.
Dan John: So what you tell your client is this, “I’m charging $100 an hour, or $80, or $70, or $60, maybe if you’ve got the Groupon $30, for five … ” What you just did to me is you just told me you’re … Now we’re just finding a price [inaudible 00:55:48]. You put your price out there, and that’s your price.
Now, I’m of a different world. I mean, I do discount workshops all the time. I have a set price, and I charge much less all the time, but it’s because Tiff and I have a family motto, “Make a difference.” So I’ll look at it. If it’s for high school coaches, “Psh.” If it’s for a fundraiser, I’ve done many fundraisers for free. In fact, do you mind me talking about this?
Eric: No, not at all. Please do.
Dan John: Last year when Tiff and I went to Ireland … We had a rough couple of months. She had to have an emergency thyroidectomy. It was growing down into her heart, and we almost lost her. And then at the same time, they found cancer on me. I’m fine. Don’t worry about it. But so we decided we needed a timeout. So we went to Ireland for a month. While we were there I did a whole series of workshops to raise money for this little girl in Belfast who had this rare disease.
Now, they have socialized medicine, but they had to go to the United States a lot for certain treatments. So I did a series of fundraisers where everybody, every nickel that came in went to this little girl and her family. What? I’m in a place where I can afford to do that. But the thing is, too, just how happy the mom is. I mean, it was so worth it. And I’ll tell you one thing, everybody stepped up. Everybody stepped up. I mean, every single event was better than the one before, and I made friends for life. So for me, that’s worth it. But I’m also 60 years old. I also have those book royalties coming in.
For you as a young trainer, you need to be a parent, you need to be an adult. “This is what I charge.” “Well, the guy over there charges $50.” And then you have to have the courage to say, “He charges less for lots of good reasons. He’s not as good as me.”
Eric: Let me ask this question. When you have to fire a client, or when you decide to fire a client, you don’t have to do anything, how does that conversation go down? How do you have that conversation? Because there’s a lot of people out there listening to this and they know that there’s clients they should fire.
Dan John: I let them fire themselves. Here’s how you do it. In my [inaudible 00:58:30] diagram, and I think you remember it, right?
Eric: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Dan John: Do you remember sevens? Sevens, their waistline is over the height to waist ratio, so they’re more than half, you know, the 2 to 1 ratio. They sleep with seven pillows, and they can’t hold a plank for two minutes. So they’re a seven. They failed all three tests. With sevens, I will hire them on, and one thing, “for the first month, you have to drink two glasses of water a day. If you can’t do that, then I’m not going to work with you.”
So if you can do it, either you can do it … It’d be nice to have an assistant, see, I don’t have to do all of this stuff anymore, but every night at 9:00, “I’m going to call you every night at 9:00.” This, by the way, this is gold, “Bring, bring, bring.” And the joke is it goes, “Bring, bring, bring.” Because they’re drinking the second glass of water as you call.
My best fat-loss client of all-time, I’ve got two real good stories, but he told me … So he lost 100 pounds in one year and ran a half marathon. 100 pounds in a year.
Dan John: You know what he did for the first month? Drank two glasses of water a day. The second month I told … We went to his place and found the farthest parking space to where he needed to be every day. And I told one or two of his workers, “If he parks anywhere else, here’s my phone number. You call me. I’m not working with him anymore. I don’t care if it’s because you forgot your keys. You always park there. Always.”
So it was a good … I mean, it wasn’t three miles, or what I used to do to walk to school every day, uphill both ways, but what it did at the end of the second month … So we got through the first one, two glasses of water. By the way, everyone started noticing he would be walking around all the time with jugs of water, because once you start drinking water instead of all the other … It’s funny. See, this habit knocked it. When he was thirsty before … My good friend Stony, what got him overweight was he worked at a company that had free soft drinks. You start slurping down free soft drinks all day, pretty soon you volume up.
Dan John: If we can trade water for soft drinks, that’s a win-win.
Dan John: It wasn’t the walk. The walk had nothing to do with it. #6 on my pirate map every day is eat eight different vegetables. I didn’t say eight servings, I said eight different. But every time I consciously look for a different vegetable … I’m Olympic lifting at a record-breaker’s meet in October. Every time I do my original strength, I’m Olympic lifting at a record-maker’s meet in October. Every time he parked his car, he was losing weight, and fat, but in his case, weight, because it was destroying his knees and ankles. So when you have someone who’s a seven, they failed at everything, tossing them in isn’t going to help them. They have got to turn it around.
The funny thing is if you get them to month three, all of their dreams come true. Because when you scale them up … And here’s the thing, “So all you did was drink two glasses of water and walk a few more steps?” “Yeah, and I lost, I mean, substantial weight.” Well, now you’ve got … You’re the ski slope, man. You are accelerating. Now we show them the goblet squat, the farmer walk, and the hip thrust. And the next month, for God’s sakes, doing that three times a week, often by themselves in their own home, boom, you weigh in, because now momentum’s happening. He’s still doing goblet squats, and farmer walks and the hip thrusts, and the pushups. The big four.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is I was on the Velocity Diet. I think I’ve told you this story. The Velocity Diet is six protein shakes a day and that’s it. There’s nothing. And I go to this family party and I begged my wife not to tell anybody in her family, especially her mother. She told her mother I was on this diet. So of course her mother, honest to God, I don’t know why we just don’t hire her when hurricanes are coming, because she’ll tell everybody. So she told my sister-in-law Kim that I was on this diet. So Kim [inaudible 01:03:22] walks over to me with a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer in this hand and a chicken leg in this one and, “I heard you’re on this diet.” So I’ve learned a good lesson. Always drink Diet Coke at parties, because people think you’re a bourbon drinker. Make sure it’s in the highball glass with ice, because people will think you’re drinking bourbon. Try it. It works perfectly. And you go like this, you know … [inaudible 01:03:44].
She walks up to me, Kim, with her big eyes, and she’s going, “You know, that’s me. I’m all about discipline, when I set my mind to it … ” And I swear to God she changed my career right there. “When I set my mind to it … ” And I thought to myself, “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” That’s not necessarily true, but it’s pretty true. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done voluntarily in my life.” How about that?
Eric: Fair enough.
Dan John: I’ve done harder things, but not … Well, I signed up, but I didn’t … I didn’t think they meant that. So, “When I set my mind to it … ” That’s when I realized that somehow her diaphragm was pushing air up, and it was going across the vocal cords, and sounds were coming out of her mouth, but there was no connection. “When I set my mind to it … ” And I hear that all the time, it’s like, “You’ve put on 50 pounds of fat in the last 15 years. Where has your mind been those last 15 years? You forgot it somewhere? You dropped it one day? “Oh, here’s my mind. Now I can put my mind to it.”.”
The problem is this, it gets back to this, I’m not saying that your clients lie to you, they’re telling you what they think you want to hear. You know, Kim couldn’t have done the Velocity Diet. You know how I got done? You know what I did? I put it on T-Nation. At the time, it was the most well-read forum on the history of that place. People would post on there. I had friends say, “I was checking it 30 or 40 times a day.” I was getting, you know, women were sending me, if you can find it, encouraging shots. People were walking with me. One night, famously, I called up my brother. My brother Gary is a disabled American veteran of Vietnam. He’s deaf. He had his issues coming back. When I say what he said, you’ll know the problem. And I said, “Gary, I’m dying here. I can’t finish it.” And he said, “Do me a favor. You can quit tomorrow. I’m just begging you, make it through tonight.”
So the next day I got up, I took my supplements, went for a 30-minute walk with my wife and my dog, my dog Lexi, a blessed memory, and I was fine, and I made it through one more day. So I certainly understand the emotional hit from all of this stuff, but I have to say this, for the record, I’m a division I MVP. I’m a full-ride scholar. I teach college and coach college at three different universities. I write two books a year. And sticking to a stupid diet is the hardest thing I’ve ever done voluntarily in my life.
So what it did for me is it made me realize that we need … If you’re coming from the far end of the fitness spectrum, not the good end, you need a month, two months, three months of tiny wins. I don’t know if you’ve ever read the work of B.J. Fogg, F-O-G-G, TinyHabits.com. I’d strongly recommend it for everyone listening, TinyHabits.com. Watch his TED Talk about flossing. You’re supposed to floss at least every day. Right?
Dan John: I’ve done mine twice already. Because it’s real easy for me, because I keep my floss sticks in the little side thing in the car, so whenever I drive I floss, anytime I drive. It drives my kids crazy. But he doesn’t want you to floss your teeth every day. He wants you to floss one tooth for a week. Can you do that? Could you floss one tooth once a day for a week? Could you do that?
Eric: Yeah, I could. I hope so. I do.
Dan John: His idea is this, most people try to train like Mr. Olympia and eat like Gandhi to turn their lives around. Right?
Dan John: The habit, that’s too big. Floss one tooth. Eat a vegetable a day. A, a. When I did the thing, I did two pushups before I showered. You need that in context. Where I’m at in my life right now, at my age, statistically the most dangerous thing that I do every day is take a shower, statistically.
Eric: I believe it.
Dan John: If I ate a pound of bacon for breakfast, or oatmeal, that changes my survival statistics one in 10,000. It’s not even worth looking at. But, consciously entering and leaving the shower every day ramps up my survival rate for the next 20 years. I told you I got cancer last year. Statistically, at my age it’s better to get cancer than it is to slip and fall, for two years survival. Shocking, isn’t it?
Eric: It is.
Dan John: So that pushup was making me more conscious. So I was doing two for one on this. Those two pushups made me more conscious of doing the shower. That tiny habit, I think, allowed me to perhaps dance at my granddaughter’s wedding.
Eric: That’s awesome. That’s a beautiful message.
Dan John: So I guess what I’m trying to say on all of this stuff, I know I come off as a lunatic. I … In fact, Dean Somerset posted on my Facebook wall, “I’m not a psychopath, I’m just really busy.” I’m a really busy guy. I’m a busy guy. But we need to start thinking when we’re working with people who are at the far end of fitness is that they can’t set their mind to it. That’s the diaphragm pushing the lungs, pushing the vocal cords with the lips moving. What we need to do with them is embrace them where they are, and tiny … Listen, it would have been a lot easier for the Titanic to turn the wheel early. I mean, they could have done this early, and they would have been fine. As it got later, and later, and later, they had to spin that wheel more, and more, and more.
But what we’re talking about with most North Americans now is we’ve just hit the Titanic, and now we’ve got to figure out how to get things done. The obesity rate is going up so fast that they had to change the colors on how they measured it because they had already used red, which was the alert, but then it went up even higher. You know, the souther states, and the flyover states, the obesity epidemic is … Well, it reflects the way they vote, but I won’t … Sorry. Sorry. But we are in a place right now where we could have turned this years ago. You know? You go back to [McGovern 01:11:43] and his connection. I mean, you can go back to the McDonald’s brothers with their hamburgers. I’m sure that if Ray Crock wouldn’t have had anything to do with it McDonald’s food would probably still be in the food category. You know?
When my friends from Scotland come here they’re shocked to see how many milk choices I have. This is a good thing, if you’re listening, you should do this, I’m not being a psychopath. Go to the grocery store and just count, click, click, click, click, how many choices of coffees are at their store. Walk over to the eggs section. Eggs for God sakes. How many egg options do we have?
Eric: [crosstalk 01:12:29].
Dan John: Go to the milk. No-fat, 2%, 4%, whole, almond milk, half-and-half, buttermilk. And I get it. I understand why. But we talk about decision fatigue, and that’s absolutely true. But at the same time, we’re giving these blessed people … you’re at the far end of fitness, and then we throw at them a journey that they cannot possibly do. So I tell them to drink two glasses of water a month. “What about the rest?” “We’ll get to it.”
Dan John: “Walk farther away. Here’s a couple of movement.” “Oh, I like that.” “Okay, I’m going to call you to make sure … I want you to get out of bed every morning, and can you do one hip thrust every morning for me?” “Well, yeah, I can do one.” “Well, how many can you think you can do?” “I don’t know. 100.” “No, that’s too many.” “Uh, 10?” “Really? 10? Okay, I like 10.” By God, what you’re doing is you’re building on success. And at the end of that year, he’s 100 pounds lighter, he runs a half marathon. People don’t recognize him anymore. He’s a new husband, he’s a new father. You know?
I’ve got to tell you, man, my coach told me one time it would take me eight years to hit my goals as a discus thrower. Most people can’t handle that thought. But it’s the truth. I read a book years ago, it’s by Tobias, T-O-B-I-A-S, you might be able to get it on Nightingale [inaudible 01:14:14]. But the book was called Debt-Free Millionaire. And I can remember the very first assignment was to find out where you are. And it was to take your assets, and then minus your liabilities. And you had to go around your house, and put in your car, put in your debts. And at that time I was worth $4,000. But his advice is very good, “Next year, your goals will be $4,001.”
Dan John: Well, by the next year I had bumped up big time because I had … One thing you’re supposed to do, it’s snowball debt. It’s when you eat [crosstalk 01:14:53] debt first-
Eric: Yep, snowball effect.
Dan John: [crosstalk 01:14:54] get the bigger … So if you have a Mervin’s card for $72, eat that one this month. A card, I don’t know, card, $122, get that one next. If you’ve got this one, wait on that one. And I’ve got to tell you, because once you get momentum, that’s when all the magic happens. Most of … Getting back to your … So when you’re working … Go back to successful personal training. You’ve got to have momentum. So maybe you only have one client, but make that client’s life better. Then, all of a sudden you’re going to look around and you’re going to have a packed house, because that’s how it happens.
When I finally got caught up, when I finally got to where I wanted to be as a track coach we had this thing called Football Friday, and it was a way to get my athletes to do conditioning, because throwers hate [inaudible 01:15:53]. We played flag football with these specialized rules. You could never have the same person quarterback. You had to switch every time. Well, you know, we had girls who had never thrown a football. “Hey, sorry. You better teach her.” And, of course, the boys would be spending the whole week showing them how to throw a football. “Take the snap, roll right, throw the ball left.” You know?
Well, I noticed one day that Football Friday had 20 kids. So we had to separate the games out in these different little things. We had a league going with our throwers. I thought to myself, “It started with one or two little kids, and now look at this. Look how it’s spiraled.” And I looked over and noticed that some of the kids weren’t on my throwers program, they just wanted to be around it. So I made those kids … I hired those kids to be the filmers. I gave my official titles, assistant to the adjunct head coach, you know, just gave them titles. But once it starts, man … But you’ve got to be real cool about how you start, because man, I always think whirlpool up, spiral up. You’ve got to start here and do the logical stepping stones. Build it, and build it. It’s got to be believable at first.
If you’d have told me, “Dan, you can’t throw the discus in a competition for eight years.” I wouldn’t have lasted very long. But I threw seven, what, seventy feet my first meet. That season, I got to 100, 103, 129, 144, 170. Went to collect, 162, 174, 177, 190, way farther, way farther, way farther. That’s how you do it, by doing inclined bench presses and running some hills, believable goals. And then you build on it, yeah.
Eric: That’s beautiful messaging. I think it’s, you know, the fundamentals of everything don’t change, whether it’s life, business, training, a little bit of focus.
Dan John: The Four Fs. Yeah, the Four Fs.
Eric: Yeah, the Four Fs. I probably only got to about two questions that I wanted to get to, but I’m going to nail three right here at the end.
Dan John: Go.
Eric: I want to know, what are you reading, what are you writing, and where can people find you?
Dan John: What am I reading? Well, when I stopped the other day I did not know that the new Sue Grafton book is out. It’s called Y is for Yesterday. They’re called The Alphabet Murders, Kinsey Millhone. So I called Tiff and I said, “I cannot believe the 25th book is out, because in our entire marriage I have been reading one book a year.” This was book number 25, so I’m reading Sue Grafton’s Y is for Yesterday.
I’m also reading … I don’t know how well you can see this. Let me get some light on this. I’m reading the Rick Riordan books. That’s … I just finished all of the Percy Jacksons, and now I’m on The Lost Hero. But, as a gift, I got the graphic novels. I just turned 60. The reason I’m reading these books is, I think I told you earlier, a little friend of mine, she’s a sixth grader, and she one day said, “Have you ever read Percy Jackson?” I said, “No.” And whenever a young person says, “Have you read a book?” I think as an adult my job is to go out and read the book. So now I’ve read all the Percy Jacksons. I’m almost done with this one. And every time I see her I go, “Yeah, I didn’t see that coming.” And what I’m teaching her is that I really respect your intellect. Reading books is wonderful.
Oddly, this is going to sound weird, but I don’t read my own work. But when I was in Denver I bumped into my friend Josh Hillis, and people were telling me how great this book is, so I got a copy of this book because I’ve never read it. I wrote it. I wrote part of it, but I can’t stand reading my own stuff, so I’m reading my own work. Let’s see, I just reread Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding again. Chad wrote my … Which is, by the way, a best-seller that they’re turning into a movie, he wrote the the introduction to Can You Go? So that’s not a bad person to write an introduction.
Gosh. I just zipped through Tommy [inaudible 01:20:33] book again. This is nice. I gave a workshop recently and someone asked me my favorite book. So they were able to find the 1939 copy of the Sword in the Stone, and [inaudible 01:20:47] this is the book where you read every day. Next to my bed I have Beau Geste, one volume Beau Geste, one volume both Jurassic Parks, The Iliad and The Odyssey, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, or Philosopher’s Stone I think is my edition. I have the British Edition, and my mind’s looking over there right now. There’s another book right there that I like. So very often at night I’ll pick up … Oh, Dune.
Eric: Yeah, we talked about that earlier, yep.
Dan John: Very often at night I’ll pick up one of those books, books I’ve reread a million times, and I’ll read those to kind of turn the engines off, not so much if Tiff’s in town, but if I’m alone I’d much rather be in … My wife and I travel a lot, so we’re alone a lot in hotels and home. And reading good books sometimes trumps watching … Because you’ll keep watching TV until it’s midnight, and then you’ll [crosstalk 01:21:50]. I just … My next book went to the printers last Monday. It’s called Hard-Style Kettlebell Challenge. And I’ll be honest, I just looked through the copy before the copy before the … You know. [inaudible 01:22:11] so much work. My God. It’s so much work. And it’s good. I’m very pleased with it.
Dan John: I know it sounds weird for an author to say something like that. [crosstalk 01:22:22].
Eric: Yep. What are you reading, what are you writing, and then where can people find you?
Dan John: Then, what I’m working on now, actually, today was marvelous, it was one of the best insights … You know, in the Sword in the Stone thing, I’m talking about the words quest and quarry come from the same exact root. It means to seek. And in the chapter we just finished, young King Arthur has just found Merlin, so when he says, “I must have been on a quest.” Well, it just hit me that Sir Percival and the Holy Grail story has this great insight about how Arthur fell asleep here, and Merlin was like right next to him. And the great lesson of Percival’s story is that that which you see is always right there. You left to go find adventure, but adventure was in South San Francisco. You went around the world trying to find love, and love was right there.
I’ve had, I mean, I’ve had … I’m not trying to do this too much but … Ow. I hurt my hand. I’ve had a lot of success, but I was always most successful on the journey to success. It wasn’t winning anything, it was the journey towards it. I’ll share that this week. That’s a great insight.
And where can they find me? DanJohn.net. On this thing called the Facebook there’s Daniel John. I’m Daniel John on Facebook. Someone talked me into doing this thing called Dan John Strength Coach, and I hate it. It’s just so much more work for me. But it’s there. But, honestly, if you’re going to ask me questions, folks, don’t use the Facebook, please. Just email me at Dan@DanJohn.net, and I’ll be able to see it and answer it. And as you know, I’ll answer right away. Right?
Eric: Yeah, you do. Every time. Thank you gain so much, Coach, for coming on this. Maybe I can … I think you’re going to help a lot of young, or all-ages fitness professionals with some of the stuff you’ve given here today. Hopefully you’ll come on again.
Dan John: You know what? This was easy. Any time you want.
Eric: Hey, everybody, this is Eric with the Fitness Marketing Alliance, and I want to say thank you for listening to this episode of the Future of Fitness podcast and webinar series. We’re working really hard here to keep great content coming out, and we’d like to express our gratitude by offering you a free seven-day marketing crash course. Here’s how you can claim it. If you go to FitnessMarketingAlliance.com/freegift, F-R-E-E-G-I-F-T, and you enter the promo code FitMark, F-I-T-M-A-R-K, you can claim it that way. The other way is you can text us. You can text the phone number 805-619-5550, and you text the word FitMark, F-I-T-M-A-R-K. So again, that phone number is 805-619-5550.
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The success that he saw during his days as a gym owner, can now be leveraged to help thousands of gym owners worldwide.
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