Dan John Getting Strong is Simple...Not Easy Ep. 171 OPEN SKY FITNESS PODCAST

Dan John: Getting Strong is Simple…Not Easy- Ep. 171

All-American discus thrower, strength coach, author, and instructor, Dan John, shares why life, fitness, and success can be simple, but not easy. There is no immediate, over-night success that comes in the form of a pill. There is no secret to having it all. Rather, real results come from hard work, patience, and determination over the length of time.

Dan John has written for various publications such as T-Nation and Men’s Fitness. He is the author of many books including Never Let Go, Mass Made Simple, Can You Go? and Now What?

Together, we had a fascinating conversation about fitness, nutrition, and living life with a plan.  I learned so much from talking to Dan and I hope you do too.


What Do Diets All Have In Common?

Paleo. Keto. Vegan. Whatever diet you follow, it probably has its own unique set of rules. However, have you ever noticed that they all seem to have at least 3 similar cutbacks and 1 addition?

3 Diet Cutbacks:

  1. Sugar; especially additive sugars
  2. Cardboard Carbohydrates – those that come in a box or a bag
  3. Frankenstein Fats – fats that are made in a lab

1 Diet Addition 

  1. Eat colorful vegetables

Dan John tries to eat at least 8 different vegetables every day. 


Getting Strong with Complexes



“Get in the gym and find hard things to do and then get out. Take long walks or go for a walk in your free time. Get 80% out of the 20% that you put into your workouts.” – Dan John


According to Dan John, we can do at least 3-8 different exercises complex movements in a workout with a variety of different sets and reps depending on the exercise.

We can also focus on have a single workout day where we work on just one type of exercise and go all out and do as many reps as we can for 30-45 minutes compared to doing 30 different types with low reps to really build mass.

Do a complex workout is not the same as a circuit workout with machines. 

Dan John – Get Back Up


Designing Your Own Pirate Map


“There’s a learning curve for everything in life. We all know it’s there and all the same basic rules apply to every scenario, but we often refuse to accept it. If you think there’s a get rich quick scheme, the only person getting rich is the one that’s selling it to you. I try to apply universal truths to every aspect of my life.” – Dan John


Dan John’s advice to living a stress-free life and find personal success is to create a pirate map or a master plan which includes:

  • Become debt free
  • Have an emergency fund (at least easy access to $1,500)
  • Put away money each month for something fun like a trip
  • Buy quality goods and services
  • Invest wisely in the matters of the heart – who you pick to marry can affect personal finances
  • Take care of your body to avoid extensive, future medical expenses

Hone in on the little things that will add longevity. They may not be exciting, but it’s what helps. There’s no quick fix.

If you push your health too far, you’re going to have to pay for it down the line, just like with personal finances. Maybe you can do 10,000 jumping jacks, but i’s only going to hurt you later in life. Don’t put yourself in a difficult position that’s going to hurt you later on in life. You cannot undue damage in one day. You have to be ready to put in the hard work for the long-haul.

Solving Problems in Life and Performance

If a problem pops up that you need to focus on, incorporate that energy into your life for the next 3-6 weeks before going back to your pirate map.

If you’re not getting the results you want,  address it and then go back to your normal cycle.



Building Habits with Shark Bites


“Shark bite habits – take one bite and you’re done. That way, you’ll get the bulk of your life done so you can focus on following your pirate map of sleek rituals.” – Dan John


Taking shark bites means you do something quickly and efficiently so that it’s done and out of the way so you can focus on what’s next. That may mean dealing with emails as soon you receive them, doing chores on a scheduled date or buying in bulk; especially if a product is difficult to find.

Shark habits for rest of life and pirate maps are your short list of to-dos.


Dan John’s Advice for Longevity


“By giving your liver the chance to clear up and allowing the body to go through a cleansing period the key to longevity? Also, we tend to socialize when we drink red wine or coffee. Give the liver time every day to do its job and be as knitted as you can be with your community.” – Dan John on longevity. 


There are 4 key areas when it comes to longevity:

  • Caloric restrictions
  • Exercise
  • Coffee and wine
  • Cleansing the liver

Caloric restrictions can range from fasting via religious reasons, intermittent fasting, or just deciding to skip a meal because you feel full and don’t need food.

Many of us believe that we need to workout intensely for so many hours a day per week, but it’s much simpler than that. All we really need is to workout for at least 100 minutes a week to add 7 years onto our lives.

Fasting and exercising also both help to clear sugars from the liver. Metformin and glucophage can also help with this.

There are various ideas when it comes to coffee and wine and whether it’s good for us our not. Dan noticed a pattern that we tend to drink either beverage when we’re with people. It’s comforting and relaxing to go grab a cup of coffee or have a glass of wine with someone. Maybe the drinks do not have outstanding benefits, but they’re beneficial in the way that they help knit our communities together.



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What You’ll Hear on This Episode

00:00 Open Sky Fitness Introduction

1:15  Opening comments with Rob and Devon

1:30 Check out last week’s episode – Episode 170 – Boost Your Productivity by Taking A Vacation

2:40  Today’s show including an interview with Dan John.

3:40  About  our new 8 Week Body Weight & Meal Plan Challenge

5:25  Join a great health and wellness community with the Open Sky Fitness Facebook Group!

7:30  Meet our New Sponsor – ButcherBox

9:20  OSF Facebook Group question: What to do when different types of alcohol bothers your stomach?

14:45  Introduction to Dan John

25:00  What are the common themes that all diets can agree on

26:50  How to gain mass using common similarities from different programs

36:50  Why little tiny things can make a huge impact on your life.

41:30 Dan’s pirate map and tips to financial success

48:00 Don’t Forget About the Long-Haul

51:30  How Dan John approaches quadrants in Mass Made Simple

59:00  Taking baby steps to better fitness

1:06:30 Dan John’s advice for longevity

1:14:00 The 4 Fs according to Dan John

1:32:00  Closing comments with Rob and Devon

1:34:10 Open Sky Fitness Closing



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Thanks for listening/reading Episode 171 with Dan John: Getting Strong is Simple…Not Easy! We hope you have gained more knowledge on how to be a healthier you.

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