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Athlete A: A client who has been here for three months on a 1RM deadlift day:

He steps up to the bar, looks a bit perturbed by the ‘heavy’ weight, shrugs and then proceeds to bend down and pick the bar up with easy-to-see speed and ease.

His reaction: “Holy shit, that was heavy!”

Then he casually trots off and prepares for the conditioning, fully recovered within a matter of seconds.

Athlete B: A client who has been here for 5 years on a 1 RM deadlift day:

After pacing for 30 seconds as he mentally prepares, he steps up to the bar, takes a few deep breaths, tightens his belt, lets out a grunt or two, braces hard, speaks a few motivational words to himself, and then pries the bar off the ground taking no less than 8 gruelling seconds to stand up with it and lock out the rep. Hamstrings quivering, lightheadedness overtakes his body.

His reaction: “Holy shit, I wasn’t sure I had that.” Then he sits down and tries to recover in time for the conditioning.

The thing is, when you first start training, like Athlete A, you can pretty much show up every day and get a PR. Easily. Generally, this is because you’re working well below your true strength capacity, which is what we want in order to keep you technically sound and injury-free. The reason your body doesn’t want to lift more is because your nervous system isn’t ready for more weight or intensity (nor is your mind). In other words, when you put what feels like a lot of weight on the bar, you might think it’s too heavy for your muscles to handle, but it’s really just your nervous system (and your mind) freaking out because you have never felt that much weight on your body before.

Five years later, PRs are hard to come by. Your nervous system and mind have adapted to intensity, load and volume, and you’re generally working much closer to your current strength capacity. As a result, if your technique is slightly off, if you didn’t sleep well, your not eating for performance, if you’re hungover etc, you likely aren’t going to hit your 1RM deadlift.

If you’re in your training infancy, enjoy it! And if you’re at a place where performance gains are fewer and further between, or if you have been on a legitimate plateau for a few months now, your fule could be the key.  Fule=Food. Talk to one of the CFP Coaches and get a nutrition checkup.

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