Annual Deadlift Day Tradition and 3 Extremely Valuable Lessons I Learned from Missing 300 Pounds
Admittedly, I was hesitant to post this because there might be backlash about me deadlifting on Thansgiving with someone misconstruing the why behind it. To set the record straight, I don't deadlift on this day to burn the calories so I can enjoy what I'm going to eat.
I'm going to eat what I enjoy and enjoy what I eat no matter what day it is. I deadlift and lift weights as often as I can in general because I love feeling strong. I think holidays and traditions are fun.
Story time: How It All Started
Some families like to run turkey trots, but that's not my family. We like to lift shit. And this girl reeeeally likes to deadlift. That's why Thanksgiving is and always will be my Annual Deadlift Day.
This is a tradition that brothers and I started when one Thanksgiving we decided to get in a heavy lift. Naturally, we chose deadlifts because they are the best complex movement in any workout program (opinion). Plus, we knew that those extra carbohydrates and calories we were going to chow later in the day would go to building muscle.
My siblings and I don't live near each other anymore, I'm in Denver, one brother is in New York and the other in Florida but I still carry on the tradition.
Missing My Deadlift Goal
I remember one Thanksgiving I was living in an apartment with a gym. I was adamant about getting a 300# deadlift. Armed with the mindset that today was the day and a protein and carbohydrate rich breakfast I meandered my way down to the gym and started my warm up.
The warm up wasn't nearly as dynamic and purposeful as my warm ups are now but I did get enough of a heart pump to start. I loaded up the barbell first with 135, then with 185. I was lifting really low reps like less than 5.
Meanwhile, as I'm lifting this weight I was remembering the days I hit 175 as a PR and then I remember the day I hit 200. For some reason I have always felt immense achievement with the amount of weight I could pick up in a deadlift.
So as I'm deadlifting, getting heavier each set I broke out the camera on my phone and recorded a video. I was going to enter the 200s and then lift 225, then 250, then 300. At least that was my plan.
I missed 300
I missed 285
I even missed 275
Then struggled to get 265 off the ground.
I was so annoyed.
I felt like I hit this wall in my training and my nutrition that nothing I did would help me hit my deadlift goal. I was both right and wrong about that.
I was right in that nothing I did on my own was going to help me lift my deadlift goal... but I was wrong because there was one thing I could do- that I didn't yet- that would get me there.
I could hire help. That was a tough pill to swallow. The thoughts that held me back from getting help and therefore hitting my deadlift goal were...
I'm a Registered Dietitian. I know how to fuel my body properly for a heavy lifting day so I wasn't undernourished like I had been in the past. (Story for another time).
I'm a personal trainer so I know how to program workouts and what areas to strengthen to improve my deadlift.
I'm also a driven person, like the mindset is there. I even walked into the gym saying...
Today I will hit a 300 pound deadlift!
But I didn't hit it, I wasn't even anywhere close!
So, even though I thought I had all the right tools and knowledge, I also had too much pride. I was letting my education and background keep me from thinking I needed to hire help. In reality, I needed the extra help if I was serious about my goal.
3 Extremely Valuable Lessons I Learned Along the Way
In 4 months - from Thanksgiving 2018 to March 2019- I was able to hit my 300-pound deadlift goal...and with the highest body confidence of my life. Body composition change wasn't my primary goal, but working at a 300 pound deadlift, building muscle and losing body fat in the process? That made my body confidence sky high. beyond feeling strong and confident, I learned these 3 things:
1) Support is Essential
I didn't know it then but my brothers were/ are a major support system. Getting me in the gym at 15, pushing me to lift heavier, and stay consistent are some of the things they taught me. Pushing through tough times and staying consistent are themes that are constantly showing up in my life and in business. Without their support, and the support of others, I know for a fact I wouldn't be where I am today.
2) When You Need Help, Ask For It
When you have a goal it doesn't always matter what you're bringing to the table, if you're the only one at the table. In other words, when you need help ask for it and sometimes that ask is accompanied with a price tag so you gotta pay for it too.
3) Keep it Fun
I show up to Annual Deadlift Day because it's fun. Theres an internal motivation for me to wake up and get to the gym in the morning before the festivities begin. I think there's something about the nostalgia of lifting with my brothers that makes this tradition so special and worth carrying on even though we're not actually doing it together.
No matter what your goal is, whether its hitting a deadlift goal, improving your relationship with food or for most of you it's learning how to reach your fitness goals with food, remember that support is essential, ask for help when you need it and always try to keep it fun.
In the next week I'm going to share with you a fun deadlift "challenge" to add this amazing exercise to your workout routine. I'm also going to share some of my favorite gym-bag must haves and as always, healthy anti-inflammatory / clean eating recipes that will keep your fueled, nourished and recovered for all of your workouts!