The Winning Combination


"Yesterday, I lifted 185 lbs of weight 57 times in 10 minutes."


That's a true and accurate statement...


... but even with true and accurate statements, you need context before you can form a fair and reasonable opinion.


Without context, your response to me asking, "Do you think that's good?" should be, "It depends."


Okay, here's some context:


* This happened at 6am in the morning, and the last time I gave my body any fuel was at dinner the previous evening... 13 hours before.


* It wasn't 57 times consecutively, it was seven sets of eight repetitions per set... plus one extra lift at the end before time ran out.


* The lift was a Deadlift, where your legs do most of the work. Generally speaking, people's legs tend to be stronger than their arms.


* In-between each Deadlift set, I had to complete eight Pike Pushups. I also took a brief rest between the Pushups and the next Deadlift set.


* Men's Journal suggests that Deadlifting anything less than 100% of your body-weight puts you in the "novice" category... and I'm a big guy who weighs a lot more than 185 lbs. To be fair, my "personal best" for a single Deadlift is 345 lbs (significantly more than my weight), and for five consecutive repetitions, it's 285 lbs... but that just means I could have -- and likely, should have -- lifted more.


* The Deadlift / Pushup routine was the second part of the morning's workout. Prior to that, I did a "Power Clean" and a "Hang Power Clean" every 90 seconds for eight rounds. For the last three of those rounds, I lifted 165 lbs for each movement.


Now... do you think that's good?


It's important to recognize that your answer to the question now depends on which of the provided facts you weighted most heavily: if you're very fit, or very strong, or a morning person, you're likely to answer differently than if you're not.


Context matters, but it's not enough.


A fact, the context around the fact, and an understanding of your own personal bias in interpreting the fact...


... that's the winning combination.


- dp


P.S. The photo I included in this newsletter does show me (well, my legs and shoes, anyway) in front of a barbell, but it was taken last year at a CrossFit competition in which I was competing, not this morning. That bar (and the plates on it) weigh 175 lbs.