In Dave Tate's closing speech at the 2017 elitefts Sports Performance Summit, he shared something that no one has ever heard before: the real story behind his second hip replacement and the PRs that he hit leading up to the surgery. This is a story that he has contemplated telling for months but has never come forward with until now.

Dave's Meathead Anonymous story begins in 2013, at the time of his first hip replacement. At that time, Dave was forced to learn a lot about joints and the wear and tear they endure. He had his left hip replaced and was told that replacement his right hip was simply a matter of time. As a result, Dave explored a lot of alternative methods for warming up and mobilizing his joints, and found some that worked much better than others. He rehabbed after the surgery, recovered, and continued training hard.

Moving forward in time, by February 2016 Dave found that his second hip was now symptomatic and learned that he didn't have much use left in it before it would have to be replaced. Instead of immediately having it replaced, Dave asked the doctor to shoot it with as much cortisone as possible to give him a little longer before surgery. Why prolong it? Because Dave wanted to hit a PR one more time. His left hip replacement was the only injury he ever had that he hadn't come back from to hit a PR.

So Dave set his objective: hit an all-time PR Spider Bar box squat. He then found enablers: three people who would take the journey with him to the red zone. With these things in place, Dave built up a training foundation to make his body ready and able to start the actual training process. To start the training phase, Dave designed it using the concurrent method he has been most successful with, but he encountered problems. He couldn't recover, and even his recovery workouts were causing problems, such as making his wrists and other joints hurt. Dave reached out to Louie, who helped him redesign his extra work.

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He also reached out to JL, who started treating him with RPR. With JL, Dave developed his own form of autoregulation for his training, which allowed him to use his therapy with JL to determine how hard he should push his training later in the week. Combined with the extra workouts (six hours pre-training and the next morning post-training), Dave was on the right track.

Through this whole process, Dave continued to interact with his enablers, but worked hard to avoid another group of people in his life: the realists. When Dr. Eric Serrano saw him at an elitefts event, he laid into Dave for his unhealthy decisions, and has even made Dave sign a contract agreeing to never do it again. But it didn't matter — Dave hit his PR and then had his hip replaced. He accomplished what he set out to do and then he had surgery.

What does all of this mean? A few things.

  1. With training and life, you need to have a defined objective. Anything that is outside of that purpose, don't do it.
  2. Find the enablers who will support what you're doing no matter what.
  3. Find the realists.
  4. Always look for where the starting line is. Don't move forward unless you are prepared to actually move forward.
  5. Recover and adapt.
  6. Learn from other people's mistakes.

By the minute:

  • (1:45) Dave's takeaways from the seminar
  • (5:24) Dave's first hip replacement in 2013
  • (7:00) Alternative joint warm-up and mobility methods that helped Dave's real hip
  • (9:29) February 2016 and Dave's second hip replacement
  • (12:00) Hitting PRs one more time
  • (14:14) Finding enablers
  • (16:37) The training phase
  • (18:35) JL's help and RPR
  • (21:22) Autoregulation and extra workouts in Dave's program
  • (27:47) Avoiding the realists
  • (32:00) When the enabler becomes the realist
  • (34:26) The takeaways of Dave's speech