Lifting moments: Claire Hoff

 (On Saturday, October 3rd, our first ever real [FIT] life Powerlifting team entered the Northeast Iron Beast USAPL Push Pull meet in Latham, New York.


For five of our team members, this was their first powerlifting meet experience, and they all did an amazing job.


Each day this week, real [FIT] life will feature one of our team members, their stories, their struggles, and their amazing successes.


So be sure to check back tomorrow and every day this week to learn more and to be inspired by everyday real people just like you!


To learn how to bring out your own inner athlete, be sure to read our recent real [FIT] life newsletter topic, “Do you believe you can achieve fitness greatness? (you should)” Click here.)


A little info about Claire


 Claire has been with real [FIT] life practically since our beginning back in 2011, before we had a studio space, and when one of our programs was held in the evenings at a local school gym.


When Claire first came to me, she had serious knee problems which stemmed from childhood. Growing up she had been advised by well meaning doctors to avoid any types of lunging or squatting movements.


As Claire heeded their advise she found that her knees got worse, and her fitness level plummeted. In high school, Claire had been competitive in sports, and although she was currently playing in an adult soccer league, she was very concerned about her knees, and started to think perhaps the doctors had been wrong.


When Claire started with me at real [FIT] life, she could barely bend her knees in certain movements. We agreed to start precisely with whatever little bit of mobility she did have, to progress slowly and cautiously, and to not continue to perform anything if it caused pain.


We also put a strong focus on muscle activation, optimal ways to shift her balance in certain exercises, where weight should be bearing, and found exercise tools and variations that would help her to feel most successful.


In later discussions, Claire told me that it was because she trusted me that she felt safe enough to experiment and try new things.


Jump ahead to today, and Claire’s progress is phenomenal. I still remember the first time I happened to catch a glance of Claire during training, performing walking lunges across a field, and they actually LOOKED like lunges! Her back knee, which in the past could not flex, was almost fully bending!


In addition, Claire’s squats are now almost reaching parallel. And while that may not be a big deal for most, it’s a big deal, and an amazing accomplishment for her. Her hard work and consistency have paid off.


Claire says she has also seen noticable differences in her soccer performance, and that it feels great to be able to once again kick the ball with the same power she had back in high school.





The Meet


Claires performance at her first meet was most impressive. I’ll tell you some key stories about her competitive lifts below, but here I want to tell you about the day in practice when we tested her deadlift max, and she shocked us all.


As I’ve mentioned, it was sort of a last minute decision for our team to enter this meet, and many of our real [FIT] life’rs had been training deadlifts since late February. We were working our way towards lower reps and singles as their technique and confidence improved.


While Claire’s form was looking really good, the most she had deadlifted for reps in training was 135 lbs. On testing day, we were working the bar weight up gradually, as deadlifts had a tendency to tire out her back.



Well, the day we tested for Claire’s max rep single, she just kept pulling the bar off the floor like it was nothing! When we got to 200 lbs I was amazed. And her back felt fine! I looked at Claire with my jaw practically hitting the floor, and Claire just looks at me, shrugs, laughs and says, “I can pull anything once.”


That day Claire pulled a 240 lb deadlift. I stopped her there but also let her know, she was definitely capable of more.




Claire’s bench performance was pretty fantastic. The most Claire had benched in training was 110 lbs. We had attempted 115 lbs in training, but failed. I knew there was a possibility with the adrenaline of the meet, that she just might be able to push out 115 lbs for her third attempt.


Plus, although I’ve never seen it in training, Claire had told me she can get pretty competitive.


Here is the video of Claire’s 115.7 lb bench.


 There is a moment where she falters, than bam! She completes the press. That isn’t easy to do! Claire told me later, that something just suddenly clicked, and she remembered, “Oh yeah! Press the bar slightly back!” It is true that the path of the bar can make or break a lift, but Claire’s ability to push through after a stall, is super impressive.


This press was a personal record for Claire.









There isn’t much to tell about Claire’s deadlifts other than she aced them. Prior to the meet Claire asked me if there was anything special she should know about lifting weight much heavier in a meet setting.


I told her, “Yes, no matter what, just keep pulling.”


Claire’s final deadlift was 253.5 lbs. Here is the video.


 You’d never know it from watching but Claire said that last pull did feel heavy. Now that we know she can ace those singles, we all look forward to watching her progress.


This was also a personal record for Claire and she won the silver in her weight class.


Congratulations, Claire!


Be sure to check back tomorrow, when we’ll feature another one of our real [FIT] life team members and their meet results!


Jeannine Trimboli, CEO, real [FIT] life


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