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The placebo effect is defined as the beneficial effect of a drug (or some type of intervention) that can’t be attributed to the intervention itself and is therefore attributed to a person’s belief in the intervention. Implicit in this definition is that the patient doesn’t know that he is actually receiving a placebo; he believes that he is receiving a drug or intervention with medicinal qualities. Placebo is real and applies to the training and conditioning of athletes as well. Perhaps as powerful as placebo, is what researchers now refer to as “Belief Effect.” Belief Effect is similar to a placebo but the patient (or athlete or trainee) actually knows that the drug or intervention is actually a drug or treatment, but yet she still receives benefit (stated otherwise, the patient is not “blinded” to the intervention). Speaking of how a coach can utilize Belief Effect, sport scientist and distance running coach, Trent Stellingwerf, states, “(belief effect is) very strategically and slowly developing maximal trust, belief, and evidence with your athletes and coaches over time.” Belief Effect is now looked at a vital tool to be utilized by athletes and coaches. If a trainee or an athlete BELIEVES in the training protocol, she will produce better results. Arthur Jones, the brilliant founder of Nautilus Sports Medical Industries and later, the MedX Corporation, understood this in the mid-1970’s, stating, “Apart from intensity of effort, confidence may well be the most important factor for the production of the best rate of training progress; without confidence in his ability to produce good results, a trainee will seldom be able to produce them—and never in proportion to the efforts expended.” Arthur’s comment summarizes the value of “Belief Effect” in exercise. It is my contention that if we know the WHY behind our workouts, our confidence grows, and we produce even better results.

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