Staying in the game

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A) 2 Rounds for total reps (2:2)
Row for cal
Wall balls

B) For quality load (FQL) in 15 min
Heavy triple GTO
*Maintain control of bar*


A) 3 RFR on the 3:00
250m Row
Max Strict C2B pullups
*2:00 cut each round*

B) For quality load (FQL) in 15 min
Heavy single Shoulder To Overhead from rack

C) 3×5 Back Squat (+2 / +5)
As I finish the Spring 14 Whole Life Challenge and reflect back, I’m impressed by what I’ve learned about what it means to be in the game. We’ve done the Whole Life Challenge 7 times now since 2011. There are a few of us, Andy and I included, who have participated in every one. As we’ve grown from a little company that could to a worldwide event that has seen 50,000 people come through the door, Andy and I have often wondered if we really need to do each one.

It’s always a funny question when it comes up, because what we’re really asking is “do I have to?” We face the same kinds of things everyone does when it comes time to putting our money where our mouth is. I don’t want someone telling me what to do, I don’t want restrictions, I don’t need the extra accountability, I’m doing “well enough,” blah, blah blah. I’m sure you all know it. You’ve probably said that same things yourself.

Each time we have the conversation, rather than agree to take a challenge off, we’ve often found that it’s an opportunity to do the challenge a new way, to find something out that we’ve never discovered before. This time around, I decided to play that game with the Beginner rules. I figured that as long as I could have one glass of wine a day, I could do anything else. I’m active, and I figured that some form of exercise each day would be no problem. Beginner? I’ve got this wired.

Wrong. This was the roughest challenge I have ever done. I fought with myself tooth and nail every step of the way. I made my choices “good enough.” Not good enough to match the rules I chose, but good enough for “me.” In one world, that’s totally fine. It probably is good enough by a lot of standards. But good enough for “me” barely scratches the surface of what this Challenge can do. I don’t do this to hit the minimum. In the world of why I do the Whole Life Challenge, it was a very revealing experiment.

Good enough is what I have when I’m not doing the Challenge. I’m healthy and happy, but maybe just a little frayed around the edges. I found that I made a bunch of excuses this time. And then I realized something. The reason things went the way they did was that my reason for doing the Challenge had expired. Not in a bad way, but a good way. When I say expired, I mean I got what there was to get out of it for those reasons, and I was playing without creating new ones. My life is different from when I started the WLC, and yet I was on cruise control, doing the same things the same way for the same reasons.

One thing that has come out of this for me is that no matter what, I found I could stay in the game. I learned that just because it was going a certain way (pretty much downhill), it didn’t give me a reason to quit and say “next time.” There is so much to learn when you resist things. The fact that I found myself resisting something that I had loved doing for so long was a real opportunity to look at what I wanted.

I just turned 41, and in spite of talking about it like it’s no big deal, it really is a new chapter. It is the start, more or less, of the second half of my life. I’m fit and healthy, but my body is not the same as it used to be. I want to stay on top of things, but being primed at peak performance isn’t as important as it once was. I want more than personal weightlifting records and a six pack. There are 40+ years out ahead of me. How can I plan for them, staying happy and healthy?

My younger sister just got married. I’m sure that I will someday (soon) be an uncle. I’d like to be the baddest uncle ever. I want to have energy, I want to be strong, I want to be happy, I want to have lots of things to share and lots to pass on. I am not planning on the next half of my life to be an inevitable “decline.” And in this last week of the challenge, the week after my little sister got married, I find myself inspired to do more. All of a sudden, with a new, personal purpose, I can do anything.

Staying in the game, wallowing through the muck, doing it simply because I said I would gave me so much more than an improved baseline. It opened my eyes to what’s really important. Take a look at my stats chart. Pretty messy, right? I don’t want that. I don’t want haphazard and I don’t want an accidental life. I don’t think I’d know that without having borne the struggle of “failing” at something that I was once so good at.

And as we (me and Andy) change and grow as people, this game will change and grow. The next time you come back, I promise you there will be new things that reflect all of our personal experiences. As we see more of what this can be like, we make adjustments to suit deeper and more meaningful growth. Don’t worry, the WLC that you know and love will remain. And you’ll find more that you can explore each time you come back.

So that’s what i’ve learned. Staying in the game does mean doing what you said you’d do, but it also means not just surviving it. It means taking the opportunity to ask “why so grumpy?” and “what’s going on?” That’s the key to winning this Challenge. Coming in as one person and leaving as another. You don’t have to prove anything. You don’t have to prove you can do it. We already know you can. You don’t have to prove you’re the best. You already are the best you there is. If you can strip off what’s not working, find out what you really want, and commit yourself to laying your hands on that, you’ve won. Bigger than anyone can imagine.

OK, I’ll probably always want a six-pack.



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