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This is a document written by Tim Thackery of CrossFit High Voltage.

I’ve put together what I’m calling ‘The 7 Stages of the Whole Life Challenge’. This has come from talking to so many of you about the benefits of accountability and participation…be sure to tell me in comments what stage you’re at! My mom – she’s finally reached stage 5! Boom.

1-    Denial: I don’t need a Challenge, I’m fine. (me: Sure you are…)

2-    Pain & Guilt: I’m too (insert yours here: busy, tired, perfect) already to take this on. I can’t do a Challenge in (February) – I’ve only got  a week to be ready for it… there is no way I will be ready in a week!

3-    Anger & Bargaining: That’s not how I already do things! Maybe I’ll watch others do the Challenge, and see if they get any results with all this ‘regular and moderate exercise, improved nutrition, stretching, and fish oils’ sensible approach.

4-    Depression: ‘Everyone else is going to rock the challenge, but not me…there’s NO WAY I can do 8 weeks of this. Ok, I’ll register, but I doubt I’ll do well. Everyone else is perfect…everyone but me.

5-    The Upward Turn: Wait, this is actually pretty cool…everyone else seems pretty stoked about the Challenge too…they’re even looking forward to it…what would my life look like if I really took advantage of this awesome opportunity? (me: your life would be even more awesome, of course!)

6-    Reconstruction: You’re DOING the Challenge (starting with the Prelims on Saturday, February 16th at Strongpoint) AND…you’re actually living the goals and life that others ENVY. Your friends & family want to register and get in on the awesomeness (and they actually can!).

7-    Acceptance & Hope: You have internalized the process that we’ve designed to help you live your healthiest life ever. Now, this doesn’t mean you’re perfect. This doesn’t mean you earned a perfect score but are miserable. This means you try hard, cut yourself some slack, and know a ton more about how your body operates, avoid the pitfalls that usually diminish your long term results and kick you off track, and saw some amazing results from the 8 weeks. By now you’ve no doubt inspired others in your to try to live healthier…now they’re not at stage 7…they’re maybe at 2 or 3…and that’s OK – you were there just a few weeks ago, remember?

A lot of people ask me, “What makes CrossFit different?”  At the risk of sounding cliché, just about everything!  It comes back to the definition of CrossFit: “Constantly Varied, Functional Movement, executed at a High Intensity.”  CVFMHI defines what we do at our box.  Constantly varied refers to the different modalities and time domains of the CrossFit prescription.  We run, row, jump rope, swing kettlebells, lift, do calisthenics, and throw medicine balls.  We put it together into dynamic and challenging protocols designed to challenge the fittest people in the world, but fully scalable and modifiable to challenge anyone and everyone else.  The functional piece refers to the notion that whatever we do has a purpose in nature.  Everyone has to move their bodies and move objects external to their bodies.  To quote the founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman, “the needs of the Olympic Weightlifter and a grandmother differ by degree, not kind.”  And finally, the high intensity piece is what people are most familiar with.  CrossFit is designed to be high intensity.  It is designed to challenge you!  You have to be fully engaged and committed in order to succeed here.  The program is too hard otherwise.  The look-good-naked-cardio-junkie may show up sometimes, but they do not last…

Rest assured that you will be required to continually learn and develop new skills.  You could spend the rest of your life perfecting technique, building strength, and increasing work capacity and still not have it all perfect.  One of the great things about that is that if you get bored in one area, it is very easy to tailor training to another.  Focus hard on developing running mechanics for three or six months, run a race, and move on to something else.  Start picking up more skill with Olympic lifts, kettlebells, or gymnastics.  Get stronger and more efficient at rowing.  The list goes on and can never truly be completed.  It’s a journey that is sure to lead to the stretching of limits and self-discovery, but never perfection.  However, the pursuit of perfection will eventually yield excellence!

We go heavy.  Your typical boot camp or cardio class may keep you moving for an hour, but the instructors and staff more than likely lack the equipment and expertise to properly train free weight lifts and certainly Olympic lifts safely.  This fits in to our overall model of fitness.  We don’t just want you to be strong for your weight, fast, be able to jump high, go short, or go long.  We want it all and deliver the program to get you there!

We do not specifically target toning, weight loss, sports performance, or any “squishy” measures of effectiveness.  We target improved work capacity across broad time and modal domains.  Toning, improved body composition, and improved sports performance are merely byproducts of improved work capacity.  So how do we measure it?  That’s simple.  We measure 1) what you moved and 2) how long it took you to do it.

Why CrossFit?  Simply stated, CrossFit is the most challenging and effective strength and conditioning program on the face of the earth.  Don’t believe me?  Try it yourself and see how to turn ordinary into extraordinary and get the results that you have always wanted from a fitness program!