Scaling and the CrossFit Ego. –Coach Chris

1972545_10152234845829765_544729912_nWe all want to be the best.  Whether it’s the best in the class, the best in the gym, or the best version of ourselves, we are driven to (be)tter.

The more we CrossFit, the stronger and more confident we become.  Sometimes that confidence brings with it an unwelcome sidekick: ego.

Now don’t get me wrong: when you’re face to face with a PR weight or attempting to obliterate a benchmark WOD, a little “swag” is a good thing.  In fact, believing in yourself is an essential first step toward achieving new heights, weights, reps, and times.

But sometimes our ego clouds our judgment.  There are times when the little version of us, the one with the horns that sits atop our shoulder, chimes in with powerful and often-misleading words of wisdom like:

“The workout only counts if you go Rx.”

“If __________ went Rx, you have to!”

“Wodify puts Rx scores on top.  That’s where you belong!”

“You’re not injured, why would you scale?”

“If you can lift it once there’s no need to scale.”

“All that matters is that you finish under the time cap.”

So let’s take a moment to listen to the voice of reason, the one perched atop our other shoulder, as it refute each of these arguments one by one.

“The workout only counts if you go Rx.”  The workout “counts” if you do it, regardless of the weight or rep scheme you use.  Don’t allow negative thoughts to cloud your judgment.

“If __________ went Rx, you have to!”  Each one of us is different and so is each WOD.  Some workouts will cater to your strengths while others will expose your weaknesses.  Therefore, judging your workout against the workout of someone else doesn’t make any sense.  Make the scaling choices that are right for you.

“Wodify puts Rx scores on top.  That’s where you belong!”  While the Whiteboard is a fun tool and can be used to motivate, it also can have harmful effects on your psyche.  The sooner you stop comparing yourself to other people at the gym, the happier you’ll be.

“You’re not injured, why would you scale?”  While injury is one good reason to scale, it’s not the only reason.  Each workout has an intended effect; your goal is to use the weight and rep scheme necessary to deliver that experience.  Failing to do so robs you of intensity, the variable most commonly associated with favorable outcomes.  Put another way, intensity means results.

“If you can lift it once there’s no need to scale.”  A 1RM cannot be the sole determinant of the weight you should use.  Hitting a 225/155-pound deadlift once is much different than hitting forty-five deadlifts at the weight in “Diane”.  Coaches are great about discussing how to choose weight based on reps and duration.  Heed their advice.

“All that matters is that you finish under the time cap.”  Time caps are there more of a last call than an intended time domain.  For example the time cap might be 8 minutes but in order to feel what “Fran” should feel like, it should be a two-to-four-minute workout. You should be left breathless and on the floor.  If that means 15-12-9 of 55-pound thrusters and challenging ring rows then that’s the right choice for you.

Scaling comes down to this oft-heard cliché: check your ego at the door.  It’s easy to say, but it’s often far more difficult to do. So don’t be duped by the negative thoughts that may creep into your mind.  Instead let logic (and the words of your coaches) help you get the most out of each and every one of your workouts.

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