Scaling is Not Evil
Scaling is not a dirty word.
As a CrossFit athlete, I get it though. We see other athletes doing ring muscle ups, handstand movements, and throwing huge amounts of weight around like it’s nothing and we want to be like them. We compare ourselves to other people in class. We are all competitors at heart. That’s why we love CrossFit so much. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget the reasons we walked through those doors for the very first time.
For me, I started CrossFit because I had always been an athlete in high school and college. In my head, I wasn’t “that out of shape.” Then I did my first WOD and got a swift reality check. I felt slow, weak, and extremely tired. I was instantly drawn to the people at the box though. I wanted to be strong and feel empowered. My first intro WOD was nearly 6 years ago. I am still a scaled athlete and I’m totally ok with that.
CrossFit is hard. There’s no getting around that. Often, I have to remind myself where I started and how far I’ve come. None of it happened overnight. Rather, it happened in small increments over a long period time. A new PR here, a new skill there. It took me 4 years to finally figure out double-unders, 2 years before I could climb a rope or do a pull-up without a band, 3 years before I got any “real” toes-to-bar. I still can’t do a handstand push-up or ring muscle-ups. I mention this because I feel like many of us see what other athletes are doing and think there is something wrong with ourselves because we don’t instantly have the ability to do the same. You cannot compare your day 30 to someone else’s day 1,825 (or any variation of those numbers). We all start in different places. We all come in with different backgrounds and abilities. We are all different ages. Some people come in with previous training, some come with no athletic background what so ever. My message here is stop comparing yourself and stop thinking scaling a workout is somehow bad or less work.
Not only is scaling not a bad thing, it’s essential to the longevity of your CrossFit career. I plan on doing this for as long as I can. In order to do that, I have to make smart choices about what weight I lift, movements I attempt, and how much recovery time to give myself. I’m in this for the long haul. I scale movements so I don’t hurt myself and so I can make all the classes I want to each week. Some days, I scale because I’m not feeling as mobile as I’d like or I’m listening to my body telling me to slow it down. I also pay attention to the goal of the WOD. Is the purpose volume, intensity, or weight? If a WOD’s purpose is high volume reps, then you want to make sure I scale to meet that goal. If there’s a time cap, we want to scale in order to complete that WOD within the time. Rely on and trust your coaches. Don’t sacrifice your strict movements in order to get to the “cooler looking” kipping movements. Master form before heavy loads. Be a scaled athlete, it’s ok!
I promise if you stick with it, you will see massive improvements in yourself both physically and mentally. I see already in so many members. Know that you never need to compete with anyone but yourself. We are all in different places in our fitness journey. Remember we are there to better our health, not get to the CrossFit Games.
You all amaze me every day and make me feel proud to be one of your coaches.