The Truth About Scaling

There’s something that I’d like to clear up for my fellow CFNH athletes. You hear our coaches say it all the time, but I don’t think everyone understands why we say it;
There is absolutely no shame in scaling a workout, or opting for “fitness” over “performance”
I’m here to tell you, as someone who seldom presses the RX button, that your success in fitness is not measured by whether or not you were able to complete the workout exactly as prescribed. We are all at different places in our fitness journeys, and it’s our responsibility to take care of our bodies in order to stay on track. This means making progress at a pace that is safe and makes sense for your current fitness level.

Remember that the prescribed weights should be the goal, not the standard for everyone in class.
In Crossfit, the goal is to increase work capacity over time and modal domains. We want to get measurably stronger, better, faster (i.e. see that little Wodify performance history graph move in the right direction), but there’s no shortcut to this process. We want our CFNH athletes to aim high, but we want it to be done the right way. Remember, just because we can physically do something doesn’t mean we should be doing it in the workout.

Safety will always be the number one reason why someone should scale their workout.
You love coming to CFNH multiple times a week to workout, and leave feeling like you’ve accomplished something great. Don’t put your body at risk only to show up toward the top half of the leaderboard. We want you to keep coming back each day, making progress and moving forward. If you decide to try to push the weight beyond your personal limit in a sprint-style workout, or if you're trying to work through pain you're experiencing while working out, then it’s likely that you’ll end up with an injury. Until it actually happens to us, we often ignore the fact that an injury may force you to take time off from ANY exercise at all, setting you even further back in making progress. 

You’re actually lowering the quality of your workout.
Don’t make the decision to RX the workout if you can’t move through the movements as prescribed. If the workout is meant to be oxidative, then you shouldn’t be completing 1-2 reps at a time, and dropping the barbell. Our program is created with very specific stimulus in mind, and it’s important for athletes to find a weight/scaled movement that helps you reach the desired response and continue to move forward with the programming. It’s your job to keep this in mind when choosing weights and asking for modifications.

Let’s take the example of Fran. Fran is intended to be a high intensity, all-out workout lasting around 2-7 minutes. Maybe you know you can lift the RX weight (65lb/95lb) for thrusters, but it’s toward the top end of what you’re capable of. This is a case where you need to take into account the type of workout this is, and the outcome we’re trying to achieve. Knowing that the weight should be light for you, it's your job to self-regulate and take that weight down to something you know you can move through 45 thrusters with. We want to preserve the stimulus, and have the most effective workout possible. The goal then, is to come back stronger and faster the next time Fran is programmed (assuming you've put in the work consistently, following the appropriate progressions.)

You’ll make more progress and “gains” by listening to your body
I’m certainly not saying that you shouldn’t be pushing yourself in a workout [because you absolutely should be getting the most out of it], but there’s a time and a place for properly practicing a movement and taking big increases in weight. Most of the time, the WOD is not the place to do this. If you want to get better at cleans, the appropriate way to do this is NOT by lifting 95% of your 1RM in a workout that’s meant to have you moving the entire time. This will not only lead to practicing poor form, but it will put your body at a higher risk for injury. If you’re looking to improve those lifts, then challenge yourself a bit more in the strength portion of the workout, or even better, schedule some time for one-on-one work with a coach, come into open gym hours or inquire about personal programming to supplement your class WOD.

Our goal at CFNH is to kick your butt in the safest, most efficient and effective way possible. Over time, your weights in Wodify should be trending up, and time should be trending down across your benchmark workouts. Set those prescribed weights as a goal, and work your way up to them with scales and modifications when necessary. Master each progression of a movement, and practice, practice, practice! It’s the only way you will be able to press that RX button and know that you performed the movements with proper form and achieved exactly what was intended from the workout.

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