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Scaling and The Ego

Everyone has a different reason for joining CrossFit. After a while, your list of reasons are likely to  change and grow longer.  Most of us just start out with the desire to improve our general fitness and as far as reasons are concerned, you really don’t need anything more than that. After a while you discover the social benefits of being a LifeTree member and now you have another reason and the more reasons you have, the easier it is to keep coming. Finally, you may discover that you actually have a competitive streak, and that is another exciting thing that brings you back again and again. Another reason.

Competing against yourself and others is fun and can make you push yourself harder than you might otherwise, but your competitive nature can work against you too. If your ego will not allow you to scale a workout when you need to, you may be susceptible to injury or slower to recover if you are hurt. Ego isn’t all bad, but you need to keep it in check. Stretching yourself to perform at the RX level is good when it’s good, but sometimes you need to step back and choose a good scaling option. Trying to push through injuries or attempting lifts before developing good technique is counter-productive to the original reason for working out; to improve your general fitness.

I discovered a while ago that scaling a workout doesn’t necessarily make it any easier, in fact, sometimes it can make it much more challenging. When I turned 55, I thought I was going to have an easy time at the CrossFit Open. 55 is the age when the RX weight load and the movement standards are reduced. Instead of a 95lb Thruster for example, it would be 65lb. Instead of Bar Muscle Ups, it would be Chest to Bar etc. Piece of cake! I was feeling pretty smug about what I perceived to be an easier work-load. Caleb just laughed and said the lighter barbell just meant I would end up having to do more reps and have almost zero rest. He was right. It was brutal! The “scaled” version of each work-out ended up being a far greater challenge. Had I remained with the young bucks (54 and younger), I would have spent a great deal of time catching my breath and staring at the bar. With the more realistic scaling option, I was able to achieve the intent of the workout while avoiding injury.

Remember the main reason for doing CrossFit is to improve your fitness. Proper scaling is important to keep you moving in that direction. If you are dealing with injury or still need work on some technique, check your ego at the door and ask your coach to help you scale appropriately. 

Bob Marley said it best. “Tis he who fights and run away, live to fight another day!”

There will be plenty of opportunities for RX workouts and competition, but sometimes, you just need to live to fight another day.

Coach Mark