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But I Scaled…

February 24, 2016 blog

The word “Scaled” comes up almost every day for us as coaches. When we are explaining the WOD, writing modified workouts for an injured athlete or giving suggestions if we have a brand new athlete. We sometimes hear this out of people’s mouth as they are finishing up a challenging WOD, sweaty, red faced and not really wanting to put their score on the board… “but I scaled”.  As if scaling is a bad thing or something not to be proud of.


Did you sweat?  Did you have fun? Did you push yourself?  Scaling is something not to be embarrassed about, you pushed yourself where you could and yes maybe you selected a lower weight than what’s on the board or maybe a few less reps but that’s OK. The workouts are designed for the most advanced athlete in each program and are designed to be scaled from there. In the long run it’s about being 1% better than you were yesterday and improving and working on the things that we might not be great at right now.


I love this part from an article in The JournalMENU:


“We are all in a constant state of scaling – even the elite of the elite, even the few who make it to the finals at  The CrossFit Games.

Double unders are scaled triple unders, MU are scaled weighted MU, 15′ rope climbs are scaled 20′ climbs.

Sure, they aren’t called for in the WODs today, but what about tomorrow?

Scaling is how you get from where you are now to your future kickass self.

Scaling is how you stay safe and healthy.

Scaling is how you finish the workouts and feel obliterated after, using a band instead of just staring at the bar for 10 min willing yourself to get a pullup.

Scaling is how you improve your technique and learn to lift heavier.

Scaling, is not, however, something to be ashamed of or something that you can use to write off your WOD as a poor performance.”


We put our scores on the board to motivate ourselves to push hard and to motivate others. You never know who could look up to you or be chasing after you at the gym, whether you scaled or not. At Crossfit Coeur d’ Alene we appreciate effort, period. Appreciate your effort and others efforts! Competitiveness is good, but it has to be relative to your current level. In other words, I am not trying to snatch what the world champion in my weight class is snatching. I can appreciate and oogle over their perfect bar path, but that’s not where I am right now. Shoot, I am just focusing on Shay Carlock not passing me in the snatch- oh wait, she just did!


Below are some testimonies from a few of our members and their thoughts on scaling:


Randy- Age 60


“I’m finding February is always a good month to reflect on life. The weather outside is usually cold and dreary and the holidays have come to an end. It’s a time of year when we settle back into our routines and look forward to the year ahead. It’s also a time to reflect on my goals for Crossfit for 2016.  It’s been a year since I started on my Crossfit journey, making new friends and learning new WOD’s along the way.  

When I first started I wanted to hang in there with the firebreathers, and at times felt a little discouraged. I’ve recently realized that what’s important is doing  what fits my age and lifestyle. I always look up what the WOD is going to be and figure out how I will scale it “before” I show up for class. Since I’ve started doing this, class has been super fun for me. I’ve also crushed every goal I’ve set before me. ‘There may be snow on the mountain, but there’s fire in the furnace!’”


Erica- Age 36


“I started at Crossfit CDA back in 2013. I was completely out of shape.  I wasn’t physically able to do much of anything, even squat!  Although I was greatly discouraged at where I found myself, the coaches were right there with me, encouraging me and showing me modifications to the movements I was struggling with.  A year later I was diagnosed with cancer and had to go on chemo.  I had to leave crossfit while going through treatment.  Once I got the “all clear” from my doctors, I came back.  Unfortunately I found myself in a similar situation that I had when I first started.  Again, my coaches were able to scale EVERYTHING!  My stamina was zapped from the treatments so not only were the movements scaled but so was the amount of reps.  Each coach was extremely skilled in helping me get in an awesome workout despite my set backs.  About six months after being back at crossfit an old back injury popped up. Shortly after that an old ankle injury made it’s presence known.  Again, I had to get with my trainers and they tailored everything for me.  Warm ups, skill sets and WOD’s were easily manipulated so I could still get a fantastic workout in.  I have never felt like I was getting cheated out of a great workout. I will continue to show up and give it my very best, whether I have to have my workouts scaled or not.  I’m not going to let anything hold me back!”


Julie- Age 69


“The great thing about our box is that all levels of athletes can participate and get more mobile and  stronger at their own pace. The coaches offer encouragement with a depth of knowledge to guide one on their way to a healthy lifestyle. I’ve heard often that a mature athlete knows how far to push his/her body. We all have a starting point no matter if you are 21 or 71. No one at this gym will ever push you beyond what you feel you are capable of doing. If you want to be laid up with injuries, it’s your choice.  Change doesn’t happen in just a few days and scaling the workout to suit individual needs is encouraged. Don’t be intimidated by the great athletes and coaches. No one else notices or judges how you conduct your workout. Take ownership of it and amazing changes will happen at a pace that will keep you improving. Trust our coaches, follow their advice. They are truly the best.”
The 2016 CrossFit Open is starting tomorrow and we would love to see all of our athletes participate in this.  Think of it as a next step in your CrossFit journey, a goal to work towards, a mid point check in to see where your fitness level stands.  2015 was the first year they had a scaled division and with one year under the belt I think the 2016 Scaled Division is going to be even better.  Keep an open mind, there might be some workouts you can Rx and some you might have to do the scaled division – either way this is your personal journey toward a healthier you!


If you are interested in giving The Open a shot, sign up here:


*Written by Coach Chandra and Coach Meagan 😉

One response to “But I Scaled…”

  1. jonathan says:

    Great article ladies!

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