My Biggest Gym Pet Peeve

Scaling Up

I was recently on a podcast and one of the lightning round questions was a “gym pet peeve” of mine. My answer was clear and obvious right away! My biggest pet peeve in the gym is when people feel as though they need to “scale up” to make the workout harder. For the love of all things CrossFit, please stop and don’t do it.

Why? A workout is designed with an intended stimulus. Ideally the person who took the time to write it up wants it to be finished around a certain time, wants it to feel a certain way and for it to breed a specific result when it comes to recovering and muscle physiology. The point is that the worst thing you could do is start changing it to make it DIFFERENT. Scaling down is a totally different consideration. You see, scaling down happens when you can’t meet a standard that won’t help you reach the desired stimulus. An example of this would be scaling a pull up to a jumping pull up because you do not have the upper body strength to do one on your own. Or scaling down happens when you have an injury that may force you to change a complete movement all together such as changing running a 400m lap to rowing a 500m lap due to a foot injury. Even while we consider these scaling down options, the whole entire goal is to keep the desired stimulus of the workout or preserve it as best as possible!

What do you do if you “think” you should scale up?? Here is step by step process in how to do it and what to do.

  1. Stop thinking you should. You shouldn’t.
  2. Go faster. If you think you can scale up that means you should CRUSH everyone's soul in the entire class.
  3. Suffer more. Going faster is what causes the intensity to rise most. If you think you need fancier skills or heavier weights you are wrong and you are likely consciously or subconsciously trying to avoid suffering a bit. Just keep the workout simple, like life….and crush it. You will get fitter.

So who should scale up? Really no one. Just go faster folks. Your fitness will thank you.