When in doubt, go light.
I remember being a blue button addict. Back when we were in Paramus as a gym, Great White CrossFit would use wodify instead of Triib, and the Rx button for workouts was commonly referred to as the blue button. It’s almost like a rite of passage to learning what it truly means to get better. It’s not the Rx button that signals your progression; it’s your intensity. Thus, before one must truly begin progressing again, one must regress by becoming a blue button addict.
We’ve all been there, we walk into the gym and look at the board, or we look at triib before the workout and say, Yes! I get to Rx this workout!or do it as prescribed that is. And that is because as a CrossFit athlete, ESPECIALLY at the tank, we are conditioned to be competitive with ourselves above anyone else. From the moment we see that first muscle up, or that first 225 lb deadlift, or maybe those first set of tap and go heavy snatches, we become ambitious and light a fire within ourselves to be able to do everything and anything that can be done at CrossFit. What’s wrong with that? Not a damn thing. As long as you are not sacrificing intensity, that is.
And that’s the catch isn’t it? I know that you know that I know that you know. We both know. That weight is too heavy, or that movement is too challenging. You know how I know? Because I, too, was a blue button addict. I, too, sacrificed intensity for the sake of looking at the white board in order to see the Rx button lit next to my name. Capped? Who cares? Dat Rx doe fam! But you see, that goes against the very definition and purpose of CrossFit. But how Sway?! You must first begin to understand the concept of CrossFit in order to appreciate why scaling can be the best path to your success in the SPORT of CrossFit.
CrossFit is a sport, a sport of science in the arena of fitness. I get it. Most of us walked through those doors with the intent of reshaping our bodies, to look better, but somehow we fell in love with the sport and the results. Early on, those results were in leaps and bounds, and the reason? You were scaling. How Say?! I’m trying to explain. You see, those first couple of months your intensity was at its max. You’d walk in through the doors and pick a weight or a scale that was appropriate for you to give it your all in the allotted amount of time in the cap. You didn’t care about the blue button because you weren’t focused on the Rx, but rather on your conditioning and results.
CrossFit believes that you have a window, call it a fitness window, and that the window opens and closes very fast. Within your first 30 minutes, you will be exponentially more efficient at achieving your fitness goals than you will in say minute 90. This is why we only workout for 1 hour, and why most CrossFit workouts do not require you to move for more than 20 minutes. Ever done Fran? Grace? See, you get my point. The idea is intensity, not weight, not volume. The body only knows failure. Pushing the intensity is the best way to achieve your results. But often once we taste that blue button we begin to insist on chasing it, instead of scaling back in order to push the intensity.
So coach, how do I know when I should scale? Isn’t that a super hard thing to figure out? Absolutely it is. It’s probably one of the hardest things to do. I still find myself asking, but the honest truth is that it’s easy to figure out. Just ask yourself, can I finish under the cap at that weight or with that movement? If the answer is no, you are defeating the point of what you signed up to do. You are saying, No, I cannot maintain the necessary intensity to achieve the results which I thirst.
Some of my best gains in CrossFit came after I committed to saying no to the blue button. So now I invite you to say no to it with me if intensity is the price that must be paid for that blue button. Remember, it’s your results that you are sacrificing.