Choosing your Scaling Option: When to Take the Next Step


While a coach can always make suggestions for you, one of the hardest decisions you face in the box is how to properly scale your workout.  You know you can do one weight, but you're unsure about the next progression up.  Should you attempt it? Should you try it and scale it down mid-workout if you can't do it.  Should you just keep with what you know you can do?  The answers to these questions come from you, and your goals.

The first thing you need to think about is why you're here.  If your goal in coming to the gym is to lose weight as quickly as possible, this is going to lead you to one answer.  If it's to get stronger, you'll have another answer.  Is RXing the workout important to you? Do you have a gym buddy you want to compete with?  Did you eat like crap yesterday?  Are you coming off an injury?  Are you struggling to focus?  Is it morning or afternoon?  These are just a few of the many things to take into context when deciding on a scaling option.

Let's take an example.  You're trying to decide between doing step-ups and 20" box jumps.  You can do the box jumps, but there's 75 of them in the workout and it has a 10 min time cap.  The beginning of the session had squats, and your goal in being here is to lose weight.  In this case the answer would be to do step-ups instead of box jumps.  Given the number of them, you'll need to move pretty quickly.  Since your goal is weight loss instead of strength, you want to be able to move more during the workout anyway.  You'll be able to get further into the workout and do more work, which will serve you better for weight loss.  Now let's say there's 30 of them, and you had a full night sleep and ate healthier.  You're feeling very good and are looking for some motivation at the beginning of the week.  You know completing this will be just what you need to feel accomplished and set the tone for a great week.  Obviously, in this case, let's go for it!  We rotate the numbers on our exercises so that if you're just starting to master an exercise, you have a chance to do it in a metcon.

This is part of why it's so important to have a goal board.  The goal board reminds us that although we're here work hard, we are training for something specific.  Each workout can be adapted to your individual goals and ability levels as long as you take a moment to think about that and why you may want those things.