It felt like swimming through mud.
My arms moved and legs pumped and nothing happened. Every rep seemed to float into space like smoke from a dying fire. One of those workouts that never seems to end, a true beater that tests mental focus and self-belief far more than physical prowess. My workout partner is plenty fit enough to accomplish the task we began together. But he doesn’t.
“After the third round,” he says once we’re both done, “I cut the reps in half.”
“Were you hurt?,” I asked.
“Did you think you weren’t going to finish?”
I could see him searching, eyes fluttering the way they do when we hit instant replay in your brain. Gears creaking and colliding, my friend desperately trying to recall his motivation for scaling mid-workout. He wasn’t injured, the weight was light, the task at hand well within his capacity.
“Let’s cooldown,” I said heading to the rowers. That was enough. I could see my friend sitting with the truth we both knew. He scaled because he lost faith. Because he didn’t believe in himself enough to continue the path.
It’s called the Fear Wolf and, one time or another, he’s beaten us all the way he beat my partner. He shares space with morality and integrity and all those principles we’ve collected from a life full of pain and triumph. He shows up when everything is just fine, but we’re too busy feeling sorry or comparing ourselves to others. He whispers things like “it’s cool to cut the reps in half, look at all you’ve already done.” And “that guy beside you is going to finish way faster than us, might as well scale now while we still have the chance.” He’s a trickster, and even though we’re completely healthy and capable of the task before us, he provides just the right nudge to make us stop believing. That’s when scaling during a workout isn’t really scaling, but a dangerous way to get out of doing the work we’re more than capable of.
There’s another voice, thankfully, and he’s howling away, crying for our attention. He’s the Courage Wolf and he’s saying “one more rep,” and “you got this,” and “just breathe.” He knows we’ve so much more to give and he’s trying to make us believe it. The trick is placing our faith in him and not the Fear Wolf.
That’s why the pregame huddle is so important. It’s our chance to connect with our Courage Wolf. To feed and encourage him with lofty, yet realistic boundaries and goals. To look at each workout as another masterful opportunity to tell a triumphant story about ourselves. A time to ask; “what weight should I use? How long should this take? And what movements or reps or both need adjusting?” This is how we make CrossFit work from eight to eighty. This is how we become fit, body and mind.
By not forcing these quick moments before each and every effort, we forget why we’re here. We go numb. We miss out on the mindfulness and vigor every single workout can provide. We lose faith.
When used correctly, scaling is the tool that makes CrossFit effective and universal. When used poorly, scaling is the most dangerous tool in our box.
That doesn’t mean stop scaling or that you should stay the path even after you’ve made the wrong choice, it means asking the hard questions before the task begins, and setting non-negotiable points of performance. “I will do 30 box jumps no matter how much I hate them. I will complete every wall ball even when my brain tells me I should settle for half. I will choose to listen to my Courage Wolf before the workout begins, and I’ll keep listening until the workout is over.”
– Power Clean (load)
– Wall Ball (reps)
Alt OTM for 20 Minutes for max load on the power clean, and max reps on wall ball. Teammate A begins on the barbell, while teammate B begins on wall ball.
*Perform 5 synchro Burpees OTM
*Immediately following the WOD find a heavy object such as a plate, med ball, sand bag, or dumbells etc….and carry it around the building. Should be a heavy walk, not a run
Post impression and what vehicle you would want if money was no issue.