Rx, Stimulus and Challenge
I'm going to try to make this short...
Am I doing CrossFit? I know very well there are "humans", (as my daughter refers to "people"), that CrossFit better than I can ever hope to. They lift more, go farther, faster, jump higher, etc. than me.
When we attend a class and see the Rx version of the WOD (Workout Of the Day) with scaled versions next to it, our competitive spirit, pride, instinct, even our DNA, seem to all combine to say we are doing Rx or bust.
Then the coach reminds us of the stimulus. This is the point at which we need to check ourselves. Leave the pride behind and listen. Every WOD programmed has a specific stimulus or intended targeted metabolic response. Some WOD's are meant to be short intervals where we go all-out or almost all-out. Others are meant to be longer sustained efforts where we learn to how to pace and how to push a pace over a certain time domain while under a specific type of stress. There are many variables to consider.
So, for example...today's WOD has overhead squats and, as will be/has been explained, the stimulus for the weight is one which you can do each set unbroken and you should be able to get 3-6 sets in the time allotted. The first sets are 18 reps at 95# for men and 65# for women. If we look at that and think we might be able to do that 1X through but probably not more than 1X without breaking the sets, it would be a good time to scale to the next lower weight.
I've heard "But Coach, I need to get stronger!" While we also want you to get stronger, we want it to be done correctly and in such a manner that we avoid injury. You will get stronger faster by accepting the stimulus. If we do 5 sets of 18 reps during the WOD at a weight that is challenging, and we are able to eek out all 18 reps in a row every time, getting near to failure at the end, then we are getting a better overall workout while still getting the desired strength work. AND, we are keeping ourselves safe. We are far less likely to tweak a muscle or injure a joint using a load we can control with good form throughout a WOD than if we insist on going too heavy for the stimulus.
Lastly. Challenge. We want everyone to be challenged. Every WOD. Every time you show up we want you to look at the WOD and listen to the stimulus and determine with the coach's help how to effectively be challenged. CrossFit is meant to be done with intensity. If we are just cruising through the workouts and not feeling challenged, something is wrong. If you feel wiped out or like you've been run over by a truck after a WOD, perfect! You did what you were supposed to do. You will recover. And next time it will take more to beat you up like that.
So, that is how we go. We come in. We are instructed, told how to be challenged as desired. We work out with intensity. It ends, endorphins kick in and we feel great all day. Then we come back and do it again, and again...And at whatever level, scaled or Rx, we've CrossFitted and done it well!
.....so much for being short