What Is ‘Scalability?’

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By Coach Tim

At heart, I’m an introvert.  It’s hard for me to approach people I don’t know.  I’m perfectly content to stay in my bubble and do my own thing.  As such, I generally don’t bring up the topic of CrossFit with people from outside the box. Don’t get me wrong, I drank the CrossFit Kool-Aid a long time ago and I’m more than happy to talk about it or answer questions, but I usually wait for someone else to bring it up.  Over the past couple of years it has become so ingrained in my day to day life that it usually becomes the topic of conversation at some point. When it does, I acknowledge it and tell people that it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. That’s it… no hard sell… no manifesto on why CrossFit is better than other programs, just an honest assessment of what it has done for me.  Regardless, people immediately begin to rationalize why CrossFit wouldn’t work for them, as if they owe me an explanation. Too old. Too out of shape. I’ll hurt myself. I’m not athletic enough. The excuses are as numerous as they are predictable. At that point, my response is always the same. CrossFit is for everyone.

After staring at me skeptically for an uncomfortable period of time, the next sentence out of their mouth usually starts with “But…” followed by all the reasons they think they can’t.  Once they are finished, I make the case for why they can. I start with the baseline of functional movement. To maintain a healthy, independent lifestyle, everyone needs to be able to sit up, stand, walk, run, squat, lift, pull and push.  That’s what we do in CrossFit and those needs don’t change regardless of age, weight, or physical condition. The needs of an elite athlete and an elderly retiree differ by degree, not kind. In every class we have people of all different ages and capabilities, but we all do the same workout.  

That’s where they usually think they’ve found the flaw in my logic.  “But, I can’t do the same workout as everyone else. I can’t even do a push-up.”  I reassure them that it doesn’t matter. Many of our athletes can’t do every movement as prescribed, so we have options for scaling.   The movements and parameters of our workouts (the stimulus) don’t change. We leave the stimulus intact and instead scale the load and intensity until it is within each athlete’s capabilities.  If you can’t press 75 pounds over your head, then use 55, or just the barbell, or an unweighted PVC pipe. If you can’t get your chin over the bar for a pull-up, grab a resistance band to help get you there.  The scalability of CrossFit makes it possible for all of us to work alongside each other safely regardless of any limiting factors we may have. Starting out, you may not even know what your capabilities are. Not to worry.  We have a foundations program to help you find your level and in every class we have a coach who has been trained to help you determine what’s right for you.

At that point the ball is back in their court.  Some people will always find a reason why they can’t, but for someone wanting to lose weight, get fit, or just walk a flight of stairs without losing their breath, we have a solution. Since every workout and movement can be scaled to each person’s capabilities, CrossFit really is for everyone.

Are you ready to put the excuses aside and change your life as well? We would love to chat with you! Schedule a free No Sweat Intro and we can talk more about the scalability of CrossFit, any concerns you have, and how we can help you reach your goals. No sales pressure, ever. Just a conversation to make sure it’s a great fit for everyone.


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