The talk of “scaling” or “modifying a workout can sound dirty to some. It is a very hot topic in most functional fitness gyms. Scaling a workout has many different feelings depending on what side of the workout you are on. Modifying workouts is more than just changing up the weight. It is also modifying movements, changing rep schemes, or changing the distance of the run in a workout; among many other things. You may be a coach and feel like scaling is a positive thing, you may be the new athlete and modify because you have to, or you may be the athlete that feels that scaling is a burden. Wherever you are; modifying workouts means so many different things.
Scaling from the eyes of the coach is a very positive thing. Coaches actually WANT you to scale. The reason coaches want you to modify to get the best workout you can. Each workout has a particular goal or stimulus it is designed to achieve. Most workouts have a high intensity component to them. When coaches say it is designed to be fast and light and athletes do not scale appropriately and are going heavy and taking breaks, that breaks the stimulus the workout was programmed for. Coaches want you to have results. That is why they want you to scale.
To the newer athlete that has just started their fitness journey, modifying is their best friend. As a new athlete you are encouraged to scale because it allows you to find out what you are capable of. Because you are capable of more than you know. When starting out on your fitness journey modifying workouts may seem hard because you may not know certain movements. In these particular moments, you are more than encouraged to ASK! That is why coaches are there; to help guide you until you know what you are capable of. Even if you are asking a coach everyday, what weight to do, how many reps to do, or how far to row? That is what coaches want you to do.
Some athletes feel like scaling is a burden. That feeling is very natural. Athletes want to come to class and just do the workout and not have to talk or worry about anything, but when you have to scale it is hard to do. Other athletes have been around a while and are used to doing everything written for the workout, but once and a while there is a workout that they have to scale, it can be a tough pill to swallow. At different times we have all been along this spectrum. No matter where you land on the spectrum, scaling is GOOD and is in your best interest. It will make you better. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it right away. But it will help your fitness and overall psychological state as well!
Yes, modifying workouts are hard and might always be the most fun to do. But they are a necessary part of working out and getting the most out of a workout. Coaches want you to modify, so you can be the best you! Beginners are still learning how strong they are! Even athletes that have been exercising for years need to modify every now and then! Scaling, modifying, call it whatever you want, we all need it!