What is RX?
Well, literally, the letters mean “as prescribed”. Yes, I know, that’s cryptic too, so let’s break it down. At its core, we define “Rx” as doing the workout (1) at the prescribed weight/height, (2) for the prescribed number of reps, (3) to the full standards of each movement, (4) and in the expected time domain.
To perform a workout as “Rx” means that you completed the workout as written (prescribed) without anymodifications to the weight or movements. When we set this standard, we are not stating that this should be every athlete’s goal or even that it is recommended. Instead, it is a benchmark (often a difficult one) that is meant to be something that athletes can compare themselves against and, if appropriate, perhaps strive for.
Sadly, this is often where shaving reps and embellishing scores can be seen (i.e. cheating)… the focus has shifted from bettering one’s life through fitness and goal setting, to “winning” and this comes at the actual expense of your fitness, your fun, your friends and your integrity. This “cheating phenomenon” is contagious. Athletes who realize that people are cheating to “score better” will start to do the same and soon it is a snowball of inauthentic behavior.
Please realize: cheating is noticed both by your coaches and by other athletes. If you are an Rx athlete, your coaches look to you to set a standard for the other members – with your skill level, your attitude, and your integrity. Be the person you want to be in the gym!!
When you think you are typically an Rx athlete, it can feel bad when you don’t get the Rx next to your name. But you are likely going to have been given plenty of opportunities to make a change mid-WOD. You might have heard cues like, “get deeper” or “stand up your rep”. This means that you were not doing these things and therefore those reps didn’t count as Rx. If this changes, a coach may choose to Rx you. If you do not make that change, then work needs to be done to achieve that status.
As coaches, we do this to HELP YOU IMPROVE & BE BETTER HUMANS!! As adult humans, it is important to continue to have accountability in our lives and to have coaches and other athletes who wish to see us improve. Regardless, arguing with your coach only demonstrates that you care about what people think of you, not about getting better at CrossFit.
So now, what is not Rx?
Missing the intended Stimulus
Just because you have the weight on your bar and chose to do the hardest available movement, doesn’t mean you are owed an Rx. Similarly, just because you usually do Rx doesn’t mean that you always will, always can or always have to. Are you just in a habit of logging your score under a certain category? As coaches, we’ve all seen this and had moments of looking at what our athletes logged for their score, thinking, “I didn’t Rx them!?!?”
When you complain that Rx is unreasonable or unattainable
It’s not. But, as noted above, when we deem something as Rx, we are not stating that this should be every athlete’s goal or even that it is recommended. Rx does not make one athlete better than another. Remember that Rx is merely a measurement rating that we can use to fairly judge one athlete against another and for an athlete to see where they stand against a standard. If it seems too hard, it is … FOR YOU. And for MOST people
When you lose your sh*t because the WOD isn’t going well for you.
Calm down. Don’t quit. It’s literally just working out. It is much more typical for an Rx athlete to behave this way than it is for a scaled athlete. And it is all in the perspective. A scaled athlete understands the trials and the work that must go in each day. Each day is challenging and possibly filled with dread of certain movements, defeat, no reps, not finishing in the time cap, etc. This is yet another example of ego coming into play. “It should not be this hard for me.” Well, it is … today. And that’s ok.