By Alan Shaw, Co-Founder and Head Coach of Rhapsody Fitness in Charleston, SC

The source of everything from snarky remarks to abject loathing, there are a few taboos across the fitness community. Peeling back the shame and stigma, we are digging into these common missteps – what they are, why they hurt offenders most of all, and, if guilty as charged, what to do to course correct and get back on the right path. 

Let’s start by unpacking two of my (least) favorite – rep shaving and scaling to win. In all fairness, these traps are often subconscious at first, but can become slippery slopes once started.  


REP SHAVING is when an athlete says they did all the required reps to standard…when they didn’t. This is a decision as opposed to an honest mistake, and often looks like skipping a couple reps to skim a few seconds off your time in order to beat the person next to you or get a higher spot on the leaderboard. 


SCALING TO WIN is when an athlete chooses the option that is most comfortable to win the workout leaderboard. This may look like going for Level 2 weight or rep scheme in order to be among the first to finish when you are capable of challenging yourself with RX. Of course, on some days your 60% is your 100% for that workout, and that’s all more than ok, but this is about consistently choosing ease and speed over pushing your edge or enhancing a skill.  

If their definitions alone are giving you the Grumpy Cat frown, same, but, more importantly let’s dig into what drives this behavior. All told, it comes down to ego and/or insecurity – letting those “shoulds” get the best of you. You want to be first or are embarrassed to be last. 


Now for hard truths and tough love – what to do if this is you. First and foremost, understand that if you are pulling one or both of these during your workouts it should be a blazing red flag to you, first and foremost, that something is misaligned with your goals and objectives. 

It means that you’re not doing this work for yourself – you’re doing it to prove something to or one-up someone else. Instead, this walk should be all about becoming your best just for you. 

Also know that this behavior will catch up to you. Whether it’s during The Open when your performance is being judged or when you find you’re not making progress towards your personal goals. Either way, the moment will come when you will have to face facts and can no longer write your own. 

With that said, there’s nothing for us in shame or blame, so, instead, let’s focus on rising above and moving beyond. You can get back on track through goal setting, proper scaling, practicing mindfulness and being intentional with your workouts – all of which we are here to support you through each and every day. 

At the end of the day, Rhapsody Fitness is a community of hungry, humble and happy people who show up for themselves and each other. You are part of a band of misfits who support you and want to see you succeed. You owe it to yourself and to them to hold the highest standard inside and outside these four walls.  

If we just held up a mirror, let’s talk about it – grab a member of Team Rhapsody today or earmark this topic for your next check-in.