Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. AKA scaling is ok, and sometimes even better!
My back is finally recovering from the 21-15-9 Deadlifts at 185 pounds on Monday. It's a great example of just because I can do something, doesn't mean I should. Especially when we are also doing Karen and Grace. Today I could do 35 pound double kettlebell thrusters and overhead walking lunges, but not in the prescribed time. So I swallowed my pride and did them at 25 pounds. Guess what? I finished under the time cap and got a great workout. My shoulders were burning, but they felt stable, which would not have been the case with 35's.
CrossFit is effective because of the intensity. You are basically trying to do more work in less time (with good form of course). When a coach programs a wod, they are doing it with the intention to last a certain time, or complete a certain number of rounds. Using the prescribed weight and/or movements may be perfect for some people, but not everyone and that's ok!
If you can't do a muscle up, it's a pretty easy decision to scale the movement to something else. But it gets more complicated when you can do a movement, like a pull up or handstand push up, or lift a weight, like a 185 pound deadlift, but have to complete them in singles. Chances are, you are not going to get the desired outcome because you are not getting the intensity.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get the best workout:
Can I do the movements/weights within the prescribed time?
Can I do them properly and safely?
How will I feel tomorrow?
What are my goals?
What is so and so doing? (Just kidding- it's only you against you)
Just like anything in life, CrossFit is about finding balance. If you ever have questions, ask your coach! We are here to help guide you to be your best version of you.