Many equate progress with expending effort. And as a principle, this is true. A common line of thinking among some fitness circles, however, is that the only way to make progress is to go all out for every single workout session. In practice, is this line of reasoning balanced and true? Do you have to push yourself to the limit for every workout that you complete?
The reality is that sticking to a strict “go hard or go home” fitness mentality could end up hindering your progress. When you push yourself to your limits every session, you are often left exhausted and tired for several days afterwards. If you are just beginning to develop a fitness routine, you may experience DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) that are so painful that you cannot even make it back to the gym for some time. This can be a big blow to your motivation and may even prevent you from forming lasting habits altogether. Thus, perpetuating a vicious cycle of irregular workouts.
The fact of the matter is that your body is benefited anytime you move at all. The worst thing you can do is not move at all, regardless of the energy you are outputting. Just look to Blue Zones for evidence of this fact. Many people that have maintained their fitness have key things in common, and one of them is low effort, but regular exercise. Things like walking to and from the market for groceries and gardening.
But sometimes it just feels good to give your all in a workout. It makes you feel powerful to do just one more rep or add on more weight than you have been able to in the past. Pushing yourself to do more when you can is the only way to get stronger and increase your VO2 max.
So, should you go all out for every workout? No, but you should push yourself when you can. Balance is important to all parts of life, including your fitness routine. You are not a machine. You will not always feel the same way from day to day. Some days you may feel like you have the energy to go all out, and other days you won’t. Create a balanced workout schedule. Allow for active rest days, gentle movement, and explosive workouts. This way you will reap the rewards of moving daily without suffering from burnout.
At Junkyard Training we have a whole suite of equipment and tools to help you become stronger and aid in rest and recovery as well. Stop by our facilities today to see how we can help you reach your goals.