Giving 100% (Even When You Don't Feel Like it)
We hear it often in today's world: give 100% effort, always.
No matter if you're tired, injured, or just not feeling it; give 100%. Go big or go home. It's a nice sentiment, and it has good intentions - but this often overused motto can run you into the ground. Especially when it comes to fitness.
In the fitness world, going 100% in your training isn't sustainable. Constantly exercising at a high intensity can cause overuse injuries and reverse all of your hard work. The fitness industry has a bad habit of portraying this "go hard or go home" mentality, which may attract some and put off others.
With that said, I do believe that it is possible to give 100% in your training - albeit in a different way.
Focus vs. Intensity
When thinking of the word intensity when it pertains to fitness, you might think of a particularly hard workout or exercise. Maybe you think of sprints, or a set of heavy squats, or any other form of difficult movement.
Focus, on the other hand, is a bit different. Well, actually it has ties to intensity; when you do anything with intensity, you have to be focused. When you're focused, there is usually a degree of intensity. But intensity usually implies 'hard'. Focus is like a softer intensity: imagine putting a thread through a needle, or balancing on a small beam. Not nearly as heavy as a deadlift, but still difficult enough that it requires effort - just a different kind of effort.
Giving 100% Focus
Now, to the whole point of this post: giving 100% even when you're not. Sounds confusing? Let me rephrase that; even when you aren't giving 100% intensity, you can still give 100% focus.
Take this for example: maybe you're particularly beat up from work and various other life stresses. You still head to the gym to do your workout, but you really aren't feeling it. Today, you think you're just going to cut the weight in half, and maybe even stop your workout halfway. The entire time you won't even be present - you'll be inside your own head, thinking of things that stress you out.
Instead, try this: go to the gym, and still lift a little less weight or less reps. But instead of doing it with a half-assed intention, you will be fully focused on lifting that weight or doing that exercise with 100% focus, even if it 'feels' easier than what you normally do. If, for example, you are doing a basic squat - focus intensely on the entire movement, from the moment you descend to the moment you come back to a standing position.
Often, you'll find that giving extreme focus to things will make them hard in their own right - just in a different way than most people think of.
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