We're told to always give 100%, but there are days we can't

Always Give 100% (And Other Fitness Myths)

April 7, 2014 by Michelle

When you do anything, you’re always supposed to give it your best. And in the States, it often isn’t just your best but giving 110% instead. And when working out, how often do you hear your instructor tell you to give it all you’ve got? To give 100%? To go go go? But sometimes, that just won’t work.

Sometimes, you don’t have 100% to give.

We're told to always give 100%, but there are days we can't

On Friday at step class, that was me. I’d had a nasty headache earlier in the week, which meant I missed class on Wednesday, and Monday and Thursday I had PTO meetings, so missed class those days, as well. Couple that with not sleeping well, and I’m already not at my peak. And then I made a poor choice. My husband (unknowingly) ate my breakfast, so I made a not so good choice for breakfast that didn’t include the protein my body craves.

Class started out ok, but it’s a high energy, high intensity class. That “ok” start didn’t translate into the entire class. My knee lifts weren’t as high as they usually are, and I didn’t have my usual bounce. Well into the class, I realized that even with the slightly lower intensity, I was still almost exhausted, which is not normal for me though I’ll admit that our instructor seemed particularly evil today (three people left the class partway through).

Reluctantly, I had to lower my effort further. That day, 80% was my 100%. That’s all I had to give.

And some days, that’s ok. Some days you don’t have 100% to give. Some days you’re recovering from being sick or you’re injured or you tired or there are other reasons why you can’t or won’t perform up to your usual standards. On those days, you need to accept it and move forward just doing the best with wherever your 100% is that day.

Be happy that you made an effort at all. Be proud that you recognize what your body is telling you. Be grateful that you aren’t overdoing it that will put you in a worse position tomorrow.

That doesn’t mean to say that tomorrow you can or should choose to give 80% or 60% simply because that’s all you had to give today. And it doesn’t excuse putting yourself in a position where 80% is all you have to give. The migraine and meetings and lack of sleep I couldn’t help. The poor food choice that morning I could have changed. And I know I should have done better there. I’ll chalk it up as a reminder – not a learning experience because I already knew the importance for me of a solid breakfast before working out – and note that even when I’m frustrated I need to take the time to make better choices.

Forgive yourself when you don’t have 100% to give and give what you can instead. We aren’t perfect and can’t ever be perfect. As long as we recognize where we make mistakes and acknowledge where there are aspects beyond our control, we can move forward and continue to achieve our goals, whether they’re fitness related or elsewhere in life.

And today I’m headed back to the gym. It’s a Zumba class, but the instructor focuses not just on aerobic level but on muscle building, too, so this class won’t be as tough as Friday’s. And I was asleep before 10pm last night with no migraines to recover from. I’m currently drinking one of my favorite protein smoothie concoctions.

That’s why I know that today my 100% will be 100%.

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