When we exercise, we want to see results. But, a “go hard or go home” mentality might not be the best way to make the progress we want. There are a few reasons you shouldn’t be maxing out your physical effort during a workout.
For starters, you might be psyching yourself out. “If you make a task look hard — if you have to exert a lot of physical and emotional effort to accomplish it — you end up teaching your body that that task is hard,” explains Jen Sinkler, a personal trainer in Minneapolis. This could set you up to dread the workout in the future.
Associating accomplishment with pain and discomfort "could [put you] at a higher risk of not achieving your goals," says performance coach Alex Viada. He goes on to explain that "training can be intense, but it doesn't have to hurt. Turning things up to 11 when the program calls for a 10 may look good for Instagram, but what's the cost?”
How do you tell the difference between making progress and overexerting yourself? Well, to see results, you need to be able to train repeatedly. That means regular workouts are more important than wiping yourself out with one hard session.