If you’d asked me if I am working hard when I’m working out I would definitely say “yes.” And look at you like you’re a jerk face because I would say my efforts are all over my face. BUT after having recently started doing team fitness competitions I can tell you what I thought was my max was probably 80%. Really. 80%. Because when other people are depending on you, you don’t stop to catch your breath, you just keep going because you’re assuming you won’t pass out and it will just work out. You aren’t telling yourself it’s “too hard” because you committed to doing it and there is someone on another team somewhere else doing it right now, they aren’t taking a break. But I didn’t realize that until I had competed.
For me, the team element is really what brought this to my attention. Just like a partner workout in boot camp, you aren’t going to make the other person carry the load. You’re going to push it to your limit. So the question is, how do you bring that drive to your individual workouts? For me, it’s about not letting myself stop. It’s telling myself I can catch my breath after the first rep or lap of the next movement -because by that time I’ve already started it and just decide to keep going. It’s imagining myself in a team scenario, it’s telling myself that I don’t actually need a break that I can just start and my body will follow. It makes me stronger, mentally and physically. It makes my gains greater and my personal records come faster. Basically, it gets me where I want to be. So after a partner workout, or a workout’s structure that you really respond to instead of laying in the grass thinking how happy you are that it’s over pay attention to how hard you pushed yourself. Where you surprised yourself, check in to acknowledge what you were able to accomplish and make that the new baseline. You’ll find your limit is a lot further then you thought.