• Emma Green

How hard should I work out?

Photo credit: Kim Burrows

One of the most valuable tools is knowing when you need to push yourself harder vs when you need to dial it back.

Despite what some motivational quotes say, you just can’t go all out all of the time. Depending on your goals, there is definitely a time to push but that shouldn’t be your default setting. If you try to always push yourself, you’ll just burn out and will likely start regressing.

There’s isn’t a perfect formula for knowing when to push and when to pull back. It comes from mindfulness, trial and error and intuition. You’ll probably have to push yourself too far at least once to learn where your limits are. Equally, you might have to spin your wheels for a long time before you realise you need to push further.

The clients I work with tend to be those people who push themselves hard. They are driven, determined and disciplined, all of which can be great qualities if applied in the right way. The key is channeling these productively so that they don’t become self-defeating.

If you’re also like that, managing these qualities will mean sometimes doing less when you want to do more. It will mean taking an extra rest day from time to time. It will mean going a little lighter in the gym or cutting a workout short when you need to. It will also mean being compassionate with yourself and accepting where you are right now.

This is hard at first but gets easier over time, especially once you start to notice the benefits you get from pulling back. These include things like more energy, calmness, gratitude and strength.

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