What does it mean to give 100% effort?

“Always give it your best effort!”
“Go 100% today!”

If you’ve been around any CrossFit gym, you’ve undoubtedly heard your coach or fellow athletes use these phrases. But we don’t often talk about or understand what this really means. So let’s break it down!

For starters, it’s important to note that giving 100% effort is not the same as hitting 100% of your maximum capacity in a workout! “Giving it your all” means different things for different workouts, and can change depending on your life circumstances and how you’re feeling on a given day. If we truly tried to push to 100% of our athletic capacity every single workout, it would lead to burnout, injury, and frustration. It’s simply not possible or sustainable.

100% effort is a relative term, and it doesn’t always look the same from day to day. Some days it feels like it takes everything you have just to get yourself to the gym in the first place, especially when you’re new to fitness or life gets crazy busy. You’re just happy you made it through the door. You’re sore, you’re tired, but you showed up! When this happens, we might just need to dial things back a bit. Will power + effort are a finite resource for most of us. Treating some workouts like “active recovery” vs. a painfest allows you to give your body the movement it needs, while still being able to recharge your willpower batteries so you can go hard next time. 

Improvement comes when we push ourselves outside our comfort zone. The thing to remember is, our comfort zone changes from day to day. On those days when all you want to do is curl up in bed and re-watch The Office for the 14th time, pushing yourself outside your comfort zone might just mean showing up to the gym in the first place. In that case, showing up is 100% effort, and the rest is just gravy. Expecting ourselves to push to 100% of our capacity every time we’re in the gym just isn’t realistic for most of us. You can still give the best effort you have that day, but still do it in a way that will help you most in the long term. 

Some days you feel well rested, energetic, and ready to crush it! You’re excited to work out, and you might smell a PR in the air. Your body feels great, you’re not sore, and you’re pumped up. When this happens, don’t be afraid to come out swinging! Push the pace. Try a slightly harder scaling option. Ripple Effect is a place where you can test your limits and push yourself outside your comfort zone, without fear of embarrassment or failure. You can run at full speed off the cliff to see if you can fly. If you end up falling, your coaches will be there to catch you and help you understand how to adjust for next time. 

However, we don’t want to just “go through the motions” and go through a workout with no intent. That is a recipe for stagnation and frustration. If you’re going to go slower today or scale things back, or If you’re feeling awesome and you want to push yourself harder today, just make sure you understand why. Be OK with whatever the outcome is. You can control your effort, but you can’t control the results. Take a minute during your warm up to take stock of how you’re feeling mentally & emotionally, and YOU dictate the type of workout you need and want that day. If you’re not sure how to adjust, talk to the coach! That’s what we’re here for. 

At the end of the day, we want you to feel good about the effort you put forth in your training session. Your workout time, your score, your lift numbers, your result on paper shouldn’t be the deciding factor in how you feel at the end of your workout. Match up your effort with your physical + mental state, and good things will happen! 



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