I was looking for benchmarks and it seemed a simple enough test.
Do the maximum reps of pullups (or scale) that you can.
do the maximum reps of pushups (or scale) that you can.
Rest 2 minutes. Repeat 3 additional times.
I read tips. How to scale so you get a decent benchmark (choose a scale that lets you get at least 15 reps fresh, etc.) So set up and pressed start.
It didn’t take long for me to stop. Yeah, I can’t do a ton of these exercises. But what I noticed is that I stopped before I was really “maxed out.” I could have done one more, maybe two, even three, who knows?
And I didn’t just stop early the first time. I did it every. single. time. Left some in the tank, so to speak.
Why? I thought to myself. Why stop short? Why not push to failure, really find where my max is? What do I fear?
When I thought about it, I realized that I take this approach all the time in fitness. I tend to run along at 70-80% when I should be maxing out. In a workout with 5 rounds it is not unusual for me to have my last round be my best round. I don’t usually have the fall-on-the-floor-exhausted at the end, either. That’s fine sometimes. But I can’t kick it into high gear when that is necessary. My legs don’t have sprint in them. Or, rather, I never test them to see if they do.
I believe I do this in most areas of life where I put forth effort. I’m always hesitant to really see how far I can go. To see where my abilities can take me, and, maybe more importantly, where they can’t. What is it about pushing myself to my limit that is something I struggle with? What do I fear about learning where my edge is, and reaching for it? Knowing where that is helps me make progress. Helps move the carrot or the needle or the yardstick.
I even do this with my heart and my enthusiasm. Even if I am crazy excited about something, if I am asked how excited about it I am, I’ll usually say an 7 or 8 out of 10. What am I holding back for?
Something to think about as the summer begins and priorities shift. What does it mean to max out as a writer? A friend? A parent? How often am I cruising with that less-than-best-effort when I should be doing more, crushing it?
How about you? What’s your challenge for giving max effort in life, or maybe what’s your secret?