How Hard Should You Push Yourself While Working Out?

Working out is a great way to improve your health. There are many benefits associated with working out. Some of these benefits include better cardiovascular health, increased strength, and improving your self-esteem. Of course to achieve these benefits, you have to really make your workout count. There might be sometimes though, where you can end up pushing yourself too hard, which can lead to injury and pains that can stick with you for a long time without proper recovery. This is why it is important to know how hard you push yourself while working out. Find the middle ground where you push yourself enough, but not too hard.

Should You Listen to the Advice “No Pain No Gain”?

We’ve all heard it before, “No pain, no gain!” Whether a coach has told you it, or you heard it in a movie, this phrase has become synonymous with working out. Think about the many times you’ve experienced some pain while working out, but you didn’t stop because you told yourself, “no pain, no gain!” This is actually bad advice and here is why.

There is a difference between experiencing some discomfort and experiencing pain. Discomfort is something like the lactic acid that builds up in your muscles from a good strong set, or just plain muscle fatigue. These are things that you can recover from with a short 5 minute break in between sets. After you’ve recovered, you can continue the next set of your workout.

Pain on the other hand, is essentially your body telling you that there is a problem. This pain is commonly described as a sharp and aching feeling that you immediately feel and notice. This is the type of thing that you shouldn’t just keep pushing through. You might need to seek some medical advice to properly diagnose what exactly is causing that pain. 

“No pain, no gain” might be a pretty cool saying, but you shouldn’t abide by it. You shouldn’t feel pain when you are working out. Experiencing some discomfort is normal, especially when you are pushing yourself. Of course, “No discomfort, no gain” isn’t as catchy as “No pain, no gain.” Just remember to be on the lookout for any sudden and intense pain during your workout.

Overtraining Can Hurt You

We’ve all experienced overtraining at some point during our workouts. We just don’t know that we actually overtrained. You see, we like to think that we are just pushing ourselves too hard, but the reality is, we are hurting ourselves.

Overtraining is something that builds up overtime the more you push yourself too hard during your workouts. Overtime, you may notice that your energy levels are low and that workouts are becoming much more difficult to go through than before. That is your body telling you to take some time to recover. 

It is important to listen to your body whenever you are experiencing a different feeling during your workout. You are supposed to be able to finish your workout with just some muscle fatigue at the end of it. You shouldn’t be experiencing pain and not be able to finish your workout. Fortunately, there are ways for you to safely push yourself harder.

Ways to Safely Push Yourself Harder

Pushing yourself harder shouldn’t mean that you go and just destroy your body. It just means to give your workout all that you got while still being able to finish it. You can still get great results and experience the benefits of working out without causing havoc to yourself. Here are some ways for you to safely push yourself harder.

Track How Feel After a Workout

You should be able to successfully complete your workout without feeling any sort of sapped energy. This is where tracking how you feel after each workout can help. You can write down if you felt good, alright or bad about a workout. Ideally, you will want to maintain a consistent amount of good and alright days. Once you start having more alright and bad days, then it is time to look into your training and see if you need to rest and decrease the intensity you put out. 

Safely Increase Your Progression

Another way for you to safely push yourself harder is to increase your progression as safely as you can. This means increasing the weight by no more than ten percent each workout or monitoring how hard you push yourself during a cardio session. It is pretty easy to get ahead of yourself when you are working out. You might want to increase your weight by about 15% each week, even though you are struggling with it, or you might run longer than you should have. Make sure to monitor your progression to make sure you are progressing in a safe manner. 

Set Specific and Attainable Goals

Setting goals that you can reasonably reach during your workout is a good way to safely push yourself. Set a goal that is reasonable and attainable with the right amount of effort. For example, you can set a goal for yourself saying that in today’s cardio workout, you will get a little farther on the trail today. Don’t set something like trying to bench 300 pounds during your first two weeks at the gym. You can end up seriously hurting yourself. Make sure your goals are attainable and reasonable for your workout experience. 

Reframe Your Discomfort

Many of us have felt that lactic acid that builds up in our body when we are pushing ourselves during a workout. Some of us just let it win and some of us push through it. If you just give in to that discomfort, you might not be able to progress as much as you’d like. Instead of telling yourself something like, “Oh this burns!” Instead, tell yourself “I can get through this. Just a couple more reps!” This can give you that extra motivation to finish your set and power through your workout.


Pushing yourself during a workout is always good. You just have to be careful to make sure you are not pushing yourself too hard to where you end up overtraining. Appreciate the journey you are going through, and your results will speak for themselves.



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