Go Hard, or Go Home

I have a categorical hate for the expression, “Go hard, or go home!”

It is categorical because there are situations in which the phrase is very appropriate. If you’re a competitive athlete, for instance, you do need that attitude to win your competitions. There, it is appropriate.

If you are someone who is just bloody well trying to maintain fitness, it’s a load of crap.

Now before you say, “No! No! No! I did a hard-core twelve week program and I was in the best shape of my life!” I want you to consider something: Did you continue that program for a period of more than three years, or has it been awhile since you’ve been active?

If you did remain regularly active, more power to you. You found something that works, and I think that’s great. Don’t mess with it and keep doing it.

If you didn’t, maybe you need to stop approaching exercise like a competitive athlete.

I didn’t swim today. My husband needed to use the family car and I chose not to walk to the gym when it was below 30F and still dark. I could have chosen to. I just didn’t. I did a 30 minute exercise video instead. Not my first choice, but the goal is 30 minutes of working out a day every week day, rather than a specific training activity. So, I forged one more link in the chain of habit.

In my competitive athlete mode, I would have been going to heroic efforts to get the right workout in. Friends, if I were training for something, that would be an appropriate choice. Right now, I really don’t want to spend heroic effort on exercise. Professionally, I’ve got a lot going on, and I’d rather pour energy for heroic effort into that.

That’s where the “Go hard, or go home” attitude can be non-productive. You might be pouring heroic effort into something, but if it’s not exercise, the “Go hard or go home” attitude says you shouldn’t be working out at all. That’s not very helpful, now is it? It implies that if you don’t want to be an athlete, you don’t deserve to move your body.

That’s nonsense.

It’s not that I never work out hard. Sometimes I do. I did yesterday. Well, okay, I did today. (Yoga is very challenging for the inexperienced, just sayin’.)

3 Replies to “Go Hard, or Go Home”

  1. Maybe the “go hard or go home” folks are physiologically different from me. When I run myself into the ground in a workout, I get a tremendous adrenaline rush for a few hours but then feel incredibly tired for days afterwards. As someone who needs to concentrate at work and especially as a parent, I can’t afford that kind of interference with my peak mental performance.

    So I’m stuck with medium or light workouts. That’s life.

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