The “On” Switch; 100% or Bust

Members of my family seem to have a trait: we go at things 100%. This serves us well, when we work hard, but has lead to hangovers in the past, when we’ve partied hard 🙂

Some of us label this the “on” switch. Sometimes it gets stuck in the “on” position, and that’s not always good, because a person can’t sustain 100% effort indefinitely.

Australia’s new season of The Biggest Loser has started. (Yes, yes, I know it’s garbage – “fat porn” and dubious practices – but it’s still one of my favourite forms of electronic valium). On Monday night, there was a contestant who was having trouble with his training: he’d go hard for a while, then collapse. His trainer suggested that he was repeating a pattern, pushing himself at 100% then falling down.

“Hey,” I thought, “that’s me!” I’ve been having a problem during my personal training sessions of going hard, then not being able to breathe and having an anxiety or panic attack. So I took the lesson from TBL to heart yesterday. It was a good day to be trying something which involved self-care, kindness, and self-compassion: the gym was over forty degrees inside (104 Fahrenheit). Every now and then I’d dial my effort back to 90%, 85% or even 75%, and I made it through the session without ‘wigging out’ once.

I told my trainer about it afterwards, and he said he hadn’t noticed any difference in my training, apart from the fact that I hadn’t had to stop due to anxiety. He said he always knows that I try hard (“yay”, I thought) but that it was wise to ease back a bit sometimes.

Do you have an “on” switch? Does it adversely affect your life at all? How do you cope with it?


Filed under Up

16 responses to “The “On” Switch; 100% or Bust

  1. I have been searching for my “On” switch for the past two years. Right now I wish I had an “Off” switch for my “Off” switch…. would that count as an “On” switch?


  2. eddieredvine

    Yes! I swing from too far on to too far off… somewhere in the middle is happy Eddie.


  3. I think my on switch flicks on when I am cleaning. I can’t just do a basic sort of clean, I focus in on the tiniest details and as a result, it takes me ages to get anything done and my place usually looks chaotic!
    i haven’t been watching this season of TBL, I’ve been watching My Kitchen Rules instead.


  4. Definitely, I have that all or nothing, on or off mentality. I’m trying to ease back “on” but it’s hard to find a happy medium.


  5. Story of my life! You make a great point here though and I’m taking it to heart. Instead of going 100% balls to the wall, I’m going to take a more steady approach that allows me have more longevity. Like you, I think giving my everything up front can be an easy way to burn out fast and give up. Cheers to the steady rising stars!! Great post!!


    • Thanks! I must admit this ‘tweaked’ approach has really helped in my training. Yesterday my average heart rate was even higher than usual, which is what I was aiming for, even though I sometimes pulled the throttle back somewhat; so taking it ever so slightly easy doesn’t have a negative impact on the outcome of your workout (or, at least, my workout – probably best I don’t generalize!).
      Today I’ve been prescribed a ‘rest day’ by my trainer 🙂 I’m happy because it means I’ve been working hard, which is good.


  6. Pingback: E: Exercise | In & Out, Up & Down: Dysthymia Bree's Musings On Mental Health and Psychiatric Wards

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