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?

16 Comments

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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?

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  2. eddieredvine

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

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  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.

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  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.

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  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!!

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    • 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.

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

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