What Does Giving 100% REALLY Mean?

So often athletes talk about giving 100%. We hear this in phrases like "leave it all out there," "no regrets," etc. When athletes say this to me, I always ask them to define what they mean. I'm often met with a confused look that says, "What do you mean you don't know what that means?" Of course, I know what that means for ME. But giving 100% means something different for each athlete, so I'm trying to get them to define that for themselves.

She felt very compelled to dig a hole in a field during our walk. She was FOCUSED.

As athletes, we are used to pushing hard, which is awesome and part of what's so fun about being an athlete. Yet, we also need to learn to give our full attention to recovery. There is one member of our household who is a master at giving everything her full effort: Ms. Molly (#SweetMollyMixBreed). Most people who know her think she's only a master at recovery days (which just might be her specialty). But if you take that girl on a walk, she is all in. She turns into little miss huntress and will hike for miles and miles. When she's done, she'll find her spot on the couch and rest at full capacity. Whatever the task is she is giving it her full effort.


So many athletes believe giving 100% means going at MAX intensity ALL OF THE TIME, but that's missing the point. Training at a maximum intensity level 24/7, 365 days of the year is going to do nothing other than lead to burnout which has implications for athlete mental health. It may also contribute to overuse injuries. The reality is giving 100% really means giving our full effort and attention to all types of training (recovery days, moderate days, drill days, etc) and isn't just about max intensity. It's paying attention to all those details that helps us perform at our best. Be focused and intentional no matter what you're doing. If you don't like those days of training? Even better! What a great opportunity to learn to embrace things being difficult and frustrating for you!

Athletes often have the most difficulty with rest days (or "off" days). We spend so much of our time being super scheduled and training that we forget what it's like to rest. If you're an athlete who benefits from structure, go ahead and schedule fun things for your day off. Try a new hobby or watch a movie. It's okay! It's part of your training! Days off can also be a great time to schedule appointments or meet with a friend for lunch. Embrace those days and have fun with them. 

She would have slept the entire day (even through present opening) if we let her. She has epic relaxation skills.

She would have slept the entire day (even through present opening) if we let her. She has epic relaxation skills.

I want to encourage each of you to examine your 100%. Are you giving all types of effort your full attention or just one? Practice the types you aren't as good at. I'm not gonna lie: having Molly around certainly helped me practice my relaxation skills! I've certainly learned from the best :)


Disclaimer: You should consult an appropriate professional for specific advice tailored to your situation. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, you should call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.