This is probably equally a mathematical as it is a training rant. Many times the physically gifted competitor boasts or is commended for "giving a 110%." Or more. This is ludicrous for several reasons:
- Human performance on an individual basis has a minimum (i.e. zero) and a maximum (i.e. 100%). A personal best, a one max rep, or a victory pulled out against all odds is not anymore than 100% of their potential at that one moment. That does not make the triumph any less, it simply normalizes the scale.
- The maximum effort or ability of a person is completely individualized. A rookie gives a much higher percentage of their maximum ability than a skilled competitor. Proof: Look at how many more rounds the skilled competitor can do versus the unskilled. Newbies are usually sucking wind after 2 minutes while the experienced hands may not get tired for 2 hours. Yet the more advanced scoff at this increased energy and ability drain, but commend the use of 100% in the competitor.
- The "balls to the wall" training strategy is easy when you're physically superior to your training partners, i.e. faster, stronger, bigger, more stamina, etc. But the older, smaller, or less physically gifted are outputting closer to their maximum or their 100%, than the combat sports David announcing his infinite drive. Yet we respect the competitive paragon and shun the achieving common (wo)man.
- In training it is impossible to give 100% all the time. A power lifter does not do their one max best rep on every lift, they work up to that level. However in combat sports we often describe people as giving 100% all the time. This is a negative sum method of training, because injuries don't always happen to people that deserve them. If every practice you spar at 100% someone's ones going to get injured. 100% resistance while drilling a designated move is a useless training methodology. Moreover training has different phases of mixing mental and physical attributes, sometimes it is mostly brainwork, sometimes its mostly physical, and sometimes its mostly finding heart, but only in the fight itself is it 100% of all three.
In truth the only person we compete against is ourselves and only in competition with ourselves can we find our 100%. And then spend the subsequent rematches during rest of our lives increasing that level.