Your eyes do not deceive you.
You read the graphic correctly.
Your training sessions don’t have to be gladiatorial life or death events.
Sure, your workout shouldn’t exactly be a cakewalk.
But it shouldn’t be a vomit spewing affair with you bawling your eyes out in pain, at least not all the fucking time.
Because the object is to “stimulate, not annihilate, the muscle,” as 8x Mr. Olympia winner Lee Haney used to say.
You see, resistance training involves the tearing of the muscle fibers, with the body then making them bigger and stronger to better withstand stress the next time it’s exposed to it. Pushing it to the limit each and every workout interferes with this recovery process, as the body isn’t given the requisite time to fully repair itself thanks to you continuously driving yourself into the ground.
But keep having every workout look like a deleted scene from G.I. Jane all you want. All that does is increase your chance of injury and retard progress, as the body not only has difficulty rebuilding muscle but also repairing the joints and connective tissue to provide support.
If you’re into longevity, being able to maintain an active lifestyle free of aches and pains, most workouts should teeter somewhere between moderation and all-out exertion, effectively falling at about a 7 or 8 out of 10 on the intensity scale.
That’s enough to allow the necessary recovery to produce results, as well as for you to keep at it consistently without burning yourself out.