I'd have to say that 99% of the time, the answer to that question would be a resounding yes.
I remember a couple years ago reading an article about Jillian Michaels where she said she hires a personal trainer. What?! She IS a personal trainer. The poster child for fitness. What the heck does she need wth a trainer? Her answer? "I know he will work me harder than I'd ever work myself. I need to be pushed".
I know exactly what she means. That's the same reason why I do classes at the gym, instead of going up to the fitness floor and doing my own thing. I wouldn't push myself, and I know it. I'd probably walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill and call it a day. I need to be pushed.
On Friday I hit the gym twice, for two classes. The early am. was my typical strength training/weight lifting class. After I got the kiddos off to school, I went back for an hour of kick boxing. I can honestly say that at the end of the second class, I was totally spent. I could actually feel that my body had used up everything it had in it. I was running on fumes. Have you ever felt like that? It was weird, and satisfying all at the same time. I knew I worked my ass off (hopefully literally!). Good work out, no trainer needed.
Then on Saturday I went to a spin class. The thing with spinning is that the ride is what you make of it. You have control over the tension on the bike, as well as how hard you push. The instructor gives recommendations like "your gear should be between 10 and 15.." but ultimately it's your ride.
I thought I had a great work out. I was sweating and I felt my heart rate getting up there. I felt good. THEN, on the way out I saw another girl who was literally dripping from head to toe in sweat. I swear, she looked like she had been caught in a rain storm, or took a shower with her clothes on! What the heck? I thought I worked really hard, I felt good...until I saw her!
Now, it could be that she's just a generally sweaty person, but I'm pretty sure it's proof that I can almost always work harder than I do.
I do work out a lot. More so than the average person, I think. However, my body is used to the exercise I do. I have to constantly kick it up a notch and change things around if I want to continue to see results. Frustrating? Yes, to say the least. But it is what it is, and it certainly keeps me in check.
So I guess what I'm trying to say in all this babbling mess is that the next time you're exercising, ask yourself if you could do more...run faster, lift more, push harder. I bet you can! Give it a shot.