by Bryan J. Neva, Sr.
On jet aircraft the military rates the engines at 80% of their maximum peak power to preserve longevity. It is often referred to as continuous or rated power. Full military power is actually 110% of the rated power of 80% which is 88% of maximum peak power. Otherwise they'll run an extremely high risk of damage to the jet engine.
The Army applies this principle of sustained effort to their soldiers as well. They know they can't push their soldiers at 110% for long periods of time without permanent damage. Wars can only be sustained with fresh troops. The candle that burns twice as bright only burns half as long. Giving 110% has often been misinterpreted as giving more than the maximum when in fact all they are doing is operating at 88% of the maximum peak power.
When applied to people you should think in terms of a person's sustainable output versus their maximum output. Maximum output is ALL that a person is capable of producing without regard for how long they can keep it up. Think of it as a marathon runner as opposed to a sprinter: the marathon runner can run 26 miles at a reasonable pace while the sprinter can only run short distances at a very fast pace.