Hey I'm all for going hard in the gym. You get what you give, right? The harder you work the better your results will be... for the most part.
But you have a life. You don't spend all your time and energy on working out and your nutrition and getting enough sleep, massage, stretching, yoga etc..
So this is where I say let's get realistic.
How much work can you do in a week to make progress? Should you always strive to do more? Or should you do just enough?
As with anything fitness-related, there are a ton of opinions on this and many studies, of course.
Here's my opinion, take it for what it is. My experience and my opinion. Works for a lot of people, but not for everyone.
Keep in mind that this is for a general fitness-enthusiast. It's a funny term, fitness-enthusiast, but when reading articles and books about fitness, remember that the writer has a specific person in mind. For me it's not an athlete. It's not a competitive bodybuilder or powerlifter. I am writing for the person who wants to get in better shape, get stronger and look better on the beach but who doesn't want to spend a ton of time in the gym (if at all) and who has a busy work life, family life and fitness is not the number 1 priority.
With that said...I'm not going to give you a number of days per week to workout or anything like that. What I want to do is give you an idea of how I like to structure going hard in the gym and having more "park bench" days.
One way that is very effective is to have a very hard day followed by an easier day. You could go heavier weight one day and the next you could do just bodyweight exercises and some machines (if at a gym)
Another great way to structure high intensity days is to just get after it when you get into the gym and feel like you are pumped, full of energy etc..
Not every day needs to be one of those all-out crazy marathon workouts where you leave every single drop of yourself in the gym and you have nothing left. Those memes that say you have to go hard or go home and that try to be hardcore and make everyone feel like if they don't basically pass out by the end of the workout that it's useless.
Pay no attention to memes on the internet! Seriously, they are the worst.
Mix in some very hard days with days that you go in work hard and do what you need to do. Put together enough of those and you will get where you want to go. Consistency is the key. Not going as hard as possible for every single rep, exercise and workout.