“We only learn our limits by going beyond them. “
“Whosoever Knows Others Is Clever
Whosoever Knows Himself Is Wise.”
To know an opponent is often an exercise in futility. You can watch past performances, read statistics, watch them train in the gym or on the field, but you will never know all they have to offer. There will be that unknown piece of their makeup that can’t be visibly seen or measured by observation. You can’t gauge their passion, drive, desire or preparations. As hard as you may try to learn about an opponent, there will be a limit and a certain degree of mystery.
The same holds true for that person knowing you. There is a depth to each one of us that can only be called upon from our own minds. There are resources within us that we cannot explain how they’re summoned. Oftentimes we surprise ourselves with our performances.
To know a teammate in terms of trusting what they’ll deliver in speed, talent or assistance is good to speculate upon, but to really know their capabilities is immeasurable. To “know others is clever” and as much as can be found in the efforts to study them is a valuable asset to any competitive training program. But time better spent is in learning about ourselves through testing, feedback, evaluation and retesting.
The key in studying feedback is the “wisdom” found in “knowing oneself”. “Whosoever knows himself is wise” means you’ve paid enough attention to the aspects and variations in your own training to know your capabilities under various circumstances. Knowing yourself through continuous trial and effort brings a sense of confidence to the field that regular practice alone cannot. By knowing the depth and intensity of your own training brings courage in attitude and assuredness to performance.
Simply charting your progress against the goals you’ve set is feedback. Recording what you plan to do and then writing what you’ve accomplished is the reality check that makes you above average. By seeing in black and white, where you started, where you’re at, and where you’re headed has a compounding effect that leads to positive approaches for future endeavors. When you see that you could only do 2 push-ups or pull-ups when you began, and now record sets of 11, 22, or more is a stimulus to reach higher yet.
WHAT IS FEEDBACK?
The feedback of a workout regimen involves many aspects to consider. One must know why each move benefits the body, how much to do, when to back off, how to cycle the training, what foods to eat and an ongoing list of checks and balances to evaluate how well the approach is working. By using, utilizing and applying this feedback on an ongoing basis, the athlete learns about himself and the wisdom becomes his own.
By observing these same aspects of role models to emulate performance, makes the athlete clever in recognizing what can be borrowed and what should be left alone. We learn not only by doing, but also by observing. If someone is where you want to be, you model them until you know what it takes to be in that position, then, you pass them. When you are humble enough to respect your own weaknesses, you begin to know how to work with them to delete them.
Feedback is essential because it helps to gauge our progress within a given exercise. Does your back hurt? Are you feeling the movement more in the shoulders than the pectorals? Are you having more pains since beginning workouts? What are you doing wrong? Weight lifting programs are supposed to make you stronger, feel better, shape faster, and perform longer at higher intensities. If these things aren’t happening, then you must ask, “why?” That is feedback.
Feedback is a measurement. It could be as vague as how you feel, or as specific as a millisecond of time. It is a way to gauge progress or lack of it. Feedback is another way of paying attention to how your body is performing. It can be witnessed by outside observers, but it is best evaluated by your own personal measurement. Feedback builds with Specifics and holds you accountable for your own progress.
THIS IS ONLY A TEST
The following tests and charts are standard ways to test strength and flexibility with common measurements that anyone can have access to. It is important to try as many of these as possible, just to get a baseline measurement for where you stand. A common cycle is to do the test at the beginning of a new regimen, then again after a 6-week cycle to gauge improvements. Tests can be done more often, but should at least minimally be performed every month, or each time a training style is changed or new exercises incorporated.
We will often weigh ourselves every day and sometimes more when on a new diet, but never take into account if the other aspects of our health are helping in a measurable way. Knowing how to test speed, strength and flexibility are essential to our fitness ability. Do not avoid knowing these crucial factors and working to improve them.