At it’s core, the principles that underlie StrongFit are a system of learning. As the system continues to evolve, so do the structures that shape it and the concept of reinforcement learning presents a powerful allegory to how humans grow and adapt. Though easily buried by an abstract algorithm, the basic of Q-learning is this: success is found in moving beyond our mistakes and that our intention within the present matters. This is part two of breaking down the Q-learning algorithm and what we can learn about human nature from this advancement in machine learning.
In Q-learning, the learning rate determines to what extent that new information will override old information. Mathematically, when this factor is set to zero, the agent will learn nothing. On the other hand, if it is set to a factor of 1 then the agent will only consider the newest information.
Athleticism requires learnability which we often call coachability - how willing is the athlete to actually learn and change? The worlds greatest performers are often the greatest learners, willing to adapt and master principle ahead of method. The novice must first learn to release old habits and patterns that bring prejudice to learning a new action, then determine the new skills that should be learned to advance forward. The athlete who won’t listen to a single hint or cue has a learning factor of zero because they will continue to hang on to “what works for me”. Those who are stuck chasing ‘the secret” in finding endlessly new programs and new coaches are at a learning factor of 1 and contribute nothing from experience.
If we can’t yield to learning, we will move to go nowhere - endlessly caught in the algorithm. The retired football guy with the old knee injury will remain the-football-guy-with-the-old-knee-injury if he refuses to adapt to train differently than the-football-guy. The Instagram fitness girl will stay the-Instagram-#fitness-girl if she keeps following every flashy workout that pops up on Instagram from the-Instagram-#fitness-girl.
Ego and ignorance are nowhere along the path of progress and programs are little more than a set of memorization points, a map often written by pride and greed. Athleticism requires an intelligence to understanding the necessary intention to performing a certain task. The student, then, is a surrenderer to the process of success and its relationship to failure. The expert loves to learn more than they love to win.