I bring up the concept of autoregulation a lot and one of the keys to autoregulation is “listen to your body”. “Listen to your body” is a very nebulous decree which is one reason why RTS is a useful system. It takes a nebulous process and creates a defined system. On the other end some argue that “how you feel is a lie”. You might feel like shit but then go into the gym and set a PR. Just like “Listen to your body” this is a nebulous concept but has some legitimate aspects to it. Let’s tease it apart.
One of the reasons that “how you feel is a lie” is nebulous is that it doesn’t specify what kind of feelings and where they arise from. Is it speaking of motivation? Emotions? Subjective feelings of fatigue? Certainly your subjective feeling of readiness and fatigue can’t be considered extremely accurate measures. Motivation can be an indicator of readiness, in spite of its subjectivity. One type of feeling that definitely cannot be ignored is of course RPE. This is because RPE is directly linked to performance.
Certainly the accuracy of subjective measurements exist on a spectrum. I think RPE is going to be on the more accurate end of the spectrum because its a responsive rating. It’s a “feeling” that occurs after a set. It’s still subjective; you can be bad at calling your RPE. But rather than a feeling based on a state, it’s a form of feedback based on a performance. Couple this with another form of RPE rating, such as rating via video, and RPE is one of the most solid subjective indicators.
How you feel is not a lie but it depends upon what you’re feeling. You should pay more attention to certain feelings, such as RPE and maybe motivation and less to others.