There is nothing wrong with going to the gym day after day for no reason other than to be a bit healthier and with the hope that you may look a bit better after a few weeks but sometimes our motivation can dwindle if we don’t see results fast enough.
One way to combat our loss of motivation is to carryout ‘fitness testing’ on set days throughout the year.
Just the word ‘testing’ is enough to increase your blood pressure! However carrying out a battery of fitness tests periodically throughout the year can actually be kinda fun! Over the years I have played several different sports as a child and into adulthood and competed in quite a few also. Sometimes I miss competition. Not so much competing against others but competing within myself. Challenging myself and pushing myself that little bit further gives me a great buzz. Finding out what I am capable of physically and mentally is exciting. Now I no longer compete in sports, fitness testing is my chance to still find out what I am capable of. Each time I beat one of my PBs I get a big release of happy hormones that keep me buzzing all day.
What tests should I choose?
Fundamentally this is all dependant on your goals. what do you want to achieve? However, for me personally I have always liked the idea of being able to cope with whatever is thrown at me whether that be some sort of endurance challenge (preferable running) or lifting event (mainly powerlifting) whilst looking like a have a half decent physique! If you would also like to be a well rounded recreational athlete then I would recommend you choose a battery of tests that measure your fitness in the following three areas:
- Cardiovascular fitness
- Muscular strength
- Body composition
How often should I test?
This is also dependant on you and your goals, however, I like to test quarterly. Testing four times a year is enough to keep me motivated and see some gains each time I test. The results can also be used to prescribe the training loads for the training programme that follows and also indicate which areas need extra focus or work. For example you could carry out the 12 minute cooper run test for your cardio, 1RM tests for the squat, deadlift and bench press, and use skin-fold callipers to estimate your body fat percentage. After testing you might find that you are very strong but your cardio sucks so that will be given more focus in the next 12 weeks leading up to the next test date. It may be that your cardio is good, your strength is good but your body fat is too high so you give more focus to your nutrition over the next 12 weeks leading up to the next test date.
Give yourself an off season if that works for you
You may also like to give yourself an off season. This is a period of time in the year where you are active but not necessarily chasing any specific goal. Can I just stress again, YOU ARE STILL ACTIVE! In other words your training for maintenance of your fitness and health, and training for enjoyment. This is entirely up to you but October, November and December can work well. I will just mention one more time, YOU ARE STILL ACTIVE, you may also still follow a programme but you aren’t chasing a goal that you are keen to achieve by the next test date.
Over the next few weeks I will share some of my favourite fitness tests and how to conduct them.
Stay active folks 😉