You have been working out consistently at the gym. You feel like the exercise program you’re currently on is challenging enough. But how do you really know how well you’re doing and if you’re progressing? Looking at various health and fitness outcomes will help determine if your training is either challenging enough or on the other end of the spectrum, maybe pushing you too much? Setting up your own periodic testing schedule is an ideal way to answer these questions and more. Try implementing some of the following testing over the course of your yearly training cycle.
Blood Profile. Health and fitness level can be measured from the inside out. Work with your physician and start to look deeper into what your blood profile is telling you. A good start is to do some research and look into a Cambridge, MA based company called InsideTracker which can help keep track of your blood work from any yearly check-up with your physician. Also look at Lab Test Online as well as an additional resource.
Anthropometric Measurements. Try using a Gulick tape measure and measure your waist and hip circumference. Record these measurements every 12-weeks and look at your Waist to Hip Ratio as well. This is a key health metric that you need to be aware of and continue to follow. See W/H Ratio chart here. As a sub-group of this you could also periodically look at body composition as well – %body fat and lean muscle.
Strength and Fitness Markers. There are many variables that you could look at here like 1-RM testing. But think out of the box a bit here. Can you do a pull-up? Can you do a dip? Can you run a mile? Try using a rowing machine and perform one of the following test at baseline and then again at another point in time to track overall improvements in performance.
-500 meter row for time
-4:00 O’Neill test
Special Forces Extreme Fitness, Chris McNab, Metro Books: New York, 2014
Eat Move Sleep, Tom Rath, Missionday, 2013
2000m Ergometer Test – by High Performance Rowing