Why is Fitness Testing Important?

Fitness testing

You might be an athlete wanting to track whether your agility, power, strength, acceleration, aerobic and anaerobic endurance are improving throughout the year as this has an impact on your sporting performance.

You might be a businessperson in the workplace who understands the fitter and healthier you are the less sick days you will require and the better your performance will be at work. This could result in anything from increased focus and efficiency in everyday tasks, to increased sales to being able to give a presentation with huge amounts of energy without being short of breath.

You might want to improve your life with a focus on lowering your body fat and increasing your strength so you can go for a family walk or play with your children without being short of breath. Or, simply that you feel unfit and want to feel strong, powerful, confident, focused and motivated. 

Whatever your reason, see below 5 benefits of taking a fitness assessment.

1. To assess your current level of fitness

A fitness test gives you factual data showing exactly where you are at the time of testing. This is extremely useful for both yourself and your coach. Without testing, how do you know your starting point? How will you know for sure whether you have improved?

2. To identify your strengths and areas of improvement

As an athlete your physical fitness can be your advantage over your opponent. In tennis for example, you must be quick over a short distance, be able to move well laterally and last the duration of the match with as little fatigue as possible. What will improve your performance the most? Where should you place your focus for the next block of training? Should you focus on strength and power output so you can accelerate more quickly or should you focus on your ability to repeatedly sprint with as little fatigue as possible so you can last longer at a high intensity? You might feel you are strong in one component of fitness, however, when tested this is not the case. 

A fitness test could also highlight an area that may be a contributing factor to any injuries you may have, for example, a lack of lower body mobility and flexibility could be a contributing factor to lower back pain. Without testing your fitness you will not know your strengths and areas of improvement and what will have the biggest impact on your performance if your were to improve it.

3. To help you set goals

Knowing your current level of fitness alongside your strengths and areas of improvement will help you to sit down either alone or with your coach and write out some goals. Goal setting has many benefits that will help provide direction and focus to your training and ultimately help you bridge the gap between where you are now and where you would like to be.

4. To help adapt and personalise your training program

If you are a keen runner for example, maybe you run socially, competitively or enjoy Park Run at the weekend and you want to improve your time. Running intervals above your maximal aerobic speed could help you improve your time, however, without testing your current maximal aerobic speed you would not know the speed required to run the training intervals at. You would be guessing the training speed, and guessing will often not gain you the result you desire. 

Following a generic plan 1000 others are following, accepting a programme from a coach who has done some guess work or going into the gym and training blind would be easy to do, however, will not achieve the result you desire. If you want to be able to tweak your current training plan or have a training plan personalised to you, fitness testing is a must.

5. To help motivate you

Ultimately, testing your fitness is extremely motivating. Seeing on paper you have improved is very motivating. Achieving poor results in your first assessment can motivate you to improve before testing again in say 4 months time. Achieving your first pull up knowing 6 months ago you could not dead hang for more than 5 seconds is extremely satisfying. Although, comparing your result to someone else’s is not always healthy and must be done with caution, knowing you have gone from below average for your age to above average for your age can feel like a huge achievement and be a big confidence booster.

I hope this post was of value to you. I’d love to hear your thoughts, please do send me a message on Instagram (simonjamescoaching). 

Thank you for reading.

Simon James

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