Every person who exercises, plays sports at any level or is going to begin doing either, should take the time to have a professional fitness assessment performed regularly by a qualified, certified and experienced trainer.
Comprehensive general fitness assessments should include a functional movement screen (i.e. FMS) which enables the client to demonstrate their physical capabilities and to allow the trainer to observe any limitations or compensations (we all have both) that the client possesses. And, measurements for body composition, girth, body weight and waist-to-hip ratio. Once this general assessment is completed, the trainer utilizes this information and data to design a personal exercise program for that specific individual.
Why is this critical? As we say in this industry, “If you can track it, you can train it,” and that means if you do not know where you are, you will have great difficulty getting where you would like to go from a fitness perspective. Establishing this baseline early in your pursuit of fitness sets you up for success both in the short and long term. Once these baseline assessments are completed and the personal exercise program is designed, and performed with the trainer, then the client may begin to utilize this program regularly.
After a period of time decided upon by the client and the trainer, follow-up assessments should be performed to determine the progress made and to ascertain what modifications may need to be made to the program. These modifications may be as simple as increasing the number of repetitions or an increase in load or may be a complete re-design of the program when necessary. The complete re-design usually takes place after we have been training our clients for some time determining that their bodies are ready for this periodic change (i.e. periodization). And, this is based upon the client’s goals and objectives as discussed thoroughly during the initial client/trainer consultation.
How often should re-assessments be performed? The short answer is that “it depends.” And, it really does depend upon what that client’s short and long term goals are because the client’s goals are our top priority. While there may be a few similarities from one client’s program to another’s, the details are specific to each individual and consequently, how frequent assessments occur will be based upon that individual. Some of our clients require reassessments every four to six weeks due to the rigors of their individual programs, while others may only have assessments scheduled every 8-12 weeks.
The key is to have the fitness assessments regularly enough so that you stay on track with your fitness program over the long haul. Your body will change. Our bodies are dynamic, and the only thing that is constant is change! So, we must consistently modify our programs to stay ahead of the curve and continue to improve.
Lastly, assessments may also be very skill specific, particularly with athletes. For example, we may only be assessing a client’s gait improvement, or their vertical jumps. We may also be assessing elements such as Threshold Two, which enables us to determine if their sustainable aerobic power is improving over time during a cycling or running program. Bottom line — schedule an assessment with your trainer today.