Fitness test and missile guide your training towards health fitness success.

 

by STEFAN, BAppSci, IBLS-AIS, CSCS

After making a true decision to your health fitness and conditioning the habit by associating it with fun and pleasure, only now you are now ready to get serious about exercise and get results. But how does one get results?

Hard work, dedication and of course progression. More on that later. But before that, how do we measure results? How do we know we are on track?

Results must be measured or quantified before and after we start exercising. You see, once you make a decision to change and take action upon it, the next step is to notice whether it's working. Only then, the necessary steps can be implemented to correct the outcome and ensure you're on track.

Some of you scientists out there may be familiar with the word 'feedback' or more specifically 'feedback loop'. For those of you that are not familiar with these terms, they are studied in a subject that I studied called Automation and Control. Can you see the connection?

In order to be able to control your health fitness, you must have a goal or a target. But in order to reach that goal one must have feedback. Feedback is used in guided missiles to ensure that they reach their target. The missile constantly checks its current position in relation to the goal target to guarantee that it reaches it. You too must act like a guided missile in your own training protocol. You must constantly assess your position and your current physical state in order to know whether your effort is bringing you closer to your target or not. To know whether your garden is flowering and stays flowering.

Feedback in health fitness is achieved through various avenues. Having regular fitness assessments performed is an invaluable tool. It will allow you to quantitatively notice whether the program is working and more importantly, take the necessary steps to correct or even enhance it. If a fitness instructor is available to get a few of your measurements, I highly recommend it. Measurements such as blood pressure, weight, body-fat estimation and a few girths, go a long way to ensure results are forthcoming.

Some simple tests are so essential and truly life changing for some. Tests such as Body Mass Index (BMI) and Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR) and indeed blood pressure can be done without much equipment. But they're results are powerful and to some they can be life changing. These simple tests can act as your first warning signs in which your body is asking for help. Not just from your personal help but also from professional help such as in the case of high blood pressure. High blood pressure needs to be treated as soon as possible because it's enormous strain on the cardiovascular system may prove fatal. It's a good idea to have a blood pressure test done before engaging in regular physical activity.

Keeping an accurate progress diary during your training years is imperative. Without a physical assessment and a workout diary, one can never be sure if the path taken will lead you to the promised body. Your plan of attack may be more like a bomb dropped from an airplane. Your bomb may reach its target but if the projectile strays away due to other external disturbances such as wind and whether conditions, the bomb has no mechanisms in place to ensure it gets back on track and reach its target.

If you use this analogy in your own training, replace bomb with program design and external disturbances such as genetics, commitment, time, diet, sleep, etc. You can see that only by having mechanisms in place to ensure feedback you can control your health fitness and efficiently get results.

Unfortunately, the only control mechanism most people have in place is measuring weight on the bathroom scale. This is hardly an effective mechanism. It creates a problem rather than solving one because kilograms by themselves are an inaccurate representation of what happened. As you may know, resistance training is essential to bodyfat loss as resistance training builds muscle. Since muscle is around 2.5 times heavier than fat, it is likely that the scale may have stayed the same or lowered only slightly after a brief period of training. Most people reach for the ice cream tub at this point and think they are failures with bad 'fat loss' genetics.

It's highly likely that this resistance trained individual, may have lost 5 kilograms of fat and put only 2 kilograms of muscle on. As a result the scale shows about the same reading. Even though the scale may show similar weight readings, this individual has made positive changes in their physiology. Of noted importance is that this individual has raised their metabolism by gaining this extra muscle. This means that this 'same weight' individual now burns more calories when exercising and more calories even when watching the box. What does all this add up to? More bodyfat loss in the future, better body composition, more strength, more self-confidence and boundless energy.

Testing and re-testing is an integral part of an athletes training program and this was further evident while working at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS). Basically every department at the AIS performs tests and re-tests every athlete and most of their time is focused around that. They include physiological, biomechanical, biochemical and hematological just to name a few. But why so many tests? Surely by now they should know what works and what doesn't?

There is just no way knowing that the athlete is improving unless the athlete is tested and re-tested. There is no way knowing that the program given will give the desired results, specifically improvement. The coach thinks it will, but he wants to know as soon as possible so that he may adjust his program and ensure his athlete is on the road to progression.

You too must have tests in place in order to guarantee progression. How can you be sure you're progressing in strength, if you've never measured and recorded it? How can you be sure you're improving cardiovascular fitness if you've never tested it?

Well, the coaches at the AIS take no chances. They want to know that their training is bringing their athletes closer to their goals. They want to be assured that their not wasting time on something that doesn't work. Do you feel the same about your best athlete? Which of course is yourself.

Some of these tests may be simple. They may be: taking a photograph in bathers before and after, performing 3 repetition bench press and squats every few months, getting a bodyfat test done, getting as much work done in a given time period on the treadmill, etc. Have a test protocol in place to ensure progression and better time management.

An initial, 'baseline' fitness assessment followed by regular reassessments and progress diary will allow you to track your progress and ensure results. I think getting progressive results is the greatest of motivators. Getting results allows you to reap the benefits that you so rightfully deserve. Physiological benefits such as increased energy levels, increased strength levels and a longer, more eventful existence, coupled with psychological benefits of increased self-confidence and self worth can only strengthen this health fitness lifestyle.

Oh, and let's not forget the benefit of looking damn hot. :)

Remember, implement feedback in order to control your health fitness.
Train smart!

Stefan Angheli
Editor healthfitness.com.au

 
   
 
   
     
 

But in order to reach that goal one must have feedback. Feedback is used in guided missiles to ensure that they reach their target. The missile constantly checks its current position in relation to the goal target to guarantee that it reaches it. You too must act like a guided missile in your own training protocol. You must constantly assess your position and your current physical state in order to know whether your effort is bringing you closer to your target or not.
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You too must have tests in place in order to guarantee progression. How can you be sure you're progressing in strength, if you've never measured and recorded it? How can you be sure you're improving cardiovascular fitness if you've never tested it?
     
     
     
 
 
 
 
REFERENCE:
*· ABS Catalog 4805.0 National Nutrition Survey 1995
 
   

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