One of the coolest things about training is to notice that it is working – you get in better shape; become stronger or run faster. Here are some tests to help you check and keep track of your evolution. These tests can also be your own competition as you measure and take note of your progress. To make sure that the tests give you correct and reliable results, they must be performed as truthfully as possible and repeated from time to time.
Make sure your tests are trustworthy
1. Do not cheat
In your eagerness for progress and get good test results, it is an inevitable requirement that you are honest. Honest in the sense that you are not cheating to have a better score than what you actually have. This may happen to those who have a bad tendency to believe you should always have measurable progress each time and can easily be tempted to subtract or add a bit to make it seem better than the previous test.
2. Test on the same day
Do the tests on the same day of the week. Most of us have a reasonably routine life, but if you are looking a little into your own everyday life, you will probably find that there is quite a big difference between a work day and a weekend day. You probably sleep longer during the weekend than on weekdays and eat less often, but maybe more in each meal, as well as having a little less stressful schedule at weekends than what you have on a daily basis.
All these habits may in part impact the results in a test if you choose to perform it on the weekend once and midweek next time. Therefore, stay on either everyday or weekend when you conduct testing. If you’d like to look even closer, you’ll probably see that there are specific differences on the different weekdays as well. Are there any days that are busier than others either because of your work, children or different routine tasks? If so – try to find the day that is most predictable and relaxed and use it as a test day.
3. Test at the same time of the day
Take the tests at about the same time of the day each time you test. Then it’s easier to eat just about the same, and you’ll probably feel just as awake and ready as you were on the last test.
4. Use equal equipment
When testing a treadmill, please note that no turbines display 100% of the same speed or work just the same as other turbines, even if they are from the same manufacturer. Use the same treadmill every time you test to run as much as possible and compare with your previous results. Consider that there may be a significant difference between the real speed and the speed indicated in the mill’s display, often 2 km/h or more. Also, make sure the speed is set in km h and not miles/hour – or chances are you will be very disappointed with your pace!
5. Eat the same things
Eat about the same – both concerning amount and type of food – ahead of each test and at the same time. If you consider yourself a very dedicated person, you can record what you have eaten the day before. This way, on the day you test, you can try to recreate a similar diet. Just imagine how different it is to run after a large plate of spaghetti bolognese versus a light snack.
5 rules developed by Personal Trainer Halvor Lauvstad
Halvor studied at NIH and has been a product manager at SATS and general manager of Norsk Fitness. He has written a series of books about training, including “Best in Birken”. Currently, he is lecturing for AFPT in Norway.