As part of your journey here at SOF you will most likely come across our quarterly testing week. A feeling of dread or horror may come over you when hearing that, however we need to remember testing is something that occurs in every aspect of life. So why not apply it to your health and fitness too.
Some people choose to get involved in testing simply because they’re following the crowd. Others do it because they care deeply about the numbers and want to achieve P.B’s. While this mentality will help you reach goals, it’s important to consider that there are several factors that will affect performance in testing week. Here’s how to ensure your results are an accurate representation of where your fitness and strength is at when the time to challenge yourself arrives.
Factors that affect testing
As we test every 12 weeks, there are a lot of things that can change and influence your results. Some clients can find themselves not hitting their benchmarks from previous testing blocks and feel frustrated by this lack of progress. This can be caused by factors that exist outside of your training regime. For instance, you may have an unexpected injury to manage which can understandably, lead to a lack of consistency. Adherence is integral to a progressive overload strength training model (which is what we use at SOF), therefore these interruptions in your routine may set-back your gains. If this does happen, it is beneficial to “modify, don’t miss” because if you miss 2 weeks of exercise it can take you up to 8-10 weeks to get back to your previous fitness level.
What can you control?
Three controllable factors that heavily influence your physical activity levels and day-to-day function is hydration, diet, and sleep. Hydration is key for performance – the human body is 70% water so it’s easy to see why. Hydration studies on athletes have found that a loss of 2% body weight through sweat will cause a reduction in physical and mental performance (Jeukendrup, 2015).
Although often treated as an afterthought controlling your diet and eating a wide variety of nutritious foods is getting progressively difficult in our fast-paced society. This can also lead to the issue of under fueling and not having enough energy required to train and perform at your best. If you need a refresh on the healthy eating guidelines, see them here.
Living a busy life without taking time to rest will affect an individual’s ability to switch-off and sleep. The body performs many physiological processes while sleeping which aids in your recovery. It is recommended that we aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night. Poor sleep habits can increase the chance of injury and illness (coming into flu season), reduce motivation and undermine overall health (Watson, 2017).
When it comes to testing, it may feel like the odds are against you when things like this pop up and hinder your performance. To prepare yourself to be the best you can be focus on the things you can control. Aim to eat a variety of nutritious food, get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night, stay hydrated and remain consistent. Whatever the biggest hindrance is for you – our team is here to help.
If you’re struggling to unwind from a buildup of stress, come along to our lower intensity classes like Move and Yoga.
If you’re struggling with an injury and don’t know where to start, come chat to one of our Exercise Physiologists.
If you’re struggling with your well-being and it’s disrupting your routine, chat to our provisional psychologist.
If you’re struggling to get quality sleep at night, attend one of our breathing classes and see how it changes your life.
The best place to start is to contact email@example.com and we will be here to guide you in the right direction, so that you can reach your full potential – not just for testing week, but for your daily life and beyond.