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Assessment is vital to keep progressing towards your fitness goals

Most people will hit plateaus as they attempt to reach targets, keeping yourself accountable is essential practice.

Image: Shutterstock/antoniodiaz

IF YOU’RE LOOKING to improve your strength, enhance your mobility and generally increase your fitness, then this is the article for you.

So your training has been going pretty OK the last while.

You’re feeling relatively ‘fit’, you hit the group workout 3-5 times a week, work hard and sweat buckets, but you are starting to wonder if you are really improving.

Are you assessing or just guessing?

This is a quote I tend to use with all my new clients before we start to measure body composition, mobility/flexibility, or looking at your basic movements like squatting or bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups.

The majority of my clients want to look better, feel fitter, move well and just live a healthier life. The checklist below is something worth considering if you have similar goals.

Mobility

Let’s start with a mobility assessment. In last week’s article I highlighted how you can assess your mobility by performing a simple test.

Asses your movement and set some benchmarks. Can you do a full-range, bodyweight squat? Can you perform a chin/pull-up, or even a proper push-up? If not, this is not really a problem initially but the key is to take note of your limitations at the start so that we have a reference point for monitoring progress 6-8 weeks later.

Most clients I get with a bootcamp background have a fairly strong conditioning/fitness base but they still fall down when it comes to basic movements.

The majority have no understanding of mobility and have been doing basic movements like squats and deadlifts with horrific form.

This isn’t necessarily their fault as the fitness industry is guilty of selling ‘intensity’ and ‘youth’ without educating clients on the basics.

Sometimes you have to slow down to get up to speed.

It might just be a case of going over the mechanics again to improve technique before you start to ramp up the intensity once more.

Evaluate your body composition/weight

The number on the scales isn’t everything, what’s more important is the amount of fat your body is holding on to.

Find a good trainer who will use something like a harpenden skinfold caliper to measure your body-fat percentage every six weeks.

Bringing in strength and hypertrophy training, along with some interval-based work and the odd bit of aerobic work, will help improve your composition/performance in the gym. This, of course, needs to be done along with a good approach to nutrition.

Address your nutrition

I have already outlined a solid 80/20 approach to nutrition in a previous article.

You may not have as much time as you’d like to exercise every week but you must choose daily what you put in your mouth.

If your primary goal is to drop body fat/improve performance/enhance your health, then addressing your diet is a no-brainer; you can’t out-train a bad diet.

Focus on high-quality foods and track and record calories, even just temporarily, so you can get a grasp of what you are actually consuming.

Find the right path

This is exceptional to keep your motivation firing. It can be anything from working one-on-one with a good personal trainer who will keep you accountable or you can even invest in joining a semi-private, small, group-training environment.

The choices nowadays are endless but it’s important to train in the environment that is right for you, as I have also mentioned before.

Next week I will discuss the benefits of going down the semi-private, small, group-training route.

Thanks for reading and I hope that this information is helping you along your health and fitness journey.

David Last is a personal trainer based in Dublin, for more information you can follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter

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