Perhaps you have joined a gym where they give you an initial assessment as part of the orientation process. Or, you have started with a trainer who ran you through some measurements. It may have included waist measurement, measuring your body fat, a few strength tests on the machines, or finding out what you can do on a treadmill.
All good information. Sometimes, if we are just kind of curious about these numbers, getting an assessment can be kind of fun. Or not. Sometimes we can feel like we are under the microscope (like in the doctor’s office), or even about to fail or get some shocking news.
When you go to the doctor, you are probably there for a combination of reasons. You feel like you should stay on top of your health, or there is a specific problem you are trying to fix. Often, we are not all that happy with the course of action recommended.
The same can be true when you get a fitness assessment. You are probably there because you want to do something for your health, or fix a problem, right? Perhaps you are even showing up for fitness because you think you should, and you may not be all that thrilled about the recommended course of action.
Here is where what you are bringing to the table is a key piece of the process.
Fitness assessments are supposed to be motivating, and give you a benchmark with which to measure your progress. But, I would like to suggest that there are different, and more compelling ways to figure out where you are with your fitness (and, by extension, your health). This would involve using a different kind of assessment.
I use this different kind of assessment in many of my blogs. I ask you to do a small assessment every time you are given an exercise. In addition, the Fitness Blueprint and Fitness Foundation Formula integrate assessment as a valuable tool for making sure you are doing things correctly.
What this really means is that you benefit from bringing curiosity and mindfulness to your fitness efforts.
The other thing is that no judgment is required. After all, you have a unique history, goals, health, and life. You do not need to compare yourself to others. You have decided to take action, and that is awesome. Use the on-going assessment mindset and process to your advantage.
Along those lines, here are some specific things to think to help you get the most out of whatever exercise or fitness endeavor you are doing:
- Pay attention to how you are moving, how your body is aligned, and your balance. It the movement controlled and smooth, or are you struggling? Can you fix some of that with a more mindful set-up?
- If you are involved in regular workouts, think about what you do a lot of, and focus on counterbalancing all those motions that you normally do. Because…
- Assume that muscles that you don’t use very much will be a weak link. You will need to strengthen these, and in the beginning this will take some perseverance, planning, and possibly a bit of pain. This is the true definition of getting out of your comfort zone. It can sometimes be a drag, but the payoffs are huge.
- Keep up with mindfulness throughout your day. You may only be working out a few hours a week. What is happening the rest of the time? Bring awareness to your daily life, and use your new moves there. Your body will eventually reset, and the more often you can send it reminders, the quicker it will do so.
- There are some things that can’t be fixed, but once you figure out what there are, you can still work on reducing further loss of function.
There’s plenty more to talk about here, but this is a good place to start. Assessment does not need to be a formal, quantified event that may or may not cause you some angst. You can use an on-going assessment attitude to help you get better results from exercise, your fitness efforts, and how you move through life. And THAT is a goal worth fighting for.
All the best
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