You do all the hard work, you are feeling fitter, stronger, but are you really? Has the program worked as expected, or is there a better way? By monitoring your fitness you can determine what sessions are best for you and see if all the hard work you have been putting into training have been worthwhile.
It is best to perform some sort of fitness test when you start any new training phase, so you can get an indication of your starting level. Subsequent test results can then be compared to this and any changes can be noted. By repeating tests at regular intervals, you can get an idea of the effectiveness of your training program
The time-frame between tests can depend on the availability of time or costs involved, or the phase of training the athlete is in. Depending of these factors, the period between tests may range from two weeks to six months. Note that it usually takes a minimum of 2-6 weeks to see a demonstrable change in any aspect of fitness.
Articles on monitoring muscle and body fat changes
- Monitoring Your Fitness Progress: Don't Guess - Measure! — discussion on monitoring muscle weight gain and body fat losses.
- Monitoring Body Fat Levels — you aim to lose it, so check if you do.
- For detailed description of tests to monitor your fitness, see the Fitness Testing section of this site.