I shall start this article about the importance of a fitness test by using my own experience. My first CrossFit competition is coming up at the weekend. I have qualified in second place, which is a good confidence boost. Such a good showing in qualification is some proof that I deserve to be there. The live finals comprise of three separate workouts. The workouts are published in advance to give competitors a chance to practice them. Having practiced them last week for the first time I couldn’t stop feeling massive disappointment. The workouts completely ‘gassed’ me! They are tough and take the athlete to a dark place – a place that I did not enjoy.
How come it felt so bad? Underperforming in sport and fitness is hard to deal with. This is especially true on those occasions when the under-performance was so public. My practice runs were done in private, but I can’t escape the fact the real deal will be there for all to see. Staring into space it didn’t take me long to figure out the reasons. There’s one fitness test that keeps athletes on track.
Performing to potential is so much more than training
There can be no ‘if’s and but’s’ when it comes to performing at your best. CrossFit is a sport of fitness. Getting into peak fitness for CrossFit is about so much more than training, strength and conditioning. Like all sports you have to get the fitness training component right. What seems to separate the very best achievers from the nearly men are the extra curricular factors. Getting the most from yourself requires due diligence with diet, sleep, recovery and controlling stress levels. Nailing these elements on a day to day basis takes genuine discipline. For example accessing the services of sports medicine professionals. And as I stared into the mirror this is what I realised I hadn’t done! I’d been training right, but I hadn’t been managing other lifestyle factors correctly. I needed a fitness test.
The importance of benchmarking
We all need benchmarks – we need to monitor. It allows us to gauge progress, benchmark against our peers and assess the effectiveness of training programmes. Checking progress doesn’t have to expensive. Elite athletes will have every facet of their programmes monitored and scrutinised. For everyday people you simply need to know that you are on track towards your goals. Failing to monitor progress will leave you wondering whether fitness is improving at the rate that it should be. using a regular fitness test and checkpoints will also force the athlete to consider the whole package as mentioned above rather than simply training hard.
Look in the Mirror
One test that everyone can do is The Mirror Test. If you’re able to look at yourself in the mirror each day then you’re likely to be on track. Being able to say that you’ve done everything that you can that day is a powerful checkpoint and motivator. That’s the point I had reached – I wasn’t happy with the guy looking in the mirror. That guy was taking short cuts. That guy was falling short of where he wanted to be. Ten days out from competition isn’t a long time to effect much change – but its certainly long enough to start. All I have to do now is pass the Mirror Test each day!
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