Before you begin any fitness routine, it makes sense to start by getting tested for your current level of fitness. This makes sense both from a safety and planning standpoint. Depending on your fitness level, personal characteristics and traits, and other particular circumstances, your doctor may or may not want you to engage in certain types of activities relative to your fitness plan. It is, therefore, an excellent idea to obtain a physical examination, which should be combined with a fitness test. Your doctor may send you to have the fitness testing done elsewhere or allow you to arrange for it on your own.

Well done fitness tests will typically include:

  • A review of your health history
  • Measurement of your heart rate and blood pressure
  • Analysis of your body fat composition
  • Strength testing
  • Flexibility testing
  • Oxygen absorption
A facility that offers quality fitness testing should not only provide you with the results of your tests but should also review the results with you and explain what they mean. The results of your fitness test will become the basis for formulating a fitness plan to accomplish your goals. Therefore, your fitness tester should be prepared to address the results in the context of how it affects your approach to implementing any future fitness plan.

You should schedule a second fitness testing session six to 12 weeks from the date you begin training. This will allow you to track your progress, and will also assure that necessary adjustments to your plan are made early enough that you can benefit from the feedback. After the initial fitness tests and your first reevaluation, be sure to be retested at least once every six months. Don't allow yourself to go entire year without being retested.

Use these little spot checks to motivate you to continue with your plan, and to reward yourself as you chart the achievement of your goals.