“If you don’t know where you are going, any path will take you there”
Without a proper assessment of your current situation how can you decide what to include and what is not necessary in your current program design?
Think of your program like a recipe, you need the right ingredients for your dish or you will not have the desired outcome- A delicious meal…or in this case, achieving your fitness or performance goals.
try and stay with me, as I know this analogy is a little obscure. Each ingredient in said recipe, on it’s own does not make the meal, it is the combination, the precise measurements, the care put into the recipe and the cooking that creates the culinary delight. The same is true in a program, a sprinkle of this, a couple of movements like that, constant analysis and adjustments as necessary and voila, you get results!
Goals come in so many different forms in the fitness industry; muscle gain, fat loss, body composition, skill acquisition, strength, flexibility, joint ROM, sport performance, etc…
For personal trainers and coaches it is our jobs to have systems in place to assess and test certain populations and people to ensure we have gathered enough data to “know” where the client is coming from and wether or not we can help them achieve their goals.
For some these assessments may take an hour, for others it may mean days…but the most important thing is we have something to base our decisions off of and continually evaluate true progress.
One of the best parts about creating an assessment for the individual is that when asked “Why was this included in the program?” You have an answer.
Constant Evaluation: Monitoring
I cannot emphasize the importance of consistent check-ins on progress; daily, weekly, monthly and yearly progress must be constantly on our minds. If you are not looking at these things, how do you know you have made significant improvement in a certain area?
The answer is…You Don’t!
The lack of a proper assessment to me is a clear sign that the person evaluating the client has no respect for the clients needs and is not representing the profession in a appropriate manner.
Prescribing exercise should be taken seriously, you are responsible for that persons health and fitness.
Take this as an example, this may sound a little far fetched…or is it? let’s say you designed a program that the client was not prepared to handle and it lead to an injury that was directly related to them having to miss work, which lead to them losing their job. How would that make you feel? How did that person benefit from their increased fitness and your service? Simple answer, they didn’t!
Take the time to evaluate your training.
What Are We Assessing?
because everyones needs and goals are different, we need to have an arsenal of questions in our assessment tool box. Asking the right question is as much a skill as writing the program.
Some things you may want to consider:
(Fat loss, weight gain, performance?…how much do you want to loss? What do you want to weigh?)
(Medical history, injuries(current and past), supplementation, etc…)
-Past Training History
(what have you done? how much? and how recently?)
(What do you do for work? Are you married? Stressed? Food Journal?)
*This is more important than most people give it credit.
(Any imbalances, dysfunction, postural imbalances, tissue quality issues..etc..)
(Upper Body Strength/Stamina, Lower Body Strength/Stamina, Midline Stability, Aerobic Capacity, Anaerobic Power, etc… The list here is endless)
The key here is to streamline your test to get as much information as you can from as few test as necessary. I see some people in this industry getting carried away, testing every single muscle fibre and every disease know to mankind in their assessment form. A good rule would be ask as many questions as needed, but no more.
There are numerous places to start gathering information on proper assessment and testing while trying to develop a system that works for you and anyone that you are helping.
A quick list of two that can help you get started:
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but you will be further along than most if you can master the techniques within these two resources.
As the popular saying goes, “Assess, don’t guess”. Make sure you have your systems in place to create predictable results. Don’t be “that guy” who doesn’t take care of his business!