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John and Nelson’s Corner: Testing Yourself

By September 10, 2017April 10th, 2019No Comments


Challenges, Goals and Expectations…


Just over a year ago I started teaching a fitness class at Imagine Fitness and Yoga.

The class is at 6am, so I had to keep it interesting!


After a few weeks of working out, I decided to test the class just for fun. Actually I had reasons for doing that.

  1. Establish a baseline for each person. In other words, determine what each person is capable of doing at this stage.
  2. I wanted the group to have fun, but also create a level of competitiveness.
  3. Lastly, I wanted them to know that they can make progress and that progress mattered to me.


To accomplish the above I selected a set of exercises that each person had to do; for example:  Push-ups, pull-ups, plank, jump rope and so on. I also recorded what each person did that day.


This test was not met with a lot of enthusiasm at first, but the class quickly “got into it”. Weeks after I posted the initial results, I noticed a marked increase in the group’s effort level overall.


Last week, I had the class complete the same test again.  This time I added a 1 mile run to the warmup. Not surprisingly, at least to me, everyone improved from their baseline performance on each test.  I also felt an increase in the energy level from every participant.


The class really started appreciating the rewards of their hard work. The run prior to the test also had an interesting effect on the group. Running was suddenly not so intimidating. Their goal now is a 5K race as a team in a few weeks. Should be fun.


This example illustrates how adding some challenge to a routine workout can help participants recognize their progress and encourage them to keep going and improving.


A good fitness regimen is diverse and offers many activities in which improvement can be measured. Once you have decided on your program, establish a baseline of your capability for each activity. Check your progress every 10 to 12 weeks. With regular (3X/week) exercise, you should expect from 10% to about 30% improvement over your baseline in 3 months.


While you adjust to your new workout regimen try not to compare your performance to anyone else.  Remember everyone responds differently to training. It is important that you keep some records as you progress to remind yourself how far you have come! Last but not least, never, ever stop trying to improve and always have fun.