“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Peter Drucker

It is important to evaluate yourself periodically to determine if the nutrition and exercise plans that you have been following are actually working. Another reason why you should test yourself falls under the heading of motivation. Both nutrition (how you fuel your body) and regular exercise should be looked at as an integral part of your lifestyle not some quick fix when you need to lose a few pounds for some upcoming event. A fitness assessment before/after the start of a new program or strategically placed throughout the year (like quarterly) can be one of the best ways to keep yourself motivated. Various forms of testing can also be valuable if you’re training for an event to ensure that your body peaks at the right time. If, for example, you have been training too hard your testing can act as a red flag and help you take the appropriate next steps like adjusting your training volume and/or diet.

There are some great tools to help you and your body manage all the stress from exercise and everyday life. One such tool, an app from Welltory, can help by giving you a quick snap shot of your current energy and stress level through heart rate variability. Another nice product from Inside Tracker, looks at your internal health, its like taking a selfie from the inside, that can show specific biomarker levels attained through your blood profile. Products like these can be an integral part of your fitness testing, In addition, here are five tests that can help in terms of exercise motivation and most importantly, offer an overall snapshot of your current health and fitness level.

1. VO2 Max Indicator from Concept 2
2. 500 Meter Row Test and here
3. Plank Test
4. Body Weight Squat Test
5. Waist-to-Hip Ratio

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Michael Wood, CSCS, is a nationally recognized fitness expert and Founder and CEO of Michael Wood Fitness and Chief Fitness Officer of Koko FitClub. Michael is a former Asst. Strength & Conditioning Coach at the University of Connecticut and Exercise Physiologist at the USDA HNRC on Aging at Tufts University. He has been named Best of Boston by Boston Magazine and Top 100 Trainer in the U.S. by Men's Journal.