I honestly blame the old "Beep Test" back in primary school for instilling an absolute fear of fitness testing in all of us...
All jokes aside though Test Anxiety is a real thing, and something that for some is really overwhelming. I want to dive a little deeper into fitness testing and its importance, but also give some insight on how to mentally overcome it.
So a little background on my training life, from my competitive sporting days in my early 20’s to bodybuilding in my 30s all the way through to my ‘functional training’ phase, you can bet I've tested it all! I wanted to ensure my training program (whatever it was at the time) was working, and the only way to do that was to test! One thing I found though, no matter what my program was, testing always made me a little nervous... Despite being so important, I couldn't help but put pressure on myself and sometimes convince myself it was okay to skip testing if I didn't feel ready. The only problem with skipping testing was, how did I know if I was getting any better?
As part of the evolution of REUNION, I made it my mission to create a healthy balance between fitness testing and the ongoing pursuit of fun, varied, and effective training.
Why It's Good to (Periodically) Test Yourself
We need to establish benchmarks and new standards to help evaluate our current and future training methods. Have things been working? Do we need to course correct in order to keep getting better? When we can clearly see our strengths and weaknesses, it can help us focus on where the opportunity lies. Specifically, if we know what it feels like to push ourselves to 100% then we can have a better sense of how we should train at 80%. Furthermore, if we know what the max weight we can lift for 10 reps is then we can dial back the load for training efforts in order to stay safe and build better structures.
Make no mistake, benchmarks and fitness tests force you to get uncomfortable but this is valuable in order to challenge you mentally, emotionally, and physically. We spend a great deal of time in our comfort zones in life, and through experience, I've learned that only through discomfort comes tremendous growth.
How to Approach Fitness Testing Mentally and Emotionally
There can be an amount of fear and anxiety surrounding testing. You start to ask yourself some questions. How uncomfortable is this going to be? Is this going to be safe and is my body at risk? What if I fail to meet my expectations? Will this confirm that I'm just as bad as I tell myself? I want to say, that no matter what the outcomes, there are lessons to learn and grow from.
I always like to say that if you approach testing week without any fear or anxiety, it likely means you don't care very much about the outcomes. That's OK and not something to feel bad about, just to be aware of. If on the contrary, you are nervous, KNOW that this is your body trying to prepare you. Your hormones are starting to fire and you are getting geared up for something challenging. Finding a balance between caring about the outcomes and also being completely open to whatever may happen is a perfect place to sit when you head into the benchmark sessions.
If you are someone who suffers from a little "testing anxiety" please chat to us! We know you aren't alone and we want to ensure you are on the right track to the best results possible.
With love and deadlifts,
REUNION Training Founder