How Often Should Fitness Assessment Tests Be Repeated?
Not everyone relies on fitness assessments to chart success. Many choose the bathroom scale to monitor progress or rely on feedback from their Zumba instructor -- “Hey, you’re really getting it!” Formal assessments, however, can play a powerful role by measuring a variety of fitness aspects at once. From flexibility to speed and endurance, the assessments, when done at the appropriate times, can tell a much richer story to both the trainer and trainee.
With testing, the key is to wait until improvement in fitness is truly detectable. For those who re-evaluate too soon, it may be more difficult to assess the pace of the improvement and how that can help in the long term. In general, industry standards trend towards three to six-month time intervals for comprehensive fitness testing to be able to assess progress. Trainers may vary in their test schedule advice, but only to ensure their clients are safely on the right track.
The timing for repeating fitness assessments will vary depending on whether you are looking to grow muscle, lose a certain percentage of fat or increase speed. Many people start a new fitness regimen only to discover, through testing, that it’s not helping them achieve their goals. Coaches and trainers can decide when to re-assess so they can tweak the next regimen to be more successful.
The specific type of fitness assessment can also determine the time to re-test. Certain types of fitness assessments, such as those for children, may be performed at the beginning and end of the school year. Other tests, like body composition, can be done more frequently, for example, every two weeks if dietary changes are introduced or modified. Trainers will understand which tests need to be re-taken sooner rather than later.
Gyms and fitness centers may have their own rules as well for re-testing, such as performing assessments after the first few visits. In other instances, trainers may use a certain type of fitness program or software with pre-determined test times based on research by the manufacturer or program developer. Ask your trainer how often she will require re-testing and how that information will be used as you reach your goal.
Shari Short has been writing about health, wellness and behavior change for more than 15 years. She writes the “Get Healthy, Delaware!” online publication for Delaware Today Magazine, and has been published in Ragan’s Healthcare Communication News and Healthcare Marketing Advisor. She holds a Master of Arts in developmental psychology from Columbia University.