How do you achieve a goal?
In the broadest possible terms, it involves creating change by working diligently towards an accomplishment that you find meaningful. By leveling up your skills and/or changing your mindset, going after a goal is also the process of transforming from who you were when you started into a better version of yourself.
Working towards any sort of fitness goal is no exception. Whether you’re looking to lose a specific number of pounds, lift heavier, run faster, or just work out more often, you’ll undergo a process of physical and mental change that moves you from your starting point to wherever you want to go.
In that sense, it’s not all that different from going on a road trip. Both journeys start with an ideal destination in mind, and it’s easy to spot the first signs of progress as you get moving. Whether we’re pulling out of the garage and onto the highway or getting off of the couch and into the gym, it feels good when we can tell that we’re moving in the right direction.
But as time goes on, we can become less confident that we’re moving in the right direction. As one mile of highway or one workout bleeds monotonously into the next, it’s easy to find ourselves wondering how much longer it’ll take to get to where we want to go — or if we’re even still really headed there at all.
When it comes to exercising, finding yourself in that disorienting space is difficult. Physically, you feel like you’re flailing about. Even if you’re blindly stumbling in the right direction, the lack of a tangible connection between effort and outcome can rob you of the willpower it takes to act consistently. Eventually, the idea of using your body’s fuel to move around aimlessly saps any desire you may have to keep your motor running.
So how do you make it easier to follow a path from point A and point B? You take a look at a map, take stock of where you are, and pick out a landmark or two along the way that can tell you when you’re heading closer to where you want to be. That’s exactly how Future keeps your exercise regimen on the right track with help from the actionable, measurable, and objective data you and your coach can generate through a process called fitness assessments. And just like on a road trip, the only things you need to get and stay on the right track are a smartphone and a willingness to keep moving.
A fitness assessment is essentially the process of recording and tracking your performance across one or several exercises, measured in short, simple bursts of activity. Depending on the nature of your goal and the advice of your coach, that could potentially mean seeing how many squats or burpees you can complete in a minute. Your performance is recorded and logged in Future, where it will live within the Compass section of the app, your go-to place for goal tracking.
Right now, the broad strokes of that process might sound familiar from your days in gym class or on a sports team. But what sets Future’s fitness assessments apart is the fact that they’re always designed around you.
Each assessment is just between you and your coach, and you only need to assess movements that will provide actionable information about what it takes to hit your particular goals. That means you won’t have to relive your worst middle school fears by performing some irrelevant activity in front of judgmental classmates.
Just like every other part of personal training with Future, assessments are always flexible. You can complete yours wherever, whenever, and however makes the most sense for you. Even a few minutes of bodyweight exercises at home can equip your coach with the data they need to lay out a plan for improving your performance.
The other important thing to remember is that assessments aren’t a competition, just another facet of your personalized training plan. The only score you have to try and beat is however you performed in any previous assessments — and even coming up short can give you and your Future coach vital information that moves you in the right direction. But first, you have to figure out where you’re starting from. And that’s where a baseline assessment comes in.
No matter if you’re starting from scratch or you’re an established athlete looking for an edge, everyone’s fitness journey has a starting point. A baseline fitness assessment marks your personal point A, which you’ll soon be able to move beyond with a little expert direction and consistent effort. It also gives you something to look back on in the rearview mirror as you change for the better over time.
Before you can start to move, you have to talk. You and your Future coach will chat so they can understand not just your particular fitness goal and why it matters to you, but the unique path you’ll follow to pursue it. They’ll ask you about your workout history, any injuries, your weekly schedule, where you exercise and what equipment you can access, and how often you want to check in with further assessments.
In conjunction with collecting baseline data, getting a sense of these variables helps your Future coach sketch out a roadmap that can get you to your goals as efficiently as possible. By ensuring your workout plan fits seamlessly into your life, you’ll face less friction as you work to build up momentum and improve upon your baseline.
Next, it’s time to take your first steps — or squats, jumps, or whatever other movement(s) you and your Future coach are excited about tracking. Your coach can schedule the assessment as its own activity if you want to focus on giving it your all, or you can perform it within a workout if you’d rather just launch right into making progress. Either way, performing your assessment in full takes less time than it does to draft that email you’ve been meaning to send all day.
As soon as your baseline assessment is complete, your results will live as data within Compass. This section of the Future app comprehensively covers how your individual workouts add up to progress towards your goal, letting you literally chart your improvement over time. Every time you conduct a follow-up assessment, you generate a new data point that helps you measure (and celebrate) the distance between where you were and where you are now — but that’s not the only benefit that post-baseline assessments have to offer.
After a baseline assessment, the combination of personalized coaching and consistent effort can put you on course to achieving your goals. But whether you’re sailing the high seas or sweating in the gym, good navigation requires more than a “set it and forget it” approach. Some workouts will leave you feeling like the seas are calm and the wind is at your back. On other days, turbulent waters and headwinds can slow you down and shake your resolve. If you aren’t diligent about monitoring your trajectory, you might realize too late that you’ve drifted miles off your initial course.
That’s why checking in with further assessments at regular intervals is crucial to ensuring continuous progress with minimal wasted effort. You and your Future coach can determine an appropriate cadence for scheduled check-ins, whether every four weeks, every two months, or even just once a quarter. No matter how often you reassess your performance, there’s no better way to audit and refine your workouts.
Here’s what that looks like in practice. Say you perform a check-in assessment that shows you’re still performing pretty close to your baseline for a particular movement. Because you keep in regular contact, you and your coach both know that effort isn’t the issue. So what is?
Well, armed with that data, you and your coach can review your activities since your last assessment to discover opportunities for improvement. That could mean integrating new movements into your workouts, taking a step back to modify your form or technique, or even focusing on nutrition or recovery. Heck, it could even mean you just need more challenging workouts that push you further outside of your comfort zone. Whatever the answer may be, your Future Coach will help you find it so you never have to make the same mistake twice.
As you recalibrate your efforts, it’s important to remember that a disappointing assessment result isn’t a sign of failure. It’s a chance to ditch whatever isn’t working so you can move more confidently and efficiently in the direction of your goals. It’s also not the case that changing course means you’re back at square one. Once you do have a sense of your trajectory, refining your course by even one percent will lead you to a much better place over time.
As you’ve seen, regular fitness assessments can spot stalled progress and refine your strategy so you can exercise more efficiently. That translates into better physical results that become evident over time. But even in the short term, fitness assessments are a powerful mental tool that primes your mind to both recognize progress and push for even more.
First and foremost, fitness assessments can make it a whole lot easier to spot positive changes you might otherwise overlook. The further along you are in your fitness journey, the easier it can be to feel like you’re stuck in neutral. Progress may have come fast and furious at the outset, but it’s not uncommon to reach a point where it feels like nothing changes from week to week or even month to month. Even if others recognize how you’ve changed, sometimes there’s nothing our harsh internal critic loves more than dismissing legitimate praise.
But just because something feels true doesn’t mean it is. Fitness assessments can get you out of your head by creating cold, hard data that shifts you from a subjective to an objective view of your performance and progress. Because numbers never lie, these assessments give you a truer look at how your exercise efforts actually do create change, reinforcing the value of a consistent approach to fitness. Soon enough, instead of asking yourself “what’s the point?”, you’ll be wondering what you can do next to keep it going.
Fitness assessments aren’t just useful for recognizing where you are. They illuminate the path ahead, breaking down your distant, daunting goals into something doable. Does cutting a minute off your mile time or adding 50 pounds to your max bench press feel impossible? You don’t have to get there all at once if you focus on pursuing your goal a few seconds or a few pounds at a time. Your Future coach can help you establish certain milestones along the way, and assessments provide regular opportunities to stack one accomplishment on top of another until you reach the mountaintop.
Change rarely happens overnight, linearly, or on a predetermined schedule. But if you put in the work and trust the process, it does happen. By charting your past progress and putting your next goal in reach, fitness assessments arm you with the powerful belief that your efforts can and will generate the results you’re after. There’s no better fuel for your motivational fire than that when the going gets tough.
Of course, fitness assessments are only one facet of what makes Future a powerful tool for achieving your fitness goals. Your coach is an indispensable part of the process, adept at turning any assessment’s data into a coherent plan that you can consistently and capably follow. No matter whether your assessment is cause for strategic adjustment or celebration, your Future coach is with you every step of the way. They’re always ready to help you recognize progress, refine your approach, and adapt to whatever life throws at you on the way to achieving your one-of-a-kind goals.
Feeling set to get assessed? Find your baseline and get ready to move beyond it with a special offer in your first month of Future coaching here.