The Importance of Setting Your Baselines

Tomasz DerenTraining, UncategorisedLeave a Comment

This week is testing week here at Stone City Strength & Wellness Ltd. Over the course of 5 days all of our members will be doing a large battery of fitness test, ranging from lifting to rowing, in order to see where their current baseline is on the major elements of our programming. For some this may sound like an intimidating or daunting venture but without these weeks we have no way of gauging the efficacy of our programming or the progress of our members. This exciting and fun week really is like fitness Christmas because those that have made a commitment to our process get to see their hard work yield a huge return.

The Bootcamp Shortfall:

With the rise in popularity of fitness “Bootcamps” many individuals have gravitated towards their fast paced work until you puke programming style.  The main goal of these training programs is to make you “feel” like you are working hard and convince you that it’s the calories you are burning that are the most important aspect of training. While the random, done at full speed, programs certainly provide individuals with opportunities to exercise, their shortfall comes in gauging if the program is making the individual stronger, faster or more “fit” over the long term. Without a structured and progressive approach to fitness how can you know if what you are doing is having a positive influence on any training variable you value as important? Without understanding where you are coming from and checking for progress regularly how can you tell if the program you are paying for is having a positive impact on your health and overall performance? If you show up to a workout on a regular basis, trust your coaches knowledge and give your best everyday then you DESERVE to see consistent and QUANTIFIABLE results.

With over 10 years of coaching clients from all walks of life one of the biggest things I have noticed is that if I can educate people that their effort can yield quantifiable results on a regular basis, it is much easier for them to form a lifelong fitness habit. Focusing simply on “burning” calories or investing daily sweat equity will not provide a consistent stream of motivation like quantifiable measures do. Once you start seeing that your commitment to the gym has a reciprocal relationship with your squat getting better, your row times improving, your back hurting less and an increase in overall energy levels then your motivation and desire to keep following your current path will remain high. The proper implementation of baseline tests will be your barometer for progress and a huge motivating factor throughout your training career.

It’s a Two Way Street:

Baseline tests are not just an indicator of progress for you as an athlete but also as a test for my programming as a coach. Many coaches shy away from baseline tests because it can expose poor programming if their athletes are not achieving a higher standard on a regular basis. Of course, not all programs will put 30lbs on your squat but if you have been going to the gym diligently for an extended period of time, have listened to everything your coach has said and given your best effort on most days you DESERVE to be better than when you walked in the door. If your coach is not listening to your concerns and working with you to find the most efficient path to your goal then you should look for another gym. Never accept mediocrity from your gym or coach.

With that being said, I as a coach also have high expectations for you as an athlete. If you miss every second workout and don’t work while you are in the gym then no matter what program I give you the results will not be there.  So with that said I can expect baseline tests to fall flat for individuals who are excepting mediocrity for themselves.

Training is a two way street and when both parties are on the same page the results are amazing.

A Guiding Light:

Once we have a baseline my programming as a coach becomes much more tailored for you as an individual. No longer are we working with subjective terms like, “work until it feels hard” and instead we move to objective measure like “work at 85% of your maximum test value”. Once we have baselines I can expect certain performances from you because I can program based on your current ability. Just this simple change of moving away from subjective training to objective programming will exponentially increase your results in the gym and will allow you to understand the required effort for success on a much deeper level.


  • Baseline tests are our checks and balances over the course of a program
  • Baseline tests hold both the athlete AND the coach accountable
  • Once complete these test guide more individualized and focused program design which yields greater results for the athlete
  • Having objective measures insures success and is an amazing feedback mechanism on what is working and what isn’t

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