This is it. You're doing it. You've made your resolution and you're dedicated to a life-changing revolution. Before you become who you want to be - bigger, faster, stronger, fitter, hotter or just plain healthier - it's important to know who you are now.
Without knowing where to start, you'll never find your transformation finish line. By taking a few simple tests today, you'll position yourself for success and have a benchmark to gauge future progress.
Consider the five following tests as jumping-off points to help you get fit, stay healthy, and transform resolution into revolution. Taking these tests will also get you motivated, keep you accountable, and reveal where you need to adjust your diet and exercise for the best possible results.
Jump on these five tests and build a fitter you!
A Bone Density Scan
A Bone Density Scan (DXA) is a type of X-ray that measures bone loss. A DXA will tell you exactly where you stack up against other people your age and gender. It will also tell you if you need to make any changes to your diet or training routine.
Maintaining strong and healthy bones is important if you plan to stay active throughout your life. It's also important for performing weight-bearing exercises. You want to build, not break!
A body-fat test measures… you guessed it, body fat! A well-administered body-fat test will indicate how much body fat and lean muscle tissue you have. It's a much more accurate indication of your body composition and overall health than standing on a scale.
A body-fat test will also be one of the best benchmarks for gauging your progress. Even if your scale weight is going up, less body fat means you're making good progress. (Remember, muscle weighs more than fat. Plus, it looks better!)
Full-body scans or underwater tests are the most accurate and reliable. However, they aren't always readily available. The next best option to consider is using skin calipers. They're simple, cheap, and occasionally kind of fun … if you're into pinching.
Stay away from any tests that require you to hold or stand on a device (bio-electrical impedance scales) because they can be highly swayed by external factors, such how much water is in your body.
A Cholesterol Test
Next time you're at the doctor for a check-up, have him or her check your cholesterol. You don't necessarily have to be obese or even overweight to suffer from high cholesterol levels.
Even thin individuals may have elevated LDL levels that could put them at risk for heart disease or heart attack. By learning what your cholesterol level is now, you can take preventative steps to ensure that it doesn't get out of control.
The foods you eat on a daily basis will have an immediate impact on your cholesterol levels; if you aren't getting the numbers you'd like, it might be time to change your diet. Your doctor can help make positive recommendations in this area, as well.
A Blood Glucose Test
This test, which analyzes the amount of glucose in a blood sample, is necessary to assess your risk for diabetes. If you are at risk, this test might serve as the wake up call you need.
Every day, more and more people suffer from pre-diabetes. And, unless they start taking steps to control their blood glucose, they very likely will end up with full-blown diabetes.
Even if you aren't "at risk" for diabetes, this test can also provide clues to other reasons why you may be suffering from hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels) or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).
If you ever find that you feel shaky, light-headed or suddenly very weak, blood glucose levels could be to blame. If you have any of these symptoms, consider taking this test.
A Thyroid Test
Finally, your last test for 2012 is a thyroid test. This test will help evaluate your thyroid function, which will have a direct influence over how many calories you burn each day.
Those who have hypothyroidism disorder have slow metabolic rates, which makes fat-loss a difficult process. On the opposite end, those who have hyperthyroidism may find that they can't keep weight on regardless of what they do.
This test can indicate which problems might be at play in your body. If you do have a thyroid problem, it can be resolved through medication.
This Is Your Year
If you've already started your New Year's resolution, any of these tests are a great way to better define your starting line. More importantly, these tests will help you know how healthy you are now, which will help you get even healthier down the road.
Get tested, motivated and inspired to transform.