In the first of a regular series of West Ham United player blogs here on whufc.com, midfielder Mark Noble updates us on the latest news from the Club's Chadwell Heath training ground...
I hope you have all enjoyed your summer and are looking forward to the 2013/14 season in the Barclays Premier League. We've been back in pre-season for a month now and we all cannot wait for the season to start.
Thursday was a busy day for us, as we had our fitness tests at the training ground. We had our body fat and muscle composition measured, dental and eye checks, and a number of other tests to show the level where we are currently at.
It's something we do during every pre-season, so the coaching staff and the medical staff can analyse where we are, the strength we have in the muscles and then we will do it again in about six months so they can see how far we've come on.
It gives you a level for your whole body, what you need to work on, and if your right ankle is stiffer than your left ankle and all that sort of stuff. It's good to know, and it's a useful tool to keep you fit. It's good to know the info as a player because if you get an injury during the season, you know where you were at the start and where exactly you need to be.
It all helps in the long run, as the data shows in the last couple of years how much it has helped us in terms of injury prevention.
This side of the game has improved massively even since my career started. Since the manager came in he drilled it into us that this is so important because he needs his players to peak every Saturday afternoon.
The more players he has to pick from is obviously better for him and it seems like the data all adds up and works.
If we go over a certain amount of body fat we get fined, so we have to watch our weight because in this day and age you need to be as fit as you can in the Premier League. If you're not, you'll get found out.
Personally, I'm feeling really good. I played my first 90 minutes last Saturday against Eintracht Braunschweig, and had a 75-minute run out before that, so I've got quite a lot of minutes under my belt already. With another three games coming up against Portuguese teams, I'm looking forward to it and I can't wait to get out on the pitch again.
When you start the Premier League season you need to be fit and ready, so playing against the teams like we did in Germany and we will face in Portugal, who keep the ball and make you work for it, is a good test.
We managed to get a few good workouts in Germany and now we're ready for Portugal and we'll be ready for the season. With the heat we had on Thursday too, we'll be ready for the weather over there!
Out in Germany, once we finished training, done all the testing and had a run outside, it was nice to go and sit on the riverbank for two or three hours, and carry on the fishing we managed to fit in during our downtime in Germany.
As you can see from this photo, I showed the boys a thing or two when it comes to fishing out there!
I hope to see a few of you out in Portugal next week and lots more at the home game against Pacos de Ferreira on Saturday 10 August. Then, it'll be all eyes on Cardiff City and the start of the season for real. I can't wait!
Come on you Irons!