Do you ever wonder how all that gym time and working out, is actually working out for you?
Do you worry that you might not be reaching the level of fitness you’ve been striving for, or that you’ve somehow hit a wall? Whether you want to increase your energy, reduce your health risks, or lose some unwanted pounds, everybody needs to know, just how well they are doing, versus, say, 3 months ago. Read Hardwired for Fitness: The Revolutionary Way to Jump-start Your Fitness Circuits to Lose Weight, Improve Body Composition and Increase Energy if you are uncertain where to begin. This book will set you on the right course!
Measuring your fitness level regularly is one way to find out if you’re making progress. Most fitness centers have trained staff who can evaluate your body composition, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance, but it can be pricey. Here is a simple test for fitness, that you can do by yourself in the gym. You don’t need an instructor to find out how well you are doing. Just a stop watch or a timer, and you are all set!
Here are my 6 Tests for Fitness, that you can perform in the gym..
What it targets Your core strength
How to do it Hold your body in a straight line from head to heels. Keep your feet together and your elbows beneath your shoulders. Look straight down and brace for as long as you can. Focus on keeping your hips from sagging. When they do the test is over.
To improve Perform the plank with your hands, feet or both on an unstable surface such as a gym ball. You won’t be able to hold it for long, but it’ll make doing this test on stable ground easier.Time Level More than 2min Excellent 75sec–2min Good 45–75sec Average Less than 45sec Poor
2. 1KM UPHILL RUN
What it targets Your cardiovascular system
How to do it Set the treadmill elevation at level 5 (warm up by walking at level 3, for 1 minute first). Then start timing, from your run, keeping a constant pace at difficulty level 9.
To improve Either try a higher inclination level, or add some sprints to the mix – i.e. increase speed to 11 or 12.Time Level 4min or less Excellent 4min–4min 29sec Good 4min 30sec–5min 29sec Average 5min 30sec or more Poor
3. BODYWEIGHT SQUATS
What it targets Your core, quad and hamstring strength
How to do it Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned out slightly. Brace your core and lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor and your knees are in line with your feet. Push back to the start through your heels. The test is over when you can’t maintain perfect form.
To improve Perform walking lunges with light dumb-bells to build muscular strength in your glutes and legs.Reps Level 50 or more Excellent 30–49 Good 16–29 Average 15 or fewer Poor
What it targets Your chest, shoulder and triceps strength
How to do it Keep your body in a straight line and your elbows pointing back, not to the sides. Lower until your chest is a fist’s height off the floor, then push back up. The test is over when you can’t maintain perfect form.
To improve Complete a set to failure, rest for a few minutes and start again. This will overload the targeted muscles, making them grow stronger.Reps Level 50 or more Excellent 25–49 Good 16–24 Average 15 or fewer Poor
5. 500M ROW
What it targets Your cardiovascular system and muscle co-ordination between the upper and lower body
How to do it On a gym rowing machine, select level ten resistance. Sit upright with your shoulders back and core braced. Drive with your legs.
To improve Perform sets of max- effort 250m rows, separated by a few minutes of gentle rowing, to improve your endurance.Time Level 2min 30 sec Excellent 2min 31 sec – 3min Good 3min –3min 30 sec Average 3min 31sec or more Poor
What it targets Your upper body strength
How to do it Grip the bar overhand, extend your arms fully and let your body hang. Pull up until your chin is over the bar, squeezing your lats. Lower again without swinging. The test is over when you can’t maintain perfect form.
To improve Do a max set, rest for a few minutes and repeat. Try lat pull-downs on a machine to build back strength.Reps Level 10 or more Excellent 8–11 Good 4–7 Average 3 or fewer Poor