21 March 2013 Just How Fit Are You?

Chances are that you already step on the scale to monitor weight loss, or you bring out those favorite pair of “skinny jeans” to slip on once in awhile to see how they feel. But what about what's on the inside? Our fitness levels aren't always obvious to others, or ourselves, but they should be tracked as well.

Essentially, if you are you ready to start a fitness routine or boost your current workout regimen, now might be the perfect time to assess just how fit you are so you can see how far you advance in the coming months. Ideally, one would take these tests about every three months to evaluate one's fitness progress. When taking these tests, it is important to control as many variables as you can, such as getting proper sleep the night before and eating no sooner than one hour prior to the tests.

Pushups

Pushups are a multi-muscle exercise that engages the core and upper body. One of the most effective ways to measure your pushup strength is to record how many you can do without resting (or modifying between a full pushups and modified pushup). This is often called the “fatigue” model. While this is not a timed test, if you can do pushups for a full minute, here's a handy age-adjusted chart for comparison, based on metrics provided by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

Ratings for Men (Full Pushups)

20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Excellent > 54 > 44 > 39 > 34 > 29
Good 45-54 35-44 30-39 25-34 20-29
Average 35-44 24-34 20-29 15-24 10-19
Poor 20-34 15-24 12-19 8-14 5-9
Very Poor < 20 < 15 < 12 < 8 < 5

Ratings for Women (Modified Pushups)

20-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Excellent >48 >39 >34 >29 >19
Good 34-48 25-39 20-34 15-29 5-19
Average 17-33 12-24 8-19 6-14 3-4
Poor 6-16 4-11 3-7 2-5 1-2
Very Poor < 6 < 4 < 3 < 2 < 1

Cardiovascular Fitness (Recovery Pulse Index)

Your Recovery Pulse Index is an important indicator of your overall fitness level. The goal here is to increase your Index number, as the stronger one's heart is the faster it recovers from stress. To obtain this number, find and record your resting heart rate (counting your heart rate for six seconds and multiplying by 10 provide the beats-per-minute). Next, run as hard as you can on a treadmill for five minutes. After you have finished running, immediately take your pulse and record the results. Wait one minute and find and record your heart rate again. Subtract this second number from the number recorded immediately after exercising. This number is your Recovery Pulse Index. One is in good shape if the second count is at least 30 beats-per-minute slower than the first. The YMCA has published these age-adjusted guidelines for the Recovery Pulse Index:

Ratings for Men

18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Excellent 50-76 51-76 49-76 56-82 60-77 59-81
Good 79-84 79-85 80-88 87-93 86-94 87-92
Above Average 88-93 88-94 92-88 95-101 97-100 94-102
Average 95-100 96-102 100-105 103-111 103-109 104-110
Below Average 102-107 104-110 108-113 113-119 111-117 114-118
Poor 111-119 114-121 116-124 121-126 119-128 121-126
Very Poor 124-157 126-161 130-163 131-159 131-154 130-151

Ratings for Women

18-25 26-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Excellent 52-81 58-80 51-84 63-91 60-92 70-92
Good 85-93 85-92 89-96 95-101 97-103 96-101
Above Average 96-102 95-101 100-104 104-110 106-111 104-111
Average 104-110 104-110 107-112 113-118 113-118 116-121
Below Average 113-120 113-119 115-120 120-124 119-127 123-126
Poor 122-131 122-129 124-132 126-132 129-135 128-133
Very Poor 135-169 134-171 137-169 137-171 141-174 135-155

Squat Flexibility

To measure leg strength, core strength, and flexibility, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip distance apart and sit back into a squat. Squat as low as you can (never letting your knees extend beyond your toes), and have a friend measure the distance between your glutes and the floor. Over time, attempt to decrease this number.

The Crunch Test

To measure the strength and endurance in your abdominal muscles, the “Crunch Test” can't be beat. The goal is simple: do as many crunches as you can in one minute. To do a proper crunch, keep your hands on the floor throughout the test. Engage your abs to lift your head and shoulders away from the floor and crunch so that your fingers slide at least six inches from their starting position. It may be helpful to place a six inch marker beside you and only count the crunches when you hit the marker. Have a friend help you determine a successful crunch. You can rest, but the timer never stops. The ACSM has published these age-adjusted guidelines for crunches:

Ratings for Men

< 35 years 35-44 years > 45 years
Excellent 60 50 40
Good 45 40 25
Mediocre 30 25 15
Needs Improvement 15 10 5

Ratings for Women

< 35 years 35-44 years > 45 years
Excellent 50 40 30
Good 40 25 15
Mediocre 25 15 10
Needs Improvement 10 6 4

So how did you do? What needs improvement? You can record these measurements in your food journal notes and check back on them each time you take the test. Good luck!

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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