Measuring Your Fitness Progress
Measuring your fitness in inches or pounds is only one way to gauge your success. Instead, look for areas that need some extra work and go for it! Try the following self-tests and repeat them every four to eight weeks to measure your fitness progress.
4 Self-Tests to Measure Your Fitness
Test #1 – Sit and Reach – Measures: Flexibility
Sit with your legs extended in front of you. Feet against a box, about 10 inches high. Place one hand on top of the other and reach towards your toes. Measure the distance from your toes to your fingertips. After a month, if the distance has hardly increased you need to add some flexibility exercises into your program to see better results. Greater flexibility will help you stay injury-free.
Test #2 – Step-Ups – Measures: Cardiovascular Fitness
You can either use and heart rate monitor or take your pulse for this one. Make sure to note your resting heart rate. Then stand facing a 12-inch step. For three minutes, step up and down at an even cadence – up, up, down, down pace. Then check your heart rate again. After four weeks, retest. The number for your pulse should be lower, indicating that your heart is stronger and pumping more blood with each beat. If you don’t have a change, increase the amount of cardio you do to at least 30 minutes three to five times a week and incorporate HIIT training (high intensity interval training). Already there? Up your intensity and workload!
Test #3 – Sit ups – Measures: Muscular Endurance (how many times your muscles can contract without fatiguing)
Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor. Arms crossed over your chest. Set a timer for 60 seconds and do as many sit ups as you can. If, when you re-evaluate, your numbers have not improved then at least one day per week, do 12 to 15 reps of exercises that involve only your body weight. Exercises such as sit ups, pushups, squats, and lunges.
Test #4 – Leg Presses – Measures: Strength
Set up a leg-press machine with a weight you can press for 10 times (no more, no less). Record that weight. Divide this number by 0.735 to get your one-rep max (RM- the amount you can lift once). It is suggested that a healthy women should be able to life 1.3 times her body weight during lower body exercises. If you don’t meet this mark there are a few things you can do. During one or two of your training sessions, work with a big weight you can only life 8-10 times. This will improve muscular strength and can help increase boss mass to prevent osteoporosis.
Sample Workout Circuit to Help You Achieve Your Fitness Goals
Here is a workout circuit to help you achieve your fitness goals! All you need is dumbbells! Do the circuit through 3 times for maximum results.
Arms and Shoulders:
1 – Squat Curl and Squeeze – Squat low with feet wider than hips, knees over ankles, and toes turned out. Hold a 5-10 pound weight in each hand. Arms down in front of you and palms forward. Curl dumbbells up to your chest and hold. Move weights out to sides as you squeeze your shoulder blades together. Release shoulders. Lower Dumbbells. Repeat 10-15 times
2 – Shoulder Raise – Stand with feet together. A 5-10 pound dumbbell in each hand. Arms by your sides. Bring dumbbells together to touch in front of your body. Palms facing in. With arms straight, raise dumbbells to should height. Lower dumbbells, and then rise diagonally to shoulder height so arms form a V in front of your body. Return to starting position. That is one rep. Try 8-12 reps.
Legs and Butt:
3 – Split Squat with Rear Leg Lift – Stand with your arms by sides and a 5-10 pound weight in each hand. Step left foot back and lower into a lunge. Keeping front knee above ankle. Straighten your right left to come out of your lunge and hinge forward. Raise your straight left leg behind you. Your body should be in a straight line from head to heel. Return to starting position. Do each leg 10 times.
4 – Lateral Lunge Kick – Stand with feet together. Arms down to your sides and a 5-10 pound weight in each hand. Step right foot out to the side and bend left knee to 90 degrees to come into a side lunge. Push into your left foot and come to standing. Knees slightly bent. Immediately kick left flexed foot strongly out to the side. Return to starting position. Do each leg 8-12 times.
Abs and Back:
5 – Uppercut – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. A 5-10 pound weight in each hand and knees slightly bent. Bend your elbows and pivot your feet to twist to the right, throwing a slow-motion uppercut punch with your left hand. Repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep. Do 10-12 reps.
6 – Donkey Kick – Get into the up part of a push-up position with hands under shoulders and abs tight so body forms a straight line. Jump feet forward slightly to come into a crouch. Shift weight onto hands and kick your heels up towards your butt. Then use your core muscles to straighten your legs back and land softly on the balls of your feet to return to a push-up position. This in one rep. Try for 8-12 reps.
You should always be striving for improvements and better results only come from actually having something to test against. These 4 tests are a good start but whatever it is you want to improve on, you need to find the tests you need to do to measure your fitness progress. Constant improvement is the only way to break through weight loss plateaus, see the results you desire, and improve your health. I challenge you to start measuring and tracking your progress and you will see the results of all your work in no time!