I know that pretty much everyone is interested in measuring their progress.
Whether that progress is measured by pounds, inches or fitness level- everyone wants to see how far they've come! In order to SEE the progress, you have to test (or measure!) yourself before you begin.
I don't know about you, but I totally get frustrated when I'm working out a lot, eating right and I don't see the changes in the mirror. What I always forget to do is to take pictures before and then take pictures periodically throughout my program to see the physical progress in my photos. As a society, we are always second guessing ourselves and it is difficult to see the small changes over time.
If you are starting a workout program or are interested in seeing the progress of your workouts on your fitness abilities, then you need to take this test! I would suggest retesting every few months (after steady, consistent workouts). It's crazy easy & will take you less than 10 minutes.
Essentially, you are testing your heart rate each time you do this test. The more in shape/fit you are, the lower your heart rate will stay during your normal workouts. This means that your body has gotten used to and adapted to your workouts- it is STRONGER. Your heart and body can adapt as quickly after just a few workouts. I would suggest upping your intensity every 10 days or so. When you come back to this test every month, 2 months or 3 months to see your progress.
Write down exactly what your heart rate is at after the first segment, then when you retest, compare and see if your heart rate is going down. If it is, you're on the right track & should give yourself a big high five. If your heart rate hasn't gone down, then you need to adjust your workouts and push yourself a little harder. Remember that challenging your body is what is going to give you the best benefits! This same principle goes for the number of push ups and sit ups you get. Challenge yourself to get a few more in every time.
1. The Step Test
For 3 minutes, you will simply step on the step. Really. That's it. It is important to keep a rhythm- think, "Up, up, down down." This is your cardio-ish segment and is a great way to start out your test. Go as quickly as you can. Really push yourself!
*If you don't have a stepper and don't have access to one at a gym you can use just a regular stair! I would skip a step so that the height is similar to a step but it will give you about the same results.
Don't forget to test your heart rate immediately following your 3 minutes. There are a couple of different ways you can do this:
1. Look at your watch for 60 seconds and count all of the pulses
2. Look at your watch for 10 seconds, count the pulses and then multiply by 6
3. If you have a heart rate monitor (like on a Fitbit HR), just look at that. I usually check three times within one minute and then average the numbers
*Remember to never test your heart rate with your thumb- there is a radial artery in your thumb that will disrupt your counting!
2. The Push Up Test
Super simple again- do as many push ups as you can in 1 minute. This one is really tough for me- I don't do push ups a whole lot. This is definitely an area I need to work on.
I like to keep the number of push ups I do in my head during the test and then record them afterwards. You can even say them outloud so you don't forget your number haha.
If you need to and aren't used to doing regular push ups, you can modify by putting your knees on the ground.
3. The Sit Up Test
Last but not least, the dreaded sit up.
Just kidding. I actually really like sit ups!
Remember to do actual sit ups and not just crunches. Keep your feet on the floor the whole time if you can. Bring your elbows up to your knees with every up movement. Do as many as you can, as quickly as you can.
Don't forget to record the number of sit ups that you did. See if you can beat yourself on the next test!
Form is really important during sit ups! Keep your back straight, core tight & belly button in are all crucial in a proper sit up. It protects your spine (which is the most important thing) and is more challenging (a good thing as it actually helps to strengthen your core).
Your feet also need to remain planted on the ground as much as possible. If you need to, you can have a partner hold your feet down or you can anchor them under something.
Yay! You've finished your test. Now what? Find your age & numbers below to see what group you're in. There's no judgments- as long as you are working to hit the next step up, you're doing great! You can only start progression from where you are right now.
Use these numbers as a guide to push yourself to get to the next category! Knowledge creates an accountability within yourself... its so important to know where you are, to push yourself to a specific goal & then to congratulate yourself when you do hit that goal. Acknowledge your successes and the areas that you need to progress in. Its healthy!
I'm a college-grad, certified group fitness instructor and certified personal trainer looking to get my healthy to the next level. I hope you can find a little something here that will help you on your journey too.