How Do You Know if You’re Fit?
When I was in college, my coach made us do a three-mile run in less than 18 minutes on the first day of pre-season practice. If you didn’t pass, you had to wake up the next morning at 6:00 a.m. and run it again and again and again until you finally passed. I loved it! The competition was fierce on the first day of pre-season -- everyone was nervous, and everyone knew who the top guys were and would try and stick with them as long as possible. The following morning we would wait outside the locker room to see the list that posted the official times to see who finished first, second, third, and so on. I thought this was great! I was surprised, though, when we I got together with buddies who played for different teams, only to find out that their pre-season test was three miles in 16 minutes. I thought I was fit until I heard what the rest of the world was doing.
Since then, I’ve done some research on what being fit actually means. I’m not talking about being considered fit inside the walls of the gym where you train. I’m talking about being fit in comparison to the rest of the world – outside Fit Studio. Here’s how you’ll know if you’re fit…worldwide:
500-meter-pace rowing is a standard test for fitness capacity. The distance of 500 meters on a rower is perfect: short enough that you can sprint the entire time but barely hang on! Concept 2, which is the brand of rower we use at Fit, has a website that has a huge community of people that send in their 500-meter times. Concept 2 has organized the results by gender and age and allows you to see where you fit in the world anywhere from #1 to #5000. Check it out, and see how you stack up.
How can you leave the burpee out when you’re talking about fitness? Burpees are great because they’re a body weight movement, requiring no loading or equipment. A burpee is a multi-joint movement that requires going from a standing position to a push-up position, requiring the use of the legs, core, shoulders, and arms. I’ve included a link to a burpee workout that was developed by a famous CrossFit athlete named Lindsey Smith. On paper it looks, do-able, but it can sneak up on you! I love this workout because it has a certain standard that can be met by those who are fit enough, but it also has a component that allows you to see how far away you are from hitting the ultimate goal. Check it out! Burpee Challenge
When we talk about fitness, we should definitely talk about strength. The back-squat, deadlift, and clean are all good indicators of strength. Keep in mind that all three movements are very technique-dependent. In other words while these three lifts can demonstrate pure strength, they also will demonstrate one’s ability to move well and use good technique to lift heavier loads.
1-mile Time Trial
Of course….everyone loves (and hates) the one-mile time trial. It’s big yet small, hot yet cold, short but long, and it’s the perfect measure of speed, endurance, and pure grit. The Cooper Institute has been the leader in performance measurement for years, but unfortunately, they collect very little data on real people. Most of their measurement is done on military and law enforcement personnel. Well, now we have more to go on besides just what the Cooper Institute gives us. Believe it or not, some of us real people have higher standards and perform better than the subjects in the Cooper Institute studies! Here is a link that shows time trial rankings based on age and gender. This takes into account the elite and the below-average athlete, so you really get a nice range of where your performance really is.
There’s no need to go do all these fitness tests in one day! It’s a lot better to do them in a group with motivation, camaraderie, and a coach helping you along the way. Let’s find out how you stack up against the rest of the world! Aren’t you just a little bit curious?