A new fitness plan is like a road map of where you want to go. Starting something new feels good, whether that’s preparing for a challenging event, starting a training programme, trimming down or trying to accomplish a personal goal that’s always seemed just out of grasp.
Now for the level-up question: “How fit am I?”
Truthful answers please, it’s a ‘maybe’. So why not find out for sure? Get beyond your training plan which basically is just a list of exercises, and discover your baseline fitness that you can measure your progression against.
Fret not, here are five ways that you can quickly assess your fitness level before you start. There’s method in the measurement.
BASELINE: Resting Heart Rate
Knowing your resting heart rate is a great baseline to see progression in your efforts, especially if you are looking to improve your cardio and endurance. An average RHR is between 60-100 bpm, and basically the fitter you are, the lower lower your resting heart rate. Make tracking your RHR part of your morning routine, checking before you get out of bed.
- Locate the pulse in your neck (start with your fingers on your throat under your chin and take two finger walking steps to the side of your neck).
- Use your index and middle finger to feel the pulse.
- Look at your watch and count the number of beats in 15 seconds. Multiply this number by 4 to get your heart rate per minute- easy.
CARDIO Workout: 1.5 Mile Run
To put it simply, cardio fitness is an important indicator of health. An easy way to gauge your fitness level is by getting out and taking a run, a 1.5 mile run to be exact. The times below represent “fit” averages for men and women by age.
STRENGTH ENDURANCE (Pushing): Push-up
Unless you’re a strength athlete, strength endurance is more practical for the everyday and event day. Enter the push-up test. Push-ups are a great strength endurance test and can be completed with minimal equipment and space. Rep out as many as you can and if you’re not able to do more than five in the full position, start with your knees on the ground. The rep ranges below represent “fit” averages for men and women by age.
STRENGTH Exercise (Pulling): Pull-up
In reality when you pull on something it is usually a forceful effort. So we want to measure pulling strength based on a higher load and effort than we do pushing. This makes pull-ups a great test for upper body pulling strength. Struggling to rep out pull-ups? No problem, check out these 9 moves that will get you above the bar, you’ll build pulling strength in no time.
CORE Workout: Plank
A strong core means good support and no energy loss as you run, jump, climb and reach for your favourite peanut butter snack on the top shelf. The best measure for core strength is stability over time. Enter the two minute plank, the ultimate core exercise. Hold a plank position for as long as you can, note the time that you start to shake and the maximum time you can hold it (up to two minutes). The more stable you are, the longer it will take for you to start shaking, the stronger you are, the longer you can hold it.
When it comes to your baseline fitness these tests are a good place to start. There’s no point sweating away if you can’t know that it’s working or that you’re getting stronger the way you want to. These tests aren’t the be all and end all. Take this year head on and accomplish something big. And then join us on a Tough Mudder course to kick some serious ass.
Ready to Go?
Now you know your baseline fitness you can plan your next step. Tough Mudder is for everyone, no matter how fit you are but if you want to swing across Funky Monkey and zip up Everest then some tailored event training sounds right up your street.
For the first time ever we’re offering a Official Tough Mudder Event Training Programme which aims to have you course-ready in five weeks. You’ll be sent a weekly workout plan and have access to a private Facebook group where our UK Trainer Born is on hand to offer up all the help and advice you need. Because who better to train you for Tough Mudder… than Tough Mudder?