When we workout for fitness we want to improve our life, right? But we also need to take an honest look at where we are currently. We need to be asking What’s your fitness level?
Workout for Fitness
When we workout we take precious time from our schedule, we sweat, we struggle, and often feel the pain of muscle soreness. Why bother, right? Your reasons may vary from envy motivation, longing to live a long active life, or pushing through limits by saying “Don’t tell me what I can’t do”. Regardless of your own reasons, for myself I workout for fitness.
To me that phrase means challenging myself physically so I am prepared for all life has to offer. Fit and ready.
What’s Your Fitness Level?
So we want to workout for fitness, great. Now what?
We need to get some measure of our current condition. And remember I don’t even play a doctor on TV, so don’t let my ramblings replace a conversation you should be having with your real life doctor. They can and should be helping you as you make changes in your lifestyle. Surprise them with positive changes.
There are lots of ways to test your fitness. Two of the resources I found especially interesting are:
President’s Challenge Adult Fitness Test
Health-related fitness is linked to fitness components that may lower risks such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or low back pain. Health-related physical fitness includes the following components:
Aerobic fitness – ability of the heart and lungs to deliver blood to muscles,
Muscular strength and endurance – enough to do normal activities easily and protect the low back,
Flexibility – ability to move your many joints through their proper range of motion, and
Body composition – not too much body fat, especially around the waist.
The activities featured on this adult fitness test are provided as a way for you to get an estimate of your level of aerobic fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and your body composition. The results on each test provide you with a measure from which you can track your progress in each area as you become more physically active.
USMC – Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test (CFT)
While I used to have a flattop haircut for many years I am not a marine. I had the privilege of having two officers in my study group for my graduate degree program. During that time I was impressed with the training and discipline that was an obvious result of their involvement in the Marine Corps. I couldn’t post this without giving the USMC a bit more attention.
In 2008 the USMC adopted the Combat Fitness Test (CFT) to test the fitness of their troups and specifically their readiness for actual combat. The CFT has three events. Only three, can’t be that bad, right? Think again and check this out.
Here is a description of how the Marine Corp asks, “What’s your fitness level?” by using the Combat Fitness Test (CFT):
- A 880-yard “Movement to Contact” run in boots and utility pants. [What? Run in boots? I thought running in vibram five-fingers was odd enough.]
- Two minutes of lifting a 30-pound ammo can over the head, earning points for the number done in the time limit [Trying kettlebell presses for two minutes is tough. This would be harder with an ammo can.]
- The “Maneuver Under Fire” drill is part obstacle course, part conditioning, and part combat test:
- 25-yard crawl
- Hauling a simulated casualty using two different carries: drag and fireman’s carry over 75 yards zigzaging through cones
- Sprint while carrying two 30-pound ammo cans over 75 yards through the same cones
- Throwing a dummy hand grenade into a marked circle 22.5 yards away
- 3 pushups and
- A sprint with the ammo cans to the finish line
Test Your Fitness Level
Which ever route you choose there are two main reasons to be testing your fitness level. It helps you know where to start and helps you celebrate improvements.
Any test should have some measure of your strength, flexibility, and endurance. So workout for fitness by starting with the question What’s your fitness level?