You’re not alone in wondering about your fitness level. You meet up with friends for a run and you kill it. You go to a box-fit class and you’re dying by the mid-point. So how can you know how fit you are?
Fitness is defined as the physical expression of strength, power, speed, co-ordination and endurance. It’s these five things – together! – that determine how fit you are.
• How much weight can you lift on a barbell or a kettlebell?
• How much control do you exert over your own body?
• How fast can you run?
• How long can you last?
While you might excel in one or even a few of these fitness categories, you can also have the need for improvement in others. But they are also great bench marks to determining your overall fitness level.
So, how fit are you?
I created a fitness test that gives a clear answer if you are a beginner, intermediate, advanced and elite level of fitness. Test your fitness with the following benchmarks to see how you measure up.
Looking to get in better shape? Here are the seven golden rules of fitness.
Strength is defined as using your muscles to move something. This is how you figure how fit you are with strength. Start at the weight you think you might be best suited. If you think you can go heavier, give yourself a few days to recover to move up or down to the next level.
5-Rep Max Barbell Back Squat
In a squat rack, go under the barbell so that the bar sits on the base of the neck across the top of your traps (muscles at the base of the neck and across the shoulders). Brace yourself by squeezing your shoulder blades together.
Find total body tension and brace through your core as you squat to full range of motion (below parallel), maintaining an upright position.
Drive through your heels to return to a standing position, squeezing your glutes.
Beginner: 0.79 x your body weight
Intermediate: 1.24 x your body weight
Advanced: 1.68 x your body weight
Elite: 2.13 x your body weight
How is your form? This is how you do squats the right way.photo credit: FitSquad
It’s easy to mix up power and strength. But they are different. Power is the combination of time and strength to move something. Again, choose the weight you think you might be best suited, and let your muscles rest before going up or down a level.
5-Rep Max Barbell Deadlift
Stand with your feet hip- width apart.
Brace your core as you hinge forward with a neutral spine to grasp the barbell.
With your shoulders relaxed, begin to lift the barbell by pushing your hips forward and squeezing your glutes, as you stand upright.
Return to your starting position to bring the bar back to the floor.
Beginner: 0.95 x your body weight
Intermediate: 1.49 x your body weight
Advanced: 2.02 x your body weight
Elite: 2.55 x your body weight
Never lifted weights before? Here is everything a beginner needs to know.photo credit: FitSquad
Being fast is an important part of fitness. This is all about how quickly your muscles engage and your overall performance. A rowing test can help determine your fitness level for speed.
500 Meter Row
Set the rowing machine to level 6.
Sit with your legs in the stirrups and your knees slightly bent. Hold the handle and lean forward, so your shoulders are ahead of your hips.
Keeping your back straight and your core braced, use your legs to push yourself back. As your legs straighten, begin to pull the handle toward your chest and lean back.
Reverse the movement to return to the start.
Do this as quickly as you can, until you reach 500 meters. Note your time.
Beginner: 2:20 minutes
Intermediate: 2 minutes
Advanced: 1:50 minutes
Elite: 1:40 minutes
Other than improve your speed, rowing, like other functional movements, has loads of benefits for your fitness.photo credit: FitSquad
Keeping good form is hard when there is physical demand on your entire body through a movement. Push ups can show how coordinated and how much body control you have, as it challenges you.
Begin in a high plank position – on your hands (underneath your shoulders) and on your toes. Imagine a straight line from your heels to the back of your head.
With your full body engaged, bend your elbows to lower your entire body to the floor – no piking your bum!
Exhale as you drive through your palms to return to your a high plank position.
Do as many as you can until you can’t do another with good form.
Beginner: 5 to 10 reps
Intermediate: 25 reps
Advanced: 1-arm push-up, 1 rep per side
Elite: 1-arm push-up, 5 reps per side
The great thing about push-ups is that you do not need equipment, just like these other exercises.photo credit: FitSquad
This is all about how long you can last. Running is a great endurance sport to test your fitness.
Proper running form means keeping your posture upright, an engaged core, relaxed shoulders and continuous breathing (don’t hold your breath!). Keep your strides short too avoid injury.
Beginner: 9 minutes
Intermediate: 7 minutes
Advanced: 6 minutes
Elite: 5 minutes
Want to run faster and for longer? You must check out this runners workout.photo credit: jennifer lau
Jennifer is co-owner of FitSquad Toronto and is a highly accomplished personal trainer and holistic nutritionist with 10 years experience in the fitness and health industry. Her passion to empower women has lead her to become a leader in female training. She is head coach of Fit Squad’s all women’s training camp, has given corporate workshops and presentations on fitness and nutrition and can be found regularly contributing to media outlets in the city.
See more of Jennifer on Instagram @fitsquad_training and at fitsquad.ca.