Getting fit and losing weight are admirable pursuits. Just doing what needs to be done to achieve these things can boost your health, your confidence, your happiness and your self-esteem.
However, simply exercising or watching what you eat might not produce the best results if you are not working toward a specific target. Without establishing a “why”, your actions can lack focus and that can sometimes be demotivating.
We told you how to set goals back in this article but setting your own goals is not always easy.
So, for that reason, here are FIVE fitness tests to work toward that will not only give your workouts and diet more focus, but will also help you get into awesome shape too. Remember, form follows function so you’ll LOOK fit and healthy if you ARE fit and healthy!
Pass the Hip to Waist Ratio Test
The relationship between your waist and hip measurement is an important indicator of health and, more specifically, your risk of developing coronary heart disease and diabetes.
When you store a lot of fat around your waist, your risk for developing both of these serious medical conditions increases dramatically. In fact, doctors often call this waist bulge “heart attack fat” although it’s properly called visceral fat. The less visceral fat you have, the healthier you are likely to be.
To discover your hip to waist ratio, divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement. A ratio of 1.0 or more in men or 0.85 or more in women indicates that you are carrying too much weight around your middle so adjust your diet and exercise plan to lose inches from your waist and add years to your life.
Pump Out The Push-Ups
Push-ups are an excellent way to develop and test upper body strength and conditioning. Your upper body muscles tend to be the first to atrophy with advancing age so if you can score well in this test, it suggests that the rest of your body will be in pretty good shape too!
Push-ups also require you to lift and work against your own bodyweight and losing weight will often improve your score.
Simply do as many push-ups as you can without stopping – remember to keep count. Then, once you have caught your breath, plug your numbers into this calculator to get your final result. If you can’t do full push-ups right now, bend your legs and rest on your knees instead.
Work on your push-ups in the coming weeks and months and periodically try to beat your score.
Run A Mile In Ten-Minutes Or Less
Being able to run a mile in under ten minutes is a good indicator of aerobic fitness and muscular endurance. It’s far enough to be testing but not so fat that you need to spend weeks or even months training for it – unlike a marathon.
This test can be performed on a running track, treadmill, or over an accurately measured mile but should always be preceded with a warm up and followed by a cool down. If you choose to run outside over a measured mile, choose a flat route is possible; no need to make things harder than they need to be!
Deadlift your bodyweight
The barbell deadlift is arguably the truest test of strength around. You simply bend own and, using your legs and back, lift a weight off the floor. It tests all your major muscles from your feet to your hands and is a very “honest” test – you can either do it or you can’t.
Of course, deadlifting heavy weights requires coaching and training and should not be attempted if you are an exercise novice or do not know the proper deadlift technique. But, if you know how to do this exercise and are a regular strength trainer, you really should be able to deadlift your bodyweight – whether you are a man or a woman.
If you are unable to deadlift your bodyweight, you may be a) too heavy or b) too weak or c) a little of both. Needless to say, addressing any of these fitness shortfalls will improve your figure or physique.
Not sure how to deadlift? Check out this informative article.
Hold A Plank For 60-Seconds
Core strength is pretty much essential if you want to move well and minimize your risk of suffering back pain. Your core muscles (rectus abdominus, obliques, transverse abdominus, erector spinae, pelvic floor) work together to create abdominal and spinal stability and provide the bridge that links your upper body to your lower body.
Weak core muscles may cause your midsection to collapse which will prevent effective force transferal from your legs to your arms or vice versa.
There are lots of ways to train your core muscles but the plank is arguably the easiest way to test core strength.
Lie on your front and rest on your elbows with your forearms extended in front of you and your hands flat on the floor or lightly clasped together. Lift your hips off the floor so your body is straight and your weight is on your arms and toes only.
Hold this position, but not your breath, for as long as you can. The test is over if your hips lift or drop out alignment.
Working toward achieving these goals will not only provide focus to your training but will also give you a benchmark with which to measure your progress. And what should you do if you reach these goals? Try and surpass them of course!