Fit Mommy: What is fit? Taking the active.com 7 ultimate fitness tests for women
Active.com released 7 Ultimate Fitness Tests for Women last month. Each week, for seven weeks, I am going to demonstrate the test on video and complete the test on my own to see how fit they think I am. My ultimate goal from these ultimate tests is to not only test my own fitness level, but to explore the idea "What is fit?" How do we really measure if someone is fit?
Fit is different to everyone. Some see fit as skinny or muscular. Others see fit as someone who can complete a marathon or bench a fire truck. Is the measure of fit by physical body build or is it measured by our accomplishments? Is fit just a state of good health? I will explore these ideas as I test my balance, agility, endurance, upper body strength, core stability strength, lower body strength and flexibility.
Week 1: The Endurance Test (Leg Matrix) Do all four moves back-to-back without rest. If you stop or can't do the move with proper form, that's the end of the test. Track your success through reps: On your first try, do 10 reps of each move. Wait two days, then repeat with 15 reps. Then test two days later with 24 reps.
Squat: Stand with feet hip-width apart, hands behind your head (a), and lower until your thighs are parallel to the ground (b). Push through your heels to return to standing.
Lunge: Stand with hands behind head (a), then step forward with your left foot and lower until your right knee almost touches the floor (b). Return to start; repeat on the other side.
Squat jump: Lower into a squat as described to the left (a), then jump off the ground as high as you can (b). Land softly, and immediately lower into another squat and repeat.
Split jump: Lower into the lunge described to the left (a). Jump as high as you can and switch legs in the air (b). Land softly, then lower into your next rep on the opposite side (c).
Excellent: Can complete 24 reps of each move with proper form without stopping
Good: Can complete 10 or 15 reps of each move with proper form without stopping
Below Average: Cannot do 10 reps of each move with proper form without stopping
My results: Great general cardio fitness test! I (of course) went for the excellent on my first try. I wanted to see how I did without building up! I have to admit that I did this test on a semi-full stomach and "warmed up" on the bike for 20 minutes prior to this test the first time I tried it. Even so, I made it through the first three exercises with no problem. I could feel my heartrate climb fast, especially as I started to jump. The split jumps, however, were pretty tough, and I had to take a breather in the middle with them for about 10 seconds. This does mean that I failed the excellent test, but I am confident I could have done the 15 reps without a problem. I will try this one again (without the full stomach or the warm-up!).
Why I like this test: You can't rely on muscle memory to complete this test. I like that it doesn't only take coordination, but muscle strength as well. Too many tests rely on pure running or strength, and this tests both simultaeneously. Try it out and see how many reps you can complete!
Why I don't like this test: If you have any kind of leg joint sensitivity, I would not recommend this as a good test. It is very high impact, and all of the jumping could easily tear a knee up. I actually don't like walking or split lunges because it is very difficult (especially as you fatigue) to get your knees in the right position. If you bend your knee too far forward or to the side, you can easily hurt the knees.
Last thought: This is not only a great test, but a great at-home workout! Try it out and see if you can build up to 24 reps!
Eva Johnson is an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified personal trainer, who had difficulty finding a clean space in her house for these videos. She lives in chaos with her husband and two boys. To see her complete blog about how to stay sane and in shape in the real world, visit www.fitnessbyeva.com.