Author: Amber French
As a fitness professional we have very specific criteria for measuring your fitness and prescribing specific exercises based on the outcomes.
We look at areas that measure your cardio levels, body composition and core and muscular strength. We can also test your vertical jump and flexibility. Most fitness centres and personal trainers have a battery of tests that they used based on their training to measure your fitness base line.
Determining your base line is very important. It gives you an accurate picture of your areas of strength and areas that need improvement. But more importantly it gives you a solid factual reference point to determine if you are indeed improving your physical fitness or maintaining the status quo.
But how do YOU gauge your fitness level and what deems a person fit??
Most people base your fitness levels on your appearance. However I have assessed many individuals who look thin but their body fat percentage comes in at almost 45 percent over their overall weight!!! Yikes!!!! That means their fluids, organs, bones and muscles combined are almost the same mass as the body fat they are carrying around!!! Also, many “skinny” individuals can’t touch their own toes!
The most fit people I have worked with focus on overall fitness and health, no one component or measurement is more important than the other.
Flexibility, cardiovascular endurance and FUNCTIONAL muscular endurance are the main physical areas we should focus on. Set yourself up for a lifetime of tying your own shoes, managing the stairs in your own house and being able to paint a wall without ending up on muscle relaxants for a week.
Your workouts should be full body. Focus on big movements with weights that cause fatigue (that can be body weight as well) and repetitions that ingrain the movement into your muscles memory. Endless hours of chest press and bicep curls aren’t going to protect you from a heart attack. At the other end of the spectrum not stretching properly after a run or strenuous hike day after day can lead to shortened hamstrings and sciatica issues that will lay you up and derail your fitness plans quicker than anything.
Aside from rotating your activities and concentrating on ALL areas of your body you need to mind your nutrition and your emotional fitness too. You can’t have a clean engine no matter how pristine the exterior if you fill it with dirty oil and subpar gasoline. Our bodies are no different. We often look at people that pass away unexpectedly and say “but he was at the gym all the time” but if they followed their workouts with heavily processed foods containing lots of chemicals, sugar, bad fats and oils all the weight lifting in the world can’t protect the heart or brain from heart diseases or stroke.
Similarly if we don’t practice Emotional Fitness (lowering stress levels, taking care of our needs and taking the time to decompress) all the healthy eating and exercising in the world cant repair that sort of damage.
So where does that leave you?
Answer these questions honestly…
• DO YOU move your body 30 minutes every day?
• DO YOU eat unprocessed foods and the majority of your plate is compressed of fruits and veg?
• DO YOU take time out for yourself each day (even 5 minutes)
• DO YOU sleep well?
• DO YOU manage your stress and consider yourself calm more often than stressed??
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, remove the “DO YOU” re-read the question and discover my secret tips and advice!!! All of those areas are important and each can only progress so far if you ignore the others.
If you answered “yes” to all, find a certified professional to determine your base line and watch as you pinpoint the specific areas that you can improve upon. Then set yourself some BIGGER and BADDER “fitness” goals in all areas of your life.
About the Author: Amber has been in the fitness and recreation game for over 15 years (not including school!!). She made fitness her life because as the age old saying goes, study and teach what it is you need to learn. In other words, she’s battles with some weight issues for many years and wants to share what she has learned along the way.
You can follow her @TheVeganHouse