What does it mean to be fit? Is that guy who has had a six pack and relatively big guns since he was 13yrs old fit? Or is that chick with an epic bubble butt and a washboard flat stomach fit? Do you know anyone who looks like a model without having to even put in the work? What I’m I trying to get at here, society or more specifically social media has fed us varied ideals of what it means to look fit rather than to actually be fit ( well, at least in my opinion it has).
Perhaps we can start with how fitness has been described for years and here is one of the definitions I quite like: Physical fitness can be defined as the ability to carry out tasks with vigor, and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure time pursuits and to meet unforeseen emergencies. Physical fitness thus includes cardio respiratory endurance, skeletal muscular endurance, skeletal muscular strength, skeletal muscular power, speed, flexibility, agility, balance, reaction time and body composition. (Pare 1983; Caspersen, Powel, Christensen 1985)
Now from the above definition, it is apparent that looking the part is just but the icing on the cake and more of a result of a very intricate lifestyle that has so many factors coming into play almost all at the same time. So how does one measure how fit one is? Well there are various fitness tests out there to test how fit one is, and I will share the one that I performed in class a number of weeks ago.
I will use my personal stats as an example.
So we started with taking dimensions:
(Height: 1.57m; Weight:52kgs; Bust: 32” ; Waist:30” (Lowest point); Hips: 38” )
This was to facilitate calculating my BMI (veeeeeeeeeeery controversial topic), here is how it’s calculated: Weight (Kgs)/Height squared(Metres)
52/(1.57*1.57)= 21.13 (Turns out I’m normal 😉 )
Underweight = <18.5
Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
Overweight = 25–29.9
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
Then a skin fold test to determine one’s body composition (Mine was 18%)
Bodyfat Percentage Categories: The American Council on Exercise lists the following bodyfat percentage categories:
|Essential fat||10% to 12%||2% to 4%|
|Athletes||14% to 20%||6% to 13%|
|Fitness||21% to 24%||14% to 17%|
|Acceptable||25% to 31%||18% to 25%|
|Obese||32% or higher||26% or higher|
resting heart rate
Next is to calculate your resting heart rate which is actually taken in the morning when you have just woken up, and no activity has been done. Easiest way is to calculate your heart rate for 10secs and then multiply by 6. Do this for three days and calculate your average so as to determine your resting heart rate.
Right after that comes the flexibility test. This is done after a quick warm up, pick any form of warm up that get’s your blood pumping if at a gym, a cross trainer or tread will do, if at home or school, a skipping rope is a kick ass way to warm up as well, 10 minutes should work the trick. A sit and reach test is one of the tests generally used to measure flexibility. It is performed using a box with which you sit with your legs fully extended and your feet against the box. What you do next is extend your arms as far as you can then hold for 3 secs as measurements are taken as to how far you can reach, before and beyond your toes. (Also a trunk rotation test is used as well to measure shoulder and trunk flexibility)
Then came the abdominal strength test which I absolutely massacred considering I love training my abs and core(bitter sweet relationship), so this one is fairly simple, you are supposed to perform as many half crunches as possible without pausing. They call it the curl up test.
aerobic strength test
Next up was a step up aerobic fitness test which is used to assess your hearts ability to adapt and recover from exercise. (Aced)
vertical jump test
Then things got terrible (still sulking about failing this one), so there is what is called a vertical jump test which assesses how much power you have in your legs. I didn’t jump the highest 😉 hence some saltiness.
muscular strength test
Then finally were the muscular strength tests which includes the infamous push up test where one is expected to do as many push ups as possible without stopping and lastly measuring a 1 maximum repetition which is what is the heaviest you can bench press or squat without assistance.
I haven’t got than in depth on the test details but I merely wanted to show you that fitness is more intricate than what it seems on the outside and for one to know how to improve on it, you need to identify your strengths and weakness so as to be able to tailor make exercises to bring those zones up to speed. I know for a fact I need to jump higher LOL, so I am taking my leg days more seriously!
I would love to hear from you with your feedback and queries as I continue to share my experiences and struggles. Any ideas and tips you would like to trade, bring them on. Sharing is caring.