The end of March usually marks the time most people give up on their New Year Resolutions. And for good reason. Many a Resolution was made with high hopes of a New Attitude about time, and commitments, and putting yourself first, and not saying yes to too much, and making health a priority, ….but then reality hits and, Seriously?! “I can’t do everything!”
No, you can’t do everything. But you can continue to move forward. Anything worthwhile is plagued with ambivalence. You can justify quitting because you’re too busy, but you know it’s the wrong decision because on January 1st you made The Decision to get healthier, and that Decision is worthy of the fight.
A great way to put the mojo back into your program is to set goals. And the best way to set goals is to assess where you’re at now.
Here are a few in-home fitness tests that will help give you something to shoot for.
One-Mile time (endurance):
Map out a 1-mile route that you can easily get to. Time your mile. It doesn’t matter where it is – trail, road, track – but it should be free of stoplights or things that will pause your feet. This can also be done on a treadmill but you have to be able to start the belt moving at the pace you can handle for one mile. It’s a little harder to get an exact measure. Or you can bicycle as long as you can measure distance and time.
300 yard dash (speed):
Set cones 25 yards apart and draw a chalk line. Up and back is one lap. Do this six times. Or, if you like, every time your touch a line is one lap, and do it 12 times– depending on how psyched out you get from the numbers.
This is harder to measure, but you can either use subjective feel, or come up with some way to measure the angles at various stretches. Hamstring flexibility should be measured lying down and the degree of angle between thigh and body should be measured (don’t let your butt leave the ground). Shoulder flexibility can be measured with help from someone who can use a measuring tape to see how many inches off the ground your forearms are when lying on your back with arms out like a T but elbows bent with fingers to the ceiling, then, trying to touch your forearms backward (1 measure) and downward (2nd measure) as in fingers toward feet. (Don’t let you bak leave the ground – tight abs)
Put a yoga block under your sternum as you plank above it. A good push up will just barely touch the block before coming back up to the plank. Either count how many you can do in one minute, or set a metronome to one beat a second, and see how many you can do without going off beat . If this is easy add weight to your back.
Balance beam walk (balance):
Test your balance by walking on a balance beam heal to toe. If this is easy, unevenly weight yourself with a kettle bell or bottle of water, or close your eyes.
Box jumps (power):
See how high you can jump onto a box with both feet. Or time how many jumps you can get in 30 seconds.
How long can you hold a handstand against the wall?
Pull-up or chin-ups (strength):
Count how many pull-ups or chin-ups you can get in one minute from fully extended elbows to chin over the bar. (Pull-ups have palms facing away from you, chin-ups have palms facing you.)
Squat (strength endurance):
Without compromising on form, see how many squats you can do in one minute. If this is too easy, grab a sandbag or a kettle bell and hold it against your chest.
I know there are a thousand fitness tests you can do. If you think of one that motivates you, then for sure do it! And do it now! Posting your times/performance, with intention of improving week after week, in a place that you see every day is motivating! Writing your intentions daily will definitely help you stay on track.
Make your improvement goals specific: “I improve my 1-mile time by 10 seconds” “I can do 20 push-ups in 1 minute.” You might not be there, but you will be if you persevere! And that’s a pretty awesome feeling!
Not Quitting your fitness program is one the most important things you can do. Find any trick, any ploy and trap you can set up for yourself to keep in the game; Fitness Assessments are a great maneuver.