Last week I received an e-mail last week from an old friend asking me how I track and test my fitness.
Great question! And I hope to have a great answer here!
In my personal workouts I treat every single day like a fitness test. I'm always pushing my own boundaries to see what's possible in my workouts. It's so important to constantly push it! I do like to keep an eye to see where I'm going but I mix these workout tests in with my regular schedule all the time.
There are a few key workout indicators I look for when I'm really feeling like I'm at my peak.
Forearm plank for time.
BUT do not look at the time. Start your watch, turn it away from you and just stop when you can't plank anymore. I once held a plank for 7 minutes and 14 seconds, it felt like 7 hours! When you look at the time you give up faster. It also teaches you to really listen to your body! Hang in there!
Then try side plank and see how different both sides are – my left can hold for 3:19 and my right I was up there for 5:37 and it felt like the exact same amount of work! Crazy and insightful for my training.
Lower Body Fitness:
"Legs for Days" is my ultimate know where I stand workout. I developed this routine in England and it's been a mainstay in my program for the last three years. I'll do this every other month to see how I'm doing. I record my reps and so far I've always been a bit stronger but my legs always BURN for days after!
The workout is 50 seconds on, 10 seconds rest with three rounds of each exercise.
My best reps:
1. Jump Lunges – 51
2. Dynamic Jump Squats – 37
3. Side Leg Lift Squats – 24
4. Tricep Dips – 42
5. Jump Squats – 62
6. Toe Tap Back – 80 on right and 80 on left
Upper Body Fitness:
As many push-ups as possible in one minute.
Chest to the floor on feet!
My best is 42.
One of my favourite runs to do is a monthly tempo run.
I start the treadmill at my typical jog pace (7.0 mph) and then I increase the treadmill speed by 0.5 mph every 5 minutes until I can't run anymore. My record on that run is 35 minutes, finishing at a 11.0 mph. That was intense!
There is also one of my favourite hills – Woodchip Hill in the ravine in Toronto. I like to to this hill 5-8x for a workout. I know I'm really fast when I can run it in under 90 seconds. It's a good idea to pick a hill and keep track of your times for motivation. Hills are an area that you can really see huge improvement on and it's exciting to watch you smash your times.