As we start this journey together its time to say; IT’S TIME! Time for what? Time to set up and identify our goals!
Through out this challenge it is very safe to say that we are training for more then just looks. Training should be just as much about developing the mind-body-spirit and self discovery as it is about looking your best.
Throughout these 8 weeks my biggest hope is that you will learn to measure your success by the growing ability of your body and the discipline and calmness of your mind, as much (if not more) as by the reflection you see in the mirror.
Do not worry- as your health and fitness level grows, so will your goals to lose weight, get lean and feel energized.
So, I am going to ask you to take a very basic fitness/ strength test. If you can do it this Friday or Saturday, that would be ideal. Take the test and put the results away – we’ll revisit this test together just 7 weeks from today!
Measuring your fitness level regularly is one way to find out if you’re making progress. Through this test we will evaluate your body composition, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance. It will be a personal marker for you- a place from which you can grow and develop your goals.
Please take this test on a day AFTER your day off of training, and BEFORE your workout, you can also treat this test as a workout on its own, as it will be demanding and we will want you to give it 100% your all!
Be serious about this test and write everything down.
**The BONUS section below is a BONUS test (you do not have to do it, but it is a test that I give all of my one on one clients and athletes, and it might be really great if you can do the extended version of the test).
This test will incorporate the components of basic:
1. Push-Up Test
A powerful upper body doesn’t just look good in tank tops; it helps transfer force, allows you to carry groceries, walk your dog, carry your baby, play sports. The push-up is an old-school move that many still consider the ultimate test of upper-body pushing strength.
Your Goal: Take a pushup position, with your body straight from head to ankles. Shoulders, elbows and wrists in line. When you execute the pushup make sure your elbows push towards the knees as well as outside the body, not just outwards.
Lower yourself until your chest is 2-3 inches from the floor. Push yourself back up explosively so your hands leave the floor. Maintain a straight body come back to starting position.
Again, make sure that your elbows don’t just flare. Corkscrew your hands on the way down and up.
Record: See how many (solid and real) push ups you can do in one minute. Stay consistent – once the consistency breaks it’s over.
Jot the number down and we’ll revisit that in six weeks.
ADVANCED: (do this version if a minute of pushups is easy for you to execute)
Count to a solid 1-2-3-4-5 on the way down and then, without rest count to a solid 1-2-3-4-5 on the way up.
See how many of those you can get in a minute.
If that is easy (wow, you’re in great shape) count to 10 down and to 10 up and see how many you can get in 2 minutes.
2. Run In Place Test
This test will help us measure muscle endurance and cardio vascular shape. It’s a lot harder then it looks – so do not underestimate this 2 minute challenge.
We actually do this is class a lot, and in a few of our KB Body DVDs.
Measure out, or estimate what height is two feet from the ground.
Set a timer for 2 minutes. Begin to run in place, for two minutes. Use your upper and lower body, moving your arms up and down. Make sure you are standing still and not moving forward. Keep the same exact pace (so your foot speed should not change) and the height should be maintained at 2 feet from the ground (no high knee tucks needed).
Your Goal: Keep note (literally take a notes on) how difficult it was to keep your pace and keep the feet up. Then, measure your (just bring the fingers to your neck and count for 1minute- right after you finish running). Make a note of that too.
Record: Check your pulse right before you start the drill. Your heart rate should be normal, as it would be when you are simply walking down the street, note how that feels. The moment you finish this drill put your fingers on your pulse and count how long it takes you (seconds after the timer of your run finishes) to get your heart rate, pulse back to that static state, stable condition. So you arent counting your heart rate, just the seconds it takes fr it to get back to normal (as it was before the drill).
1-2-3-4-5, then jot the number down.
3. Plank Test
A strong core makes you stronger in everything you do, from carrying groceries to mastering the deadlift. A strong core will also help prevent back pain. Think about it- your core helps you transfer force from the lower to upper body and vice-versa. It enables you to produce, stabilize, and transmit force throughout the body.
Your goal: See how long you can hold the plank with good FORM. Look, no one is testing you here, and no one is taking notes. This is you being totally honest with yourself! So– time the plank, jot the time down; 20seconds, 60 seconds, 90, 120, maybe even more. The real satisfaction will come from dong the same thing again in 6 weeks and seeing all of your amazing strength gains.
Advanced Plank: hey, if you can hold a plank while reading War and Peace, then we get it – you have 100% adapted to this and it’s time for some ‘advanced planks’;
Instead of the usual plank, get into an elbow plank. Then walk the body away from the elbows, basically extending yourself until the ears lign up with the elbows, and then even further. Okay, the same way, see how long you can hold this guy.
Your body should form a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
While in plank position, pull in your bellybutton. By pulling it in, you begin to contract that deep inner transverse abdominis muscle.
Next, do a Kegel squeeze. A Kegel squeeze is performed by drawing your lower pelvic muscles up and holding them up high and tight. This squeeze will allow you to feel and focus on your abdominal muscles.
When your hips sag or your knees touch the floor, it’s over.
4. Controlled Wall Squat
Mobility is the single most important thing in fitness. Mobility is the area where your strength and flexibility meet – it truly dictates your bodies overall functionality and biomecahnical health. This test will expose limitations in your ankles, hips, neck, and upper and mid back, as well as weakness in your glutes. A lot of people fail this test because they have a rounded and weak mid back (from sitting posture) or inflexible ankles (from immobility and bad shoes).
Your Goal: Stand facing a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes 2 inches from the baseboard and turned slightly (5 degrees) out. Keeping your feet flat, chest up, and back naturally arched, (your heels should at no point come off the ground) see how far you can lower your body without touching the wall or falling backward. Your goal- ideally your hips would go deeper or at least level with the knees. At no point should your heals come off of the ground!
Record: Now, where ever you are here have someone take a picture (because you will not remember) and keep that picture (from the back and profile). We’ll compare your mobility and strength 6 weeks from today!
5. Controlled Wall Squat with Overhead Arm Hold
Yes- this is your mobility test again.
Don’t get why this is important – your mobility is literally how you move through life! Don’t you want to see how much better that gets once you start following a program?
Remember: Flexibility + Strength = Mobility
Your Goal: Stand facing a wall with your feet shoulder-width apart and toes 2 inches from the baseboard and turned slightly (5 degrees) out. Keeping your feet flat, chest up, and back naturally arched, (your heels should at no point come off the ground). Now see how far you can lower your body without touching the wall or falling backward with your arms overhead (as pictured below). Your goal- ideally your hips would go deeper or at least level with the knees.
6. Over Bar Hold
Just like the push-up, the chin up and the over the bar chip up/ pull up hold is is an old-school move that many still consider the ultimate test of upper-body pulling strength.
Your Goal: Find a pull up bar – any kind. And get yourself over the bar. Make sure it’s an over the bar hold with an underhand (chin up) grip. Time the amount of time you can hold the position. Abs tight, shoulders packed and all muscles engaged.
Fun Fact: Female military standard is 20 seconds over the bar- can you do it?
Advanced: if you can already do pull ups, then it’s for you to see how many you can get in 1 minute.
NOT kippling or jumping pull ups, we are talking ‘real’ 100% body weight and muscle pull ups. For some its just one, for others five or ten. Record the number in one minute.
Bonus TEST (this part is optional)
Track Run: Combining strength and muscle endurance, as well as your most natural form of mobility is standard running test.
Now, contrary to what you may think, we all have the ability to run. We might not be ‘runners’ or naturally gravitate towards running, but we do have the ability, and should exercise a very natural short and explosive run once in a while.
Record: For this part of the test (the optional part) you will need a track and a stop watch. Ideally a person to time you, or you can hold onto the stop watch and time yourself.
Start at one part of the track (your starting line) and run one lap around the track as fast as you can.
Record that time, we’ll compare this again in just seven weeks.
Do not slow down but explode here and give it all that you’ve got.
Make sure you are a bit warm before the run.
One more thing…
Don’t be unrealistic with your goals! This is JUST week 2 — be patient and have fun!
If you expect results instantly or even in the first few weeks, you may be disappointed. For some people, it takes longer for weight to normalize. Looking great is a normal goal to have, but you should also always have other goals when it comes to your fitness journey- are you getting stronger? more energized? more mobile? A healthy lifestyle leads to forever results – be patient. Trust yourself, trust and follow your program and trust me on this one. It will happen. And we have 8 weeks to get the ball rolling towards amazing results.