We all like to measure stuff right? I mean as I write this my assistant....boss is asking me how many sheets of paper are in a 3/4" inch stack. No idea? Should we start counting?
Nah....that would be silly. Plus I guessed a million and I'm seldom wrong.
But how do we (you/me) measure our fitness? Do you run 5 miles? Do you climb a mountain? Do you hold your breath under water in the bubble bath surrounded my candles? (If you do that's weird, maybe phone a friend?)
For me I have one really simple measure: PUSH UPS!!
Now yes push ups are not really going to tell me if I can go and run a half-marathon tomorrow, but they do tell me my relative fitness so that I can plan where I am in a half-marathon program (for example). More importantly, they give me a 30 second gauge--a litmus test as it were--as to where my body actually is on any given day (not where I might want my body to be, which are two very different things)
But Trevor? What do you mean?
Well, here's what I know. Usually I can bang off between 25 and 30 consecutive push ups cold (i.e. no fancy warm ups ahead of time). That's my baseline. It's not good, it's not bad, it just is.
I wrote last week about recovering from illness. Well last week that 30 dropped to about 15 -- 15 very shaky, very stiff, very unbalanced push ups.
My fitness sucked. I was sick. That's okay. Push ups reflected that.
A week later and I can't do 30 yet. Mostly because I shake too much and get out of breath. Also, I can feel that my "push" part is unbalanced, meaning that I'm relying more on my right side than my left side. And my body torques a bit. And that's not all that great.
So what does that tell me? Well it tells me:
1. I'm not yet ready to run, because I don't want to run if my core is disengaged (unbalanced and torquing);
2. I need to spend a little bit of time focused on conditioning and stretching my core and supporting muscles in my torso.
How do I know this? Honestly I just do from doing it over and over and over and over. No magic to it.
But as my push ups start to improve I know my fitness level is too. And that's what it's all about!
So what's your gauge? Is it touching your toes? Is if pull ups? Is it planks? (Hint: I use all those too). That 30 second "test" that makes you say "I've got it today" or "maybe not". I think it's important for all of us to check in once and a while.