Assessing your fitness level as an adult


Kids get tested at school, but as you get older there isn't a proper assessment for adults unless you've got a really great trainer. It's important to know your strength, your flexibility and your cardiovascular fitness, and how to improve your score.

Trainer Mike Donavanik suggests the old tests of one minute of pushups, sit-ups, and touching your toes need an update.

"It doesn't really take advances in the fitness world and the best way to really work your body," said Donavanik.

Instead, try compound moves that combine a few fitness elements and muscles into one.

"Which will get you to burn more calories, get you in shape faster, build more muscle quicker," said Donavanik.

For strength, he suggests a renegade row: where the upper back and shoulders work with core and legs simultaneously. If you're a novice, try doing it in the plank position, and walk your feet in for a pushup. More advanced exercisers can jump while they move their feet in.

Test strength and cardio together by doing a squat jack plus an overhead press.

Rather than static stretch, Donavik's a fan of dynamic flexibility.

"Instead of just standing and reaching for your toes or sitting down and reaching for your toes, you're going to, let's say a reverse lunge and reaching your hands high overhead," said Donavanik. "You're getting hip flexors, you're getting core, shoulders, you're getting everything in between."

Start by doing them for 30 seconds, or count the number of repetitions. You should either aim to do one or more reps the next time, or increase your intervals by about 30 seconds.

Donavanik suggests alternating compound moves with bursts of cardio that spike heart rate and percolate metabolism.

And use the "MetCon 3" concept: metabolic conditioning that targets all three energy systems.

If you're at a loss on creating your own fit test, Donavanik's "Extreme Burn" DVD might help, priced at $18.

"Intense bursts of strength where everything is done for time. Total body moves that are getting your heart rate up, but still working muscular strength."

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