My Fitness Evaluated

Today I went to the YMCA for my fitness evaluation.  I underwent various tests – strength, flexibility, blood pressure, heart rate (at rest and after three minutes of exercise), sit-ups and push-ups, among others.  They punched all the numbers into a computer that tells me my body age (using the Polar Body Age system).  Here’s what I learned:

I’m not as unhealthy as I thought I was.  I’ve been concerned/ashamed about my weight for a while, and I was gratified to learn that I’m not a fitness lost cause.  But I’m not out of the woods, either.  I’ve got work to do.  My test showed me that:

  • my blood pressure (128/79) is at the high end of acceptable, but is not ideal.
  • my cardiovascular system is working pretty well – I achieved a level of "good," a Max VO2 of 50.  I’d like to get that number up to about 52 by the end of the summer (the higher the number, the more oxygen I can use during exercise)
  • my bicep strength is at the high end of "fair," but my sit-ups and push-ups are at the high end of "poor."  I’m a weakling.
  • my flexibility is "fair."  Even when I was in great shape I was not very flexible.  I’m not terribly worried about this one, but I do hope to be able to touch my toes eventually . . .
  • body fat: 22.3% (she used calipers to measure the fat on about seven parts of my body).  This is "moderate," but they recommend that I get down to about 14-19%.
  • I am 6’0" tall and weigh in at 230 pounds.  I should be in the 190s or lower, depending on muscle mass, etc..  I’ve got work to do.
  • Overall, my "body age" is 32.  Whodahthunkit?  I’m 32 years old!  At least it didn’t calculate my body age in the senior citizen levels . . . .

As a former high school track "star" (oodles of medals, a state championship, etc..) this is terribly pathetic.  I know (in my head) that I am not an 18 year-old running the 1600m in the low 4:20s, or the 800m in the mid 1:50s.  But emotionally – in terms of my ego – it is hard to separate myself from that memory.  I know running, I know fitness, I know exercise.  But when I go for a run today, or when I lift a few weights, the experience is completely embarrassing and pathetic.  It is hard to return to a familiar task at a much lower level.  But rather than try new tasks – swimming, bicycling, aerobics, etc. – I hope to turn my knowledge of running and fitness into an asset as I strive to get into shape.  I may never run a five minute mile again – or even a six minute mile – but I hope to return to the point where running up the stairs is comfortable and easy, where jogging for 30 minutes is routine, and where looking at my stomach is not a cause for shame.

I’ll share updates throughout the summer.  My goal: to get below 220 lbs and gain a little upper body muscle before the end of the summer . . . Four cardio and three strength workouts per week this summer should help.

About Chris Duckworth

Spouse. Parent. Lutheran Pastor. National Guardsman. Political Junkie. Baseball Fan.
This entry was posted in Health. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to My Fitness Evaluated

  1. Ross says:

    I hear you on the weakling thing. I’m (re-)starting a morning exercise routine. Man, I hate sit ups. At least I’m not doing pull ups. Those were torture in high school.

  2. Andy says:

    I feel your pain, man. I was never particularly athletic even in high school, but I was at least skinny. I think I weighed about 125 when I graduated. Only 5’9″, I started this year at 235 pounds.
    But the good news, in four months with diet, and more recently exercise too, I’m down to about 210 and my blood pressure has come down out of the “high normal” range into normal normal. Like you, I think I’ve discovered that I wasn’t quite as far out of shape as I thought.

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