Last week I headed over to Inspire Fitness to get a fitness assessment from my friend Kelly. I’ve written about my love for Inspire and their classes before—they’re a boutique spin and fitness gym right in the heart of the ‘Ham. Kelly had mentioned on Facebook that she had taken the assessment herself and the results had surprised her, so I wanted to give it a whirl too. You know, am I really fit, or it is just an illusion.
The test was made up of five parts—a step test, a push-up test, a partial curl-up test, a flexibility test, and a balance test. That’s a lot of tests to pass. Yikes!
We started with the step test, which measures your recovery heart rate. I had to step for three minutes at 96 beats per minute, rest for 60 seconds, and then measure my heart rate. My heart rate ended up being 66, a score of excellent. With all the running I do, I should hope I can recover quickly after only three minutes! The hardest part was keeping in time with the metronome—I clearly have no rhythm.
The push-up test was next. This was the one I was positive I’d bomb—do ten push-ups and fall flat on my face. Luckily, women were allowed to do the push-ups on their knees and didn’t need to go down all the way to the floor. Now, I am all about gender equality and believe I can be just as badass as any man, but since this rule meant the difference between passing or failing the test, I’m ok admitting that we may be the weaker sex. Sometimes. But anyway. I shocked myself and managed to do 43 push-ups before crying “uncle.” Boom.
For the partial curl-up test, I had to use my core to do a curl-up (as opposed to a full sit-up) at 40 BPM until I got too tired to continue. 75 equalled a perfect score—which I did easily. This totally proved that I have abs; they’re just buried somewhere deep under my polar bear insulation. And second helpings of dinner.
Then came the flexibility tests. One tested hamstring and back flexibility, and the other tested shoulder and chest flexibility. I danced for 17 years, and while I was never Gumby, I was pretty damn flexible. I was confident that I’d nail these tests. So when I struggled to lean forward and reach my hands past my toes, I wanted to cry. Memories of all those years of splits and stretches that’d make you cringe vanished in an instant—I had lost my flexibility. I still scored between the 80th-90th percentile, but I was crushed. B+? I have never been a B+ student, and I don’t plan to start now. My old coaches would kill me. It didn’t matter that I scored perfectly on the shoulder flexibility test; from that moment on I was hung up on my tight hamstrings.
The other test measured shoulder and chest flexibility. Since I don’t strength train, I also never think about how flexible my shoulders or chest are. Apparently they’re doing just fine on their own though, because I was able to clasp my hands on both sides.
The sit-down test was last and measures balance. It also supposedly can predict when you’ll die if you’re over 51. Uh, what? No pressure. I had to cross my legs and sit down, then stand back up without wobbling or falling. It was easier than it appeared, but by no means a piece of cake. I’m not sold that it can accurately predict death rates—it’s mighty easy to topple over.
After the tests, Kelly and I sat down to go over the results. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. I didn’t realize that I had as much upper body and core strength as I do. Though that’s no excuse to not cross train—I’m not doing myself any favors by slacking. Clearly. Not getting a perfect score on the hamstring flex test drove home the point that I really need to take care of my muscles and stretch more.
After the assessment, Kelly sent me a detailed write-up of the various tests and her suggestions on what to do to improve or maintain my current fitness level. To me this was an added bonus, because Kelly could have easily explained after the assessment what I needed to do and moved on. Instead, she gave some great advice and asked if I wanted to follow up in a few weeks to see if I get any more flexible.
The assessment was a great way to benchmark my current fitness level and discover what I need to work on. I’d love to take it again in six months to see how much my upper body strength and flexibility improve. Now, excuse me while I go lift some weights and stretch until my muscles love me again.