#186 - Fitness Baseline

3 minute read

Motto: Bro, do You Even Lift? (or run? or stretch?)

I've been working my new job position for a few months now. I see parts of it creeping into my regular life. I've begun thinking about some things in terms of "deliverables" and begun using terms like "baselining". Today's post was written to satisfy an idea I had earlier today. Also, the Top 5 is kind of interesting.

Melissa and I were talking about our medium-to-long term plans and goals. We touched on our 3-5 year plan. Nothing set in stone, but we've introduced each other to our desires and expectations. One of the things we agreed on was the a continuation of the "healthy" focus we've had. In fact, we want to become even more health-conscious. I told her that, even though I look a little better than I used to, I don't really feel any better. I don't feel "fit". I wouldn't feel "fit" until...

Then I trailed off.

Then I made this face:

What is my definition of "fit"? I mean, what does that even mean? How would I know if I were there?

Looking up "fitness baseline testing" I've found some of the following:

  • Pushup/pullup tests - as many as possible
  • One-rep max for press, bench, squat, and deadlift - doing 1x, 1.5x, 2x, and 2.5x your body weight, respectively.
  • 1, 2, 3 mile run - 5, 12, and 19 minutes seem like common baselines
  • CrossFit Baseline WOD - Row 500 M, 40 air squats, 30 sit ups, 20 pushups, 10 pullups for time
I found most of those things across a few different sources. There were a few more things, but it boiled down to the above + cruft. That's what other people tend to think a "fit" person could do.

I think it's fair to say that "Fit" is subjective and ever-changing. I've told my buddies that I want to be able to lift heavy things, run far distances, jump with agility, and still be able to touch my toes. My definition of fit is different from yours, theirs, or anyone else's - because I'm the one applying it.

So, what should I be able to do before I consider myself "fit"?

Here's what I'll consider a "rough draft" list:

  • Run 1 mile in 6 minutes
  • Run 3 miles in 20 minutes
  • Hold a plank for  2 minutes
  • Do 50 pushups in a set
  • Do 15 pullups in a set
  • Press 75% my bodyweight
  • Bench my bodyweight
  • Squat 150% my bodyweight
  • Deadlift 175% my bodyweight
  • Mastery over some of the more common-yet-difficult yoga poses - crane, half moon, twisted half moon, warrior 3, tree, standing splits

Spoiler: I can't do all of those things. I don't think I can do any of those things right now. And what's sad is I already adjusted all those goals downward to set myself up for actual success.

Over this coming week I think I'm going to try to test myself with all of the above goals to establish a fitness baseline. Pending follow through, results will show up here in the form of a new post in about 6 days.

These aren't my long-term goals. Eventually, I'd like to be in the "1000 pound club" (combined bench, squat, deadlift total of over 1/2 ton)... but I've got several years worth of work to do, I think, before I could get to that.

The Top 5 comes from a new summary view I added to my Life Tracker: Diet by day of the week. It's also the view that lets me see what my high scores are. High score calories: 4770 in a day. High score protein: 266 grams. High score on fats: 208 grams. High score on carbs: 583 grams. None of those figures came from the same day as any other.

Top 5: Days of the Week in which I Eat the Most
5. Friday - 2582 cals on average (stdev = 684 cals)
4. Sunday - 2582 cals on average (stdev = 671 cals)
3. Saturday - 2710 cals on average (stdev = 584 cals)
2. Thursday - 2754 cals on average (stdev = 691 cals, highest standard deviation)
Tuesday - 2762 cals on average (stdev = 562 cals, lowest standard deviation)... the most interesting one. Why do I eat so much, so consistently on Tuesday?

“if you can pull 500 on deadlift but can't clip your toenails... what good is that?”
- Josh -