Keeping fit is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can be challenging to quantify. Most people who exercise regularly don’t have a perfect understanding of how fit they are. Unless you have access to high-end personal training or a very knowledgeable friend, it can be hard to know exactly how fit you are.
There are many different ways to measure your physical fitness, but the most common and accessible metrics are based on your body mass index (BMI), VO2 max testing, and standard fitness tests like the pushup test, situp test, and the mile run test.
All of these methods help give you insight into your current level of physical fitness so that you can adjust your exercise routines accordingly.
If you’re interested in learning more about how fit you are, read on for a breakdown of some of the most popular ways to measure physical fitness.
What is BMI and how is it used to measure physical fitness?
BMI stands for body mass index. It is a measure of your current body fat based on your height and weight. This metric is helpful for measuring the amount of fat your body is carrying, but it doesn’t directly measure your level of fitness.
There are many ways to use BMI data to help improve your fitness level. First, you can use BMI data to track your fitness progress over time. If you have a baseline BMI measurement and then take another after a few months of regular exercise, you can see how much progress you’ve made.
While BMI isn’t an ideal metric for measuring fitness, it can give you a general idea of how much fat your body is carrying so that you can track your progress over time.
VO2 Max: The Measure of Cardiovascular Fitness
VO2 max is a test that assesses the maximum amount of oxygen your body can process per minute. This metric is a much better indicator of your current level of cardiovascular fitness than BMI.
Two common ways to measure VO2 max are the VO2 max test and the HR max test.
An exercise physiologist can perform the VO2 max test, but it requires expensive medical equipment and requires the test subject to be inactive for a long period of time.
The HR max test is much more accessible. The test subject wears a heart rate monitor while performing a submaximal exercise routine.
The test subject will reach a heart rate where the monitor will start beeping loudly — this is the heart rate that represents the test subject’s maximum oxygen capacity.
These tests help give you a very specific idea of how fit you are and what you can do to become more fit.
Standard Fitness Tests
The pushup test, the situp test, and the mile run test are all common ways to measure your current level of fitness. The goal of these tests is to assess how much strength you have in your arms, core, and legs.
These tests are useful because they can be done anywhere and at any time. You can do these tests before you start a new exercise routine to see where you’re at and then again after a few weeks to see how much progress you’ve made.
Keep in mind, however, that these tests are not a perfect indicator of your overall level of fitness.
While they can be useful, they don’t take into account any other aspects of your health, like your VO2 max score or your BMI data.
How much should you be able to bench press?
The bench press is one of the most common ways to measure strength in sports. The amount of weight you can bench press is a good indicator of your overall level of fitness.
If you’re just starting to exercise or trying to get back into an exercise routine, it can be helpful to know how much you should be able to bench press so you can compare your numbers.
Typically, if you can bench press between 40 and 60% of your body weight, you’re in the average range. If you can bench press more than 60% of your body weight, you’re in the high-end range.
If you can bench press less than 40% of your body weight, you’re in the low-end range.
Pushups help you test strength in your arms, core, and legs. You can perform this test at any time, and it’s easy to track your progress over time.
The test works like this: Perform as many pushups as you can in one minute. Do this once a month, and keep track of your progress over time. Each time you do this test, try to do one more pushup than you did last month.
It’s important to note that the pushup test isn’t a perfect indicator of your overall level of fitness — it only tests one aspect of your physical fitness: arm strength. It’s one way to measure how fit you are, but there are plenty of other ways to measure fitness as well.
The situp test helps you test strength in your core. The test works like this: Perform as many sit-ups as you can in one minute. Do this once a month, and keep track of your progress over time.
Each time you do this test, try to do one more sit-up than you did last month. It’s important to note that the situp test isn’t a perfect indicator of your overall level of fitness — it only tests one aspect of your physical fitness: core strength.
It’s one way to measure how fit you are, but there are plenty of other ways to measure fitness as well.
Mile Run Test
The mile run test is a great way to test your overall level of fitness. It’s helpful if you’re just starting a new exercise routine and want to see how much you can improve. You can perform this test every month, and each time you do it, try to run one lap faster than the previous month.
If you can run a mile in 10 minutes or less, you’re in the high-end range of fitness. If it takes you 11 to 14 minutes to run a mile, you’re in the average range. If it takes you 15 minutes or longer to run a mile, you’re in the low-end range.
Of course, keep in mind that the mile run test isn’t a perfect indicator of your overall level of fitness — it only tests one aspect of your physical fitness: cardiovascular fitness.
While there are plenty of ways to measure your fitness, the most popular and most accurate way to do so is using a combination of your body mass index, VO2 max testing, and standard fitness tests like pushups, situps, and pullups.
Body mass index is a very simple metric that takes into account your height and weight to give you a rough estimate for how fit you are. VO2 max testing is a measure of your maximum amount of oxygen your body can use at a given intensity level. The pushup test and the mile run test are other standard ways to measure physical fitness.
To put all of this data together, you’ll want to take all of these factors into account when you try to determine how fit you are. You can also see where you rank among your friends and family members.
If you’re in good shape, you probably exercise regularly. If you’re in poor shape, you probably don’t exercise at all. To get into shape, it helps to start by focusing on one aspect of your fitness at a time. If you think you need help setting your goals, talk to your doctor.