How would you test fitness?

I like checking the local news station website on Friday because they have “9 things to do in Denver” every Friday for the weekend. Kind of interesting to see what they come up with, and, hey, maybe I actually do one of those 9 things sometime?

This week they listed this.

If you have never been to Red Rocks, you need to go. It’s just plain beautiful. If you have never worked out there, you need to. It makes working out a lot more fun…even if that workout is just running steps. The view is amazing and you will DEFINITELY get a good workout. It has been a while since I have been there to workout (last summer?) so I thought I would check it out.

Of course, tomorrow at 7am it will probably be about 32 degrees and possibly really wet, so I won’t go. I’ll stick inside the gym tomorrow to avoid the weather.

I did find the website interesting, though. They basically charge what a CrossFit gym might charge, but do not have to pay any sort of overhead, other than their time and effort. No roof to pay for, utilities, or, and I am guessing, not much equipment. Just use the clients body weight and the surroundings to get a workout.

What really caught my eye was how they test your “fitness” before and after the eight week session. As a CrossFit fan you know I like constantly varied and unknown. The CrossFit Games is obviously not reasonable to test a bunch of people looking to workout. So how do they test “fitness”? This is what they test:

Fitness assessment activities will include running, body fat measurement, weight, BMI, plank hold, push up and stair test.

How would you test fitness if you have just about an half an hour to do so? I wouldn’t use three different measurements to see how fat or skinny you are, for one. Testing body fat, body weight and BMI is basically testing the same thing three different ways, right? And BMI is a joke. Just had to get that out of the way. But, if I was testing, I wouldn’t even bring a scale. However, 99.9% of Americans only care about weight so if you are catering to your clients I guess a scale is probably a requirement.

They test your body composition, cardiovascular endurance, some core and push capacity. Running and stairs are both testing the same thing, too. That’s akin to thinking that biking, running and swimming test something different. It’s all cardio testing.

They test body composition, pushing capacity (to some extent), core (to some extent) and cardio. Not really a solid test if you ask me.

How would you test Jill or Joe Schmoe? What if you had a line of them to test inside a few hours? While I would love to put them under a heavy bar, that probably isn’t realistic – or safe. I would want to test pushing, pulling, cardio and leg strength. I would think a great test would be something like Angie – 100 pullups, 100 pushups, 100 situps and 100 squats would be a great test of general fitness. It tests pulling, pushing, core, legs and cardio. Yep, you don’t have to just run to test cardio. Anyone who has done Angie will tell you that they sweated a whole bunch and were definitely out of breath.

But Angie isn’t really feasible. Not many people off of the street can do that. Something smaller. How about 25 pushups, 25 squats and 25 situps? Might not have access to a pullup bar.

It looks like the first and last workouts are at Red Rocks, so let me use the space to make a nice test of fitness.

This is what I would do:

I would weigh the clients. Very, very few people would embark on something like this who didn’t want to lose weight.

Then, they would warm up and …

Starting at the bottom of Red Rocks they would run up the steps to the top, circle to the other side and run back down. Once you get to the bottom you need to do 50 situps, 50 pushups and 50 squats. Once that is complete you need to use the planters/walls along the outside of the amphitheater and “muscle up” your way up all of the walls (testing pulling a little bit). Once that is complete you run back down the outside steps.

How long does it take you to complete all of that? It tests a lot. Certainly tests aerobic capacity, leg strength, push and pulling, to some extent and a little core. I would think the most unfit I would scale back to maybe only running half way up, half the reps for situps/pushups/squats and instead of using the planters they could do some sort of jump/dip movement on the wall and see if they could press out 15 or 20 times.

I think that would be a great test of fitness. I think the best could complete the entire workout in 10 minutes or so? The least fit would take closer to 30 minutes. They have a solid measurable to see if they get more fit over the course of the session.

How would you test?