Today's 'pre-season' task: to set a benchmark for our fitness levels and to see which level of fitness we'll be starting out. The choices are beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Eighteen months ago, I would have ticked the advanced box before the test and been fairly confident I could hit all the right benchmarks for the time trial, push-ups, abdominal strength, the wall sit and flexibility tests. Okay, I've never been great at push-ups and I'm not very flexible but I still would have felt pretty confident.
These days, I just don't know where I'd fit in. I haven't done regular exercise since I was 5 months pregnant and my body (I'm looking at you, Pelvis!) said enough was enough, relegating me to occasional sessions in the hydrotherapy pool. After Dear Boy was born, I started walking regularly (albeit slowly for a while), fitting in afternoon walks to coincide with his late sleep. But then winter hit and the rain drove us both indoors. My gym membership reactivated in March without me and was chugging along, regularly pulling funds from my bank account without me even setting foot back in there. So I've been doing the odd class, the odd walk, the odd this and that because *whingey face* this was too cold, this was too wet, this didn't suit the boy's sleeping times, I worked late, Lovely Husband worked late. More and more excuses. So, fitness-wise, who knows where I was at.
Yesterday afternoon, my mum was visiting from NSW and I dove at the chance to leave Dear Boy in her capable hands and head to a gym class. I careered into the room in the middle of the Body Attack warm-up and managed to stick with the high-impact options almost the whole way through. I felt good. I felt strong.
So it was in this mindset that I stuck into the fitness test. I was feeling I could reach the intermediate benchmarks. And I did. On most of the tests.
Time trial (walking/running 1km):
Intermediate benchmark: 5.5-8 mins
My time: 6:05 mins
Push Up test (number of push ups in 1 min):
Intermediate benchmark: 21-30
My number of push ups: 23 (and I think that last one took me 10 seconds)
Wall Sit (legs at 90 degrees while pushing back against wall):
Intermediate benchmark: 1-1:59 mins
My time: 1:08 mins
Sit and reach test (how far past your toes you can reach):
Intermediate benchmark: -4cm to +5 cm
My reach: 2cm
I was a little surprised by the sit and reach test results as I'm not at all flexible (shortened hamstrings from too many years sitting at a computer - gotta stretch those suckers out more, I know, I know).
So far, so good. Intermediate all the way. But the last test got me.
Abdominal strength test (ability to do different kinds of sit ups):
Intermediate benchmark: level 2-3 (full sit up with arms crossed on chest or behind head)
My level: 1... just.
With my hands crossed over in front of me, I could just barely get up past my knees without my feet coming off the floor. In fact, the first one I did, my feet came up. The second one I tried, Dear Boy had rolled onto my feet and held them down. I made it up but that's cheating. So I tried again and just managed to get there. Just the once. So I'm a beginner again in abdominal strength.
I used to be able to do a 30 minute ab-class. I used to be able to do a 3 minute plank on my toes. I used to be able to do more than 1.5 minutes in a side plank. Now, I can barely do one. My excuse for how I got this way: I had a baby 7 months ago. I had a finger-width abdominal separation that took a few months to stitch itself back together.
Okay, now I'm putting that excuse aside. It was a good one while it lasted but I can't use it anymore. I'm back at square one again - I'm a beginner. And there's no excuses for not getting better from there.