In terms of my approach to exercise, historically it has been…up while I was at school, then down down down since university. I’ve had brief healthy stints such as winning a month long bootcamp, playing netball in a league, the excitement of joining a new gym (that inevitably peters out after a couple of months), even doing the 7 minute workout in the morning, but nothing has really stuck.
I decided to sit down and figure out my fitness goals. I am generally happy with my body, except for a few parts I would like to tone up up, but my overall fitness is pretty poor. I get tired running up stairs which I find shameful.
I figure at the very least I want to be able to take care of myself, you know, in case a society collapses into a post-apocalyptic mess and we end up in some dystopian society where we have to hunt for our food and fight other tribes.
A physical enthusiast called Earle Liederman asserted in his book Endurance (1926) that in order for a man to save his own life, he must be able to do the following.
- Able to run 200 yards or more at top speed
- Swim at least half a mile or more
- Jump over obstacles higher than one’s waist
- Pull his body upward by the strength of his arms, until his chin touches his hands, at least fifteen to twenty times
- Dip between parallel bars or between two chairs at least twenty-five times
I am fully on board with that sort of benchmark, despite how hard it might be to achieve, it gives you something specific to aim for, plus for this and some of the below examples, the sources are pretty reputable and experienced.
If you feel like assessing your current fitness, personal trainer Scott Laider lays out 5 ways to test your personal fitness.
– I got poor in every category except planks, where I got average (just shy of 2 minutes which is benchmark for good)
Navy Seal Fitness Test – For the Advanced! I think I will use these objectives once I have achieve Liederman’s!
|PST Event||Minimum Standards||Competitive Standards|
|500 Yard Swim||12:30||8 Minutes|
|1.5 Mile Timed Run||10:30||9-10 Minutes|
I know this will take a while to achieve, but it’s a good goal to have I think,
As for what I will do…
- Running – just run more
- Swimming – self explanatory really – swim more
- Jump over obstacles – hurdles?
- Pull body upwards – practice pull-ups where I can, though this is hard without a chin up bar
- Dip between parallel bars – I will use one or two chairs for my triceps dips
I also want to focus on certain areas. I would like a flat stomach, toned arms and a rounder bum. Both are things i have never had, whether due to genetics (I come from a long line of square, flat bums) or lack of knowledge about muscles in general. So I start thinking about and listing all the exercises that I can do.
I also want exercises that can be done anywhere, with no equipment except for weights (I’ve used all sorts of things for weights; laundry detergent bottles, soup cans, etc, but any weight is better than no weight 😉 )
Tummy – (bicycle kicks, flutter kicks), planks, Russian twists – the ones in brackets I actually had to remove from my routine as I have one leg longer than the other, so have had issues and pain and these exercises seem to aggravate my hip – when it clicks every time that’s not good!
Bum – squats, or better, squats with weights, half squats with weights, lunges or static lunges if your knees hurt, sit leaning against a wall for as long as you can, mountain climbers, reverse leg lifts, superman poses
Arms – tricep dips, chin ups (if you have the means), biceps curls
I also have quite weak knees (I love all these neat things you get when you are in your thirties, like sore joints and two day hangovers) so needed to modify some of the squat exercises as they were starting to hurt my knees. This useful article from Daily Burn has some great examples; 5 Ways to go easy on your knees
I decided to create a printable sheet which lists all the exercises I need to do. I will add a link to the printable in a future article where you will be able to customize with your own exercises.
My aim is to create a list of every body part and then the best exercises for each so watch this blog for a future post about that!
Let me know in the comments about your favourite exercises and for which body part, I would love to hear what has worked! (or what hasn’t, what hurts)