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Thread: Anyone Else FAIL at the Fitness Self-Assessment? page

  1. #1
    BuckleyFan1043's Avatar
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    Anyone Else FAIL at the Fitness Self-Assessment?

    So I've been surfing this site for awhile now - long story short, had some serious issues to deal with in my personal life, and through it all, over the course of about a year and a half, I didn't work out at all, and gained over 30 pounds.

    For the last few weeks I've really tried to clean up my diets - cut out almost all carbs except for fruit, mostly eggs/bacon/fruit for breakfast, salad for lunch, and some form of protein with veggies at night. It's been going good, seen good results in weight loss already.

    Anyway, the other day I read through the Primal Fitness ebook, and thought "OK! here we go! time to go for the 4 basic movement self assessment!". I have been back going to the gym for, well, about a month now, and I thought "yea, I must be getting stronger". Lately I have been focusing on bodyweight stuff, so I thought, well, I should be able to do a good bit of this stuff.

    Let's see how it went:

    Squats: No problem! Did about 70 of these, so I can start working directly into bodyweight squats in my workout, no problem!

    Pushups: I thought I would kill these! I try to do pushups most days I'm at the gym. But I did 41 and COLLAPSED at the end. Didn't make the goal of 50. Still okay though, I will just start with incline pushups, no big deal. Still not feeling too bad about myself.

    Pullups: Death. I got 1! ONE! And I was lucky to do that. Completely demoralizing. I have been working on inverted rows at the gym, so I thought I could at least bust out a few of these. NOPE. Pretty devastated.

    Plank: Another I thought I could really do well. I do alot of planks at the gym. About 75 seconds BOOM DONE. Demoralized because I have been doing about 45 second planks as part of my circuit at the gym, and now this is telling me I should go back to hands/knees.


    So I know it is all about staying positive, but I can't help but feeling disappointed at the condition I am in going into these workouts. I do work out at a gym, and I actually usually like going there, but it is going to suck having to go to try the 2-foot assisted pull-up or the hands/knees plank. I really thought I was making progress on my plank and with inverted rows. And I guess the reason I feel bummed about it is because I'm a 25 year old guy - I'm just the age that I SHOULD be able to do things like pullups.

    Anyway, did anyone else have a similar experience with the self-assessment? It's the first time since I started reading the Primal Blueprint/following the diet that I've felt anything other than pure excitement. And so how did you get through the disappointment of realizing "OH, I'm in really crappy shape"!

    Sorry for the long post! Any words of advice or encouragement would be really appreciated!

  2. #2
    sbhikes's Avatar
    sbhikes is offline Senior Member
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    Where did you get the fitness assessment? What are the metrics? I'm pretty sure I would fail them and I can squat 105lbs, bench half my body weight and deadlift more than my body weight. Additionally, if you told me to put on a backpack and hike 25 miles in the mountains, I could do it. But a pullup? Nope.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 195 x 3

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    BuckleyFan1043's Avatar
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    I got those metrics from the Primal Blueprint Fitness e-book that Mark puts out. It focuses on the 4 basics movements (pushup, pullup, squat, and plank) for its "Lift Heavy Things" days. I like how the program is set up, because it is 4 basic exercises, and there are clear progressions and levels. Basically, the number of reps you can do in the self-assessment tell you what progression of the exercise you should start on in your workout The basic progressions (for a guy) are as follows (recommended starting progression in parentheses):

    Pullups: 0-2 (2-leg chair assisted), 3-6 (1-leg chair assisted), 7-10 (negatives, or reverse pullup/chinup), 11+ (pull-ups)

    Pushups: 0-10 (wall push), 11-30 (Knee Pushup), 31-50 (Incline pushup), 51+ (full pushup)

    Squats: 0-20 (wall squat), 21-40 (assisted squat), 41-60 (chair squat), 61+ (Full/prisoner squat)

    Plank: 0-45 (Hand/Knee Plank), 46-90 (forearm/knee plank), 91-120 (Hand/Feet Plank), 121+ (forearm/feet plank)

  4. #4
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    Those are pretty reasonable numbers you got there, actually. I strength-train a bunch of martial artists, all of whom are still pretty young in pretty decent shape. Every time I get a new one, I have to tell them, "Leave your ego at home. I'm trying to make you stronger than you are, which is often not as strong as you think you are. But you'll get there."

    Some of them are military, and I have to make them do pushups on their knees, if they lose their form. It's not about looking good at the gym, but looking good everywhere else. It's not about what you can do now, but what you can do in the future.

    Trying to do bodyweight strength training (or freeweights, even) above your level is very frustrating and discouraging. I've done it, and it's a little humbling. Drop back down a level, and know that you can reach your goals this way. Otherwise, you might spend a long time at the higher levels and not make much progress.

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    cori93437's Avatar
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    OK... it's a "fitness assessment", there is no such thing as "failing" there is simply where you start.

    Then you start and you improve.
    “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”
    ~Friedrich Nietzsche
    And that's why I'm here eating HFLC Primal/Paleo.


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    Well I think if you can do 41 push ups in a row (unless that's not what you meant?) then you should stick with real push ups!

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    I actually think your fitness test results are not all that bad, except the pullups, which are a challenge for everyone, not just you. The good news is the more weight you loose the easier they are to do. Try the SimpleFit routine, if you stick with it for a few months you will be amazed at your results. Its important to stay Paleo/Primal though, diet is 80% of the battle.

    bodyweight exercises, bodyweight workout

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    BestBetter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cori93437 View Post
    OK... it's a "fitness assessment", there is no such thing as "failing" there is simply where you start.

    Then you start and you improve.
    +1

    1) It is human nature to compare ourselves to other people, or to determine how good we are based on some kind of scale. That's why it's so important to remember that the only person we are competing with is ourself. When I'm at the gym and tempted to compare myself to someone else who looks stronger or better, I remind myself that I had to overcome a lifetime of being a chubby couch potato, and additionally I have chronic fatigue and MS. Very few people could get where I am now if they had to deal with that, and ultimately that makes me value my accomplishments even more. So think about where you were a year ago...a decade ago...think of the inertia you had to overcome and the changes you made. That's a huge deal.

    2) Having a lower starting baseline (for lack of a better term, but you know what I mean hopefully) will make your improvements that much more noticeable. If you started out being a superman, not too much improvement to be made, and ultimately you'd get bored and give up. You get to enjoy being at a place where you'll see steady improvement for a pretty long time, which I think will make the process feel more rewarding.

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    sbhikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuckleyFan1043 View Post
    Pullups: 0-2 (2-leg chair assisted), 3-6 (1-leg chair assisted), 7-10 (negatives, or reverse pullup/chinup), 11+ (pull-ups)

    Pushups: 0-10 (wall push), 11-30 (Knee Pushup), 31-50 (Incline pushup), 51+ (full pushup)

    Squats: 0-20 (wall squat), 21-40 (assisted squat), 41-60 (chair squat), 61+ (Full/prisoner squat)

    Plank: 0-45 (Hand/Knee Plank), 46-90 (forearm/knee plank), 91-120 (Hand/Feet Plank), 121+ (forearm/feet plank)
    According to these categories, you don't have to start at zero. So you're already pretty darn fit.

    I guess I would quibble with the idea that if you can do "only" 75 seconds of a regular forearm/feet plank you should regress. Or if you can do 41 pushups you should regress to incline pushups. I would just do the real things and keep working up your time. You might also even be ready to try some of Al Kavadlo's progressions on some of these.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    Starting squat: 45lbs. Highest squat: 167.5 x 2. Current Deadlift: 195 x 3

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