Beyond Burpees: A Muddy Plimsolls Fitness Test
I have to admit, I was worried. Last week, a client of mine expressed interest in trying out British Military Fitness’ fitness assessment (an adapted version of the British Army’s standardized fitness test, grading candidates on speed and endurance in a number of challenging categories).
My concern was not solely the stringent demands of the test, but that it’s blind to both age and gender. The fitness level of my 52 year old female client would be rated using the same impartial criteria as that applied to young men in their twenties. I feared how she’d match up against such odds.
And also, as we’d been training together for a number of years, I felt responsible for her continued improvement. The high praise she’d once offered me (in a review in 2006), played on my mind:
“He has helped me achieve goals that I thought were beyond my capabilities.” [read in full]
Spirit of a Challenge
In preparation, I paced out a 1,500 metre course on Regent’s Park’s quaint 1930s running track. Like many of my clients, I was never first-pick for school sports teams, so I understand what it’s like to be ill-pitched against everyone else’s capabilities. I have always been careful to assess clients’ fitness achievements individually, rather than using a set group standard. I don’t rely on unqualified statistics to judge the success of a workout. However, my client wanted to take the fitness assessment in the spirit of a challenge and I wanted to support her enthusiasm.
Fitness Over 50 is a Real Goal
There was a little light rain and a headwind as we began. My client slammed herself into focus over the hour, pummeling out press ups, sit ups, burpees and running stints. For all tests, she’d been ranked at the level of Intermediate/Advanced. Quite something for a 50-something woman, competing in the arena of 20-something men. She was delighted by the results.
And she has since reviewed our Training System again (updated in June 2011), saying:
“With Jason as my trainer, my training is structured in a way that I can perform and reach the goals we have set out. He’s trained me on a regular basis for almost seven years. He is different. The results I have achieved are keeping healthy, fit and strong. Muddy Plimsolls provide a first class service.” [read in full]
Training into your 40’s, 50’s & 60’s
My client’s achievement reinforces my belief that you’re never too old to get into fitness training. I myself turned 40 this year and my own outdoor bodyweight exercise routines are aimed at producing rewards both now and in the decades to come. Training over 40 (or 50, or 60) means you may have to be a little more careful about not pushing yourself too far, too fast, but there’s always something you can be doing to get off the sofa and get out in the fresh air.