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Team Conditioning Systems:
Taking That Journey To Being Fit

Monday, May 13, 2002

By Gregory "Graig" White
SJSports Physical Fitness Advisor

The decision has been and you are going to get into the best shape of your life for this summer. Granted you've made the same choice for the last three summers, but this time you are serious. Your mind is made up, no more love handles, no more feeling breathless after walking up a flight of stairs. The thought of you going shirtless or wearing a bikini is no longer as scary as a Clive Barker film.

With that being said, what is your next move? The next thing that must be done is to go to your health care practitioner and get a clean bill of health. This step cannot be over stated, this initial examination can put you on the lookout for any condition that could be aggravated by exercise.

Once you have been given a clean bill of health, here is where the fun starts and you may say fun? But it truly is, the road to fitness is not about the destination, it's all about the journey. A journey that if the traveler is paying attention will tell you so much about yourself, possibly some things you didn't even know.

Keeping with the journey analogy we must next create a road map, a map that will be truly personal and will help get you to where you want to be. This aspect of the journey begins with the assessment of your goals. What do you expect to get out of your exercise program? Do you want to get into bodybuilding? Do you want to have the greatest abs on the planet? Or, do you just want to be fitter than you are right now? The goals are more helpful if they can be measured and monitored. This way you will always know whether or not you are on the right track. Once this is done its time to create a plan of attack.

How fit are you? Once you decide on your goals its time to find out how fit you are and in some cases how fit you aren't. There are a few simple and easy tests to that you can use to answer this question. These tests can be done by yourself or with a partner. Test one requires a quarter mile track and a stopwatch or a watch with a second hand. Before starting the test, take your pulse, for a full 60 seconds. This number represents your resting heart rate, this number is an important indicator since the fitter you are the lower the number will be. Next, walk around the track four times, and time yourself as you do. Start with a nice easy pace and continue as best you can, the objective is to finish the mile. Once you are done, record your time and date so that you can go back and compare periodically. The objective of this test is to see if you can walk it faster every time you go out to do it. Once you get really good then you increase the intensity by adding laps. This test measures your endurance and desire neither of which you can have too much of.

The next test is a test of your abdominal strength, count the number of crunches you can do in 60 seconds. The key here is to remember that you have a full minute to do as many crunches as you can. If you get tired and you have some time left, rest and continue until time has expired. Record the number and work to do more every time after that. The last test isn't timed; you want to see how many push ups you can do without stopping. You can do the military style push up or you can get on your knees, whichever one works better for you. Record the number and look to improve on it every time you do it. Once all the testing is done get out and start working on putting yourself in to the shape you need to be to improve on your numbers. It is written that everything we need is within us know that comparing yourself to others will do you no good, work to make yourself the best that you can be and you and the world will be better for it.

Photos by Art Redd

Do you have a fitness or conditioning question for Graig? Send it to If your question is used in an article, you will receive a free Team Conditioning Systems t-shirt.
For previous Winning Ways, visit Graig's Archives

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