Measuring Your Personal Fitness Level

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personal fitness level

There is a common misconception that fitness is associated with physical strength and body built. However, these areas are not the only factors that comprise someone’s fitness level. There are other components to check how fit a person is.

In this article, we will discuss the reasons why you should be curious about your fitness status, the components of fitness, and ways to measure your fitness level at home, without going to the gym or a professional fitness coach.

Why Measure your Personal Fitness Level?

By knowing the specifics of your personal fitness level, you’ll be able to enhance various aspects of your health and improve your training methods. Here are the reasons why you should know your personal fitness level:

  • Establish a starting point

  • Encourage self-awareness

  • Know which areas of health-related component to focus on

  • Set realistic fitness goals

  • Monitor your progress

  • Maintain your motivation

Once you know your baseline data, you can plan what you want to achieve and where you want to go. And to understand the many ways in assessing your personal fitness level at home, you can read the basics of physical fitness and its components.

How to Measure your Personal Fitness Level

There is no absolute way of measuring your fitness level. There are many ways and processes to evaluate one’s fitness level. Our differences in genetic make-up, lifestyle, muscle tissue, and overall health all help assess our personal fitness level.

Here are some easy methods to measure your physical fitness:

Measuring your Cardiovascular Endurance 

The simplest way to measure your cardiovascular endurance or aerobic fitness is to track your workout session. What you need is monitor how long you can do it and how hard you are working. But, before you do any aerobic exercise activity, be sure to get baseline data, when you are at rest. Here are what you need:

  • A stopwatch or a watch that can measure seconds

  • Pen

  • paper

First, measure your heart rate while resting. Do this by placing your index and middle finger over your pulse at either of your wrists. You can locate your pulse in your wrist by putting your fingers on the palm side of the wrist area below the thumb. When you feel the beat, count the number of your pulse rate in one full minute. Normal heart rate changes with age, but in general, the range for adults is between sixty (60bpm) to one hundred beats per minute (100bpm).

Now for the aerobic fitness test, you can either jog or run a mile and stop to check your heart rate periodically. Then, write down your pulse rate. If you do not work out or exercise regularly, you can do a ten-minute brisk walk and count your pulse rate immediately after. You know you are working out properly when you can reach your target heart rate, which is 50% - 85% of your maximum heart rate. In general, your maximum target heart rate should be 220 minus your age. 

Here’s a chart from that shows target heart rates for different ages. 

Measuring your Muscular endurance and Muscular strength 

When it comes to measuring your muscle endurance and strength, you can simply perform a push-up test.

The following table from shows generally considered counts to measure a good fitness level on muscle endurance and strength based on age and gender.

Measuring your  Flexibility

The sit-and-reach exam is the simplest way to measure the flexibility of your legs, lower back, and hips. Here is how you should do it according to a yardstick and secure it on the floor by using a piece of tape across the yardstick. Stick it on the 15-inch mark. Then, sit down and place the soles of your feet at the mark. Slowly reach forward using both of your arms as far as you can. Exhale as you reach and hold your position while noting the distance you reached. Repeat for two to three times and record your farthest reach.

A good result for this test can be checked from this table by Mayo Clinic:

sit and reach test

Measuring your Body Composition

Body composition can be measured with the use of skinfold calipers, calculating body mass index, hydrostatic weighing, or bioelectrical impedance. The easiest method would be the first—skinfold measurements. Measuring skinfold and BMI are the only methods we can do at home. However, other options would often be more accurate.

To calculate your BMI:

Fill in the necessary info on this table and it will automatically calculate your BMI.

Supplied by BMI Calculator USA

Know Your Personal Fitness Level

There is no limit when it comes to testing our physical fitness level. And as we discover more and more about different areas and components of our health, there are new ways and methods that experts come up with. The methods for assessment is limited only by our knowledge and imagination. Whatever your purpose, it is important for us to test our fitness levels.

About the Author:

Mike Zhang is the founder of the MZF Group. He graduated from the University of Toronto on the dean's list with a Masters Degree in science.  Mike was a two time National Muay Thai Champion, and a strength and conditioning coach to several learned athletes. He has over 14 years of experience as a Muay Thai Coach.