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Ohhh, do I have a treat for us today!! I’ve gathered up all of the fitness bloggers (actually, financial bloggers) in the world (who were within shouting distance and wanted to take part), took them out of their mom’s basements (they’ll be back before dinner, moms…), and I issued them a challenge (and asked a few questions)! What was that challenge? “Where are you at with your current fitness level? Where would you like to improve in the months ahead? How will you get there? And perhaps the most important question – Who is the fittest financial blogger of them all?!?!?
Side note: we will be doing a followup of this post/fitness challenge and I want YOU to do it with us! Just drop me an email if you’re game! Please… Thank you!
But enough about me. This post is not about me. It’s about YOU!
Yeah – you read that right. Sure, I’ve got some of the biggest up and coming (and established) financial bloggers to get out there and sweat up a good workout, record their numbers, and bare it all for us here in this post… But I made that ask and they complied so that we can hopefully help to get someone else (just one is all we need) up and active to make some positive change in their fitness level.
Are you that person? Could be…
I get very… uh… irked (we’ll go with that word) about the New Year’s resolution crowd that literally crowds the gym for exactly 2.74 weeks after January 2 and then gradually falls back into old habits. Not irked about them crowding the gyms – hey man, come and get some! – but more irked about the fact that their changes don’t typically take hold.
A big shout-out to my Mom who initially sent this article my way! Thanks, Mom! And as soon as I read this thing, an idea sparked in my brain… How fit am I? (slightly narcissistic… I won’t argue with you there)
But then I started thinking that some of my personal finance blogger friends and I might be able to set up a makeshift competition, all in an effort to try and get us and some of our readers more active this winter. (As you’ll see below – these guys are already pretty active…)
So I sent out the Bat Signal to see who was interested in taking part and then waited for their times and measurements to roll in. But I didn’t stop there. I asked them each to write a paragraph about their current fitness levels and another paragraph about where they wanted to go next year (fitness-wise) and how they intended to get there.
And, I was impressed with how fit these folks are for living in their mom’s basements and typing away on computers all day long!!
jk – these are some of the most driven, family-focused, folks I’ve come across and to my knowledge, no one lives in Mom’s basement. But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s dive into what the Mayo Clinic said we’d need to do to evaluate our fitness levels.
Here’s the fitness test we took as instructed by the Mayo Clinic
Resting heart rate
Max push-ups to failure
Max sit-ups in a minute
Sit and reach
Body Mass Index (BMI)
And my wonderful friends who volunteered their times and measurements for this first round are:
We all set out on various days in October to collect these data points and report back for the collective group. Here’s how we all did:
In general, I was increasingly impressed as these numbers rolled in. It is obvious that many of us prioritize fitness in our daily lives. However, I think that each of us would also admit that we all have some room for improvement. In any case, I’ll let our generous participants speak for themselves.
Where are you with your current fitness level and where would you like to go from there?
This test was sobering, although admittedly, I wasn’t surprised. My current fitness level is better than it has been in a long time, but not where I’d like for it to be. This past spring I started a virtual workout accountability group with my twin brother and one of my college roommates.
All we did was simply text each other after completing a workout. Our goal was to work out 4 days a week. I’d say that throughout the summer I completed an average of 3, which is much better than the zero I normally averaged. My workout routine consisted of strength training for 20 to 30 minutes followed by 20 minutes of cardio (treadmill, elliptical, bike, or jump rope). One day a week I would do yoga instead of the strength training and cardio. Unfortunately, yoga day usually ended up being another rest day for me.
After seeing my results the first thing that jumped out at me is that I would probably benefit from shifting my focus away from strength training and focusing more on flexibility and cardiovascular health
Compared to Mayo’s recommended guidelines, I did well on the pushup test and sit-up test. However, I have the flexibility of a healthy 60 year old (I am basically half that age), and the cardio performance of a healthy 40-year-old (I am about a decade younger). Having a lot of muscle won’t help my longevity as much as having a strong heart. And being flexible can help me avoid injury as I age so that I can stay active. Both are things which are more important to me than the vanity of looking “fit”. Clearly, my workout routine and performance suggest that I am simply focusing on the wrong things. The lack of flexibility is no surprise. I have felt like my muscles were too tight since middle school, but this just highlights how inflexible I am. Time to make a change.
How do you intend to get there?
My plan to improve my cardiovascular health and flexibility is to begin to focus on elevating my heart-rate more consistently instead of just 2-3 times a week. I know this will be hard for me to do because exercising feels like a huge chore for me. Getting super tired just isn’t fun if there isn’t a sports component. To that end, I am going to try to re-invigorate my pseudo accountability group to see if we can help each other stick with it. I also want to do yoga more than 1x a month (my current rate). It’s so easy to open a yoga video on youtube and follow along so I have no excuse. I’m about to become a dad for the first time so I know my schedule will get even crazier, so I just need to prioritize it.
Just last month, I finished the Marine Corp Marathon and I feel good about my cardiovascular shape – I ran 1.5 miles in 11 minutes 4 seconds. My average resting heart rate right now is 57.
I am going to work on getting faster this year and although I ran the Marine Corp in 4 hours and 23 seconds, my goal was to break four hours. I am disappointed because I seemingly lost focus after about 3 hours and 45 minutes of effort.
I’ve decided to run the Richmond Marathon on November 10th to try to break four hours. And as this was a bit impulsive, my wife (understandably) thinks I should be proud to beat last year’s time by 37 minutes – and my best time by 26 minutes. However, I just can’t let this linger for a year. (Mike: I received word from Drew just before publishing that he did run the Richmond Marathon… And he clocked in at 3:59.05!!! – Dude’s a rockstar)
I did 28 pushups before I needed a rest. While 21 is listed as an indicator of good fitness for a 35-year-old, the result is rather disappointing. I used to be able to drop and do 30 pushups at any time. At the height of my fitness, I could do over 50.
I am going to get back into a routine of doing pushups when I wake up and before I sleep
While I did 34 situps in one minute. I know that my core is weak. My wife kicks my butt in all core workouts. Our trainer has given me homework but I just don’t do it. He has assigned me a Tabata workout of plank exercises and I plan on coupling this in the morning or evening with my pushup workout. The 34 situps were below the 40 that the Mayo Clinic lists as a good fitness number of situps for a 35-year-old. They list 35 for a 45-year-old so at 38 this is an area I need to improve.
Ugh. The sit and reach test. I got 14 and 3/4 inches. Good results for a 35-year-old is 18.5 inches and 15.5 inches for a 65-year-old. So yea…my mobility is worse than a fit 65-year-old. Sitting in an office chair all day is the main culprit. In addition to longevity, increasing my mobility will help my running. Again, our trainer has given me homework for mobility and I rarely do it. I need to just set aside 20 minutes to do my core, pushups, and mobility in the morning.
My waist is 34″ and BMI 22.4. Both good numbers, so the focus is mobility and core for sure.
I’ve always been someone who was active and playing sports. I was also lucky enough to have a fast metabolism and eat whatever I wanted. But as I am not approaching 40 (in 2 months), my metabolism is slowing and I haven’t been as active as I once was.
The result is a spare tire starting to show. But the real motivation is my daughters. I don’t want to be stuck on the sidelines because I don’t have the energy or fitness to run around with them. At the same time, I also want to be healthy so that I am around to see them grow up, marry, and have kids if they so choose.
I intend to get there by finding ways to be more active. But since life is busy, they have to be things that make sense for us and fit into our schedules. Right now this includes a morning walk and pick-up basketball one night a week.
I’ve also bought a barbell set so I can do some weight lifting at home to keep my muscle tone.
The last step is eating healthier. This is mostly easier with kids as I want them to eat healthily, so I eat what they eat. But I still need to make it a point to include a vegetable in with every meal and drink more water too.
By the way, I sincerely hate using BMI as a health indicator… (Mike: Amen, brother… Amen)
If I had to describe my current fitness level, I’d say that I’m in decent shape, but I’m not quite where I want to be. I’ve always been relatively fit and exercising and fitness come pretty naturally to me. However, I have reached a point in my life where I do not prioritize exercise and fitness into my daily routine. When I do work out, I usually run, and I can tell that my cardiovascular endurance is slowing down. But overall, I’d say that I am relatively fit and healthy.
As for as fitness goals, I’d like to get back to a point where I am able to dedicate the time to exercising daily. I’d specifically like to focus on building my upper body strength and toning up my core. I don’t have any specific weight or measurement goals I’d like to achieve, just mainly looking to improve upon my overall physical appearance and gain back some of my cardiovascular endurance.
Mike from this blog right here – MikedUp Blog
As far as current fitness level goes, let’s start with the good
I did pretty well with the run, push-ups, and sit-ups, although I had a goal to break 10 minutes in the run. That being said, I’m not in the best cardiovascular shape that I’ve ever been in, but I’m not in the worst either. Regarding the push-ups, I was pretty pleased with that number… Not gonna lie. For sit-ups, I could’ve done more but that 1-minute time limit made the pace my most important factor. Next time, I’ll focus on speed much more.
Now the bad
At first glance, my sit-and-reach was embarrassing… But not as bad as my BMI compared with the others. I’ve never been the most flexible guy and my BMI is probably at the lowest (best) it’s ever been. Considering I’m 6’2’’, 204 pounds, with a 34.75’’ waist circumference – I don’t consider myself overweight. I’ll have to agree with Robert (above) that BMI is an outdated way to measure overall “shape”. Personally, I prefer body-fat-percentage as a much better indicator of current fitness level. But rules are rules and I’m starting to sound like a guy making excuses. The flexibility needs to improve – period.
When I’m at my healthiest (mind, body, spirit), I’m exercising about 5-6 times/week). So, for the remainder of 2018 and into 2019 I will be continuing to make fitness a priority in my life. Being able-bodied and just around for my family into old age is something that’s obviously important to me, so I’m doing everything I can to take care of myself now to make that happen later.
Regarding workout types, I’ve been very into “Cross-Fit-Type” workouts lately. Pull-ups, push-ups, circuits, cardio, barbells, kettlebells, and just about anything else that can be combined to work up a solid sweat. The one area I’ve been doing a poor job of the last 2-3 months has been food choices. While Monica is 31 weeks pregnant and we’re getting more active with our daughter’s extracurricular activities, making healthy eating choices has become more difficult. But not impossible. So the course correction is coming (right now) in this area.
I should also note that I have a recurring daily task in my Todoist app (discussed at length in this post where I talk about how I prioritize productivity) to do 50 push-ups every day. I’ve been knocking those out for the past 3 months or so and don’t intend to stop. I have actually thought about adding a minute of a plank to every day as well…
Thanks so much for checking out how many of your favorite (or future-favorite) financial bloggers think about fitness! As I said above, we’re re-running this test again next February/March, so if you’d like to take part – just send me an email, drop a comment below, or @ me on Twitter (@RealMikedUp).
So what do you think about this exercise? Did we surprise you? are you interested in trying this test on your own? We’ll all be monitoring the comments below so please don’t hesitate to let us know what’s on your mind with this one!
Thanks for reading!
If you’re interested in discovering a better version of yourself – whether with fitness, finance, or family – then subscribe below to MikedUp Blog’s FREE newsletter and let’s improve together!