How to determine your fitness level and know where to start?
Updated: Sep 27, 2021
It can be hard to determine the level of training if you are new to it, or even if you have been training for a while, sometime your mind can be stronger than your body and you are pushing too hard that could result injury.
Whether you are new or you train regularly, if you caught yourself wondering about your fitness level or the exercises you are doing are challenging enough? This article is for you.
In this article we are going to explore these questions:
Which fitness level am I at?
How much weight should I take for training that is challenging enough?
Am I still perform good quality reps?
How much repetition is the right amount?
Let's first talk about fitness levels. Fitness level is determined by 5 factors which include cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. There are tools and exercises that can help you to determine your fitness level, but there is also a simpler way by just reflecting on your fitness journey and see which one in the 3 levels below is more likely to be you.
Beginner: you are relatively new to exercise, have no to very limited experience with weight training, or have been taking time off with your fitness routine for a long time and just get back into it.
Intermediate: you have some sort of experience for completion of a training program or have been training both body weight exercises and light weight training consistently for more than 6 months.
Advanced: you are comfortable with body weight training, weight training and ready to take it to the next level by increasing weight while training or perform more complex movement.
Do you have any idea where your fitness level at right now?
So if you are at the beginner level, let's stay with body weight exercises to strengthen your core, muscle and increase your cardio endurance as well as coordination and movements before adding any weight in to make sure you perform the exercises correctly and avoid injury. Please note that form is crucially important in training.
In addition, if you perform a new exercise, it can be performed with no added resistance to get started - that means you do the exercises with bodyweight only! As mentioned earlier, it’s important to perfect form with each exercise before adding weight.
When you are well with those exercises, then it will be time to add weight into your training.
Now come to the question of how much weight is enough?
Regular in training, we always recommend pushing ourselves a little bit, however, we should not sacrifice our form for an impressive number on a set of weight training. But at the same time, we do not want to have an easy session. We should try to progress by gradually increasing our weights over time.
As we are all having different shapes, sizes and fitness abilities, it is quite hard to determine the right added weight. However, there is a little guidance on how much weight we should take on when training. Remember this is only a guide, and we should make adjustments in a certain weight range, and know when it is too much or not enough. The guideline just aims to provide something to start with, especially for those who are new to weight training.
Get help from a trainer or friends who have more experiences. It often takes another person to discover what you’re really capable of, or discourage you from doing something you may not be ready for as it's hard to see/feel it for yourself when you are losing form.
With limited equipment at home, you can use dumbbells, choose the light option for upper body exercise and a heavier option for lower body exercise.
Here are some simple weight guideline for you girls for upper and lower body training with weights for different fitness levels.
Next is the repetition.
Repetition is the number of times or "reps' ' that you do a specific exercise. It is important because it helps to stimulate muscle endurance and improve your training.
It is recommended to train each muscle group with different rep ranges throughout a variety of workout sessions. This will ensure that muscles are engaged in a variety of different ways, promoting muscle growth and overall.
The table below will help you to match weight election to your rep ranges.
But do not to forget rest between sets!
Resting correctly plays an important role in the overall intensity and effectiveness of your workout. Too much rest or getting distracted by something else while training will result in both mind and body losing focus, which can lead to a less effective workout or even injuries.
It is highly recommended to stay present during your rest period, stay switched on and keep your mind focused on the training session.
In contrast, too little rest isn't great for your training, it can make your sweat session harder to complete and result in lacking focus on good form!
There are certain rest times recommended for different exercises depending on what type of training you are doing. It is usually from 45 seconds to 2 minutes between sets. However, if you need to take a bit longer than what it has been suggested, nothing wrong with that.
In conclusion, the key is to be mindful when training, research your session, pay attention to your efforts in the exercises, with the weights and reps number that you are doing to find out which amounts are enough for you. Make sure the session is a good quality session, the weight and reps keeping you engaged and challenging enough without the risk of getting injured.
Happy training guys, will blog more about connected mind and muscle while training in next entry :D