Author of Be Ready for Anything and Build a Better Pantry on a Budget online course
If you’re like a lot of folks, you may be vowing to get healthier in 2020.
There are a million diet and exercise plans out there and I certainly don’t claim to be an expert. But I thought we could do a little challenge together and work on health and fitness from a preparedness point of view. Every day this month, we’ll work on something related to our health, wellness, nutrition, or fitness. We’ll break this down into small things that anyone can incorporate into their day.
I’ll do my best to make this useful and accessible to people of all health and fitness levels and capabilities. Feel free to adapt any of my suggestions so that they work with your unique situation. And please share your adaptations – there might be other folks who want to participate but haven’t figured out a way to make the daily challenge work for them.
Happy New Year! If one of your goals this year is wellness-related, please join us in this prepper-centric health and fitness challenge.
2020 Prepper Health & Fitness Challenge: Day One
Today might just be the most difficult day of all. Today we’re going to figure out where we’re at right this moment. We’re going to do an assessment, and then we’re going to document our starting point.
Some of you may be discouraged when you do this assessment, but remember: this is a starting point, not an ending point. Hopefully, you will look back on this at the end of the month and see some results from your new habits.
Get yourself a notebook or start a document on your computer to journal this adventure!
What are your measurements?
- Chest measurement:
- Waist measurement:
- Hip measurement:
- Biceps measurement:
- Thigh measurement:
Everyone’s goals are different. You may need to lose weight or inches, or you might want to gain a few pounds or inches. You may be perfectly happy with your body. No pressure on any of these things – this is simply documenting where you are today.
I’m not recommending BMI calculators because the Body Mass Index doesn’t factor into account things like bone density and muscle mass. And really, for a lot of folks, it’s just a calculation that makes you feel bad.
Next, we’re going to do a few basic tests to see what we need to work on the most.
How strong is your core?
Try this core strength test. Honestly, very few people will pass this unless you have a job that is quite physical. But our goal is not perfection, it’s improvement. At the end of the month, we’re going to try this again. So, perform the test and write down your results.
How is your upper body strength?
See how many push-ups you can do with good form. This video shows you how to do a push-up assessment. If you aren’t going to a gym, the no-equipment version starts at 1:48. Remember, this is only an assessment. Note your results.
How flexible are you? Try the “sit and reach test.
Sit on the floor upright with your legs stretched out in front of you. This test is actually performed without shoes. You want to have 12 inches between your feet, and have a measuring tape in between your legs with the 15” mark in line with your heels. Now place your hands on top of one another, reach to see what number you can reach to! You get three trials to do this and your score is the highest of the three and remember to date it! (source)
How strong are your legs? Try the squat test. (If you’re anything like me, your knees may snap, crackle, and pop like a bowl of Rice Krispies when you do this. If you have any pain in your joints, stop immediately.)
Using a chair with no arms, like a kitchen chair, stand in front of it with your feet shoulder-width apart and sit down without using your hands. Then stand back up, also without using your hands. Note how many times you can do this while keeping good form.
How is your endurance?
For this test, you can use a multitude of ways to check out your endurance.
- Walking, either outdoors, at a large store or mall, or on a treadmill
You can use an app on your phone or a pedometer like a Fitbit to note your distance. Simply walk or run for a period of time (you decide that based on your current health) and document how far you went in that amount of time. When we re-test, you will go for that same amount of time and see how far you went after working at it for a month.
Here are two other ways to document your endurance that involve taking your heart rate.
We’re going to do this challenge over in the forum too, so be sure to do the daily check-in there if you don’t want to do it here on so public a location. Here’s where the challenges get posted.
So how did you do? Were you surprised, either pleasantly or unpleasantly? What is the thing you need to work on the most?
We’re going to do a simple daily challenge every day this month and I’ll share resources to help you. Your feedback helps me to know what you need most.
Remember, this is about improvement, not competition. Start wherever you are. You aren’t trying out for the NFL – you are just adding some simple habits to your daily life so that you can be better prepared physically.