Top Ten Thursday: 10 Ways To Tell If You’re In Shape (Or Not)

Oh Thursday, how I love you. Just one more day until we can run and dance through the streets proclaiming the weekend! Oh, you don’t do that? We have quite the packed weekend between 1/2 marathon training, errands, hosting dinner for friends, a few events, well don’t worry you’ll hear all about it later.

But more importantly… I can’t wait because it’s the official kick off of the Olympics! Plus, this weekend these two guys will be racing which should set the dynamics of what to expect.


In their first race against each other, do you think Phelps will pull out the BIG “W” or Lochte? Some people think that if Phelps wins the first race, he will get the drive he needs to win 7 gold… leave your predictions below!

There is no denying that every olympian is in tip top shape, but are you? I love when I get new clients in my boot camp and they tell me, “wow, I didn’t realize how out of shape I am.”

I love it, because when you realize where you are you are more likely to push yourself harder to get where you want to be. Knowing you’re not in the best shape of your life is simply motivation to work to get there.

And that brings me to this week’s Top Ten Thursday:

10 Ways To Tell If You’re In Shape (Or Not)

Consider it the adult version of the Presidential Fitness Tests (remember those when we were in elementary school). If you can do 8/10 of these then I would say you’re in great shape (above average). If you can do 5/10 then you’re in shape but may want to start upping those workouts a bit, and if you can do 0-4 of these, well, you know what you need to do.

10. Plank it up.

plank test for women

You can hold a plank (on elbows) for 60 seconds or more. This is the sign of a strong core… not just abs but strong lower back, shoulders, and butt. A score of over 2 minutes is great! If you can’t hold it for a minute, work up to it. Start with just holding it for 15 seconds, rest for 10 and repeat for 4 rounds. Then slowly add on 5 seconds each 4-6 days until after about 3 weeks you’re up to a minute.

9. No knees for you.

push up test for women

When was the last time you tried to do a push-up? I mean a real push-up, no knees allowed, and getting your chest close to the ground and elbows bent to a 90-degree angle? If you can do 10 or more in a row (without resting) then you’re doing great. 20  in a row? Impressive.

8. Run without your heart pumping out of your chest.

mile run test

Can you run a mile? I understand that not everyone is a runner, so choose your cardio of choice. For running, can you complete that mile in less than 10 minutes? If so, looking great! Under 15 minutes is a sign healthy and in less than 8 is awesome.  My personal record this year is 1 mile in 6.52 minutes.

7. Lunge balance.

lunge test

Lunges are a great exercise for your core, legs and butt but they are also great because they test your balance and work smaller “stabilizer muscles”. Can you perform 20 walking lunges without tipping over, keeping your front knee over your ankle and lowering down so that same knee goes to a 90-degree angle before pushing up and stepping forward with the back leg.

Also, do you have to bring your feet together in the middle between reps or can you move from one lunge to the next? If you find yourself wobbling around and having trouble, then it’s time to start practicing. Start with body weight lunges first.

6. Low pulse.

pulse test for women


When was the last time you checked your pulse upon waking up? Heart rate is a wonderful indicator for cardio vascular health. Women who are in great physical shape should expect to have a lower heart rate as their hearts pump more efficiently and harder (strong beats) than those out of shape.

The best in shape women can have a heart rate falling between 40-60 bpm. Make sure to check it in the morning for the most accurate reading.  A normal heart rate is from 60-80 bpm, if you have higher than this you might want to check with your doctor as it could be a sign of high blood pressure, heart disease and a slew of other concerns.

5. Body Fat Test.

body fat test

While the scale doesn’t give you an accurate measurement for fitness, your body fat percentage does. For a woman to be considered “fit” her body fat can range from 21-24%. Athletic is considered 14-20% and acceptable is 25-31%.

There are several ways to test your body fat, such as special scales, skin caliber tests, and even online calculators.

4. Pull-ups are more than just a tool for toddlers.

pull up test for women

The pull-up… aka the ultimate sign of strength and fitness. I know some people who will argue that no one should be able to pick up a barbell in the gym until they can perform 10 pull-ups and 50 push-ups (that would be my husband).

I am not that strict but I do believe it’s important to be able to do harder body weight moves before attempting to move onto free weights where you can potentially injure yourself.

Pull-ups are the ultimate fit test for both men and women. So, can you do any? If you can do 5 or more than you’re doing awesome and for a woman, above average. I know some women who look to be in amazing shape, can run marathons and squat more than they weigh but can’t do a single pull-up. Balance is key to any training program, and being able to do a pull-up gives you bragging rights.

Here’s a previous post I wrote to get started.

3. Toe Touch.

toe touch test

You might not think about flexibility, but it is an indicator of overall fitness. Because so many of us are stuck at a test all day, a side affect is tight hips and poor flexibility that can lead to a weak core, poor posture and back pain to name a few.

Can you sit and touch your toes? It shouldn’t be painful, if it is then you’re stretching too much. If you can’t reach your toes think about adding a short 5-10 minute stretch session into your day.

2. Quick recovery time.

quick exercise recovery

How quickly does your heart rate return to normal after a tough, intense workout? If it gets back into the healthy zone in less than 5 minutes you’re in good shape. The faster it gets back to normal, the better in shape you are.

To find out, get your pulse right after you’re done working out and then every minute after to see how quickly it lowers down. When it’s back around your resting heart rate, take note of the amount of time it took.

And about that picture… I wish I had one sweaty but I couldn’t find one 🙁

1. Sleepy time.

sleepy time

This might sound out there, but it’s a great sign of your fitness. Are you energized during the day, able to keep up with everything on your plate but then fall asleep rather quickly at night (and stay asleep until the alarm goes off)?

Being if shape is proven to give more energy during the day but allow people to fall asleep faster and sleep deeper at night, helping you to wake up refreshed in the morning. If it takes less than 15 minutes to fall asleep… awesome!

  • So… how do you score?
  • What type of fitness level would you classify yourself? In awesome shape, good shape, decent shape, or get me to the gym now kind of shape?

Happy Thursday!


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