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The beginning of the year usually marks a starting point for fitness goals — workout gear gets dusted off, new shoes are bought, playlists get updated. In your case, you may be continuing your journey or just starting it, but to achieve any goal you need to know where you’re going and how to get there. We’re here to help you figure out both.
We’ve designed a quiz that will provide you with an authoritative guide of where you should start this year. This quiz assesses your experience, comfort level, knowledge of the gym and training, and will lead you into one of three distinct routines that will take you to your next level of fitness. But wherever you start, just remember — make this year about your journey. You’ll find that the scenery, particularly the changes you see in the mirror, is more enjoyable that way.
THE FIT QUIZ
Ready to take an honest look at your fitness level? Take our multiple-choice quiz, circling the answers you think most apply to you, to determine where you should start this year. Don’t worry, we grade on a curve.
1) In high school, I was a…
a. Student. What else would I be?
b. Cheerleader. I could totally do a cartwheel.
c. Three-sport jock. My varsity jacket ran out of room for my letters.
2) How would you rate your coordination?
a. Terrible. I think I have two left feet.
b. Average. I can walk and chew gum at the same time.
c. Fantastic. Handstand races, anyone?
3) Describe your idea of a tough workout.
a. Walking to the mailbox is exercise, right?
b. If I get a nice glisten going, that’s good enough.
c. One where I can’t pick myself up off the floor afterward.
4) How would you rate your fitness level?
a. Poor. I’m out of shape and constantly tired. Pass the Doritos.
b. Decent. I work out semi-regularly.
c. Great. But you can never stop improving.
5) What celebrity best represents your bodytype?
a. Rosie. I’ve never really been this heavy.
b. Salma. I’m in decent shape but still have some soft curves.
c. Madonna. I’m basically a workout fanatic and it shows.
6) The idea of being in the weight room…
a. Terrifies me. That’s where the meatheads hang out!
b. Is less desirable than, say, yoga or spin class, but I’ll lift if I have to.
c. Is comfortable to me. That’s where I make the most progress.
7) Lifting weights will make me…
a. A giant behemoth woman with chest hair and bulging veins.
b. Sweaty, calloused and tired.
c. Look better in my clothes.
8) A Smith machine is…
a. Used to clear underbrush…right?
b. Something you find in a gym, I think.
c. A versatile, sliding-barbell apparatus with safety locks.
9) My goal this year is to…
a. Fit back into last year’s wardrobe!
b. Look a little better at the beach.
c. Add some muscle, drop a little bodyfat and entertain offers to be a fitness model.
10) True or False: Doing more crunches will help me lose my belly blubber.
b. False — It’s impossible to spot-reduce.
c. Both a and b — Crunches help sculpt your abdomen if they’re part of a complete diet and exercise routine.
11) If I had to guess, my bodyfat percentage is around…
a. 35% or more. I refuse to estimate beyond that.
b. 25%. I’m in okay shape but there’s room for improvement.
c. 15%. You can crack an egg on these abs.
12) True or False: Women should never lift heavy weights.
c. Both a and b — Lifting heavier for a few weeks is a welcome change to lighter weight loads and can have a drastic effect on body composition in terms of stripping off fat and building muscle tissue.
13) To get where I want to be this year, I’m willing to…
a. Consider something different. What I’m doing — or rather, what I’m not — definitely isn’t working.
b. Get more disciplined. I just have to stick to something for once.
c. Work out most days of the week. Heck, I won’t have the chance to look this good forever!
14) If I had my choice of exercise classes, I’d take…
a. One I can do in the comfort of my living room, away from judgmental eyes.
b. Pilates. Hey, it worked for Hilary Duff.
c. Kickboxing. I can blow off steam, learn some moves and nuke 500 calories.
15) I’d compare 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise to…
a. Someone ripping out my fingernails with a pair of rusty pliers.
b. A necessary evil that haunts my dreams and makes my clothes smelly.
c. Why just 30 minutes? Are we in a hurry?
Now count up how many A’s, B’s and C’s you answered and go to Page 2 to determine which workout you should be doing.
Mostly A’s: Get on Track
You want what most women do: to shed inches and add muscle tone. Problem is, you have no idea where to start. You’re not terribly familiar with weight training or what it takes to sculpt a leaner, meaner physique. In fact, the mere idea of wandering into the free weights section of your gym makes you anxious. Not to worry — you won’t be rubbing elbows with the big boys at the squat rack (not yet, anyway). This four-week program consists of several basic, machine-aided exercises and is the perfect way to start building a slimmer, tighter bod. Go to the beginner’s program: THE STARTING POINT
Mostly B’s: Enjoy a Bit of Freedom
You know where the weight room is and you’ve likely enjoyed some decent results, but structure and progression are definitely not your strongest suits. You’ll take an exercise class here and there and you’ll tool around the dumbbell rack from time to time, but you don’t really have a “routine.” To take your body to the next level, you’re going to have to challenge yourself and break out of some comfort zones. For six weeks, you’ll work more muscle and burn more calories in less time by becoming a bit more audacious with your weight loads, pulling and pressing your way to a more streamlined body. Go to the intermediate program: THE NEXT STEP
Mostly C’s: Hone in on Your Hardbody
Is there anything you won’t do? You’ve done most exercises in the book and are one marathon workout away from having your mail forwarded to the gym. You tend to get bored easily, so your workout can definitely use some new life. Our advanced routine isn’t terribly exotic — you won’t be BOSUing your body into oblivion. Rather, you’re going to maneuver your way through three distinct cycles, each designed to build and refine your body like never before by manipulating several training variables. Go to the advanced program: FINE TUNE YOU