Monday, January 16, 2012

When are you in good enough shape?

Our CrossFit workout this morning was to do as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
  1. 5 pullups
  2. 10 pushups
  3. 15 deep squats
I grunted, sweated, and gasped for air, but I was ok with my 10 rounds, plus the first two exercises of the 11th round.  That means I did 55 pullups, 110 pushups, and 150 squats.  Then I looked up at the board and saw a few of the people had done over 25 rounds, with one woman doing 29.  I'll leave it to the curious to do the math, but she did an INCREDIBLE number of reps in 20 minutes!  I don't even have a dream of being in that condition, but I walked away thinking that I should be aiming for 15 or 17, which is a long, long way from where I am now.

On a similar topic, a friend and co-worker Linda Bonanno was describing some of her fitness plans for 2012.  She mentioned her body fat percentage and I was curious about how you can measure it.  I ended up buying these remarkably cheap plastic calipers and using this web site to do my own calculations.  As before, I was happy until I really started thinking about it.

Here is a chart showing percentage body fat norms:

Description      Women      Men
Essential Fat 10-13% 2-5%
Athletes 14-20% 6-13%
Fitness 21-24% 14-17%
Acceptable 25-31% 18-24%
Obesity >32% >25%

I clocked in at 16.5% which is right in the middle of the fitness row.  Good enough.  I'm certainly no athlete.  Then the math struck me.  Weighing 170 pounds and having 16.5 percent body fat means 28 pounds of fat.  I know we all need fat to stay alive, but next time you're in the grocery store, pick out 28 pounds of meat and throw it in a bag. Suddenly it doesn't feel quite as "fit".
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