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Fit 4 Life | Training to become Tuff Enuff – Part II

Published:Tuesday | June 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarvin Gordon
DJ Sparks taking on the Tuff Enuff Challenge.



Developing physical fitness is a data-driven undertaking. The foundations of a fitness programme should be rooted in the knowledge gathered from a thorough assessment of physical condition. A series of tests are used to determine everything from specific training goals to loads, type, and frequency.

There are many ways of measuring health and fitness. When it comes to training for the Fit 4 Life Tuff Enuff Challenge, however, five basic tests are recommended:

- Upper body strength endurance test (push-up)

- Overall strength endurance test (sit up)

- 12-minute run/walk

- Resting heart rate

- Blood pressure

The upper body and lower body strength test, while not completely necessary, would also be useful.

Of course, before starting any training programme you should consult a physician. This is especially important for persons with a high risk of heart disease, asthma or lung disease, or diabetes, and persons who suffer from any chronic illness. He or she might recommend a graded exercise test and provide guidelines for physical activity where necessary.


This test measures upper-body strength endurance. Perform as many push-ups as you can with good form. Women can use the bent knee variation of pushups if necessary. An alternative to this is the one-minute push-up test.


This test, similar to the upper-body endurance test, may be replaced with its one-minute counterpart. Perform as many sit-ups as you can with proper form.


This test, ideally, is carried out on a track with clear distance indicators. It may, however, be done on a treadmill. The goal is to record the distance covered in exactly 12 minutes. It is used as a benchmark, for cardiovascular performance. This test can be substituted with the 12-minute cycling or 12-minute swimming test.


Heart health, heart rate and exercise are intrinsically linked. Exercise not only depends on healthy heart function, it also improves heart health. Resting heart rate can be used to track improvements in cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular development results in lower resting heart rate.

To check your resting heart rate, measure your pulse for sixty seconds while at rest. This test is best done first thing in the morning, after a good night's rest.


Your doctor or healthcare professional can help you track your blood pressure. Blood pressure is used as an indicator of cardiovascular disease risk.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email:;