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Fit 4 Life | Build a body fit 4 the ‘summa’

Published:Tuesday | May 21, 2019 | 12:00 AMMarvin Gordon/Contributor
To help you get to your body goals this summer, focus on improving strength, endurance, flexibility, and explosiveness.

With the soca season behind us, landing that beach body is the next major fitness challenge for many. But before we jump on the latest 'six-pack' diet and start skipping from one celebrity workout programme to the next, consider your strategy. That summer body might come easier if you approach fitness from the perspective of performance rather than looks. 

It's not rocket science: if you can improve your performance across as many aspects of fitness as possible, including nutrition, you will see the results in the mirror. 

To help you build a strong foundation, you should check your performance level. That will give you a benchmark against which to work as well as a way to measure improvement. Once you have established where you stand, you can use that knowledge to guide the intensity of workouts. You should also retest yourself from time to time. Not only does the performance improvement serve as a great motivator, but it also provides new benchmarks against which to monitor training intensity.

To help you get to your body goals this summer, focus on improving strength, endurance, flexibility, and explosiveness. The test for each of these aspects of fitness is simple and can be done with little or no equipment. 

The first test – the one-minute push-up test – will measure upper body strength and endurance. The second – the vertical jump – covers lower-body strength and explosive power. The third is a two-part test – the zipper stretch and the sit-and-reach test – that measures upper and lower-body flexibility. The last test – burpees – measures overall endurance.

You might find that you perform extremely well in some tests and barely register in others, or that over time you are improving more in some areas than others. As long as your performance does not deteriorate in some areas to facilitate improvement in others, any development is a step in the right direction.

Grab a friend and find out how ready you are to build a beach body.





Upper-body strength, endurance

Do as many strict push-ups as you can in one minute.


Lower-body strength, explosiveness

There are two methods of carrying out this test. The first is to use your phone to record a video, while the second approach involves the use of chalk and a wall. The test is simple: From a flat surface, jump as high as you can. If using the chalk method, make a mark as high as you can on the wall before you jump then mark the wall as high as you can when you jump. Measure the distance between the marks and record it. When next you do this test, you can compare the measurements or compare the height you jumped in the video.


Upper-body flexibility 

Put the right hand over the right shoulder and bring left hand up the back to meet it. Note the distance between the two hands. Switch arms and repeat the test with the left hand over the left shoulder and the right hand up the back.


Lower-body flexibility  

Sit on the floor with legs out straight. Feet (shoes off) are placed flat against a box with both knees flat against the floor. Lean forward slowly as far as possible and hold the greatest stretch for two seconds. There should be no jerking movements.


Do as many burpees as you can in a minute.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email:;