How's your Aerobic Fitness?
MAF Test (Maximal Aerobic Function Test): Perform this test every 3 to 6 months. It should steadily improve as your work capacity and aerobic fitness goes up. If it is declining, then your workload may be too high or you are not recovering well.
Resting Heart Rate Average of <60-70 beats per minute (BPM)--taken first thing in the morning. This takes about 2-3 weeks to get accurate baseline data as heart rate will fluctuate day-to-day a few beats per minute. However, if you are +/- 7 BPM off of your average, you may be a bit under-recovered or possibly getting sick.
Are you strong enough for Interval Training?
Have you been strength training consistently for at least 6 months?
After an all out effort, does your heart rate drop 30-40 beats in a minute?
Some strength standards: Trap Bar Deadlift 1-1.5x bodyweight, 10 Pushups, 1 chin-up for females/5 reps for males (as a baseline minimum). Strength should improve over time, as well.
How's your Stress profile?
Are you sleeping 7-9 hours a night?
Do you wake up frequently in the middle of the night?
How is your perceived level of stress? Low, Med, High?
Have you had a recent change in your lifestyle? (i.e.-recent divorce, job promotion, recently unemployed, etc)
Do you have a releasing practice? (meditation, quiet walks, spending time with friends, listening to music, etc)
***When in doubt, focus on staying away from the middle (anaerobic/glycolytic) and prioritize getting stronger, improving aerobic health, and finding ways to unplug and recover from stress.
The Big Book of Health and Fitness by Dr. Phil Maffetone
Easy Strength by Pavel Tsatsouline and Dan John
Neuroscience for Coaches by Amy Brann
All About Cortisol by Ryan Andrews from Precision Nutrition
About the Author
Charlie Reid considers himself an "anti-guru", an educator, and an enthusiast for all things that make humans stronger and more resilient. His pragmatic approach centers around helping others find solutions that are practical, while sifting through all the hype so prevalent on the internet.