I love the term “able-bodied”. The U.S. military uses it to define individuals who are fit enough to serve, but used outside the context of a specific organization or task it would simply mean “fit”, except that nobody is in the habit of confusing able-bodied with “not over-weight”. Able-bodied implies well rounded physical capacity, or a body that can get stuff done.
If you only think of a certain body shape when you picture yourself fit, I would like to expand your definition of fitness to include able-bodied. I have adamantly fought for a focus-on-health-and-get-hot-by-accident perspective in previous posts and I think the next logical expansion of this concept is physical capacity. Although some may argue, I am positing that a body must perform well to be graded at the highest levels of health. The opposite of this ideal, taken to extreme, would mean a body could be deemed healthy without the ability to move at all.
If you are new to all of this, you are probably in need of some good benchmark long term goals because it is quite common to drastically underestimate what you will be able to achieve. Without using any mathematical calculations, I’m going to give you some estimated ranges of capacity for the members of my gym so you can see what other people like you have accomplished. My gym is not comprised of athletes and we are not a CrossFit or any other sort of competitive environment. We pride ourselves in training normal people to extraordinary results. The examples I am giving you here are attainable and I want you to have them. Because we train regular folk, we don’t really see much of a difference in potential for younger and older clients. Age is not an excuse in our gym, and the worst injuries we have seen in almost 4 years and thousands of workouts are a hernia caused by a preexisting condition, a few pulled hamstrings, and a minor biceps tear.
Our estimated back squat average for women is 150 – 180 lbs, and 285 – 325 lbs for men.
Our estimated deadlift average for women is 185 -225 lbs, and 295 – 355 lbs for men.
Our estimated shoulder press average for women is 55 – 85 lbs, and 120 – 155 lbs for men.
Our estimated average 400 meter run is 1:35 – 1:55 for women, and 1:15 – 1:35 for men.
About 30% of our women and 80% of our men achieve strict pull-ups.
Our average woman can perform 20 -30 consecutive push-ups on her knees with no breaks. Our average man can do the same on his toes.
Our average member has no problem with a 24″ box jump.
Our average member can perform 50 body weight squats in under 1:30.
Hopefully this gives you some goals to shoot for. The most important thing you can do is keep your head clear of self imposed obstacles and unsubstantiated excuses. Just shoot for the stars and see where you end up.
Here’s Debbie (not to be confused with Deb) with some motivation for you. Debbie is 55 years young and doesn’t know the meaning of the word “excuse”.
Remember to keep me posted on your progress by hitting me up on Facebook. Go forth and be awesome!