city challenge.

Saturday marks the start of an 8-week program called the U.S. City Challenge. It's sponsored by Chick-fil-A and 544 people at LW have signed up to participate!

Last week I had a pre-challenge assessment. They tested my cardiovascular fitness, strength, flexibility, body composition, and body age.

My cardiovascular fitness was tested by measuring maximum oxygen consumption. I scored a 40 (moderate range, 75th percentile for my age). I need at least a 42 to move into the "good" range. I'll be doing cardio workouts and walking stairs to improve my oxygen consumption.

My strength was measured by doing modified push-ups. (They wouldn't let me do normal ones.) I did 25 from my knees. I probably could have done more but I was getting a little tired and losing form so I just stopped. My goal is to be able to do 50! I think that might boost me into the "excellent" range. I will work on these every day.

the dreaded sit and reach
My flexibility … I just want to say up front that I have failed stretch tests in P.E. since I was in grade school. I have really long legs and just am not very flexible. I could reach 12.5 inches which measured in the "poor" range. Shoot. I am going to work really hard on stretching in hopes to be able to hit 16 inches. I even measured out a little sit and reach spot in my office. I line my feet up on the tape, and when I am able to sit and reach to the file cabinet, I will have met my goal. Right now I am not even close.

They used a three-site skinfold to measure body fat (tricep, thigh, and suprailiac—right above the hip bone). They said I had low body fat; I am not that excited about trying to improve that but optimal is at least 18%. I wonder how you can gain fat in a healthy way.

progress tracking
Finally they told me my body age is 20! I'm 23, so that was a nice surprise. The goal they gave me was to have the body of an 18 year old when this is all said and done. The nice thing is that I know what I will be tested on so I know it's important to improve flexibility and push-ups most of all and work on cardio to get my cardiovascular up. I made a little chart in my office to help me remember to do little exercises every day and to track my progress.

The City Challenge is also a team competition. We are competing as divisions inside of LW, and then as a company we are competing against several other companies in Nashville. It's exciting to know hundreds of my coworkers are doing it too, and I really haven't been exercising much lately so this should help me get back on track.

I will pump you up.

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